Escaping The Bottom Side

This week at Gracie Barra let’s take a look at one of the biggest problems encountered by new jiu-jitsu students – how to escape the bottom of side mount.

There are different variations of the basic side control escapes and different escapes for different side control situations as well. Importantly, there are basic principles that you may apply to ALL of your escapes from the bottom.

1) Safe arm position
Note that Prof. Flavio immediately points out the importance of putting your arms in a safe, defensive position. Your opponent has a lot of attack possibilities from top of side control.

Don’t make it easy for them to attack your arms with an arm position that exposes you.

Some people refer to the frame arm position that Prof. Flavor uses as “the prayer” arm position. Think “Please don’t let me be submitted!” 😉

This arm position acts as a frame or structure which is an efficient way of reducing the top person’s ability to apply their bodyweight.

2) Bridge and escape your hips!
It is difficult to think of an escape from the bottom that does NOT involve a powerful bridge and hip escape to begin the escape.

The reason is simple : it is the top person’s job to remove space and apply their bodyweight to the bottom. The opposite is true for the person on the bottom.

You must create space between you and your opponent and prevent the body connection pressure.

How many times have your heard your instructor say “Move your hips!”?

Pushing and using arm strength is not a sound strategy if your opponent is heavy and you are fatigued. The bridge and shrimp utilize the most powerful muscles in your body to create that space to escape.

3) Use timing for efficient escapes
When your opponent has secured their grips and applied their bodyweight, it is very difficult to escape. They have the force of gravity in their favor. It can drain your energy to struggle against a fully applied, tight side control.

There are 2 times when your opponent is especially vulnerable to you escaping their side control:
A) BEFORE they have established full grips and control. It is better to start your escape immediately after your guard has been passed as opposed to waiting until your opponent has settled into their side control.

B) When they start to move to submission. The opponent must take some of their pressure off of the bottom in order to transition to a submission. This will create a momentary opening for the escape. Anticipate when the opponent is moving to a submission and time your bridge and hip escape the instant they lessen their pressure.

Try these tips for your side control escapes.

See also on Gracie Barra : Your Side Control Checklist : 5 Tips For You

Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam
Instagram: @bjjmarkmullen