Side Control Escape BJJ

When you find yourself in side-control, make sure you prevent the opponent from catching the grips he needs so he can keep you down. By knowing and understanding the key grips, you will be able to prevent your opponent from establishing a strong dominant position. This will allow for an easier escape and perhaps also a submission.

Firas Zahabi is a grappling and mixed martial arts (MMA) coach, as well as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under John Danaher. He is mostly known for his work as the leader of the famous TriStar Gym in Montreal, Canada.

The first and most important thing in a side-control position is head control. That’s why it is so important to have your hands “glued” together and in front of your face, between you and your opponent. The hands serve as a “buffer” between our head and his shoulder.

In the first video, Firas shows us how to protect our head with the frame first, then how to hip-escape, and in the end how to hook his head with our legs and go for an armbar. If he pulls his arm out, then you proceed to the inverted triangle choke.

In the second video, which is kind of a follow-up of the first one, there is a slightly different situation that Firas analyses to details.

1. NEVER ALLOW your opponent to have chest-on-chest connection in side-control, always create a buffer between your chests.

2. NEVER ALLOW your opponent to pin your head with his shoulder.

3. When your hands are not connected together and are split, there’s no much you can do from the bottom.

If you are aware of these 3 key factors, escaping from side control on the bottom will be quite simple.

Firas then explains the so-called “prayer position”, then the more powerful “frame escape” which forms a triangle between hands and head, and at the end the whole sequence of escaping and going for the submission.

In addition, he also explains what to do if your opponent suddenly decides to transition to north-south position from the top.