Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 07/09/2015
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.
Teaching Notes: As the 'no hands' drills I use in this lesson and the open guard maintenance class both always prove popular and get people smiling, I'd like to come up with something similar for all the positions. It could perhaps work in mount, I'm not so sure about mount. In closed guard it would definitely work, as that way the focus would be on breaking their posture with your legs. In half guard, possibly not so relevant and I'm not sure it would work too well from the back (as the seat belt grip is so important). Worth a try though, I'll have a think.
I did some filming of the class for the first time (up on the @artemisbjj Instagram, here. I've embedded a longer YouTube version below as well), as I wanted to capture those drills: the idea is that you're sparring from side control, except that you have your hands either behind your back or tucked into your belt. My plan for the future is to do lots of filming, but I won't feel confident putting up anything instructional until a good while later. Maybe at brown belt, but I'll probably wait until black belt. For now, my intention is to give an idea of what class looks like with the videos, so we'll see if that works out. :)
Next time, the one additional bit I'll emphasise is not putting your elbow on the mat. I mentioned this a few times in drilling and in the review at the end, but worth pointing out a few times. Putting the elbow on the mat takes your weight off them, so I prefer to pinch it into their far hip instead.