Develop Side Control Dominance with Matheus Gonzaga
by Rob Hileman, January 14, 2020
If you’re a beginner you’ve probably noticed that the side control position offers a certain level of comfortability as far as dominant positions go. The position provides us lots of balance and being perpendicular to our opponent gives us quite a bit of stability, allotting us time to work and think about our next transition or attack. For me, this was the first position I felt that I was getting a handle on and I became attracted to settling in here and transitioning to other forms of side control when trying to finish.
There are some cardinal rules when working from the top side control position. Frames are a serious detriment to progression here and must be dealt with accordingly. Failing to remove frames before trying to advance can put us in all kinds of trouble. Make sure you understand different ways of removing frames from your path before you start to attack.
One of the other big issues is the under hook. We find that almost always, both parties would love to achieve the under hook. When you’re in top side control, if you allow the bottom player to achieve an under hook, you can be seconds away from losing the position if you don’t recognize the danger and make an adjustment. There are lots of ways to deal with the under hook and if this concept is on your radar the under hook from the bottom can lead you to even better position and lend itself to a myriad of attacks.
Matheus Gonzaga has enjoyed an incredibly successful competitive career thus far, rising through the lower ranks and transitioning to black belt, adding plenty of accolades to his list of accomplishments along the way. Now stationed at Atos, Gonzaga is under the tutelage of the great Andre Galvao and continuing his competitive endeavors at the elite levels of competition.
Gonzaga has an incredibly devastating side control. Not only are his attacks on point but his positional game and his approach to top side is intelligent and effective. Gonzaga has recently released a blueprint for his side control game with BJJ Fanatics entitled, Side Control Masterclass. In this new series, Gonzaga outlines his plans from top side control, giving us insight into securing, maintaining, and attacking from this dynamic position. If you’re a side control fan or just looking to learn a little more about the position, this one is definitely for you. Gonzaga will help you tighten your game up so that you can become more effective and dangerous from top side control.
Let’s take a look at a sample from the series. Here, Gonzaga talks a bit about the under hook and how to deal with it. This counter will allow you to keep attacking from side control and also provide a pathway to the back if you wish! Check this out!
In this particular situation, Gonzaga’s partner has done a good job hiding his arm by keeping It tight to his body. This is common and something we’ll experience at some point. As his partner shoots the under hook, Gonzaga must react. Left unchecked for too long, the under hook will help the bottom player gain favorable position as you can see here in the example that Gonzaga demonstrates.
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As the under hook takes shape, notice how Gonzaga gets heavy on it, retreating his body a bit and cupping the elbow. This takes some steam out of the under hook and keeps his partner from advancing. Gonzaga then transitions his free arm to the other side of the body and also steps over the head, planting his foot on the mat behind his partner.
Before his partner can make the trip up to his knees, Gonzaga begins his transition to the backside. He starts by allowing the knee behind his partner to drop to the mat as his opposite leg begins to take the long step. Gonzaga then drops his elbow down to the front side of his partner, stopping anymore movement in the direction that would allow his partner to travel to his knees.
Gonzaga offers us two options here. The first being the ability to just simply settle in to a traditional side control on the opposite side, where he begins to open his partner up and the second being the back take. Each one is great and, in most cases, this will greatly depend on how your opponent reacts to the transition. Gonzaga also demonstrates an excellent method of control here that stops his partner from turning away. As the transition occurs, he controls the bottom elbow and bottom lapel as well. This stops his partner dead in his tracks making any further movement nearly impossible without the bottom player nearly choking himself.
There’s definitely an element of timing that must be observed here. In order for this transition to serve you, you must stay ahead of your opponent’s movements. You could turn this movement into a great drill as well, working in a back and for the motion from side to side. This will help you understand the timing that is necessary to execute the movement and help you make sure that you’re staying one step ahead!
Side Control Masterclass By Matheus Gonzaga is an 8-Part dedicated to mastering side control. Pass the guard and dominate from the side with constant pressure and attacks from Matheus Gonzaga!