Pin escapes: The first I try to build in a student is that of escaping pins. My reasoning is simple. The great majority of finishes in Jiu Jitsu are the result of getting held down and controlled in a pin. In Jiu Jitsu a pin is usually understood as any situation where an opponent has passed your and has at least one of your shoulders held down on the mat in a chest to chest position (there are a few to this – knee on stomach positions and rear mount pins are obvious exceptions). There is nothing more stultifying to your own offensive ambitions than getting held down for long periods of time where you simply cannot perform any effective offense. Often I ask a student, “can you get out of a pin.” Whenever someone answers, “I think so,” I almost always interpret this as no. My first job as a is to get you to a point where you don’t THINK you can get out – you KNOW you can get out. Only then will you have the confidence and ability to attack an opponent from position. It is rare that I teach a class where students are not asked to exhibit defensive skills. Regular skill development and of pin escapes – the core defensive skill – is something so important we work it almost every day. IN A ROOMFUL OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ALL AT OFFENSE, IT WILL COME DOWN TO WHO HAS THE BEST DEFENSE THAT DETERMINES WINNER AND LOSER IN MOST CASES. Work hard on your pin as your first goal of mastery in Jiu Jitsu. No matter how high you goal it will be protective insurance against catastrophic loss.