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The BEST Side Control Escapes Basics & Tips

The BEST Side Control Escapes Basics & Tips



Let's face it, being in stuck in bottom side control is one of the most frustrating positions to be caught in BJJ. God forbid if you have a stronger heavier opponent dominating from top side control and you've got no way out.

Many beginners make the same basic mistakes when trying to escape side control in BJJ. Being caught in a good BJJ practitioner's bottom side control, can be one of the most disheartening places to be stuck in the entire world of jiu jitsu.  Even the lightest practioner can feel like a an SUV is sitting on your chest, if they apply some key principles.  Getting unstuck from side control should be one of the first priorities on your To Do List.

Bernardo Faria is one of the greatest BJJ athletes that has ever existed. He's so confident is escaping bad positions like the side control, that he's released a whole DVD series on how to escape side control and other bad positions (mount, knee on belly, back control & submissions).


It will be important to address the opponent's cross face and head control.  Next you will need to make sure their shoulder pressure isn't driving your face the wrong direction.  And finally, what should you do if they begin to isolate your limbs and attacking your neck and arms.

For more on the importance of making the training of positional escapes a big part of your training regime, check out our previous article at BJJ Fanatics here!

In the video below, Bernardo Faria spotlights some key side control escape points from Baltimore City Gracie Jiu Jitsu instructor Nick Tissue.  Take a look at the video and we'll review some key points below.


Fight the shoulder pressure and crossface

One of the primary and most important things that someone can do to control you from top side control, is to cross face your head and drive their nearside shouder into your face and chin, pointing you away from them and making them absorb much of their weight.  Though it sounds easier said that done, Nick Tissue gives some very practical techniques to help nullify this.  First and foremost, he turns his head towards the cross face and angles his head sideways and down.  This not only makes it almost impossible to cross face him, as Bernardo points out, but also helps keep him poised to hip escape if there is even the slightest moment when the escape can be launched.

In addition to proper head placement, the use of both arms to frame and to pull away or delay the arm pressure is crucial.  Opponents who are used to smashing will be dumbfounded by how easily you are nullifying their pressure.  They will be left with no choice but to adjust and go for a far side arm attack.

When they adjust to attack the arm, let them

And when they do give up on the cross face and begin putting their sights on your far arm, you must immediately address their ability to isolate it and attack it.  By swimming that far arm in and under their armpit, you begin to signal the beginning of the end of their side control position.  They will find themselves with both arms on the other side of your body, but with no arm to attack.  By using the frame under the armpit and in the hip, you will be able to push them south towards your hips, while you move further away from them.  This will typically allow you to recover guard with a quick hip escape.  And if not, you are at least not having your arms attacked.

Being caught in bottom side control is one of those positions that we must often maintain a defensive posture for some time, to prevent ourselves from running out of energy.  Everything seems to be against us, from gravity to the many points of our body that can seemingly be controlled and smashed.  By counteracting some of these previously unstoppable forces, we can survive longer and have more energy in the gas tank for when the opportunity to explode presents itself.

Want to learn more escapes from all of the bad positions you can find yourself stuck in?  Check out world champion Bernardo Faria's "Escapes from Everywhere" 4 volume instructional series available here in digital On Demand format.  Never get stuck in bottom mount again.  Your opponent's won't be able to choke you from the back if they're unable to control you from that position.

Bernardo is a 5 time Black Belt World Champion - think about that for a second.. He’s won five.. - America has only ever won two. So it is safe to say that his escapes from side control (and all positions) are very solid. He knows how to escape everything in BJJ and pretty much always does.




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