Side Control (diary entry)



The second of my client’s first basic course in Submission Grappling/Ground Fighting confirmed basic pin transitions and looked at three basic submissions.


We began with a series of ground calisthenics – bear crawls, lizard crawls, frog jumps, snaking (forwards/backwards/sideways), monkey crawls and agility ladder drills.


Next we moved onto the pin transitions. This was an exercise introduced in the previous lesson to familiarise my client the basic pinning positions and how to move efficiently from one to another. Today we focused more on tightening up the gaps when transitioning.


The rest of the lesson spotlighted side control. This is the best first pin to teach from a submission grappling perspective. The pin works as a strong base to both transition into other positions and is great for teaching basic submissions. We began with the Americana, a simple figure-of-four lock that is a good hold to learn in order access other submissions. The Americana can come on very fast once the muscle memory is down pat. Important points to consider are isolating and keeping the arm away from the rest of the opponent’s body as quickly as possible. We then moved onto setting up an arm-bar. Here we looked at rolling the same side arm of the pinned opponent; trapping it in a hold (I suggested a figure-of-four again) and then bringing in the legs to ensure the limb is isolated. I also covered pushing the head down and creating a strong separation of the arm from the rest of the body. We also looked at countering any possible counters when the arm-bar had been executed.


The lesson finished with a triangle arm choke. This was performed as part of a counter to failing to get the arm-bar. In fact, the entire sequence of submissions today could be seen as backup plans. The arm triangle is a very efficient and fast submission to get, passing over one arm whilst simultaneously encircling the other side of the opponent’s neck and clamping the head to the opponent’s shoulder. We discussed the importance of continuing to constrict and the dangers of readjustment when choking/strangling.

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