If you’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for any period of time, you’ve undoubtedly come into contact with the side control position. Depending on which end of the position you find yourself on, side control can be either a blessing or a curse. From the top player’s perspective, side control is an excellent position from which to control one’s opponent, and it provides a number of submission and transition opportunities. From the bottom player’s perspective, however, side control is a completely different experience. It’s uncomfortable. It’s difficult (but not impossible) to escape from. It provides few reliable opportunities for submissions or transitions. In other words—it’s no fun! All of these considerations, of course, benefit the top player and make side control an extremely desirable position to obtain. Below are some slick submissions to add to your side control arsenal!
In BJJ, armbars are everywhere, and side control is no exception. However, BJJ students who wind up on the receiving end of side control typically expect the top player to attack the arm directly beneath his face. Attacks to the opposite arm are rare, making the armbar below a sneaky and effective attack. Here’s how it’s done:
- From the cross face position, remove your arm from underneath your opponent’s head, move it across his face, and place your elbow on the mat against the side of his face. Additional control can be established by grasping the opponent’s shoulder.
- With your other arm, reach back over your opponent’s body and place your hand on the mat against his hip.
- Turning your palm up, take your hand off the mat and grasp your opponent’s arm. Pull up slightly to keep his elbow off the mat.
- Lift your elbow off the mat and pull it towards you, using the hand of the same arm to put pressure on your opponent’s face.
- Step over your opponent’s face while continuing to hold it in place with your hand.
- Transfer the hand controlling your opponent’s face to the mat as you fall back and sit on the mat.
- As you fall back, lift your opposite knee off the mat, and place it against your opponent’s arm.
- Squeeze your knees together and transfer your hand from the mat to your opponent’s arm.
- Fall back on the mat as you continue to squeeze your knees together.
- Bridge your hips to complete the armbar.
Armbar Option Two
In keeping with the theme of sneaky, unexpected attacks, here’s another armbar that targets the arm closest to the top player’s hips, making it an extremely effective technique:
- From the cross face position, lean your weight forward, bringing your opponent’s back off the ground. Make sure to put pressure on your opponent’s face with your shoulder as you lean forward.
- With your opponent’s back off the ground, slide the knee closest to his head under his arm. This ensures that your opponent’s back remains off the ground.
- In order to alleviate the pressure on his face, your opponent will likely push against your shoulder with his hand. When he does so, press his hand against his chest with your free hand.
- Step over your opponent’s body with your far leg, resting your knee against his shoulder. As you bring your leg over his body, release his trapped hand and place your hand on the mat. At this point, your weight should shift in the direction of your planted hand, and your opponent’s arm should now be trapped against his chest by your leg.
- As you execute the previous step, your opponent’s opposite arm should extend and become trapped under your armpit.
- Using the leg that was previously used to keep your opponent’s back off the ground, step over his face, closing your knees and bringing your elbow to your body.
- Bridge your hips to complete the submission.
A more traditional submission from side control is the Kimura. Here’s a version of this popular submission that includes details intended to increase the amount of control the top player has over the bottom player:
- From the cross face position, take your arm out from under your opponent’s head and pass it over his face. This works best if you initiate the movement when your opponent frames against your neck with his arm.
- Extend the leg closest to your opponent’s head.
- Slide the arm closest to your opponent’s head under his arm, and grab your own collar.
- Pass your other arm over your opponent’s body, placing your hand on the mat by his hip.
- Move your body into the north-south position.
- As you transition into the north-south position, drive your weight into your opponent’s body, and place your forehead on the mat next to his trapped arm.
- Pin your opponent’s opposite arm with your knee and foot.
- Apply pressure to your opponent’s trapped elbow, forcing him to turn to his side.
- Apply a double wrist lock.
- Pass your opponent’s hand to his back.
- Extend the leg that is trapping your opponent’s opposite arm.
- Rotate your body towards your opponent’s back, completing the submission.
Baseball Bat Lapel Choke
The best submissions in BJJ are often those that are applied quickly and stealthily, giving the opponent little time to mount an effective defense. Here is a sneaky collar choke that will have your opponents wondering what hit them:
- From the cross face position, open your opponent’s lapel, and pass it under his arm, gripping it with your opposite hand.
- Shift your weight forward, putting pressure on your opponent’s face.
- Rotate your body away from your opponent in order to create space.
- Using your other arm, grip your opponent’s collar on the same side as the controlled lapel.
- With both knees on the floor, close the elbow of the arm that is controlling your opponent’s collar.
- Place your forehead on the floor and lift your hips while moving into north-south position.
- Continue rotating around your opponent’s body to complete the submission.
Add these submissions to your side control repertoire, and you’ll be tapping your opponents in no time!