For many, top side control is the best position you can get in BJJ. Mount and back control may get you more points in competition, but side control gives you a lot more options. You can also lay down some heavy pressure on your opponent and have much better control.
Aside from superior top control, you can setup a variety of submissions from here as well! In this guide, we take a look at some of our favorites. Here are the Top 5 BJJ submissions from side control. Check out the details on how to do the moves and give you tips for better execution!
The first submission we’ll detail on the list of submissions from side control is the keylock/americana. This submission is super simple, effective, and one of the first submissions you learn from side control.
First, you need to lay down some heavy top pressure on your opponent. This will keep them in place to start setting up the keylock/americana.
Push their far arm and plant it to the mat using one or two hands. If they’re strong or technical, you might need to use two hands.
The hand closest to the opponent’s head holds their arm down at a 90 degree angle. Be sure that your arm is next to the opponent’s head with no space in between.
Take your other arm and put it under the opponent’s arm and grab your other wrist palm down. It’ll look just like the number 4.
To get the tap pull up on their elbow with your arms. This motion you make with your arms puts immense pressure on their shoulder.
Quick tip: Do not lean too far over or the opponent can either reverse you or recover their full guard.
For a visual check out this video below.
Kimura Lock from Side Control
Next on the Top 5 BJJ submissions from side control list is the Kimura. The Kimura is a diverse submission you can hit from multiple submissions. It is also one of the first submissions you learn in BJJ.
From side control, you can do the Kimura on either arm, so you can take either when the opportunities arise. We’ll detail how to do both.
Far Side Arm Kimura
To set up this position grab the opponent’s far wrist with your inside arm palm down. Using a 5 finger or monkey paw grip is the best grip you can use for a kimura.
Take your other arm closet to their head and lace it under the opponent’s far shoulder grabbing your own wrist. Make sure the grip is tight and there is little to no space.
You can finish the kimura from side control a few different ways. Either pull the opponent on their side and torque their arm behind their back. The other more controlling finish is stepping over their head and forcing their arm in the same motion.
Here’s John Danaher with a super detailed video on how to do the kimura from side control.
Near Side Kimura
If you have top side control and the opponent turns away from you, they’re giving you a kimura opportunity. Grab their wrist with arm next to the opponent’s head opposite of how you’d do the far side arm kimura.
Torque their arm behind their back to get the tap just like the other kimura option. You can also go to an armbar with both kimura attempts if you can’t get them.
Andre Galvao shows how to do this kimura with an armbar option below.
The arm triangle is one of the best submissions from side control gi or no gi. If someone that’s good at the arm triangle gets the opportunity to set it up it’s near 100% over.
In top side control start with your far arm under the opponent’s head deep, but not too deep. With your other hand palm the opponent’s far elbow and push their arm across their face.
Connect your hands with a Gable grip and place your head right next to the opponent’s ear to ear. Next you’re going to cross over from mount to the other side.
To finish the choke properly, you need to do a few things. First put your forehead on the ground and flatten your body by sprawling out. There can’t be any space between you and the opponent or they will recover guard.
The final step is the squeeze. When the opponent breathes out squeeze with your whole body like a snake while driving forward for the tap.
Watch Stephan Kesting show how to tighten up the arm triangle here.
Paper Cutter/Bread Cutter Choke
Now, here is an easy gi choke that made its way on the Top 5 BJJ submissions from side control list. The paper cutter or bread cutter choke is vicious, yet very simple to pull off. There’s only a few steps to lock it in.
To set it up, you first need to shift between side control and north/south position. Then you're going to place your near arm on the opponent’s side giving no space.
Look that arm under the opponent’s arm and grab their lapel. You have to be above the opponent’s elbow to trap their arm and limit their chances of escape.
Next do a reverse sit out and place your weight on the opponent’s chest. Then you’re going to slide your other hand and grab their lapel with a thumb in grip.
For the finish move back to normal side mount and chop your hand to the ground like a knife. Slide your elbow towards their head to increase the pressure and they’ll tap almost immediately.
Watch Blackbelt Stephen Hall show you how to do this nasty choke here.
The Baseball Bat Choke
The final sub on our Top 5 BJJsubmissions from side control is the baseball bat choke, This gi choke is one of the most diverse and tightest chokes in Jiu Jitsu. From side control in particular it’s down right deadly.
Start in side control with a thumb in lapel grip just behind the opponent’s head. With your other hand, you’re going to slide a 4 finger grip palm up. The grips look just like you’re holding a baseball bat, hence the name.
For the finish pop up to your toes and put your weight on the opponent’s chest. Bring your top elbow down, put your head next to their hip and turn to get the tap.
This choke comes on fast and one you should definitely know. Watch a breakdown of the baseball bat choke below.
These are the Top 5 BJJsubmissions from side control that you need to know. All of these moves are simple, yet super efficient.
To have a complete side control game, these 5 submissions are a must know. Read the details, watch the breakdowns, then go drill these subs. You’re going to be vicious in Side Control!