“I can’t breathe. He’s too heavy. This sucks. I need space.”
All those thoughts and more go through your mind when you’re trapped under side control. It’s rough. Especially when you’re rolling with someone who understands pressure. They know how to make you feel every last bit of discomfort. They know how to make you wish you were somewhere else. And they know to make you tap to pressure alone.
Have you ever been in that situation? Whoa, if you haven’t, it’s only because you haven’t been training long enough. I know because I’ve been there more times than I can count.
It’s Not A Fun Place To Be
You want to escape. Hell, you want to do more than just escape. You want to do it easily and effortlessly. You want people to start believing that you simply can’t be held down.
Wouldn’t that be great?
When you get to that level of ability, that’s when you really start to have fun. It’ll mean that you’ll be able to try out all of those new and fancy techniques because you won’t be concerned about getting passed. That’ll allow you to truly explore the art and discover where you want to focus.
So You Should Escape
Listen: the title of this post promised you 4 effective side control escapes. And you’re going to get them below. It will even include added details and conceptual focus.
These escapes will give you a firm foundation for escaping the position once it’s been established (the hardest thing to do). You’re going to have to drill them though. It’s going to take time, but it’s worth it. In fact, it’s a better investment for your time than learning any advanced technique.
Hell, I wish I had spent more time drilling side control escapes when I was a white belt. Because being able to escape bad positions gives you freedom.
Essential Elements for the Side Control Escapes
Every last one of these escapes require two things. One, you must create space. And two, you must move within the space you create. Those two essential elements is what we are going to focus on in this quick review of technique.
- The elbow frame against the hips will help you maintain space once you create it. Without it, escape will not be easy.
- Rolling the head will help you create space. The body always follows where the head leads, and when you move someone’s head, their body will naturally follow.
- The bridge and shrimp are used to create more space, and you have to move back in while that space is still present.
- The elbow frame serves the same purpose here.
- Space is created by stepping away and rotating your hips towards your opponent. This reduces the flexibility requirements for your leg, and give you another space to weave the foot inside.
- Rolling their shoulder towards you will create a small pocket of space and shift their weight slightly over you. It’s a small detail, but it works.
- Bridge towards your opponent. That creates space, and it allows you to bring the arm that was framed against their hips under their body.
- Use both arms to scoop yourself out as you roll. This movement should only be done while you’re elevated. You must create space and then move within that space.
- This time, you pull their shoulder away from you to maintain space. The constant pull will make it hard for them to follow you once you start moving yourself.
- Lifting one shoulder and then the other, as you walk backwards will help you create space. That movement is otherwise known as the shoulder crawl, and it has broad applications.
I didn’t outline the techniques as I have done in the past. But these little elements are things that you can focus on and apply elsewhere. For the actual techniques, watch the video and go drill. Being able to escape from side control is liberating, and you can never get good enough at the basics.
Oh, and let me know if this was helpful. I’m also willing to do requests.