5 BJJ Bear Hug Escapes Every Beginner Should Know

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that equips practitioners with effective self-defense techniques. One common scenario in self-defense situations is the bear hug. The bear hug is used by attackers when they grab you from behind with the intention of picking you up or dragging you.

In this blog post, we’ll explore five essential BJJ bear hug escapes that every beginner should know. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced BJJ enthusiast, these escapes are important to know and memorize. Bear hug escapes aren’t just techniques; they’re lifelines in self-defense scenarios. Whether you’re on the mats or in a real-life situation, having the knowledge and skill to escape a bear hug can be a game-changer. These techniques empower you to regain control, protect yourself, and potentially turn the tide of a confrontation.

You can watch a highlight vide of all of these techniques in this video:

Watch Techniques Tutorial Here 

1. Over the Arms Hip Toss:

The over-the-arms hip toss is a powerful escape technique that can turn the tables on an opponent attempting a bear hug where they trap both of your arms while you are facing them. This technique involves using the under hook on your opponent to load them on your hips and toss them over your shoulder.

2. Under the Arms Sacrifice Throw:

The under-the-arms sacrifice throw is a skillful BJJ technique that can catch your opponent off guard if they grab under your arms while facing you. Grip their triceps, and sit back to throw them over you.

3. Over the Arms Tano Otoshi:

Tano Otoshi is a versatile BJJ escape that involves escaping the bear hug from behind when opponent’s arms are over both of your arms. Drop your level, step back, and grab onto the opponent’s legs behind the knees to take them down.

4. Under the Arms Knee Bar:

The under-the-arms knee bar is a more advanced escape technique that can be highly effective if executed correctly. To use this technique, follow these steps:

Bear Hug Defense to Kneebar | Casarez Brazilian Jiu Jitsu | Lepri BJJ
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5. Under the Arms Kimura:

The under-the-arms Kimura is a submission-based escape that can neutralize an opponent’s bear hug and put you in control.


It is important to train and drill these techniques on a regular basis so that you become familiar with them. In the case that you should have to use these techniques in a self-defense situation, it will be instinctual and effective only if you have practiced it safely and repetitively on the mats.

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