John Danaher pin escapes: do they work on the mats?
For the past several weeks, I’ve been watching John Danaher’s New Wave Jiu Jitsu: A New Philosophy of Positional Escapes BJJ instructional.
In this article, I’ll provide a comprehensive review of the instructional.
So, if you’re looking to stop tapping so much — and even feel comfortable from bad positions like mount, knowing you can escape and immediately submit your opponent — read on.
John Danaher Pin Escapes Instructional Review: Quick Links
- Review Summary
- Who Should Invest In New Wave Jiu Jitsu: A New Philosophy Of Positional Escapes?
- Price Breakdown
- Course Content
- Takeaway Thoughts
John Danaher Pin Escapes Instructional: Review Summary
🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗 (4.5/5 stars)
John Danaher‘s New Wave Jiu Jitsu: A New Philosophy Of Positional Escapes is like a long, dense, and boring textbook. But, when you do take the test, you ace it. It’s not very entertaining. It can feel like a slog to get through the 8 volumes. But when you apply the escapes on the mats, they work. This instructional will help you build a terrifying defensive game where your training partners or opponents won’t feel safe — even if they’re in top mount.
Who Should Invest In New Wave Jiu Jitsu: A New Philosophy Of Positional Escapes?
If you want to improve your ability to survive and escape bad positions in BJJ, this instructional is for you. I especially recommend it for white belts and blue belts. If you’re a beginner, John Danaher recommends that you master survival and escapes first. This instructional will help you do that.
New Wave Jiu Jitsu: A New Philosophy Of Positional Escapes is a no-gi instructional. If you primarily train in the gi, you’re better off investing in John’s gi escapes instructional: Pin Escapes & Turtle Escapes: BJJ Fundamentals – Go Further Faster. That being said, many of the principles and techniques you learn in New Wave Jiu Jitsu will apply in the gi.
John also has a unique teaching style that can be too conceptual or philosophical for some people. u/Lateroller says it well:
“I used to hate how Danaher will philosophize for an hour on general concepts before showing techniques. Now that I’m teaching a bit, that is some of my favorite content. Guessing that the practitioner vs coach perspective is the main reason why they differ.”
Personally, I like understanding the “why” behind the techniques. Understanding the underlying concepts helps me make sense of individual techniques — although it does make the instructional twice as long to get through. But if you prefer a straightforward and less conceptual teaching style, then this instructional is probably not the best for you.
After watching and applying the techniques from this instructional, it’s hard to imagine a more helpful instructional on BJJ escapes. There are three main pros to this instructional that make it so effective.
1. The Escapes Work
First and foremost, the escapes that John Danaher teaches in this instructional work on the mats. I was able to hit the escapes on my first few tries on white belts, blue belts, and some purple belts. It’s tough to make them work on my black belt instructor, but he complimented me on my escapes and said they were very close.
Before watching this instructional, I had trouble with the kipping escape. However, after learning it from John, it’s now my favorite mount escape. Even though it’s not the most exciting instructional, the techniques absolutely work. And John’s teaching style covers all bases so you understand the “why” behind the technique, and how to apply the correct technique based on the type of pin the top player has on you.
As a result of how solid these escapes are, you feel far less threatened when you get into a bad position. I used to fear getting mounted. Now, I know the exact procedures to do my kipping escape. And when I escape, I won’t get into a mere neutral position. I’m getting into an attacking position — like single leg X — where I can submit my training partner.
2. Extremely Comprehensive
New Wave Jiu Jitsu: A New Philosophy Of Positional Escapes covers how you escape every single pin with several different variations. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Mount escapes
- Side control escapes
- Rear mount escapes (including body triangle)
- Knee-on belly escapes
- Turtle escapes
- Attacking positions once you escape
Before John demonstrates a particular escape, he teaches you the underlying theory behind it. For example, before showing the kipping escape, he teaches you what a pin is: a series of wedges reinforced by the floor and their body weight used to keep you in place. I find this combination helpful for memorizing techniques.
This instructional isn’t just about teaching survival and escapes. John also demonstrates how to finish your opponent directly after you escape a bad position. For example, when teaching how to escape a side control pin, he shows how to finish your opponent from the “clamp” position with various armbars and triangles. He also talks a lot about how to apply leglocks once you escape and grab a hold of your opponent’s legs. The instructional focuses more on escapes. However, it’s helpful to see your attacking options when you do escape.
3. Will Change The Way You Think About Defense
John teaches more than just pin escapes in this instructional. He’s teaching a new way to approach jiu-jitsu. Instead of escaping to get to a neutral position, he pushes you to escape to get into an attacking position. Why? Because it takes just as much energy — if not less — to get into an attacking position once you escape than into a neutral position.
For example, once you execute the kipping escape, you’ll find yourself underneath your opponent’s legs. You could put them into your half-guard or closed guard. You’d go from a bad position to a neutral position. But, you could also go into single leg X — and immediately start going for submissions.
John’s philosophy will make you a more aggressive, submission-hungry, and feared BJJ player. Your rate of escapes AND submissions will go up because you’re attacking as soon as you escape a bad position. This makes your game more effective. And I find it makes training BJJ more fun.
There are a few cons about this instructional that you should be aware of before you buy. It might not be the right instructional for you and your learning style.
There’s no doubt that the instructional is effective and comprehensive. However, it is quite boring to sit through. It’s long, slow, dense, verbose, and repetitive. I had to watch it in 25-minute chunks.
