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Exit Bottom Side Control with Lachlan Giles

Exit Bottom Side Control with Lachlan Giles


There’s more than one way to skin a cat. A phrase that can be applied to many facets of our BJJ tool box and preferences.

This rings very true when we begin discussing how to escape side control. From the inception of our training, we’re usually shown some form of an escape that has us creating space and recomposing our guard. I still feel for many reasons that this is the most important way to understand escaping side control.

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But as our arsenals grow, and those training alongside us learn more, we need to acquire more knowledge, and more options, so we can escape side control when were presented with different reactions.

It can be incredibly difficult at times to turn in to your partner and make the classic escape from bottom side control work for you. If the top player has good pressure or continues to track you as you try to create that ever important gap of space needed to get started. What about an under hook? Achieving an under hook (in many situations) can quickly turn the tide of an exchange. An under hook causes the top player to have to think quickly about their next decision, as it now may have unfavorable consequences.

Lachlan Giles gave us a look at his version of the guard replacement style side control escape not long ago. The details were great, and I do believe he opened some eyes with his incredible details and instruction. He’s now released a second part to his method of escaping side control, and this one involves the under hook, giving us an alternative to his first technique. Have a look!  

Giles refers to this escape as “the pillow escape”. He begins by showing us why we might need to use it. In this instance, Giles is attempting to recover his bottom leg, and his partner continues trying to run around him to take away his ability to do so. This is a good reference point for the use of this articular variation.

So, what do we need?

For starters, we need an under hook, and we need our head to be free. Giles also makes mention of the “pillow defense” here. He demonstrates, showing us the important positioning of his body. He places his head on his arm, tucks his top arm tight to his body, and also hip escapes just a bit. This creates a configuration of the body that becomes very difficult to penetrate, and flatten. This is definitely an important pillar of the escape. I can see one of the more important concepts here, is keeping his partner from acquiring a cross face, as this will dismantle the structure of the position. Giles recommends practicing this first to get the feel for the position. Give it a try!

This escape has very familiar beginnings, as Giles bring in some of the early details from the last escape to get started. A frame in the hip is secured, followed by the penetration of the knee in to the space between himself and his partner. Next, he enters the top frame and flares his elbow. This is where the similarities end. As mentioned before, Giles must clear his head from the situation in order to get to the pillow position needed to make his exit.

To do this he reaches inside of his opponent’s cross face, and palms his own head. He then flares his elbow removing the cross face and granting him access to the pillow position. While has making room for the pillow defense, Giles must also create some space for this under hook. This happens pretty much at the same time. Once these two structural details are established, Giles has now put in place a very strong network of framing that sets the stage for the coming movements.

He begins to hip escape and walk his legs away to 180 degrees, aligning his body and working to a position where he is flat on his belly. From here he can begin to back up to his knees and decide his next course of action.

When performing this technique, be sure to get all the way to your belly before you attempt to get up on your knees. As Giles explains, trying to get up too soon, before you’ve reached your belly can be quite difficult when pressure is actually being applied. Also, remember to keep your head next to your arm as work to get up. This should keep you from encountering anything in the way of neck attacks, and keep you safely working through the technique to the end.

We have to assume that as we’re completing this technique the top player will be looking to attack our neck, and look for any weak spots that may expose us. But barring anything of that nature, the next problem you may face is your opponent trying to circle to your back. Be ready to sit to one side and throw up an under hook as your opponent circles to attempt to find a route to your back.

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As Giles explains, this escape still puts us in a defensive position, but as he also tells us, he’d rather deal with the front head lock position than bottom side control, and I'd have to agree.

This is an excellent alternative to the side control escape you’re probably more used to. It gives us another route, and keeps the top player guessing. Just be sure to cover all your bases here, as there may be a few spots where openings can occur, and we may expose ourselves to worse scenarios.

This escape pairs incredibly well with the one Giles released recently. Every beginner should know these two escapes, and know them well. Build a strong foundation and set yourself up for success later. Good luck!

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