BJJ / Grappling Tips: Escape Side Control

Thursday sessions at Eddie Kone Academy of jiujitsu focus on NoGi training and Striking For MMA. It is not unlikely to walk onto the mat and see the main class to be run by an experienced coach while Eddie is on the side taking a student through their paces on the pads or through grappling drills. I remember recently walking in and seeing the grappling coach taking a class thru side control escapes / guard recovery and he was doing a great job emphasizing the importance of creating space by constantly establishing frames and moving away from them. As I turned to my left I saw Eddie and one of his higher blue belts drilling and discussing the finer details of leg locks, laying a clear focus on staying tight on the opponent thru-out the series of movements.

It was a beautiful moment. The contrast couldn’t have been clearer between the two sides of the same coin and I’m positive neither party was aware of what the other was doing. Fantastic BJJ / Grappling Coach Roy Harris once said that when you are attacking, space is your enemy. You want to be on your opponent like a wet towel on a basketball. When you are escaping, however, space is your best buddy.

I’d like to add that when in transitions (whether between positions, attacks, postures, escapes…etc.) then space becomes a more complex question! Tightness alone just isn't enough and too much space is definitely not the answer. What you need is a state of negotiation.

Think about it. There is a moment when you are passing the guard when you definitely need to create space and that is usually followed by one where you need to eliminate all possible space to secure the new, more superior position you have negotiated for yourself.

Also, there is a moment after you have broken someone’s posture down in your guard and eliminated space where you need to actually give them a little bit of space to correctly affect the palm-up palm-down choke or spinning armbar. That’s where sensitivity can overcome strength. That’s where the magic happens in BJJ.

How do I get there? Through relaxation and thousands of repetitions against a variety of levels of resistance. You need to dare eliminate the space but also dare negotiate some back to be able to move in the most optimal way.



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