Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 15/04/2015
As a general rule, if you're underneath, you don't want to be flat on your back. So, start your elbow escape by turning to your side, getting a shoulder off the floor (be careful of turning too far, or they will find it easier to slip to technical mount). Saulo notes that you should be doing this as early as possible: if they are working to mount from side control, set up your escape during the transition, rather than waiting for them to secure their mount. Work an elbow inside their knee and set up your frame, in order to push into the leg.
There are several ways of framing for that push. I personally like to keep defending my neck throughout, using my elbows to dig into their leg. That keeps my neck safe, but it does limit your range and reduce leverage: you'll need to curl in towards their leg to generate enough push. The other main option is to extend your arms further towards their hip, leaving your neck vulnerable but considerably beefing up your leverage. That frame is also handy for stopping them moving up higher in mount.
Xande teaches that frame on BJJ Library too, addressing my concern by showing how once you have the frame and you're on your side, any move they make should give you an opening to quickly upa and shove the leg back. That frame also means you can choose whether to push with your elbow, as in my preferred version, or switch to the additional leverage of your hand. Either way, once you have shoved that leg up and over, immediately base on your outside foot to turn your knee inwards and get on your side. Underhook their armpit and bump, as you would in a basic half guard.
When I went to the seminar with the Dutch black belt under Rickson, Michel Verhoeven, he began by reaching across to their opposite hip with his hand, keeping his arm slightly bent. He then pushed on the hip: if they were higher up, he would form a frame with his arms and push. Put one arm across their hip (the hand is by one hip, the elbow by their other hip). For extra leverage, brace that first arm with your other hand, against your wrist. Stephan Kesting recommends keeping the hand of the hip-arm in a fist, to lock in the grip (so your second hand doesn't slide off as easily).
Whichever option you use, the idea is to make enough space from the combination of your shrimp and bridge to pull your leg through. If you're going with the Rener version, you can use that little bump to help pull your leg either through or under their leg. As with side control escapes, don't just bridge and plop back down, it needs to combine with your shrimp. The leg you're trying to pull free should be flat: if it isn't, they will be able to trap it with their leg. Having that leg flat also makes it easier to pull out. You other foot will be on the floor with the knee raised, in order to provide the push for your shrimp.
After you're on your side, bump slightly, then you can also pry their leg open with your elbow. Aim to pop your knee through between their legs initially. If you can pull the whole leg out in one, great, but don't be greedy if you're having to strain. Getting that first knee through will mean you can then brace your leg against their thigh, aiding your second shrimp to free your other leg. Once one of your legs is fully out, you can then use it to wrap around one of theirs and hook under their leg with your instep, or put your free leg around their back (be sure to clamp down if you do that).
You now have the option of moving to half guard (especially if you've wrapped their leg, you're basically there already), open guard (e.g., butterfly) or continue working for full guard. As with escapes under side control, keep shrimping until you have the room to pull your leg free. Even if you can't wrap their leg, you can jam your outside leg tight to theirs, then use that for your base to shrimp.
Teaching Notes: I think this is a useful escape, but it may not be worth showing this when there's the heel drag there too. I showed the heel drag as well, as a few people were having trouble with the elbow escape: the general consensus was that the heel drag made a lot more sense. Is it worth teaching both? Perhaps for the women's class I'll stick with the heel drag in future.