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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

29 March 2012

29/03/2012 - Teaching (Escaping Side Control)

Teaching #047
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 29/03/2012

The first BJJ class I taught, which was only back in last May, was on side control escapes. Tonight I'll be returning to that material, so it will be similar lesson. To begin the basic side control escape where you shrimp to guard, I started by focusing on your hand and arm positioning. First thing to note is that they will want to kill your near arm. This is bad for you, because it means you can't stop them shifting up towards your head. From there, they can make as much space as they want and pass to mount.

So, you need to get your arm inside, the forearm pressing against their hip. That will help block their movement, and initiate your attempts to create some space. It should also help you block them moving to north south, as if you clamp it by their side, they'll move you with them as they try to switch position.

That arm is also the first part of your frame, so once you have that first arm through, you're going to add your other arm: this defends against the cross-face, which I didn't do enough. There are many other options for hand positioning, but I wanted to stick with the basics to avoid overwhelming people.

Anyway, to get that grip: grab the gi material by their shoulder, close to their neck, then pull down. Twist that arm up into their neck, keeping the elbow in: you need to be tight here, as otherwise they will go for a figure four on that arm. Once you've got the forearm into their neck, they can't press down into you, as they'll essentially be choking themselves.

Next I moved on to the legs. Your legs have two main purposes here: first, blocking your opponent getting to mount. Raise your near knee and drive it into their side. The idea is to wedge them between your knee and the arm you have by their hip. Personally, I like to keep my knee floating, glued to their side. This is where the one leg bridging from earlier comes in.

That makes it easier to slip my knee under as soon as they give me any space, which is something I learned from Roger. Many people prefer to cross their foot over their knee, which is something I used to do in the past as well. However, as this long Sherdog thread discusses, that can leave you open to a footlock, and also limit your mobility. Then again, you can see it used at the highest levels, like here at the Mundials.

The second use for your legs is bridging. Marcelo Garcia has a handy tip for this (although the escape he is doing there is slightly different), related to increasing the power of your bridge. To do that, bring your foot right to your bum, up on your toes. That increases your range of motion, so you can really drive up into them.

Make sure you turn into them as you bridge, rather than just straight up. This will help the next part, which is to shrimp out as you come back down. That's why you've created space in the first place: if you simply plopped back down, then you've wasted the opportunity. As soon as you shrimp out, slip the knee pressing into their side underneath. I could have added another thing here, noting that you aren't trying to lift them with your arms. Instead, you want to push off them, moving your body rather than theirs.

Once your knee is through, you need to be careful they don't immediately pass by pushing down and moving around that knee, ruining all your hard work. To prevent that, keep your hand by their shoulder. Straighten it, then add further support by bracing your other hand into their bicep (same side as the blocked shoulder). Your new frame should create a barrier to their pass, giving you enough time to recover your guard, or even move into a submission.

Alternatively, you can control their arm with your hip-bracing arm as you escape, like Roy Dean demonstrates in Blue Belt Requirements. That will also stop them pushing down on your knee, as their arm is trapped. It is worth trying both and seeing which you prefer, or which one the situation demands.

The second side control escape was the other basic one, where you go to your knees. It begins in much the same way, again establishing that frame with your arms, knee into the side and bridging. As an instructor, that meant I could review what we'd just done once again, which is useful: whenever possible, I also want to closely link whatever techniques I'm teaching.

After you bridge and shrimp this time, you're going to do something different with the arm you have into their neck. Rotate it under their armpit, then reach for their legs, bringing your leg and head up on one side. Grip the gi by their legs, then drive towards them while pulling their legs in the other direction. That should enable you to move through into side control.

Roy Dean has a modification on that, as he moves around to the side, puts his hand by the far knee, then drives forward to take them down. Caio Terra's version is a little different, as he grabs the near leg with both arms, then yanks it out so he can grab the foot. Pulling that up and driving forward, he drives them to the floor, then adjusts his grip to encircle both legs. Continuing to drive, he can then settle into side control.

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