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The Best Way To Escape Side Control With Lachlan Giles

The Best Way To Escape Side Control With Lachlan Giles


Inevitably, at some point in your training career, and likely multiple times throughout your training, you will find positions you love, and positions you hate.  It’s only natural to gravitate towards positions that fit your body type and your style best and steer away from the techniques that make you feel clumsy or ineffective.  The reality is that any move can be a good move for you if you are willing to put in enough time to train it properly, learn the details and drill it relentlessly to perfection.  

For me personally, bottom side control is my most hated position.  I hate getting stuck down there and literally almost every time I get in this position, I feel stuck and it is awful.  Bottom side control can be an incredibly difficult position to get out of, especially if the opponent is good at creating pressure from top side control.  There are grapplers out there that specialize in generating obscene amounts of pressure from top side control and essentially make their opponents wish they were dead rather than grappling them.  Creating pressure from side control is another topic for another day (click here to read more on this topic).  

Let’s take a look at “the best way to escape side control” from Lachlan Giles.  Before diving in to this though, first let’s take a look at Lachlan’s credentials to solidify and understand the level of proficiency Lachlan brings to the table.  Here’s a quick look at some of his biggest and most well known achievements:

1st Place ADCC Asia & Oceania Trials (2015 / 2017 / 2019)

1st Place IBJJF Pan-Pacific Championship (2016** / 2017**)

1st Place IBJJF Pan-Pacific Championship No-Gi (2016** / 2017**)

1st Place UAEJJF Continental Pro (2018)

1st Place Kinektic Invitational 1 (2019)

2nd Place Boa Super 8 1st Edition (2015)

2nd Place Boa Super 8 2nd Edition (2015)

2nd Place UAEJJF Grand Slam Abu Dhabi (2018)

3rd Place ADCC World Championship (2019*)

3rd Place IBJJF World Championship No-Gi (2017)

I think it goes without saying that Lachlan is a machine and any time we have a chance to learn from him, we should jump on it.  Lachlan is often time referred to as a Velachiraptor, a mix between Lachlan and velociraptor because of his great speed and relentlessness. All of that being said, let’s dive in and take a look at this video breakdown of the best way to escape side control. 


Lachlan starts off by telling us that there are 2 main ways to escape side control and they are both fundamental to our Jiu Jitsu game.  He goes on to say that if you spend your time working on big flashy moves that you don’t see in competition very often then you are wasting your time.  He feels that your time should be spent working on the escapes that you see most often in competition as these are the most common areas that you will find yourself in, and you need to be good at escaping from these positions in order to have an opportunity to do any other part of your game.  

Since we are discussing how to escape side control, as you can likely imagine, we are going to start this breakdown in side control.  We are going to assume the opponent is holding us in side control with the under hook as well as the cross face and they are holding us tight preventing us from getting any frames initially.  

The very first step from here is to start to establish our frames.  The frames are what will allow us to push against the opponent, or prevent them from driving into us and allowing us to maintain a certain amount of space between us and them.  When you are defending, space is your friend, when you are attacking however, you typically do not want a lot of space between you and your opponent.  

While there is no particular order to get the frames, Lachlan reviews how he typically gets his frames and how he generally sees others doing it as well.  Just keep in mind if the opponent lifts their head for example, don’t miss the opportunity to get that frame in just because you have not gotten your other frame yet and it’s “first in line”.  

Check Out More From Lachlan Giles!



The first frame Lachlan is looking to get is his forearm in the opponent’s hip.  He notes here that you DO NOT want to use your hand to frame in this situation because doing so will enable the opponent to drop their hips and break your wrist.  While I doubt this is likely to happen by intention, it is very possible it could happen accidently and cause you some pretty serious pain, so lets avoid that.  

To get our first frame in the hip we need to create space since the opponent is so tight to us it is not possible to simply slide our frame into place.  Lachlan likes to simply move his head and shoulders away from the opponent and in doing so he creates enough space for his elbow to lead the way in getting his first frame in place.  Once we get the forearm blade in the opponent’s hips we want to use this frame to push the opponent as far away as possible.

Now that we have the first frame, we are already heading down a much better road, but lets keep working.  A lot of times I think people think that the next frame, and in many cases the only other frame they are looking for is the frame that goes in front of the opponent’s neck.  Lachlan actually prefers to get his knee involved before getting the frame on the opponent’s neck. Much like the elbow and forearm, he is not able to just drive his knee into place without first making space.  In order to make space he does the same thing with his hips that he did with his head and shoulders. He simply hip escapes slightly away from his opponent allowing him the space he needs to get his shin into the opponent’s hip. 

