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Total Domination and a Vicious Attack from Side Control with Eliot Marshall

Total Domination and a Vicious Attack from Side Control with Eliot Marshall


I love side control. There’s something about the stability it offers that makes me want to stay there. Even if the mount is available, most times, I stay put. If you understand how to control a resisting body from the position, you can stay there forever and really take your time. There are many standard attacks from side control that we learn very early. The americana, the arm bar, and so forth. We spend lots of time mastering these basic skills and they become a pretty regular part of most of our games. We must also possess a strong understanding of framing and how it can dismantle our efforts to be successful in side control. Good framing from the bottom can end a stint for the top player very quickly if we don’t deal with it accordingly. 

As far as transitions go, we also have a multitude of options. The side control is great hub from which we can cause reactions and take advantage of our partner’s movement. The back is one of the most common transitions that we see from side control. Its quite simple to create back exposure and pursue it from side control if you learn how to set a few traps. 

We all want to finish the fight, and finishing from side control is most definitely a great option. Sometimes our standard submission attempts aren’t quite enough to lure a savvy player in to our submission traps. We may need a more elaborate set up to catch a higher-level opponent. Check out this really slick kimura using a triangle from side control with Eliot Marshall. He covers all his side control bases before launching the attack. This is one that your training partners will probably not see coming. Check this out!


We all know that the under hook is paramount from side control. This goes for both parties, but when were speaking in terms of top position, if we want to stay perpendicular to our training partners, we must claim that under hook space and keep it. As Marshall explains, he doesn’t want to have to move too much to begin attacking. This theme rings especially true in no gi where control comes at a premium and we must maintain it all costs. 

Dominate from Side Control! Click Learn More!



Setting up in the position, Marshall reaches in to the arm pit of his partner (a common concept from here) but he does something a little bit different than most BJJ players. Instead of rolling his shoulder forward to apply pressure, he sucks his partner underneath him a bit. This takes away all the space and ensures a tight connection. He also drives his head south toward his partner’s hips, pining the far arm. 

With his controls in place, Marshall must now turn his attention to the frame in his hip. If you’ve spent any time at all on the mat, you know that dealing with this frame is critical to advancing in side control. It must be removed in some manner, so that it cannot be used against us. Marshall has unique idea to get rid of this positional killer. 

As Marshall uses his elbow to guide the head in to and uncomfortable position, he begins to open his hips a bit so that they face his partner’s head and scoops the frame with his leg. He then begins to travel forward, positioning his stomach over his partner’s face and spreading his body out over the trapped arm. With the bottom man’s arm in a “L” shaped configuration and compressed down to the mat, its nearly impossible for him to lift it or answer in any way.

Marshall has covered all his bases here, and he’s in more than good position to begin attacking. With the under hook secured, the frame killed, and superior positioning, he’s ready to begin advancing towards submission relatively unobstructed. He now looks to travel forward over his partners body and as he does this, he steps over the head, scooping the head and arm and locking a triangle. 

At this point, Marshall is in great position to begin attacking, but there are some common pitfalls that he addresses here. He keeps his head glued to the mat. Removing it and lifting up could result int eh loss of control over the arm. He would still be in good position but would now have to fight to retrieve the limb again. Looking toward the hips, he begins to scoop under the arm with both hands and works toward a figure four lock. As he drags his elbow back on to this partners hip, Marshall uses this contact point and his head to begin pushing himself upward. As he rises in to position, he now has a very clear path to attack the kimura and finish the submission. 

What do you do once you FINALLY pass the guard? DOMINATE!


Cementing the guard pass is tough enough to just get to side control and have the bottom player put you back inside of the guard. This is an exhausting cycle. We have to have plans that being to take shape the moment we complete the guard pass. Especially in no gi where position is not easy to keep, we must fight for the under hook to control our opponents, but even more importantly, we must understand how to adapt to the adversity of side control. 

This is an incredibly systemized approach that carries us through the guard pass, all the way to a submission. There are several steps, but each one of them is necessary and in a situation where there’s something missing, this technique could simply not come to fruition. 

Marshall has recently filmed an instructional with BJJ Fanatics and it deals with side control concepts for no gi. This is a subject that we could all benefit from understanding a little better than we do. I’m looking forward to viewing some more of Marshall’s content as his technique looks to be incredibly informative and beneficial. Can’t wait to see more!

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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