I’ve heard that there are more entertaining, fun instructionals out there that teach similar concepts. Some people even watch John’s instructionals at 2X speed so that they can speed up the process. Be aware of all of this before you buy.
2. Conceptual Approach Is Not For Everyone
The conceptual and theory-based approach works for me, but I recognize that John’s teaching style might not be for everyone.
In this instructional, you’ll spend just as much time learning theory as you do escape techniques. If you prefer to get right to the “nuts and bolts” of a technique — and you don’t find learning about the underlying concepts helpful — then you’ll struggle with this instructional.
I think that John’s teaching style works best for jiu-jitsu nerds: practitioners who like to think about the sport. If you just like to “do” jiu-jitsu — and you aren’t into the mental aspect as much as you are the physical — there are probably more straightforward and practical escape instructionals out there. That being said, I think John’s approach covers all bases. You’ll understand techniques in totality when you grasp the underlying concepts.
You can grab New Wave Jiu Jitsu: A New Philosophy Of Positional Escapes by John Danaher on BJJ Fanatics for $197 when it’s not on sale.
BJJFanatics is always running sales. If you check there frequently, chances are you’ll find it at a lower price.
John Danaher’s instructional are among the most expensive. It’s justified because his techniques work. He also coaches all-time greats like Gordon Ryan. His teachings are proven at the highest levels of the sport.
If you take BJJ seriously as a hobby or a competitor, I think this instructional is worth the price. Having a cast-iron defense is an invaluable skill. It makes jiu-jitsu more fun when you can escape even the toughest black belts in your gym.
Here is the course content for New Wave Jiu Jitsu: A New Philosophy Of Positional Escapes by John Danaher:
- Escape Skills Are The Basis of Your Confidence in Jiu Jitsu
- The Traditional Approach to Escape in Jiu Jitsu
- The 2 Defensive Skills of Jiu Jitsu
- Positional Escapes – What is a Pin?
- Solving the Problem of Pins
- A New Philosophy of Pin Escapes: Satisficing vs Maximizing
- The Principle of Sunk Costs
- The Game Plan for Our New Escape Philosophy
- The 5 Pins of Jiu Jitsu
- Escaping the Mounted Position: Maximizing Philosophy – The Kipping Escape – The Lateral Kipping Escape
- The Misdirectional Kipping Escape
- The Overhead Kipping Escape
- The Elbow Escape – Inside and Outside Variations
- Further Reflections on the Outside Elbow Escape
- Escaping the Rear Mount Position – The First Battle of Back Escapes: The Hand Fight
- The Second Battle of Back Escapes: The Head Fight
- Back Escapes Part 2
- Escaping The Body Triangle – Body Triangle Preliminaries
- The Theory of the 4 Triangles
- The Fifth Triangle
- The Theory of the Upper Body Connection: The Spinning Escape
- The Headlock Escape
- Knee on Belly Escapes
- Knee on Belly Escapes – Part 2
- Side Pin Escapes – Side Elbow Escape
- Side Elbow Escape Part 2
- The Role of the Head in Side Escapes
- Different Defensive Frame Options
- Frame Options With the Outside Arm
- The Central Problem of Crossface Side Pins: Near Hip/Far Hip Connection
- The Central Problem of Reverse Cross Face Side Pins: Near Shoulder/Far Shoulder Connection
- Understanding Variations in Side Pins
- The Role of Kipping in Side Elbow Escapes
- The Role of Reverse Shrimping in Side Elbow Escapes
- Side Elbow Escape: Putting it All Together
- A Special Study: The Clamp
- Side Elbow Escape Into Leg Locks
- The High Leg Escape
- The High Leg Escape Part 2
- The Knee Escape
- The Knee Escape Part 2
- The Knee Escape Part 3
- Ankle Trap Escape
- Tricep Post Escape
- The Back Door Escape
- Escaping Sit-Out Pins
- Escaping North South Pins – Unique Elements of North/South Pins
- The High Leg Escape
- Variations of North/South Require Variations in Escape
- Escaping Other Variations of North/South Pins
- Escaping Turtle Position – Preliminaries
- Escaping the Tight Waist – Makikomi
- Shoulder Roll
- Escaping Body Locks
- Reach-Back Sumi Gaeshi
- Escaping Seat Belt
- General Hand Fighting From Turtle
- Summarizing Our Philosophy and Method of Positional Escape: The 5 Step Method – Defensive Responsibility
- The First Frame
- Primary Entry Point
- Majority Inside Control
- The Sixth Step – Your Choice
Check out more information and reviews about the instructional on BJJFanatics.
If you want to become very hard to submit, invest in John Danaher’s pin escape instructional.
Not only will it make your defense better, but John Danaher’s philosophy will change the way you view jiu-jitsu.
Instead of escaping into a neutral position, you’ll escape into attacking positions — and, as a result, tap your opponent’s right after you escape.
What did you think of the instructional? How did it help you develop your game?
Leave a comment in the section below with your thoughts.
And if you’re interested in seeing my notes on the instructional, let me know and I’ll add those to this post.
Happy rolling — or, in this case, escaping! 🤙
BJJ Equipment, an assistant BJJ instructor at InFighting, and a BJJ blue belt. He's a passionate hobbyist and BJJ gear/equipment aficionado. He launched BJJ Equipment in 2022 to make it easy for grapplers to find the best BJJ gear so they look, feel, and perform at their best on the mats.