How To Do a Guard Escape (Elbow Drive) Properly

Escaping from your opponent’s guard should be your first priority as a White Belt. Sure, it’s not as flashy as the many techniques you see being used by advanced and professional fighters. But, learning how to escape from your opponent’s guard could make the difference between you winning a sparring match and you tapping out.


After all, being in your opponent’s guard, you’re basically in your opponent’s mercy. If you panic or don’t exactly know what do at that point, you could end up wasting much of your energy by trying to push your opponent away. And, in BJJ, this could turn out to be counterproductive because if your opponent’s legs has a good grip on you, squirming and struggling is just going not going to do you any good.

One basic technique that I’d like to show and teach you is the elbow drive.

The elbow drive is a rather basic escape from the guard, but it is effective and here’s how you do it:.

  1. First of all, you have to be in your opponent’s guard.
  1. Then, grab your opponent’s belt and make sure that you have a tight, firm grip on it. Also, make sure that your fingers are underneath to make the procedure even easier.
  1. With your opponent’s legs wrapped around you, driving your elbows into their thighs should deal a lot of pain to them. Unless your opponent’s a lot more powerful than you are, which is highly unlikely, the pain should make them uncross their feet. And, even if they are powerful, your sharp elbows should inflict immense pain to them.
  1. As you drive your elbows to your opponent’s thigh, they may feel a bit woozy and allow you to reverse the position to take up the mount.
  1. To make the technique more effective, try to make sure that you apply much of the pressure onto the main artery of your opponent’s legs.

Additional Tips

When it comes to escape, one mantra that works very well is the “position before submission”. While that mantra usually presents itself in submissions, the same thing actually happens with escapes.

After all, should you try to formulate an escape from your opponent’s guard, you have to think first of what sort of technique is your best option.

The elbow drive, for example, is a useful guard escape, but it’s not the solution to every scenario. Sometimes, other techniques may be better choices, so you have to think first.

Then after you’ve thought it, proceed to create the necessary space to apply the technique and move.

To be better at knowing which techniques to apply in different scenarios, try to put yourself in bad positions during practice. That way, you can slowly think about which steps are best to take and which aren’t all that necessary.

Remember, practice is key in JiuJitsu and so is patience.

So, take your time and practice well. If you do that, you’re going to go a long way into the JiuJitsu belt ranking system.

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