Submission and fear: There are two major categories of escape in Jiu jitsu. The first are POSITIONAL escapes – getting out of bad pins such as the mount, side pins, rear mount etc. These are uncomfortable, tiring and generally unpleasant situations but they aren’t scary unless they are being done in an MMA context with striking permitted – in standard grappling situations they are unpleasant rather than frightening because pins by themselves don’t do any kind of damage. The second category of escapes are . This is where fear becomes a factor. Submissions can do serious damage if taken to their completion or applied with bad . As such escaping from submission has a aspect to it that positional escapes don’t – you have to be able to overcome the natural fear of bodily harm and stay focused on the relevant details of getting out. Once the submission is locked on, things happen quickly and you have to make a quick choice between submission and escape. In the gym it’s prudent to err on the side of caution. Nonetheless nobody likes to lose by submission and so there is a strong motivation to learn submission escapes. Understand that the further you get into the submission the harder it becomes to extricate yourself. Early detection and avoidance usually gets better results than last ditch heroics. But still, it’s good to be able to show the skills of and get out of seemingly hopeless situations and escape. The biggest factors working against you are TIME, INTENSITY and PANIC. When you start out, make sure you have a partner who can dial back the speed and intensity of his submissions to something pretty mild so that you can think without panic and perform the appropriate escape. Practice light and slow and get a gradual feel for the position and what you can and can’t take. Very slowly start increasing the speed and intensity over time. Like any other skill, practice over time can make what was once a very scary situation and make it quite manageable. Note the relaxed demeanor of Ryan as he methodically works his way out of a potential heel hook situation.