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Link Your Side Control Escapes for More Success with Lachlan Giles
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Link Your Side Control Escapes for More Success with Lachlan Giles

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When we’re looking to escape side control and improve our position, it's not always such a one-dimensional effort...

When we first begin learning to escape side control, we’re often taught to turn back in to our partner, begin escaping our hips, and recompose our guard. This is an incredibly important fundamental technique in BJJ, and it must be learned, as it contains some of the most important principles and concepts in our learning process.

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As we ascend through the ranks, and as our training partners do as well, we’ll need to understand how to connect different movement together to be more successful. That tried and true method of escaping side control will become increasingly harder to implement on others who are just as well versed in the technique as you are. If it’s the most common escape in BJJ, you can bet that others are most prepared for this escape, and have plans in place to stop it.

Linking our techniques together is an invaluable skill. Whether we’re dealing with submissions, transitions, or escapes, the ability to call up a backup technique is incredibly important and can be a real lifesaver. The more of these techniques you can link together, the better.

When it comes to side control, you may attempt several forms of escape before one finally sticks. If you’re dealing with someone that's incredibly skilled, you may have to go through the same chain several times before you finally make an exit. This can be exhausting, but we must do what needs to be done to improve our position.

It makes sense to drill these escapes in combination. This allows us to train our brains to immediately work through a series of escapes based on our partners reactions. This can be incredibly helpful when things are moving quickly, during a scramble, and just in general.

Check out this video from Lachlan Giles. Here, he links 4 different side control escape variations together in a sequence. The techniques here are highly effective, and when strung together, will make it very difficult for the top player to keep you pinned down.

Giles begins in a very common position. His partner has sat through to prevent Giles from recomposing his guard. In this scenario his partner has not achieved a cross face yet. This gives Giles the opportunity to focus on keeping his partners top arm at bay. He does this by securing it with his hands above, but near the elbow. He fully locks his arms, preventing his partner from getting too close. Keeping his arm straight, Giles then pushes in to his partner and gets up on his elbow, creating a strong framing structure. He then gets to his knees, shoots his bottom leg back in under his partner, and reestablishes his guard. Be sure to keep your top leg high and get up to your knees, as this will block the path to the mount and save your escape from being undone.

In the second variation, Giles partner gives a common reaction to the first escape. He decides as he feels the first technique begin to gain traction that hell switch his base. As he does this, Giles tracks his partner’s head side arm to the other side of his body. To do this, he changes his grip to a palm up variation near the elbow, creates the highest arcing motion he can, and gets up on his elbow as he makes his transition to the other side.

From this position it's nearly impossible for Giles’s partner to recover. Giles then simply removes his hips from underneath his partner to complete the escape. Keep moving and use your momentum. If you hesitate here, this one will fall apart!

This third variation is your more traditional style of escaping bottom side control. Applying a strong frame using the levering action of his elbow, Giles keeps his partner from putting too much pressure on him. He uses his bottom hand to frame the hip and begins to create space. As he enters his bottom knee, he escapes his hips even more, creating some room for his top knee to enter the picture and places it at this partner's shoulder. Giles has now created a very strong structure underneath his partner, from which he can now recompose his guard. When bringing that bottom leg across to complete the escape, be sure to lead with your foot, not your knee. This will save you from dealing with loads of trouble while trying to reestablish your guard.

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The final escape in the sequence finds Giles’s partner circling to run away from Giles’s hips. This will stave off the guard retention, but it will not keep Giles from escaping. As Giles sets up for the previous escape, his partner begins to transition toward Giles’s head. As he does this, Giles will pommel for an under hook, roll to his belly, and then retreat up to his knees. The options from here are many, but the main goal of exiting the side control has been achieved.

The first two escapes in this series could be categorized as more preemptive efforts to escape an impending side control exchange. Think about it as if someone was in the process of passing the guard, and you were able to keep the passer from progressing too far in to a favorable position. The second two escapes are from a standpoint where we failed to be proactive and have already been pinned. You can see how all of these movements chain together to form the ultimate method of escape.

Practicing your escapes this way will yield incredible results. If we have contingency plans for different forms of control, it will be a challenge for any of your training partners to keep you pinned down. Consider drilling your escapes this way and see if it brings you more success!

Get Lachlan Giles' DVD "The Guard Passing Anthology: Half Guard", and get to passing, taking the back, and mounting with ease from the top half guard! BJJ Fanatics has it! Check it out here!

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