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Side Control

Position Description

This is a standard position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where you are on your knees with your butt on your heels. Your chest is perpendicular to your opponent’s chest. The arm closest to their head is under their head with your bicep touching their near chin. Your bottom arm should be trapping the far hip. Your knees should be wide with the top one near your opponents head and your bottom knee pushing against their hip.

Why would I end up in this position?

Normally your goal in BJJ is to get to controlling positions. Side Control is a great controlling position. In the sport of BJJ you would get 3 points for passing someones legs and getting into a dominant position like Side Control, Mount, Back or Knee on Belly. Often people think you get 3 points for Side Control. This is not correct you get 3 points for getting around the legs of your opponent. It just happens that normally when you do get by you are in Side Control.

What can I do from this position?

Baseball Choke from Side Control

Hip Escape from Side Control

What should I be thinking when I have someone in Side Control?

  • Knees Wide
  • Don’t cross the center line of their chest
  • Control their face with a shoulder
  • Control their hips with your elbow and knee
  • Your weight should be on your heels

What should I be thinking from bottom?

  • Be on your side
  • Keep your arms tight
  • Don’t overextend your arms
  • Frame on their bicep and shoulder or pummel for an Underhook with the far arm

What is some additional information I should be thinking about?

Head Positioning

From Top

  • Head positioning – Keep your head just above their chest. If you bring your head too far away from your feet you make yourself lighter. Be a small tight mass. Try to turn their head to look away from you.

From Bottom

  • Head positioning from the bottom is super important. Try to not let them get ahold of your head.

Leg Positioning

From Top

  • Depending on the variation but mostly your legs will be around the hip and the other leg near the head
  • Your feet should alternate between driving off your toes and toes flat on the mat.

From Bottom

  • You should have your feet together for the most part working as one unit. Usually, the furthest one from them will be knee up and the closest one down waiting to go into guard.


From Top

  • Traditional – One arm over the hips one arm under the face with shoulder pressure on the face
  • Saulo – Bottom leg goes flat with your hip directly on theirs
  • Comprido – Top leg goes flat with your other knee super tight to the hip.
  • Combat Wrestling Style – Both elbows over

From Bottom

  • Normally don’t grip. Create the movement with your hips and control their arms and shoulder with your arms and hands.


From Top

  • Be Super tight and control the hips and head. Don’t Squeeze as much as you are just framing.

From Bottom

  • You want to create a lot of space.

Opponents Submission Setups

From Opponent on Bottom

  • Baseball Choke

Weight Analysis

From the Top

  • Your weight needs to be on your butt for the most part.
  • Do not allow your opponent to separate from you.
  • Stay with the chest on their chest

From Bottom

  • Your weight will be on the mat but you can manipulate it by getting off to the side and using your hips to escape

Ideal Body Type

Works for all body types

Leverage Points

From Top

  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Head
  • Wrists

From Bottom

  • Hips
  • Arms
  • Knees
Pro Grappler to Review
  • Orlando Sanchez