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2 High Percentage Side Control Escapes
Getting stuck in someone’s side control is never fun, especially when first starting out in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It may seem an impossible task to escape from underneath a person who is experienced with applying pressure to your body and pinning you to the ground, especially for a smaller guy. Worse than just the pressure and weight that is making every breath extraordinarily difficult, and all that much more exhausting, is defending the submissions your opponent will undoubtedly being working at getting. From side control bottom, you will be offending kimuras and americanas on your free arm. You risk getting neck choked or cranked, and you risk being arm barred or facing the always uncomfortable knee on belly.
Escaping side control is a pain in the ass. One of the best modern jiu jitsu escape artists is Tom DeBlass. Learn his secrets for escaping submissions and bad positions in Jiu Jitsu / no gi grappling.
One of the first things we are taught in BJJ is how to shrimp and how to frame. But what happens when neither is working when stuck in side control bottom? You will need some other methods in your arsenal, especially for more experienced BJJ practitioners and heavier guys. Keep in mind that when it comes to escaping from side control, the simpler the solution the better the escape. An effective escape should be quick and either get you back up on your feet or into guard -- depending on where you want to take the fight. With that all that said here are two high percentage side control escapes even a beginner can nail.
#1: Bridge Escape To Underhook
Check out the video below of Kurt Osiander’s preferred method for escaping side control.
This is a simple yet awesome technique for every Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student to have in the back of their mind when stuck in side control bottom. Of course, your best is not to give your opponent the cross face or the under hook--as Osiander says, “you f**ked up a long time ago! At this point, you are going to have to work really hard!” But if that is already the case you want to get your arm up under your opponent’s chin and control his elbow, making it really uncomfortable for him to continue pressuring down on you. There is a really important tip Kurt mentions briefly and that is to get your feet up close to your butt before you start bridging to create space. It will be a lot harder to bridge an opponent without doing this, especially if he’s a heavier guy. Notice his hand connects to his head as he scoots away further, getting to his knees and pushing through his opponent to end in side control on the other guy. Impressive stuff! Just remember, your opponent is going to be attacking your free arm to go for a submission. Do not just give him your arm. Keep everything tucked in and tight. Defend your neck if you have to and make it as uncomfortable for him as possible.
#2: Jail Break Escape
Here is the Jail Break from the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system (how to get butterfly guard from side control). Check out the video below and then we will break it down.
Now this is a very unique and simple escape to butterfly guard that not many Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners will be experienced with defending. Notice how much leg and hip power is involved in this escape. This makes it very difficult for an attacking opponent to stay tight and work at a submission. You may also have noticed that the jail break escape requires a certain degree of flexibility to get your knee up into his thighs, as well as grabbing onto your toes and getting that foot up in the hip. As long as you do not give him your arm, you have sometime to work this. If you do not feel flexible enough to do it flat off your back then first turn your hips in towards your opponent. This will give you more space to work with and will also get some of your opponent’s pressure off your hips.
It is inevitable that you will spend a fair amount of time stuck in bad positions in jiu jitsu -- being stuck in someone’s side control is no exception. With your back flat on the ground you are vulnerable to a myriad of attacks and further uncomfortable positions. It is highly likely you will get stuck in side control in one of your next rolls. So keep these escapes in mind and do not be afraid to play around, even if you do not nail it on your first try. Remember, practice makes perfect!