The Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge: Start Every Roll in Bottom Side Control


If you tried out last week’s “don’t close the guard” challenge, how did you like it?  Did you learn anything new about your game?  Did you find any weaknesses or strengths that you weren’t already aware of?

For this week’s “The Jiu Jitsu Times Weekly Challenge” I took one of my absolute favorite training tools: for one week start every roll in bottom side control, regardless of your training partner’s size.

Very often when rolling, people spend more time jockeying for position than they should mainly for fear of losing.  That’s right, people think of tapping in the gym as losing.  If you think that way, change your way of thinking.  When you’re in the gym you should be trying to find ways to lose, and then once you’ve found areas of weakness, focus entirely on closing those gaps.  Being stuck in bottom side control is very often a major weakness of jiujiteiros everywhere.

Let your training partners know what you’re doing so they don’t think you’re being a wise guy, and simply have them secure side control however they want, and roll from right there.  Once the position changes, continue rolling like normal, and when you restart within that same round go ahead and resume your normal activities.

Doing this will test your guard recovery, your mental toughness and your ability to build frames.  I’ve rolled with people with upper belts whose ability to mitigate side control wasn’t great and I think that we as a community are better than that.  Put yourself in those bad spots so that you can learn to get out!

You’ll find that big guys are going to be very good at smashing from there, and that’s going to be a tough pill to swallow.  That 250 pound white belt that you’ve been running circles around is all of a sudden going to seem a lot more intimidating, experience it all.

Also, roll with the mentality that you are now down on points in a match as when someone passes your guard to side control they score points.  With that mentality, place more importance on recovery and submission or a sweep.  Stalling after scoring is part of the game.

So try this out.  Enjoy getting crushed, get used to getting crushed, get to the point where people fear putting you in side control because of how easily you handle it and transition to advantageous positions or even submission entries (it can be done from bottom side control if the other person is being lazy.)  Let us know in the comments section how this is working out for you and what you’re learning, and we’ll be back next week with another challenge!

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Emil Fischer is an active purple belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training at Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Training Center near Cleveland Ohio ( For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at and Emil is sponsored by Meerkatsu (, discount code EmilKatsu) Pony Club Grappling Gear (, The Original Amy Joy Donuts ( mention Emil Fischer when visiting), Valor Fightwear ( discount code COOKIES), Cleveland Cryo ( discount code EmilCryo,) Code Chiro, CannaBody ( discount code EmilCanna) Impact Mouthguards ( discount code EMILIMPACT), North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear, Hydrus ( discount code COOKIES) as well as a brand ambassador for Ludwig Van ( discount code FAMILY).

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