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

13 May 2019

13/05/2019 - Teaching | Side Control | Scarf hold basics and americana with the legs

Teaching #862
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 13/05/2019



One of the classic subpositions of side control is scarf hold, or to use the judo term, kesa gatame. There are two main versions of this, the standard kesa gatame/scarf hold, and broken scarf hold/kuzure kesa gatame. The difference is that for standard scarf hold, you wrap your arm to the far side then around their head, locking it by gripping your own leg. With broken scarf hold, you instead grip under their far arm.

In my opinion, broken scarf hold is considerably better for jiu jitsu, particularly as most people in BJJ are nowhere near as good at holding this position compared to judoka (where it is far more common). Your inside leg stays parallel to their body, outstretched and straight. Your other leg is bent, sole of your foot on the floor. You are also gripping their other arm by the elbow, pulling it up tight.

This elbow control is a key part of scarf hold: without it, a shrimping escape becomes a lot easier. Having said that, there is a school of thought that prefers not to secure the elbow. For example, John Will keeps his bent leg tight and close to his arm, to prevent the other person locking both arms around your back (another common escape).



Be sure to stay high up, towards their shoulders. You want to secure those primary control points, in this case the head and shoulders (as the hips are too far). Also keep your head low, to maximise your weight. Finally, you are pushing slightly off your bent leg, to raise your butt a little off the ground. That's because you want to put your weight onto them, rather than into the mat.



From here, my first submission option is an americana with the legs. You need to be able to push their arm down toward your straight leg, making sure the arm is bent. If you can manage that, flick the ankle of your straight leg up over their wrist, forming a square of their arm and your leg. You can then just raise your hips to apply the shoulder lock. For greater security, triangle your legs. Be careful, this can come on quick and generates a lot of pressure on the shoulder.


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Teaching Notes: Emphasise head low, also pulling on the shoulder to drive your hips up. Staying low to the ground, including reverse scarf hold push.

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