3 Must-Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Escapes From Side Control

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Despite being an inferior position to full mount, side control can be a troublesome position to be stuck in.

It becomes all the more difficult when you are positioned underneath a heavier and stronger opponent who has likely already secured head and arm control. Occasionally, you might roll with someone with a strong side control game that enables them to rest in the position while they apply heavy pressure. Or you might be up against someone with excellent knowledge of submissions from side control.

Therefore, it is important to understand the fundamentals of escaping side control.

Today, Evolve Vacation brings you 3 Must-Know Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Escapes From Side Control.

The Elbow Push

The Elbow Push technique, as demonstrated by Marcelo Garcia in the video above, essentially involves breaking the head and arm control of your opponent in order to hip escape.

The first step in escaping from side control using the elbow push method is to properly block their head and face with your arm. By moving your hand and arm between their head and your chest helps to protect your arm while also diminishing the power that they can apply to your upper body.

With the inside hand, you can try to dig it underneath their arm, however, this might not always be possible. If you cannot get your hand underneath their closest arm, push toward their head with your outside arm and force them to posture upward. This movement will allow you to sneak your hand through and connect your hands.

With this hand grip, you can frame against your opponent by connecting your hands and extending your arms outward. Ideally, this should break their head and arm control and allow you to create the required space to escape.

If you can’t break the grip, you should at least be able to get your head out of their head and arm control. By doing so, this gives you an excellent angle to push away at their nearest elbow before hip escaping.

The act of hip escaping can be difficult if you are up against a larger opponent, but you can generate additional force by using the momentum of your legs to help bridge and push away.

Preventing side control pressure

Preventing your opponent from applying significant pressure in the side control position should be your primary aim. Of course, prevention will always be better than needing to rely on escaping from a poor position.

In the video above, Firas Zahabi discusses how to reduce the pressure from your opponent and set up a number of attacks from this position.

Simply, you don’t want your opponent to control your hips. To ensure that they can’t control your hips with ease, you need to focus on disallowing them from controlling your head, because controlling the head is a way to control the body.

Zahabi discusses the importance of creating a buffer between your chest and your opponent to stop them from controlling your head and body. The significance of keeping your elbows tight is fundamental Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but Zahabi shares the extra detail of bringing your elbows up together in front of your chest. Your arms will act as an extra wall of protection and create space between you and your opponent.

Another useful detail that Zahabi shares is resting your inside knee against the body of your opponent. This technique limits their capacity to slide into full mount position by creating a simple barrier between the two positions.

If your opponent is unable to control your head, you should be able to move your hips freely. The appropriate action to escape your hips is to push your hips out and down at a 45-degree angle. This newly created angle will allow you to invert and raise a leg up to apply force to the neck of your opponent.

This simple hip escape and inversion not only defends a bad position but sets up several attacks. If they continue trying to pass your guard, you can attempt an armbar submission on their arm that is outstretched from their body.

Zahabi also shares a useful triangle choke submission which is possible if they remove the arm in danger. By lifting your hips up and forming a triangle, you can apply the choke because they still have one arm inside of your triangled legs.

Alternatively, the simple act of attacking your opponent will force your opponent to reconsider their position and pull away. If they do, you can use this creation of space to either improve your posture or pull guard.

The Jail Break

The Jail Break is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal of side control escapes.

Firstly, it is a relatively under-used technique primarily because it requires a high level of flexibility.  Essentially, rather than escaping, the Jail Break is a move that allows you to transition from being stuck in side control to an offensive or attacking position with two double butterfly hooks.

Again, this side control escape begins with the assumption that your opponent has already secured head and arm control.

The first step of this escape is to pummel your inside arm underneath the body of your opponent with the intention of reaching out to grab your outside foot. By grabbing your outside foot, you can guide your foot into a butterfly position.

The main difficulty with this move is creating enough space between you and your opponent to enable this foot to reach its destination. By framing your inside knee against the hip of your opponent, you can push it upward to create space.

If you have achieved the butterfly hook, the next steps are relatively straightforward. By pushing away at the leg of your opponent, you remove their ability to apply pressure and force them to base. If they don’t base appropriately, you can already look to sweep them. If they do, however, you can then begin swinging your body around just enough to crawl your other leg underneath their body and into a butterfly position and secure double butterfly hooks.

From here, you can use your knowledge of attacks and sweeps from butterfly guard or simply transition to full guard if you are more comfortable in that position.

So, which of these escapes will you be trying next time you roll?


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