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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

24 June 2016

24/06/2016 - BJJ Globetrotter Camp | Leuven 2016 | Side Control Attacks (Kenny Polmans)

Class #739
BJJ Globetrotter Camp (Sportoase Leuven), Kenny Polmans, Leuven, Belgium, 24/06/2016

For his second class, Kenny focused on my favourite position, side control. As with his session on closed guard, he started off with the basics, keeping his instruction concise and clear. In order to move round from side control to north south, he suggested blocking the near hip, extending your leg nearest their head, then shifting towards the head.


However, he warned against getting greedy and trying to go straight to the head: that can mean your weight is off and you get rolled. Keep it steady, settling your weight down. Push their near arm out of the way (anybody experienced will make this a struggle, as that gives you a lot of control), shifting your leg forward then shuffling back to dislodge the elbow. You can now move into mount (grabbing your foot is an option here, though I always prefer driving the knee across, ideally into the armpit).

Next, Kenny began to set up the breadcutter choke. If they have their near arm in front of your legs, you can hook it with your arm, as you bring your knees back around into side control. I couldn’t quite see what was happening from the angle I had, but normally you then get underneath that arm with your hand, in order to reach back under for their collar. You can then grip their far collar with your other hand, swivelling your elbow back to lock in the breadcutter.

Just as I was thinking I couldn’t see the detail, Kenny psychically heard me and shifted his angle, meaning I could zoom in with my phone too. That meant I could see how Kenny pushes them up onto their side to secure his grip. He also secures the arm differently than I’ve been shown: rather than sneaking an arm under and staying sprawled, he does a quick motion with his legs to get the arm, knees staying in tight.


When you go for this choke, often they will be blocking. Just as often, you may find their gi lapels are loose. If not, it’s not normally too hard to pull them out yourself, though that does telegraph what you’re about to do. My training partners know how much I like choking people with a lapel, so get very wary once I start pulling out gi tails. ;D

For Kenny’s gi tail choke, grab their far lapel with your hand that’s nearest their legs, maintaining control of their head with your other arm. Punch it out to give yourself maximum gi tail to play with, then slide back and push it through the gap they usually create with their far arm (because that tends to be framing into your neck, head, or perhaps shoulder). You can go over the top too, like the attacks I enjoy from half guard. As Kenny said, they frequently pull their arm out if you do that, opening up the route you wanted in the first place.

From there, you can move into an Ezequiel choke using the lapel, which again connects back to that half guard sequence I’ve taught in the past. Keep it loose enough that you can insert your hand through. A big advantage of side control over the same attack from half guard is you can go to knee on belly, adding much more leverage. Look up, to engage the muscles of your whole body.


That was followed by another gi feed attack. This time, feed the gi collar over the arm, trapping their limb in the bent position. Bring your elbow underneath their elbow, then grab the gi tail with that hand (like the one I’ve taught from top half guard). Keep feeding it until you are gripping that gi tail close to their wrist, to lock their arm in tight. Put your knee on their stomach. Take the arm you have behind their head out, instead gripping their far wrist. Now just pull up their elbow as you push on the wrist for an Americana.

I didn't get a good angle on that last one, so couldn't see what was happening too well (thanks to Chris Paines, when I wrote this up in Madrid a few weeks later, I had access to his video from the other side), which also made me think I wanted more detail on everything. This was all stuff I like to use, so I decided to check with Kenny what he charged for private lessons. They were MUCH cheaper than I expected, meaning I immediately booked one there and there. Keep your eyes peeled for the class write-up, it will be the next post I upload on here. ;)

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