2 min read

How to Escape Side Control

How to Escape Side Control
Rodrigo Crespo @ Gregor Gracie Jiu Jitsu

Alyssandro was the first to tell me that in Brazil, Side Control is called "100 Kilos", because that's what it feels like when your opponent has you in it. Alyssandro says, "the best way to get out of side control, is not to get in side control." I keep ending up there anyway.  

I've been watching YouTube videos, trying to figure out how escape side control (aka side mount). The first is from John Danaher.

A few of Danaher's points on side control:

  • The single most stable position for pinning will always be perpendicular body position.
  • The mount is less stable than a side pin.
  • It's not your bodyweight that pins someone in side control – it's a set of wedges around your opponent's body.
  • Your goal when pinned is to get inside your opponents wedges.
  • Step 1 to escape a side pin – reduce your vulnerabilities: head and neck attacks, and getting mounted.
  • Put knee in the pocket of his hip. Opponent can't mount.
  • Get inside position. Start with your nearside elbow. Usually pretty easy. If you can't get it in, turn "the wrong side" to create space to slide it in. (Then turn back.)
  • Now join your knee and elbow together.
  • Won't be able to bring your knee along the floor – blocked by his leg.
  • Bring your knee to his hip.
  • For every inch you move outwards, you can bring your knee in an inch. He can't follow, because elbow.
  • Once you've connected knee and elbow - got a great frame.
  • Join feet together. Push with strength of both legs against body. Create lots of space.
  • Opponent will probably try to grab your head, so get your head inside.
  • Cup your arm on his bicep to block the head grab.
  • Get your back off the floor.
  • Ultimately, this exercise is about getting from perpendicular to parallel.

My experience from first rolling session trying this: the elbow's easy to get. The knee takes some effort. But once you connect your elbow and knee, it's pretty easy to push your opponent away, get parallel, and retain closed guard.

For a different perspective, here's Marcelo Garcia on escaping side control, with Uke Matheus Diniz - ADCC 2019 champ. Marcelo's technique requires more athleticism.

  • Arm is close to leg
  • Windshield outside arm in front of his face. Be careful with your arm in the transition.
  • Connect your hands. Get a bit of a frame to push him away.
  • At the same time, lift with your legs. Get the underhook.
  • Bridge, roll, escape out the back. Go as low on their body as possible.
  • Grab a single leg. Get on knees as soon as possible.
  • Can come up from here with the leg.