Escaping The Knee On Belly To Safety!

Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of leg locks. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – find more of his leg lock articles and resources at

Some positions are hot topic buttons when it comes to discussing escapes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  However, there are some that don’t get the proper love they deserve, which is why today I’m here to discuss the proper approach to escaping the knee on belly.

Knee on belly can cause some serious problems for you if you are not careful.  Depending greatly on where you place your arms and hands, this situation could end with a back take or an arm bar being firmly locked on. To learn some of the attacks you can get from being on top in knee on belly check out this sweet article by Jiu Jitsu Laboratory.

No matter how you cut it, every grappler should know how to execute an escape from this position to get to safer ground.

Executing The Proper Knee on Belly Escape

When going for this escape, you must remember one thing: STAY CALM!  If you let the discomfort of this position dictate your movement, you will be submitted or give up your back.  This is what makes a fighter good from great, being able to control your emotions in a fight. We can see in the video below how staying calm and using proper technique will help you escape.

·         From this position, take your leg that is posted and push off towards your opponent.  This will help create space that will become very valuable later on.

·         Taking your top hand, loop your arm under their leg.  Clasp your other hand in a Gable grip while clamping down.

·         Begin to slide your extended leg behind you as your bring your opponent to the mat.

·         Escaping out the back, you then want to grab hold of their knee and squeeze.

·         As your drive your shoulder into their butt, this will flatten them out.

·         From here, you are able to advance your position and begin working your offensive game.

Attacking Your Opponents Base

The Knee on Belly is one of the most dominate positions in martial arts

A major focal point of this escape is to direct a great deal of focus onto the base of your opponent.  Essentially, the first few steps do just that, eliminating any sort of base they can establish.  In a situation like this, where any slight adjustment can work wonders, it is pivotal to make sure they cannot mount any form of offense from here.

The most difficult sequence of this escape is when you go to attack their leg with the gable grip.  For when we do so, the neck becomes exposed, making it easy for our opponent to attack.  However, if you shrimped properly at the beginning, hopefully you created enough space where this won’t be an issue. Escaping bad positions can be one of the most difficult aspects of BJJ. You can learn how to escape the infamous side control position here!

Despite its infrequency and lack of escape discussion, there is still always a way you can go about saving yourself in this spot.

Dan Faggella

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