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Stay Safe and Escape Bottom Side Control with Eli Knight
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Stay Safe and Escape Bottom Side Control with Eli Knight

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We all know that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has its deepest roots in self-defense.

BJJ emerged as a practical way to defend yourself based on the common reactions of the average person in an altercation. You can dig up a great deal of material on the internet showcasing BJJ in its early days, proving its worth against other martial arts in some very intense settings with limited rules. These videos are fun to watch, but they also are an important part of BJJ history. They help us gain perspective on how BJJ began its rise to the top as the most effective self-defense art on the planet.

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BJJ is still at the top of the heap as far as self-defense arts go and it has become even more effective over the last several years due to modifications and the continued testing of its techniques. The art has evolved quite heavily in to a very exciting sport as well. The age-old debate of sport vs. street has become more prevalent than ever in some circles and continues to resurface every so often.

I don’t want to debate the argument, but I certainly feel that the elements of self-defense jiu-jitsu was founded on should still be present in our training, and in our academies. That being said, I also feel that whatever interests you the most about jiu-jitsu, you should be free to pursue. Whether that is strictly self-defense or competition focused training. Simply not doing BJJ isn’t a better alternative.

BJJ has become such a monster, and its growth has been astronomical. This is a good thing, and we should all celebrate the success of the art we love so much by continuing to further it, support it, and keep its traditions alive.

How often do you consider strikes in your training? Always, sometimes, never? Training with strikes changes the dynamic of your jiu-jitsu, and it tends to force us to revert to simple effective ideas. Closing distance, working to dominant positions, etc. If your jiu-jitsu tends to be of a lazy nature, a few slaps in the head may cause you to move much differently. Adding strikes in to your training can also be a fun way to switch things up once in awhile, and sure up your “real life scenario” skillset.

Eli Knight has some ideas for you on the subject. This video deals specifically with side control. Here you’ll see how the consideration of strikes affects the choices of the bottom player when trying to escape the position. Enjoy!

Beginning in bottom side control Knight first touches on the importance of not allowing what you may know as the cross-face arm to get to close. Obviously if our partner can obtain a cross face, he could also strike. Knight employs heavy frames across the shoulder line and at the bicep to keep his partners upper body at a distance. In this particular situation Knight’s partner is positioned in more of a kesa gatame style form of side control and is looking to turn towards Knight to close the distance and begin attacking.

As Knight fights to keep that cross-face arm away, his partner retracts it to try and free it from the frame. As this occurs, it gives Knight a pocket of opportunity to create a wedge with his top arm and push his partner back, using his own energy against him and causing him to tilt in the other direction. This produces a reversal and a chance to get on top for Knight, which is always a good thing in a real altercation.

As his partner feels the first technique beginning to take shape, he may want to regain his balance by reaching to the other side of Knight’s body. Knight welcomes this reaction and helps his partner make the transition, by again using a wedge to continue moving him to the opposite side for another reversal and the chance to again acquire a dominant top position.

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If Knight isn’t successful in riding the energy to the other side for the reversal and becomes flattened, he sits up and hugs the hips. Again, you can see here how this keep his partner’s hands away from his face and continues to remain safe from strikes. As his partner drives him back down, Knight allows his arm to travel around the front of his partners head and locks a tight gable grip. Knight has now taken away his partners ability to base on the opposite side, and with a solid bridging movement manages to reverse him once again.

For the last option, Knight’s partner resituates his base in order to stop the reversal from the bridge. As he does this, a large pocket of space is opened underneath him, and this allows Knight to easily transition back to the guard.

Knight utilizes his partner’s energy as a catalyst for the entire series, and has an answer for every reaction. Though this is touted as a self-defense sequence, there’s no reason why all of these techniques couldn’t be used in standard roll and still be hugely effective.

No matter the scenario, this is fantastic technique, and I’ve always loved learning in sequence like this. Knight has great teaching style, and a passion for the effective application of jiu-jitsu in all settings!

For more info on defending yourself on the Street, check out Street Fighting Secrets by Chad Lyman! This will transform you Jiu Jitsu into a functional and effective Martial Art for real world fighting! Get it here!

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