RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 07/12/2010
All about side control escapes tonight, which was ideal for me given I've been playing with the running escape. Kev started off with the basic escape to the knees, which I still hardly ever do. Howard gave me a handy tip on shrimping twice to thread the leg through more effectively: I frequently find I end up with crap posture when I try to go to knees, so just get flattened.
Kev's aim for this one wasn't to single leg and move to the top. If you have your head on one side and raise your leg on the other, you can slide your other leg in to replace butterfly guard. If you have your head and leg on the same side, you can make space by driving your elbow backwards against their arm, then kick your other leg through and spin to their back (a wrestler's sit-out).
On top, Kev demonstrated a method of maintaining side control, by switching to the other side when they try to escape. They're attempting to do that same escape, swimming their arm through. As soon as they do that, thread your arm under theirs (known as a whizzer), reaching through with your hand so you can push on the back of their head (no their neck, as that isn't so controlling a grip). Keeping your weight down, follow them round, moving to the other side. Even if they get to their knees, this hold is sufficiently strong that you should still be able to move around to the other side, rolling them onto their back.
Another more difficult option is to go against your instinct, and turn your bum towards them as they try that escape and you establish the whizzer, meaning, you end up sitting on them. From there, you can either bring your leg through past their head and look for the triangle, or possibly set up an armbar, due to the control you have on their arm. I felt vulnerable in terms of balance and it felt like I was leaving a lot of space, but then Kev does this to me all the time, so I guess it's a matter of practice to get the sensitivity and timing.
Sparring was of course specific from side control. As ever, I was giving the running escape a go again, but I am still finding that I end up just settling into the position and then struggling to move anywhere. I was generally not being too proactive under side control, going flat on my back too often.
I'm also still tending to do silly things like look for the armbar or triangle from under there, which is particularly foolish against other blues. I did get to half guard once, but I'm pretty sure Howard could have got back to side control if we'd kept going: I always find it tough to fully establish guard when escaping his side control.
On top, I was trying to drop my weight and go high on the shoulder, to see if I could sneak my way into that step-over triangle position. A couple of times, I noticed that I could slide into mount due to all the space, but that almost feels like cheating when doing specific side control sparring. That's because in the specific setting, if you spend a lot of time working high on their shoulder, they start to forget about the possibility of mount so you can sneak it in. I should be taking the opportunity to practice more control in side control and attacks.
Or at least that's how I felt, which was possibly a bit silly. Probably also affected by the fact I really don't like being in mount (which is definitely silly, as that is supposed to be a major dominant position, not a place to avoid!), as I'm far more comfortable attacking from side control. So on the other hand, good to practice getting to mount as well.
I also had a go at that control Kev showed by threading the arm, although I went too low, holding the neck rather than behind the head. That meant Howard could get to his knees and reverse, because my grip was too weak. Still, I like the concept, so I'm going to try and use it more often in future: just need to make sure I'm going higher, so controlling the head like a muay thai plum clinch, not the neck.