With the take downs a thing what I like to do is look at the ceiling. I bet that will reduce the times getting caught. When you are caught and your opposite arm is free bring it around the back of his neck.
Try to hold on and pass his guard. Most beginners will hold on to it even after it isn't doing anything in half guard. They will hold it and tire themselves out. Be patient!!!! Next time you get caught get a coach to come over and talk you through it.
One thing here, make sure you pass his guard to the opposite side of your head. If you pass towards your head, if the guy has any bottom game at all he'll be glad you did, and lock you up worse. I personally leave my guard open if I get full guard in a guillotine , it's too easy for the guy on top to stack and take pressure off, I want guys to pass.
Also on the escape, depending on your gym's feeling towards it, when you get locked up in full guard. Don't grab the head. If a guy is just rolling at the gym, he might let go, if you ever compete it won't help. You need to cross face him into dust, then pass. It will weaken the grip also and make it much easier to pass.
Good tip with the ceiling, will try that out today, thanks !
And when he says look at the ceiling, he means look at the ceiling, I see a lot of guys shoot doubles with their head up, but you need to really look up, I can't stress it enough, no matter how high up your head is, it's probably still not high enough.
There was something else I wanted to add, but I've forgotten it, I'll add to this if it comes to me at some point.