Matt side escape posture?

Matt, I have your second series. You discussed the importance of the boxing position relative to posture when escaping side mount (cross side). On your Florida seminar tape, you made a point of telling the attendees that the top arm should always be pummeling under the oppt.'s arm/armpit (underhook position). I may have misunderstood the boxing position strategy. Should I be seeking the underhook position as a primary goal when getting to my brace position? Is it a preference matter? I actually feel like I can manipulate the oppt.'s weight BETTER with the boxing position. Any thoughts or tips? Thanks.

TTT for Matt...

Would it be a matter of creating/maintaining some space with the "boxing posture"... and then when the correct energy is there, seek the underhook as a way of escaping the bottom?

Eagerly awaiting Matt's reply.


since i am only a student i cannot answer this question!


Matt will most likely get to this later as he just got back to Portland.

In the meantime, the boxing posture is:

1) A strong base from which to work, move yourself in relation to your opponent, and launch several escapes from. (Some sample Push / Pull reference points being far side underhook, far side hip, near side arm pit, near side hip.)

2) A stable base to begin with or return to given your timing did not initially allow an effective escape. (Opponent gains or regains their base and collapses your bracing structure and / or direction of movement.)

Initiating or reacting the brace position that seeks the opponent's far underhook as a reference point is described in the Florida seminar as a solid starting point and Matt stating to begin there is simply a way to assure you are usually one step ahead of your opponent. (Timing)

Your primary goal from the position of being pinned is always to create space to escape and regain positional dominance and/ or a submission. Attaining that far underhook may be a preference for many but does not replace the boxing posture as it works from and back into it.

That said, working from that pummeling approach to get under the far side underhook from the get go, will usually get you very good at keeping your opponent off base and either have them moving to regain it elsewhere (allowing you a follow up escapes) or have them driving in harder (allowing you follow up escapes.) So it's definitely a very positive angle from which to work from and get good at.

If your opponent is constantly countering your escapes, your posture is working and your options are consistently available to you. If your escapes are "late" you will feel the opponent is consistently tightening their control over you and that you are on your way down towards complete immobilization.

The boxing posture runs the entire scope in function from being crushed and bouncing/ vibrating to get active to being braced and remaining very active.

The braced position of getting the far side underhook reference point and going to your knees means that you are already or that much sooner in an active position towards escape. (Always being there is much better than looking for it so Matt's point there from the get go.)

I hope this helps until he chimes in,


Nice post Luis.

When is your book going to be released?




The SBG book should be out by late August. That's what Matt and I are working on now.


Could you please write faster? :)


Guys, thanks! I would like to hear from Matt as well. Luis, great descriptions as always. I asked because reaching out with the underhook arm has gotten my arm "killed" with an overhook response. Could be my timing, etc. I "feel" more secure and stable from the boxing base...then underhooking from there. Didn't know if I was doing something wrong. It does indeed make sense to be further along on going to the knees with the underhook/hip scoot together. As a side note, I was having a BITCH of a time escaping N/S. As a drill, I would have my best training partner attempt to pin me in various pin positions. My performance goal was just to maintain the boxing position/posture and move my hips. He said it felt like he was trying to pin a wobble board. I think that is a good description, I get caught flat almost never now plus I feel confident I can get/create space with the boxing structure. Thanks again, everyone.

"I should have my mail forwarded to cross side bottom."

I know what you feel like, Paul. That is the thing i need to work on, too. Especially against the big dudes.


One of the bjj coaches I trained with (now a
Machado black belt) really helped me with that
same boxing structure from the bottom. He had an
interesting variation that didn't require the
underhook that he used a lot to escape . I call it
"the Fonz" because it basically resembles the cool
guy running his fingers through his hair. It's kind of
like switching from the standard "hands up" boxing
posture to crazy monkey.

