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

20 May 2015

20/05/2015 - Teaching | Side Control | Maintaining (Hip to Hip & Scarf Hold)

Teaching #326
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 20/05/2015

Today, I wanted to emphasise mobility in side control as well as focused pressure, again drawing on John Palmer's excellent 'control point theory' that I talked about yesterday. Although it can be tempting to just seize up in side control, you have to keep moving. Otherwise, you aren't reacting to your opponent and they're eventually going to escape. The old "it's better to bend than to break" cliche comes to mind.

That transitional, mobile element to side control can be seen in Saulo's hip-to-hip side control, which he shows on Jiu Jitsu Revolution. He keeps his hip stuck right by theirs throughout. The only time he lets off the pressure is if he gets something better, like strong control on the far arm. As they move, turn and put your other hip to theirs, following them around with your legs sprawled back. Your elbow is across, blocking their other hip: however, be careful of pinching that in too forcefully, as that may help them initiate an escape where they roll you over the top.

Your weight should constantly be on them, because of that sprawl: don't touch the floor with your legs or knees. You can also reverse, which Saulo's brother Xande discusses in detail on his DVD set. Turn your hips in the other direction, so that you're now facing their legs. Control their far arm, also making sure to block their near hip to prevent their movement in that direction. As you turn, it's worth blocking their legs with your arms, as well as clamping your head to their hip.

Scarf hold is useful to switch to if they start shoving into your neck and bridge. Turn your body, resting your torso on them, leaning into them for extra weight. You can have your knee up (to provide a counter if they start forcefully bridging into you), but be careful they can't hook that with their leg. You can also sprawl your legs out, one crossed over the other. Keep your head low for additional control.

The position is also handy for when you want to kill the near arm. Scoop up their elbow with your near hip, digging it underneath as you switch to scarf, pull up the arm, then return to side control. Bring your knees in tight and suck your partner in with your arms to remove any space for their arm. From there, you can turn your hips towards their legs and shift backwards, keeping your hip tight to the floor the whole time. AFter that, there is the option of going for mount or you could start setting up submissions. It will be harder for them to see what you're doing as your body is obscuring their view.

Many instructors would say that it is very important you pull up on their arm and keep good control of that elbow in scarf hold. If they can get their elbow back and dig it under your hip, they can start to make space and escape. However, John Will disagrees. He feels that this position wasn't as common as it used to be, because people often have a bad experience. They go into scarf hold, pulling their opponent’s arm up...then the opponent links arms behind their back and rolls them over. The move can often be discarded by beginners as a result of that bad experience.

For Will, the key detail is that linking arm. Instead of pulling it up and trapping it under your armpit – which exposes you to that linked hands escape – jam your arm next to your raised knee so they can’t get their arm around your back. There are various attacks you can do on the arm if you use the non-Will orthodox scarf hold, or like good judoka, you can simply pin them here. If they try and shrimp away, you can return to side control, and switch between the two. Also, make sure to stay right up into their armpit, rather than going low by their hip.

Finally, this can also combine well with the Saulo position I demonstrate in my side control basic maintenance class. If they are really shoving their forearm into your neck, you can go with that pressure but still keep control, 'connecting the hip' like Saulo advises.

Teaching Notes: I'm not certain linking the two was ideal, though it just about fit into my usual allotted time for demonstration. I think next time I will probably go with north south instead, as that's something I use a lot more anyway. It would also fit better with those flowcharts I've been building recently, which shows just how much I tend to rely on the transition to north-south for submissions from side control.

On a totally unrelated note, I still need a better sound system for the main mats, so I'll try an XL-Mini array. May not work, but worth a go.

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