Side Mount Mistakes Picking Sides – August 19, 2010

Is it difficult for you to finish submissions from side mount? Do you have
trouble holding side mount when you get there?

If so, you may be ignoring a crucial aspect of side mount control. I call it the
“Ping” effect.

Here’s the backstory:

During class this morning, a blue belt asked me how to finish kimura’s from side
mount. He was having trouble keeping side control during the transition into the

He explained that every time he tried to isolate the arm the bottom guy would
squirm around, either pulling him into half guard or bucking him off completely.

He thought he needed to work on his kimura set-up. I told him he needed to work
on his side mount control. Here’s why.
The specific problems he was having, being pulled into half guard and
getting bucked off, revealed that there was a specific problem with his
side mount control. Let’s take a closer look.

First, when you get pulled into half guard from side. It usually means you left
enough space between your hips and his. How do I know?

Because the only way the bottom guy can pull guard is if he makes enough space
to sneak his knee in to pull half guard.

Second, being bucked off. A strong guy can hip up fast enough to knock you
around like a rodeo cowboy.

The fix? move all of your bodyweight far away enough so that his hips have
absolutely no effect on your body. This means that you transfer you side control
all the way up on his shoulders (onto his chest is not far enough).

I call this the “Ping Pong” effect, because you ping-pong your weight
over his chest, either putting it all on his hips or all on his shoulders.

Do this right and you will pin his shoulders (his hips will be able to move
around, but he won’t be able to buck you or pull half
guard), pin his hips (he’ll be able to move his
shoulders, but you’ll have so much weight on his hips that he won’t be able to

Try this out, and watch your top-game control soar.

Rob Gramer is a mechanical engineer and BJJ brown belt. For more BJJ articles
with a scientific bent and a free report revealing the 33 Grips every grappler
must know, visit

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