John Danaher Shares Philosophy Behind ‘New Wave’ Positional Escapes

John Danaher and his Danaher Death Squad of grapplers seem to define the cutting edge of Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique and strategy. In a new video released by Bernardo Faria, Danaher details the philosophy of positional escapes that has set his team apart.

Danaher distinguishes his “new wave” philosophy of positional escapes from the traditional approach to escaping bad positions. In short, the traditional approach means escaping a bad position by returning to a neutral position, like guard. In Danaher’s approach, grapplers are taught to escape bad positions directly into a submission attack.

The key, says Danaher, is the efficient use of energy. Why spend energy escaping a position only to return to guard when that same amount of energy could be used to attack a submission?

“The amount of energy it takes to put someone back in guard from any pin is identical and in some cases even less than putting them in a submission hold,” Danaher explains. “It doesn’t take any extra energy for me to put someone in an ashi garami than it does to put them in guard.”

As Danaher discusses in the video, the grappler in the dominant position will often open himself up for submission attacks because he is so focused on maintaining the position. Danaher’s system to positional escapes takes advantage of this tendency.

The video is worth a watch, as Danaher explains jiu-jitsu unlike any other coach.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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