Three Pin Escape Movements

Escaping pins is never easy: if you get pinned in a match, then chances are that your opponent is either pretty good (relative to you) or that you are tired. Either way, escaping pins is almost always difficult and tiring, but a few simple principles can make it a little easier.

What I want to talk about today is fact that most pin escapes rely on the same three motions, either alone or in combination. These motions are:

  1. Lateral hip movement (shrimping)
  2. Bridging
  3. Turning onto one’s knees

For an example, let’s suppose that you are pinned in sidemount. Putting your opponent back into your guard using lateral hip movement is an example of the first escape method. Bridging your opponent over so that you are on top and he is on bottom is an example of the second method. In the third method you turn into the turtle position underneath him (obviously you still have to know what to do from this position too).

Usually you only see one of the three methods employed if both grapplers are beginner level, or if there is a big skill discrepancy between the two grapplers in question. At higher skill levels, however, escapes have to be set up, and it becomes important to use the three methods in combination. For example, you might create some space by bridging, then try to put your opponent back in your guard, and finally escape by turning onto your knees as he reacts to the previous motion(s).

Obviously there are other escape methods, but I bet that 80 to 90% of all pin escapes in sparring and competition fit into these three categories. For your ‘homework’ try thinking about the pin escapes you use most often and try to figure out if/how they fit into these categories.

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