There is a chance that the opponent will be holding you so tight that you will not be able to hip escape because they are blocking your hips and staying tight.  While this may feel defeating and they may be strong in this position, there is a rather easy fix. Lachlan is simply using his left arm to wrap the far side of the opponent’s head and essentially “raising his hand” as if he were trying to put his hand over his head in class, accept on the ground in this case.  This will force the opponent’s head to shift positions moving it along with their spine to be more in alignment with our spine and less perpendicular. The less perpendicular the opponent is to us, the less control they have. Once you get the opponent’s head moved, you will notice they can no longer block your hips.  You are now able to do your hip escape and get your leg frame into the opponent’s hip. 

Both frames should be pushing the opponent away.  Lachlan warns against bringing your knee all the way across the opponent’s body to the opposite hip, essentially like a low knee shield.  He wants us to avoid doing this because it is very easy for the opponent to stuff our knee back down and pass the guard again eliminating the traction we had and forcing us to start over.  Instead the knee should be shallow and we should be envisioning kicking the opponent away using the motion of extending our leg to do so. 

The last frame we are looking to get is the frame in front of the opponent’s neck.  The ultimate goal here is to get our forearm in front of the opponent’s neck gripping on the opponent’s shoulder.  It is important that we cup over the opponent’s shoulder because if we do not we run the risk of not having a strong frame and the opponent simply driving into our frame and smashing it back down to our chest.  Additionally from here we should be flaring our elbow up towards the ceiling. You will know if you have this right or not when the opponent tries to drive into you. This should be nearly impossible for the opponent to break through, but also should make them feel as if they are being choked every time they try to pressure in. 

It is completely possible and very likely that the opponent will be keeping their head tight and making it difficult to say the least for you to get your arm into the correct position or to even find an opening at all to start to dig your arm under their head.  In this situation we simply need to use our leg and arm frames in the hips to push the opponent as far away from us as possible. 

Once they are as far away as possible you will notice that their head becomes lighter since they are no longer able to keep it tight to our chest and maintain the pressure they once had.  This enables us to pummel under the head by taking our hand and leading the way on the far side of the opponent’s face. We are simply going to push the hand in between the opponent’s ear and shoulder driving it all of the way across the opponent’s body until we are able to cup the opposite shoulder.  This is obviously just one way that we can do this. If at any point the opponent were to raise their head up and make space, we simply want to take the shortest path to getting that frame in place. 

Now that we have created all of the space we need and have all of the right frames to keep the opponent away from us we are able to start looking to replace the guard.  It is common from here for people to lead with their knee and bring their bottom knee across the opponent’s body and out the other side of the opponent’s hips leaving their foot on the inside.  The general thought here is that this can be a hook and can be used to move to butterfly guard, however as Lachlan points out, it is in fact not a hook yet, and stands very little chance at becoming a hook because it can be negated by the opponent simply pushing it to the mat rather quickly and easily. 

Instead, rather we want to coil or chamber our bottom leg back to our chest and then extend it towards the opponent’s opposite hip leading with our heel.  Once our heel has cleared the outside of the opponent’s hips we are then able to start wrapping that leg over the opponent’s back and moving to our back while throwing our other leg over their back and locking up our closed guard.  

As you can see, the devil is in the details as the saying goes.  There are almost always just slight differences that cause a technique to work, or cause it to fail, make sure you know what they are, and execute on them perfectly in drilling so that when the time comes, you will execute on them perfectly in competition.  

There are so many reasons you want to learn from an ADCC Veteran like Lachlan Giles, but rather than list them all here, I am going to assume that many of them are very evident after the breakdown we just explored.  A technique that is so simple, and taught many place since day one, was just shown in such great detail with so many additional “nuggets” of information that it is mind blowing. This was all in just a short video clip, imagine what you could learn from Lachlan in a few hours!  

 The Half Guard Anthology by Lachlan Giles

Check out “The Half Guard Anthology” by Lachlan Giles for an incredible break down of Lachlan’s half guard.  Be prepared for it to change your game, and maybe even your life.  He reviews in detail how to use your opponent’s weight against them and move anyone, of any size, where you want, when you want.  Don’t miss out on this, get your copy today and start dominating against everyone, not just the guys in your weight class.



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