There are quite a few effective methods of escaping kesa gatame (scarf hold). All of them require some effort on your part and lots of practice. When we teach these escapes, we have the partners trade places, putting the ground hold on and then escaping from it. In order for these escapes to become innate, I suggest doing many practice sessions and going back to basics on occasion, just to refresh your memory.
1. As you realize the ground hold is being put on, take the arm that your opponent is grabbing and force the elbow to the floor. The elbow acts like a stopper: your opponent can only move so far, because you have planted your elbow there.
2. Move onto your side.
3. Grip your opponent’s belt (if he is wearing a gi) or grasp the area by his hip.
4. Lift your opponent a little at a time. Each time you lift, get your hips and legs closer to him. The objective is to place your bottom leg under his legs and your hip under his hip. Eventually you will have him on the center of your mass, able to move him to one side or the other. When that happens, you will be able to escape.
5. Once you have turned your opponent over, go into your own kesa gatame.
6. Repeat the escapes and ground holds.
The crucial parts of this escape are: posting the elbow, getting onto your side and lifting the opponent until he is on the center of your mass.
June 10, 2009