Escaping bad positions might be the most important principle you learn in BJJ. Being on bottom inside control is one of the worst places you can be. Especially if you’re going against something that specializes in laying down heavy top pressure.
This is why learning side control escapes is extremely important. They are fundamental to learn in Jiu Jitsu and you must know numerous techniques to escape side control.
Here are our choices for the Top 5 bjj Best Side Control Escapes. We detailed the steps of each technique and added videos to give you a visual.
Is Side Control the Most Dominant Position in BJJ?
Being on top with side control is arguably the most dominant position you can have in BJJ. Mount and back mount may give you the most points in competition, but having the side control is arguably an even better position.
Many experienced grapplers actually prefer side control. They can lay down an incredible amount of pressure to control their opponent. Allowing them to freely set up a variety of submissions and make their opponents lives miserable!
#1 Guard Recovery
It’s the first side control escape you learn as a beginner and it is probably the most important. Escaping side control to recover guard is a must know technique.
Once you’re stuck in side control, the first thing you have to do is frame with both arms. Have one arm framed against the opponent’s neck with the other framed on their hip.
Use those frames to push the opponent and make space for you to get on your side. From there all you do is bring your knee in between you and your opponent to recover guard.
#2 Side Control Escape To Single Leg
The beginning steps of this technique is the same as the basic guard recovery. You get frames on your opponent to push them and make space.
What the difference is instead of recovering guard, you go for a single leg takedown. When you make space, you’re going to take an underhook and turn completely over.
With that underhook, hook it around the opponent’s leg, cup your hands together, and drive forward. You can also switch to a double if you’d prefer.
#3 Overhook Sweep
An overhook sweep is a great sweep option that works against opponents of all sizes. The first thing you have to do is palm the opponent’s near shoulder and frame.
This will prevent them from putting down heavy pressure on you killing your ability to sweep. Now with your hand palming their shoulder you’re ready to start your sweep.
There’s 2 different ways you can hold your arms. You can either Gable grip your hands above their elbow or hook their elbow as you frame on their neck.
Once you take one of these grips, you’re ready to start your sweep. As you have their arm locked, you’re going to turn hard away from the opponent to take them over.
It’s really easy to do, but you have to commit to the move or it won’t. Here’s black belt Chad Hardy showing this technique along with 2 other techniques.
#4 Elbow Push Side Escape
Multiple time world champion Marcelo Garcia made this escape famous. Using it on an opponent twice his size to escape the bottom position in side control.
The first step is to block your opponent from getting head control. Block their arm at their bicep with both arms and loop it over their head.
Now with their arm over your head, cup the back of their elbow with the arm near their legs. For the sweep, all you do is kick your legs up for momentum and turn on your side.
Your other arm plants on the ground and you move yourself out of side control.. Here’s the master himself showing how to do his escape.
#5 Side Control Escape to D'arce Choke
This is probably the slickest escape out of all the ones we listed. Traditionally, you want to try and get an underhook to escape side control, but sometimes the opponent shuts you down.
But as one door closes and another one opens. With one arm framed on the opponent’s neck, take your other arm and hook around their body.
This hook allows you to easily slide out of side control. The d’arce control is just a cool way to lock in a sub after your escape and it’s right there.
As you use that inside hook on their body slide out use that momentum to go towards their head. Slide your frame arm a little deeper and catch your bicep as you’re sliding out. Putting your opponent into a slick d’arce choke off of your side control escape.
Escaping side control is a must know principle within Jiu Jitsu. You need to know how to frame, make space, and escape, otherwise your Jiu Jitsu won’t be very good. Without knowing proper side control escapes, your opponents can easily control you and submit you at will.
These 5 bjj side control escapes we detailed are all high percentage and easy to do. Of course, there are numerous other great escape techniques and you should learn all of them. You can never not know enough side control escapes.
Take the time to read through the details of these techniques and watch the videos for a visual. Also remember to always drill your side control escapes, so that you’re never stuck on bottom!