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1 Basic Sit Up Escape

When I began training jiu-jitsu, I was heavily influenced by de la Riva. I built my game around sleeve grips and open guard. I loved to play spider guard, and I had a complex web of traps and funnels from de la Riva guard. At the time, this style felt like the pinnacle of jiu-jitsu. Many of my idols fought this way, and I felt like I was on the right path to jiu-jitsu mastery because I was following in their footsteps.

At brown belt, my hands started to deteriorate. They ached. They felt weaker. I would spend twenty minutes before each training session meticulously taping each knuckle. By the time I reached black belt, I had to come home after every training session and soak my hands in ice water to fight the inflammation and the pain.

One night, as I soaked my hands in front of the television, I looked around and saw my family. My two boys were still young, and they were starting to play wrestle. I smiled at this for a second–because what jiu-jitsu dad does not want to see his children train–and then I remembered my hands.

If I stayed on this path, I would never be able to roll with my children. I would be lucky if I could train at all. At black belt, with over a decade of training behind me, I decided to start over. I abandoned my game and sought out a system that did not rely on grips to the extent that a de la Riva or a spider guard game did. Not long after that moment, I decided to devote my training to imitating Marcelo Garcia. His game was highly mobile with very little straining to maintain sleeve or lapel grips. He flowed from position to position using a style that transitioned smoothly from no-gi to gi.

That sent me down the rabbit hole of the sit-up escape system. At first, I used Marcelo Garcia highlight videos, Marcelo Garcia DVDs, and to watch as much footage on Marcelo as I could, whether he was explicitly teaching the sit-up escape or not. A significant portion of the system was learned from watching Marcelo teach, but I also picked up a great deal from watching him roll. From there, I put my own twist on the system by incorporating techniques that I myself liked or that I saw other grapplers using in sit-up-like scenarios.

I am excited to share this system with you, and I hope that learning it can do for you what it did for me: give you a new appreciation for the art and help you to protect your body from wear and tear.