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Fine-Tuning the Basics: Side Control Escape Fundamentals with Thomas Lisboa

Fine-Tuning the Basics: Side Control Escape Fundamentals with Thomas Lisboa



We've all had that conversation.  After class, we go out for a beer (or two, or maybe four) with our teammates.  Provided that the group doesn't drink enough to start demonstrating moves on the barroom floor, the discussion will always meander back to the question of which position is the worst.

A few people may say the worst is when someone takes their back.  But most are going to say that being stuck inside control is the absolute worst.

These are the folks for whom Thomas Lisboa has created this primer on escaping side control.  

Success in escaping side control boils down to the basics, and that's what Lisboa covers.  Check it out!


As his training partner establishes side control, Lisboa's first focus is his arm placement.  He wants to frame against his partner, with one arm tucked under his teammate's belly and that hand against his hip.  The other arm should frame against his teammate's neck, with Lisboa's forearm against the carotid. (We're not going for a choke, but there's no reason we should allow our opponents to be comfortable).

Lisboa asks us to think of our opponents as walls.  We can't break the wall; we have to go around the wall.  And, to do that, Lisboa suggests we combine our moves rather than simply trying one, pausing in frustration, and then trying another.

Lisboa begins by bridging upward.  But he doesn't simply move himself up and then allow his body to fall back down.  He pushes upward and then moves away from his training partner as his body falls back down (1:33).

Take your Closed Guard BEYOND The Basics! Click Learn More!


Too often, we make a grand effort to push our opponents straight upward, pause, and then try to hip out from under them.  The problem with this approach is that our hip escape is usually too late because we are already back on the ground with our opponent's weight again holding us in place.

As Lisboa's hips move away from his teammate, his legs don't travel as far.  This makes sense because Lisboa's aim is to gain or re-gain his guard.  So, Lisboa moves his hips out of the way and slips his legs into the empty space under his opponent.  

From that point, it's a simple matter of working his legs out on either side of his training partner and re-gaining his guard.

After covering the basics, Lisboa goes into various scenarios that also might occur as you attempt to escape side control.

For instance, if our opponent creeps forward as we create space, Lisboa suggests throwing our legs in the way as quickly as possible (usually with the first leg between you bent at the knee to form a barrier) to prevent them from simply crawling back into side control.

Another tactic to prevent an opponent from following is to slip the arm that was framing against the neck around your teammate as an underhook (2:54) as you hide your head below your opponent.  

This underhook allows Lisboa to either work around to his knees where he can attack his opponent's legs and sweep him or slide around his opponent and take his back.  At the very least, this underhook allows Lisboa to raise his opponent enough to work his legs between himself and his opponent to regain a guard position.

Lisboa's fundamentals may not make escaping side control an easy task, but--if executed well--they will definitely make escape possible.


Closed Guard Beyond The Basics by Thomas Lisboa

Closed Guard Beyond The Basics By Thomas Lisboa will give you the tools to have an AGGRESSIVE and EFFECTIVE Closed Guard. Lisboa’s newest instructional is an all encompassing breakdown of the Closed Guard. Get an in-depth look at all of the Sweeps, Submissions, and Transitions that go BEYOND THE BASICS!



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