Side Control BJJ: An Easy Guide to Master this Position

The side control (BJJ side mount) is one of the foremost dominant Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions. It offers many submission opportunities and game transitions to other dominant positions, such as the north-south, mount, and knee-on-belly.

An experienced fighter knows that the side control jiu-jitsu can give them smooth submissions, including the armbar, kimura, Americana, chokes, triangles, etc.

This article will teach you all you need to know about properly utilizing the side control position in Jiu-jitsu. It will show you some lovely attacks and transitions if you play from the top and some excellent escape methods from the bottom. Keep your eyes peeled!

How Do BJJ Folks View the Side Control Position?

bjj side mount

All Jiu-Jitsu folks perceive the side control position differently as they progress through BJJ martial arts.

They see it as the next relaxed position after passing the opponent guard, where they could apply massive pressure, score points, and prohibit the opponent from processing an escape.

However, the students find many cool things to do from the side control other than the 100 kg pressure. They become dynamic players with good management of submissions, transitions, timing, and weight.

Aside from that, many new practitioners misunderstand the side control position, especially regarding points and competition use. Moreover, the presence of several side mount variations could sometimes be more confusing!

Source: Atos Jiu-Jitsu HQ

As an edge, the side mount may be a fundamental pillar of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu basics. Therefore, the sooner you understand all the associated side control variations, the earlier you’ll put them to good use.

However, it could be a bad position (maybe the worst) for many BJJ martial artists. This is because the bottom players could find several issues getting out of side control, especially if the person on the top is an experienced one.

BJJ Side Control Basics

Source: Chewjitsu

Side control is one of the best BJJ positions, especially if you have a dynamic attacking game from the top. Furthermore, it is essentially a cross-body position, which allows the practitioner to control the opponent’s upper body.

This basic BJJ position offers many attack opportunities involving joint locks chokes, etc. Indeed, It is also fertile of amazing transitions such as to the mount or back control, and other tough positions.

But first, you have to learn how to keep the side control by learning the basics of this dominant position. Here is what you need to build an authoritarian Brazilian jiu-jitsu side control. 

Control the Opponent’s Neck Or/And Hips

Reverse Kesa Gatame Side Control

Controlling the opponent’s upper body through pressure and mechanical leverage is one of the primary purposes of the side control position. Therefore, the student has to control the opponent’s neck or/and hips by installing the correct grips.

You may need to regulate your body at a 90-degree angle within your opponent for more pressure and stability. And you should maintain the side mount position for more than six seconds without giving any chance to your opponent to escape this position.

Maintaining the side mount position might be challenging, like all Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions. Because most jiu-jitsu fighters will explosively prevent being at the bottom side control to prevent an easy kimura, armbar, or other side control BJJ attacks. 

Maintain Good Weight Distribution and Pressure

side control

Any Brazilian jiu-jitsu student could not play the side control position without good weight distribution and pressure.

However, staying active while playing the top side mount will give the BJJ students more leverage to prevent their opponent from processing some escapes from the side control.

Moreover, the student could transit between several of the foremost common side control variations.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Side Control Variations

side control chokes

Traditional “Classic” Side Control

Classic side control is usually called the wrestler’s side mount position. Moreover, in this BJJ side control variation, a student would like to pass the opponent’s guard and then frame his/her from moving or escaping the position.

Therefore, you have to control the opponent’s neck and hips; indeed, it is possible to use the chest-chest contact for more control, especially against heavy opponents.

Furthermore, the cross-face may be an awesome weapon to get what you want at the top classic side control in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In addition, don’t neglect the shoulder, hands, and face work to block the opponent’s movements and put him in an uncomfortable situation. 

100 Kg Side Control


The 100 kg side control is one of the famous side-mount variations for many practitioners, especially heavy BJJ fighters. The main fighter’s purpose in playing this position is to put massive pressure on his opponent.

However, the 100 kg side mount position allows the opponent to escape, because of the lack of compactness.

In the classic Side mount position, in the 100 kg position, the practitioner starts from the same starting position, and then he should the opponent’s upper body, for example, using cross-face.

Although, there are some differences between these two side control variations, such as leg positioning. Thus, you would like both legs sprawled behind you while at the 100 kg side control.

Other important things to do perfectly on the 100 kg side mount are to concentrate carefully on where you put your chest (the middle of the opponent’s torso may be good); also, you need to manage your weight for maximum pressure.

Kesa Gatame Side Control Variation

Kesa Gatame may be a good transition between side control variations. Furthermore, Kesa Gatame is among the basic mats held in Judo martial arts.

Otherwise, it is an awesome side mount position that can disturb the opponent’s mood due to the great hold and control produced. Furthermore, the Jiu-Jitsu Kesa Gatame techniques are among the basics of head control, trapping the near pistol, and leg positioning.

