The jiu-jitsu Side Control Survival
The Side Control is a great jiu-jitsu position that gives for the guy on the top to be ready for several attacks and positional transitions.
Though you do not bear the same amount of pressure as in the Mount position, it is equally dangerous when used by a strong and offensive-minded BJJ fighter. But you can survive the jiu-jitsu Side Control.
How to defend in the jiu-jitsu Side Control?
To defend the jiu-jitsu Side Control well, you have to learn the specific defensive hand and body positioning that is the same for all the variations of Side Control as well as the specific goals for the BJJ fighter who is on the top.
Once you understand what the person on top needs to control you or to progress his game, you will be better suited to adapt your basic defensive game plan.
Drill to improve your jiu-jitsu side control survival
It is very important to drill each type of BJJ Side Control with its specific defense before jumping in and using them all.
For instance, your drilling partner should be limited to just one Side Control grip on top while you get comfortable with the defense. Once you get better or more aware, he can then begin to add the variations.
This is important because the BJJ Side Control variations change the game. And you should not make the learning process more difficult by confusing the defenses before you have learned the basics.
What you can do to survive the jiu-jitsu side control?
Blocking the Cross-Face
The Cross-Face is a strong position that takes very little experience to use effectively. Because the position has the potential to completely block one side of escapes.
Every BJJ student needs to learn how to overcome it to progress in the jiu-jitsu survival game. From jiu-jitsu academy to another, people learn many different effective escapes (survival) from the jiu-jitsu Side Control.
However, if you cannot prevent the Cross-Face, you will be at the mercy of high-level jiu-jitsu practitioners.
Releasing the hand
As your BJJ partner feels your Cross-Face defense, he often will transition to a different Side Control, like the over the shoulder grip with the hip-block. Instinctively you may want to follow his arm, but that is the wrong strategy.
Doing so will lead to getting your arm crossed over your face or to a potential armbar.
Therefore, you must learn when to release the arm and go for the much safer hip block. More escapes will present themselves this way, and more importantly.
You will impede the progress of the submission artist on top of you.
Kesa Gatame Hand Fighting
Kesa Gatame or the Scarf Hold is a very dangerous position for any jiu-jitsu practitioner. Especially when facing a strong wrestler or judoka, because there is so much pressure coming down on you and your arm is trapped.
It is often a nightmare to escape. Therefore, you have to look at what makes the position so dangerous – the inside arm domination. By dominating the inside arm, the BJJ practitioner on top can get better inside weight distribution as well as block all escape to the inside.
To combat this, you have to develop your hand-fighting tricks to frustrate and eventually hide the inside arm from domination. Just as you practice hand-fighting on your feet, you always have to be aware of these strategies when you are on the ground as well.
Reverse Kesa Gatame
Another transition for the offense-minded top player is to switch his Side Control base to Reverse Kesa Gatame. Instead of facing your head, your opponent is now facing your legs and you cannot see everything he has planned.
Once again, the goal is to survive and to do that you have to understand what your partner needs – if your inside elbow is separated from the protection of your torso. If your jiu-jitsu partner achieves this, he has your body trapped and can progress the game in his favor.
Knowing this, you should block your BJJ opponent using your elbows, even if you cannot see everything that he is doing!
Common mistakes at the Jiu-Jitsu side control
Cross-Face As Waiting Position
Many jiu-jitsu beginners stay flat when they are mounted, many allow their BJJ opponent to cross-face them with an under-the armpit control. In this position, you’re controlled and if your partner turns your neck he blocks one direction of escape.
This is very dangerous. If your opponent is strong in this position, he can invoke many submissions as well as transition into more dominant jiu-jitsu positions. You should never let anyone cross-face you in the BJJ side control position.
Inside-Over the Shoulder Grip
Sometimes when your BJJ opponent grabs over your shoulder in the jiu-jitsu side control. You may feel you have an opportunity to grab him and roll him forward. However, when you are facing a seasoned BJJ opponent, the result is a swift arm lock.
Even if you are very strong, your opponent only has to sink his weight back a little and post his free hand as he uses his near arm to secure your exposed grip. As a result, these kinds of moves are desperate.
As an attacker, you know you have your opponent where you want him when he defends using these tactics.
Outside-Over the Shoulder Grip
In the BJJ side control position the outside grip is the very dangerous grip. By focusing on grabbing his opponent’s shoulder, the bottom player has missed out on the only real leverage point in this poor position: the head. Again, many try to use this move to bulldoze a reversal and most are unsuccessful.
Outside Hands Clasp
From the failed outside-over-the-shoulder grip, many will try to stall the match out by bringing their free inside hand up under the armpit to clasp it with their outside hand in a hug across the back.
While this may leave you with a momentary feeling that you have escaped an arm-lock on your outside arm, you have opened up your entire right side to attack by your BJJ opponent. More than likely, he will cross-face you and dominate your inside arm.
Once you are here, you are open to a myriad of same-side arm-locks, chokes, and position changes.
In the jiu-jitsu side control position the outside undertook is a more advanced misconception that also needs to be discussed. The idea is to undercook your BJJ opponent’s far arm with the intention of sliding out from under his body.
However, when you start this position without blocking the Cross-Face, it is very difficult. As I go for the position, my opponent keeps his hips ready and transitions into a possible arm attack.
Outside Underhook to Choke
As a continuation of the previous posture, it is important to realize that your opponent has a lot of options.
Because my inside arm is on his hip instead of blocking the Cross-Face, I have given my BJJ opponent the perfect opportunity to choke me as my outside arm goes for the underhook.