One of the most common questions I get asked is “how do I escape from north south?”
It’s a totally understandable question, because the north south position is a TERRIBLE place to be stuck in!
Some of the tightest north south pins I’ve ever felt have been at the hands of high ranking judo practitioners.
In judo you can win a match by pinning your opponent for just 20 seconds, so there isn’t the same incentive to flow, attack or advance the position like there is in BJJ; consequently many judoka just latch onto the north-south pin (which they call kami shio gatame) and hold on for dear life.
But there are also lots of high level BJJ guys who use this position too, so don’t write it off as a ‘judo only’ technique!!
Fierce though it is, there ARE techniques you can use to escape north south.
Which exact technique you use depends on a few things, including
- Is it early in the pin or has your opponent already dropped his weight and secured the position?
- Is he using i) both arms over your arms, ii) one arm over and one arm under, or iii) both arms under your arms?
- Is this gi or no-gi grappling?
The video that’s at the top of this post takes you through some of the highest percentage escapes for each of the above options.
Some of the basic strategies include
- Getting your knees or feet in before the pin is fully solidified,
- Forcing your opponent to transition to side mount where (presumably) you’re more familiar with escaping,
- Swinging or penduluming your legs to get on your side, and
- Catching your opponent’s legs in your half guard.
I’m not gonna lie: escaping the north south is usually a difficult procedure.
But if you get good at the techniques and strategies in the video at the top of the page then you’ll have a pretty good chance of getting out!
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