Monday, September 01, 2008

A helpful handful: 5 great ways to escape from kesa gatame

Here is the latest in my ongoing series of how-to articles. These are five ways to get out of the scarf hold - kesagatame. None is infallible but all are indispensable and each works together to make the others easier and better, so if one of these doesn't work, just cycle on to the next one.
  • sit-up escape – The first escape I teach – the easiest and the cheesiest. But you know what? It happens a lot more than you’d suspect. To make it go, you throw your feet and hips as far away from uke as you can, then do a situp while twisting to face him. This presses his back into the ground, placing you on top in kesagatame.

  • uphill escape – statistically the most likely escape to work. Throw your hips into uke’s hips/side HARD and bridge into him, using your free hand to press his face into the mat and grind it. Then turn toward him onto your knees and pull you trapped arm free.

  • bridge & roll (A.K.A. the downhill escape) This is the one that everyone beats to death but it is hard to make it go without having a good uphill escape. After you try the uphill escape, if he resists having his face ground and puts more pressure on you, bridge to throw him diagonally over your far shoulder. Thinking about bridging his face into the ground really helps on this one.

  • leg entanglement often seems like a cheep way to escape – like rules lawyering, but leg entanglement can lead to a great bridge&roll or to several devastating leglocks, so in the judo rules leg entanglement stops grappling. The threat of leg entanglement can also make the other escapes easier to do.

  • shrimp-bridge – this is not an explicit escape technique but rather a type of motion that tends to tear hold-downs apart. If you alternately shrimp, then bridge against uke, you tend to create space while causing him to constantly fight to keep the hold. situp, uphill, and bridge&roll escapes pop out of this kind of motion all the time.

But then, there's the infamous nose-honk!

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