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Side Control Attacks With Stan Beck
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Side Control Attacks With Stan Beck

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In Jiu Jitsu, transition mastery is one of the most crucial things you could ever focus on.  At the very core of our sport one of the most important capabilities to be successful on the mats is the ability to transition from one position to the next position as flawlessly as possible.  The ability to move from side control to mount and then to knee on belly or back to side control is a crucial component of maintaining your dominate top position and ultimately maintaining control of your opponent and the pace of the match.  

Having a system has proven to be very successful for some of the best grapplers in the world.  The thing about having a standard approach, or system if you will, is that when you train this system over and over again you begin to build muscle memory that enables you to start to react more quickly without the delay of thinking about what to do because your brain already knows what’s next.  In my opinion the system should ideally always end with a submission or series of submission attacks. We do not want to create a situation where the brain’s muscle memory gets us almost to the finish line and then we have to decide what to attack, but rather already have trained our go to submission or better yet, series of submissions we are going to attack.  

Stan Beck and Bernardo Faria have put together a short video clip on Stan’s Side control to mount to armbar sequence that they feel is highly effective. Let’s break down the details step by step and see what you can take away and add to your game to make you even more effective on the mats. 

Before we dive into this too far, who is Stan and what are his credentials? Stan is a head instructor and academy owner of Renzo Gracie Florida.  He is a Jiu Jitsu black belt with over 30 years of martial arts experience training with some of the world’s best most highly ranked mixed martial arts competitors of all time.  Stan has a plethora of accolades from Jiu Jitsu competitions such as NAGA and Grappler’s Quest, as well as a 2 time World Masters Championship. With over 20 years of training directly under Renzo himself, well I think that speaks for itself. 

 

First, let’s start out in side control with our typical under hook and cross face and our hands gable gripped.  A small detail that not a lot of people pick up on is that many times it does matter which hand is on top in your gabble grip.  In this situation we want our cross face hand to be palm up so that we are able to generate more pressure with our shoulder and drive it into the opponent’s face or jaw with more pressure than if we had our grip the other way.   

Dominate from Side Control with Bernardo’s Help!

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What you will notice though is that using both hands to control the opponent is highly effective however it is not very conducive to attacking the opponent.  That being said we need to find a way to control the opponent and maintain our cross face with one arm without sacrificing our ability to control the opponent. In order to achieve this Stan, like most high level grapplers opt for grabbing the opponent’s arm pit with the cross face hand essentially mimicking the gabble grip we previously had, but freeing up one of our hands in the process. 

In order to get this grip as deep as possible, which means to make it as effective as possible, Stan lifts the opponent towards him using his other arm that is under hooking the opponent’s arm.  This will allow Stan to generate a lot of pressure without sacrificing his base and leaning too far over the opponent. 

The next step in this process is to control the legs, but remember we only have one arm left to use to control both of the opponent’s legs.  When we control both legs, we effectively limit the ability of the opponent to move their hips and therefore move much at all. Stan likes to use the same technique regardless of whether it is Gi or No Gi. 

To control the hips by controlling both legs with our one remaining arm Stan is coming behind the opponents top leg and cupping the opponent’s bottom leg.  When Stan straightens his bottom arm it moves the opponent’s top leg and forces the opponent to turn their hips down which even further limits their mobility.  From this position Stan is able to step his left leg all the way to other side over both of his opponent’s legs. 

The next thing Stan is looking to do is to slide his other knee in between his opponent’s legs.  This creates a barrier that prevents the opponent from squaring their hips back up and starting to get away or create space.  From this position (as shown in the image below) it is very important that your hips feel very heavy, without heavy hips in this position there is a risk that your opponent could start to enter into leg attacks.  

Once in this position we work to get double under hooks, this is imperative so that we can keep the arms out of the way as we slide our knees up one at a time into mount.  As Stan goes to mount initially he keeps the double under hooks and sit his hips directly above his opponent’s hip with his feet together (not crossed) behind his opponent’s butt. This allows him to be very heavy in this position and maintain control if the opponent is being wild for a short period of time. 

When you are ready you can now start to move into the S mount position.  To do this we need to move to a high mount position and flare one leg out for stability as we lift the opposite side of the opponent off of the mat so that we are able to get our leg under the opponent’s shoulder blade.  As we enter this position one thing you will notice is that the opponent’s arm that is closest to us is also stuck sticking rather straight up in front of our torso. While we do want to attack this arm, we first want to reduce the risk of the far arm being a problem. 

In order to reduce the risk and frustration of the far arm being a problem we want to grab the arm near the elbow pulling it into our torso with the opponent’s hand on the right side (side closest to the waist) trapped on our shoulder next to our ear.  Once you have secured this grip the final step is to get your leg over and sit for the arm bar. In order to do this Stan leans towards the opponent’s knees making his far leg light and in turn, making it easy to throw this other leg over the opponent’s head.  As the leg comes over the opponent’s head Stan can now sit and start to lean back for the arm bar.  

As you sit, you want to make sure you sit as closely to the opponent’s body as you possibly can.  The closer you sit the more their shoulder will be off the mat which then means the more leverage you will have in finishing the arm bar.  As you start to lean back to finish the arm bar the far arm should slip out of your grip leaving only the near side arm that we wanted to attack in the first place.  The advantage now is that you have likely gone too far for the far side arm to be much of a threat at all. The chances are by the time it slips away you will be very close to achieving the submission.  

In the rare case you are able to get all the way to your back and still have not gotten the submission you need to then drive your hips to the ceiling to create additional pressure on the joints and secure the tap.  It is also important to remember that as you are leaning back the arm should be attached to your torso. We do not want to lay back and then try to pull the arm to us. While you may be great at rowing and very strong in this area, it creates unnecessary effort and unnecessary risk of the opponent slipping away. 

As you can see, there is nothing here that is extremely difficult, it’s more a matter of executing each detail in the appropriate order and with the appropriate attention to detail required.  Lacking attention to detail can and will cause things to go wildly wrong very quickly. The difference in success and failure is often the attention to detail in training and drilling the series. Set yourself up for success by drilling properly and ensuring you are giving each detail the attention it deserves. 

Taking your side control attack game to the next level does not have to be a grueling process that takes months or even years.  With access to all of the best instructors on the planet it is very possible for you to expedite this training and launch your game to the next level quickly if you are willing to dedicate the time and the effort necessary to be a true student of the techniques.  

A great place to start would be with “Side Control Setups and Submissions by Bernardo Faria”.  Bernardo has become world renowned for teaching older guys and or less athletic guys his game because it is based solely on technique and details and does not rely on strength, speed or flexibility. 

Bernardo has always been very well known for his ability to generate bone crushing pressure from this trademarked over / under pass, but what is less widely remembered (likely because it was so painful people didn’t want to remember) is his ability to generate and maintain that same pressure while maintaining, attacking and transitioning from side control.  Imagine the looks on your teammates faces when you start delivering that same soul crushing pressure in your live training… better yet, imagine the faces of your competitors at the next tournament when they are considering tapping to pressure.

When the technique is done properly these other factors are, well… not factors at all.  This video instructional is packed full of details and pro tips from a 5 time world champion that has a passion for teaching and sharing his love for Jiu Jitsu with the world.  


Bernardo Faria is widely regarded as one of the best competitors of ALL-TIME. What's even crazier is that he is an EVEN BETTER TEACHER! Side Control Setups & Submissions By Bernardo Faria will give you the tools to DOMINATE from Side Control.

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