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Keys To Escaping From Bottom

Keys To Escaping From Bottom


It is important to be able to escape from the bottom position, but it is a difficult position for many wrestlers, especially newer wrestlers who are trying to earn escapes. There is no one move that will get you an escape every time you are on the bottom, but there are some key things you can focus on to help you become more effective at earning escapes. 

The first key point to getting good at escapes is to really focus on hand control when you are on bottom; it can’t be emphasized enough how important hand control is when you are on bottom. It is extremely difficult to work your way out to a better position if your opponent has the ability to grab, hook, or lock onto you. It doesn’t matter if you are flat on your belly, on your knees, or have made it up to your feet, you must have hand control if you want to be successful at escaping. Also, a lot of the time, just having one of your opponent’s hands isn’t good enough, really focus on controlling both of their hands. If your opponent has nothing to grab a hold of you with, they will not be able to keep you down. 

Another way to get better at escaping to know how to counter common breakdowns. Now there are some pretty crazy moves out there, but for the most part, you know when the whistle blows that your opponent will most likely be hitting a spiral ride, an elbow chop, or a tight waist ankle. These are the three major breakdowns that pretty much all wrestlers do. If you can learn how to defend just these three breakdowns, you will see much more success when you are in the bottom position. 

There are a lot of options to defend these breakdowns, if you know your opponent is going to elbow chop you, then make sure you clear the arm out of the way when the whistle blows or you could base out real hard to stop the elbow chop. If they try to go tight waist ankle on you, you can lean back into them and peel the hand off your ankle or you can hit a granby roll to defend it. 


Another way you can get better at escaping is to constantly be moving. One of the worst things you can do on bottom is just sit there and let your opponent work pinning combinations on you. There is a great expression in wrestling that activity creates opportunity and that is definitely true when you are on bottom. The movements shouldn’t be wild and crazy but rather control and precise because the main objective is for your movement to create an opening for the escape. You can hit sit outs, stand ups, granby rolls, and knees slides in hopes to create an opening to get away. Just make sure you are staying in good positions and trying to establish hand control.

One thing that can help you from the bottom position is to know and understand the rules in terms of what it takes for the top guy to get hit with stalling. They guy on top has to come off to the side, they can’t ride parallel with your hips the whole time. Also, if you stand up, they have to be advancing, they cannot just hang on your waist or your leg. Use this to your advantage. Here is a great video of Max Askren going over the quadpod position and he talks about using the stalling calls to your advantage if your opponent drops down to your leg. Sometimes it pays to work smarter, not harder. 


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Another common thing that keeps wrestlers from escaping is when the guy on top throws legs in. This is something that you should be prepared for and know how to defend. The best defense to a leg rider is to not let them get the legs in in the first place. If they do, there are many different counters to them, but for the most part you want to create separation between your hips and your opponent’s. Check out his video of Chael Sonnen explaining some of his favorite ways to defend a leg rider. 


Getting out from the bottom has a lot to do with attitude. A lot of wrestlers think that being on bottom means its break time, but it most definitely is not. In a wrestling match, you never want to be in the less dominant position and when you are on the bottom, that is exactly where you are. Your opponent has a huge advantage over you. If you struggle to get escapes, part of your problem might be between your ears, you have to have the same mentality of going hard to escape from the bottom as you do when you are trying to get a takedown or a pin. 

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Lastly, when you are in practice, take wrestling from top and bottom seriously. All to often, when guys are wrestling live in practice, they let each other go so they can wrestle from their feet. When this happens, it is a disservice to both wrestlers because one wrestler is getting robbed of the chance to get better at top and the other getting better at escapes. Then, when they go out on the mat for a real match, both wrestlers will not be properly prepared. 

It is very important for wrestlers to focus on wrestling from the bottom. Being able to get an escape will often win you close matches, especially in college where a wrestler can earn riding time. Focus on the basics and be relentless on bottom until you get the escape or reversal. 

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Magic Mat Work by Hudson Taylor is a wrestling GOLD MINE. Throughout the 8 Volume set you will be taken on a vision quest to the techniques that helped Hudson reach the highest levels of wrestling.  It's TIME to add some MAGIC to your game!