Let's say your opponent has sidemount on your
right side, and you're keeping him off your chest
with the boxing position. The move is simply to
slide your hands up over the crown of your head,
then fan your elbows/forearms out and bring your
hands to slide along the side of your head (like the
Fonz) while curling your lower body up and
bringing your right knee through against the opp.'s
midsection. Your right knee should come up
toward your right elbow. This move will not work (or
it will become a strength move) unless you use the
initial boxing structure to shift your opp's weight
toward your head as you start to slide your hands
up. Getting his weight up toward your head means
that it will no longer be centered over your chest;
this is what allows your to bring your shin across
and start to work back to guard. The beautiful part
about the fanning motion with the forearms is that
it counters your opponent's ability to recover by
cross-facing you and hunkering down -- as he
goes to crossface, the angle of your forearms to
your head will keep his arm away from you. Of
course, like all other escapes, this requires timing
and sensitivity, but if it doesn't work you're still in
the boxing defensive posture.

As for getting your arm killed when you try the
underhook, I'd say to make sure that you're getting
on your near hip as your slide the arm under to the
far underhook. If you're flat on your back, your arm
will get pancaked, and if you're only slightly turned
in you'll get overhooked for sure. One tip I like is to
use the upper arm (shoulder to elbow) as a brace
as I turn on my near hip, then rotate only the lower
portion of the arm under to the underhook while
moving my lower body away. This makes it easier
to keep heavier people off you and helps make
space to go to your knees.

Steve Whittier

Is the seminar tape still available? I didn't see it on the site.

Steve thank you! I actually have discovered a small piece of what you described. I stumbled on lifting my elbows towards my head as a means to move his weight. I found this out only when I started to experiment with the boxing position. However, your Fonz description is GREAT! I don't believe I was lifting as high as I would if I were "combing my hair", plus the flaring out of the arms is a neat detail. Thanks. Matt's description of shrimping/pulling near side elbow to ribs/top head pushing, bracing helped me think of offering the top shoulder. What I had difficulty with on the underhook variation is I don't feel I can push with the humerus/underhook as well and feel vulnerable to the crushing pin (I train with some monsters!). Probably I am not focusing enough on the hip movement? Anyway, awesome tips from everybody above and they are truly appreciated.


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"I should have my mail forwarded to cross side bottom."

Lol, man, I know how you feel...

Luis wrote:

"If your opponent is constantly countering your escapes, your posture is working and your options are consistently available to you. If your escapes are "late" you will feel the opponent is consistently tightening their control over you and that you are on your way down towards complete immobilization."

So true! So true!

Good stuff Luis.

Terry G.

TTT for a great tread

Hi tysaw,

I teach both positions. Both work well, and no one will work all the time. The idea is to move back and forth, depending on the specific hand position taken by your opponent on top.

Regarding the underhook hand, yes, sometimes it can get smashed, and that is a question of timing and hip movement. It's hard to detail what may be happening in a written post, but here are some general tips:

1) Keep your arms between you and your opponent. Never allow your opponent to get chest to chest contact with you. He should always be resting on those forearms, and feel like he is on that ball bearing that his been described.

2) Never get caught totally flat. Always try and stay on one hip.

3) Try and touch your shoulders together, crunch yourself into a ball, and turtle your neck.

Basically, when on bottom you want the worst posture possible. When on bottom be a ball, and when on top be a board, as a general rule.

4) Never try and MOVE your opponent. Instead, move yourself under, over, and around your opponent. Think of your opponent as an immovable object.

The formula should be 90% hips, and 10% upperbody.

Usually the formula is 90% upperbody, and 10% hips with the average person, or exceptional athletes. That works fine until they meet someone with better technique whith is also as strong, or stronger then them, within the same weight class, or until they are tired. If they meet a bigger, better, stronger opponent, or fatigue, then they are stuck.

So with Jits try and use your upperbody as little as possible when on bottom. Make your movements small. Keep the explosive movements out of the Gym, and save that strictly for competition. Force yourself to use your hip movement to escape.

Do that and you will get better.

If your underhook hand still gets smashed, don't try and lift it up. Your arm cannot fight his entire body weight. Instead, shrimp down and out, using your underhook arm only to hold the ground you gain as you go. It's like old trench warfare.

If you do that correctly he should have to move his arm, or take a whizzer.

Hope that helps.

-Matt Thornton

Matt, that more than is exactly what I needed to hear! Thanks to you and all who posted for their tips. Appreciated!


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