Side Control

Side Control Top

There are two different top side-control positions that I tend to utilize. The first is standard side control. To achieve this position you want to lie on top of your opponent with your body perpendicular to his. Press your weight down into his torso, keep your hips low to the ground, and use your arms to control him. Although you can land some devastating knee strikes from here, you can't do too much in the punching department because both of your amis are tied up with keeping your opponent trapped beneath you. The main benefit of standard side control is your ability to effectively transition into the mount.

The second position 1 utilize is a modified side control. In order to open up my striking options, I'll switch my base by turning my hips toward my opponent's head. When you do this, it allows you to control your opponent by leaning your weight into him. With your hands freed up, you can land an assortment of punches and elbow strikes to your opponent's face. The downside to modified side-control is that your ability to move is limited, making a transition to the mount hard to manage.

Unless your opponent is completely gassed, you shouldn't expect him to just lie on his back and let you work. He will snap his hips and do everything he can think of to escape the bottom side control position. A good way to prevent him from achieving his goal is to switch back and forth between the two side-control positions I described above. When you want to land some strikes, turn your hips toward his head and lean your weight into him. When you want mobility, flatten your hips to the ground.

Although a lot of fighters like to work from side control because they feel they can't get bridged or turned over, I personally like to soften my opponent up with a couple of strikes and then either lock in a submission or make the transition to the mount or back, both of which I feel are much more secure positions. You just can't generate the same kind of power behind your punches from side control as you can from the mount, and if you can't cause any damage to your opponent, it's only a matter of time until the referee stands the fight back up. You've got to continuously be moving and forcing movement out of your opponent. Work your ground and pound, and work to take your opponent's back or climb into mount. Just keep forcing movement until your opponent makes a mistake that results in your victory.

Key Concepts for Side Control

SAlways establish the side-control position before working for strikes or submissions. ^Standard side control is best suited for transitioning to the mount.

^Turning your torso toward your opponent's head opens up more striking and submission options, but it restricts your movement, making the transition to the mount difficult. ยป Drive your weight into your opponent to control his movement.

^To prevent your opponent from escaping back to his feet, always be setting up your next transition, strike, or submission.

Side Control Escapes

When stuck in the bottom side-control position, you never want to turn away from your opponent because it exposes your back. You want to turn into him. The positioning of your arms is also very important. If your opponent has his legs on your left side, you want to keep your left arm up to protect your head from devastating strikes, and you want to keep your right arm draped across your torso so you can push on your opponent to get to your side, create separation, and work for an escape. If your opponent manages to put you flat on your back, you're in a bad spot. You'll be forced to fight and defend exclusively with your arms, which gets exhausting. But even when you manage to obtain good posture and angle into your opponent, you still need to get out of there as quickly as possible. Your opponent will most likely unleash with strikes, go for submissions, and try to climb into mount or take your back. Just like when you're in the bottom half-guard position, you need to have a sense of urgency, except here that sense of urgency needs to be even greater. Ideally you want to bridge your opponent off the top position or create space between you and your opponent and get back to your knees. You can also work to pull your opponent into your guard. Nothing good will happen for you as long as you're in the bottom side-control position, so you must do what it takes to escape.

I'm in the side control position. My left arm is wrapped around Troy's head, and my right arm is hooked underneath his left arm. Troy has his arms locked around my back to prevent me from striking.

Unhooking my hands, I pull my left arm out from underneath Troy's head and place my forearm on the right side of his face.

I'm in the side control position. My left arm is wrapped around Troy's head, and my right arm is hooked underneath his left arm. Troy has his arms locked around my back to prevent me from striking.

Unhooking my hands, I pull my left arm out from underneath Troy's head and place my forearm on the right side of his face.

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