At this BJJ side mount variation, you would like to get on your hip/butt, legs spladled pointing towards the opponent’s head, and keep your head low near your opponent’s head.

However, the downside of this variation is that your opponent may find ways to take your back if you stay for long at it.

Reverse Kesa Gatame Side Control Variation

Reverse Kesa Gatame Side Control

Reverse Kesa Gatame may be more advantageous for the BJJ side control position. It’s just the equivalent of Kesa Gatame, but you’ll be facing the opponent’s legs.

Otherwise, the Reverse Kesa Gatame is additionally called twister side control, and it is a great position for hunting several attacks in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Nevertheless, in this position, you’ll obstruct the opponent’s view. Thus he can’t predict your sneaky making grappling submissions.

Twister Side Control 

Source: Eddie Bravo

Twister side control may be a reverse Kesa Gatame variation in jiu-jitsu grappling martial arts. Therefore, it’s an excellent way to isolate the opponent’s head and shoulders and a niche of several powerful jiu-jitsu side control attacks.

Otherwise, the side control twister offers the practitioner an outstanding possibility to regulate the hips using his/her legs, making it so effective.

Moreover, the twister body positioning exposes many transitions including the mount, back take, and truck position. In addition, it offers a variety of sneaky submissions such as armlocks, arm-triangle choke, kneebar, D’arce choke, etc.

BJJ Side Control Submissions

bjj side control submissions

Side control is a niche of many sneaky Gi / No-Gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu submissions, including joint locks, chokes, etc. Here is a list of some awesome side control BJJ attacks. Have fun!

D’arce Choke from Side Control

Darce choke is one of the most popular head and arm choke attacks in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It is an authoritarian submission that can be applied from the side control positions, half guard, mount …

Here’s an awesome instructional video on how to do the D’Arce choke from side control.

Source: The Grappling Academy

Americana from Side Control

The Americana is another tough Brazilian jiu-jitsu attack that you can get from the side control positions.

Learn more about the Americana from the side mount in the video below, have fun!

Source: Howcast

Jiu Jitsu Kimura from Side Control

kimura lock from side control

BJJ Kimura may be the sneakiest submission from side control. In the video below, learn more about the Jiu-Jitsu Kimura Lock from the side mount.

Source: Howcast

Straight Armbar from Side Control

Straight Armbar from side control may be the hottest submission in BJJ. Have fun learning awesome tricks about the straight armbar from the side control in the instructional video below.

Source: Roger Gracie TV

Side Control Paper Cutter Choke

Paper cutter choke is among the tough choke submissions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that can be applied from the side control position.

Learn more about paper cutter choke from the side mount in the instructional video below.

Source: MMA Leech

Side Control Near-Side Armbar

The Near-Side armbar is among sneaky BJJ side control attacks. This is because, more likely, at the starting position, your opponent will expect a spinning arm lock (or juji gatame), but you’re just stepping up and finishing the near-side arm moves.

In this instructional video, learn how to do a near-side armbar from side control!

Source: Steve-O Solo

Baseball Bat Choke from Side Control

Baseball bat choke is one of the sneakiest submissions from the side control position. Besides, once you get this choke, it isn’t easy to get out.

Moreover, the critical point to doing a savage baseball bat choke is maintaining pressure using your shoulder onto your opponent’s face to prevent him from facing you and bridging out, which may be a way to escape side control.

In this video, learn how to do a baseball bat choke from side control, have fun!

Source: Sidewinder Jiu Jitsu

 Jiu Jitsu Side Control Escape

Despite being an inferior position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu martial arts, side control is often challenging. Therefore, it will become more complex if positioned underneath a heavier and stronger opponent.

Thus, escaping the side control will be difficult if the opponent has already controlled your head and arm.

How to escape side control? Knowing the basics of escaping side control techniques is essential to help you deal with tough control and heavy pressure in this position.

Discover in this instructional video John Danaher’s BJJ side control escape.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

Discover in this instructional video Marcelo Garcia‘s side control escape.

Source: Marcelo Garcia Jiu-Jitsu


The BJJ Side control is among the foremost common positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. There is no well-beyond-side control variation during a roll, whether you are on the receiving side or giving an end to it.

Otherwise, Side Control has always been among the foremost powerful and dangerous positions in jiu-jitsu grappling martial art.

It is tough to escape the side control when it’s performed correctly, and therefore the position makes possible a mess of attacks, which will easily overwhelm any opponent.

Unfortunately, too many students only see it as a stalling position — their goal is merely to carry their opponent down long enough to attain points, and they hope that they will eventually transition from Side Control to the mount or Back Control.

Speak your mind; what is your favorite BJJ side control variation or submission?

Related: Whether a beginner or a seasoned practitioner, knowing how to attack and defend from various jiu-jitsu positions is essential for taking your BJJ game to the next level. I wrote an article that comprehensively lists the fundamental BJJ positions you should know. Click here to learn more!

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