Side control

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Side control

Royce Gracie demonstrating defense from the side control position.
Classification Position
Parent style Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
AKA Side mount, cross mount
Parent hold Half guard
Child hold(s) Knee-on-stomach
Attacks Key-lock
Counters Sweeps

In grappling, side control (often also called side mount or sometimes cross mount) is a dominant ground grappling position where the top combatant is lying perpendicularly over the face-up bottom combatant in such a way that the legs are free and he or she exerts considerable control over the combatant on the bottom. The top combatant is referred to as having side control, and is in a stable position, with the other combatant pinned beneath him or her. From there the top combatant can proceed with elbows, knees, various armlocks, or transition into a mounted position. It is high priority for the bottom combatant to sweep the top combatant or otherwise escape the position, for instance by entangling the opponent's free legs and trying to obtain the half guard or guard.


The kata gatame (肩固, "shoulder hold") is a pinning hold where the opponent is held around the head, with one of the opponent's arms pinned against his or her neck. It can be done from kesa-gatame in response to an opponent's escape attempt, during which the arm is pinned against his or her neck, and the hold around the neck is put in place. The kata-gatame is often seen as a chokehold, since it is easy to compress the opponent's neck from the hold by squeezing, in which case it is known as an arm triangle choke or side choke.


Kesa gatame applied by Masahiko Kimura

Kesa gatame (袈裟固, also referred to as hon-kesa-gatame,[1] 本袈裟固) or "scarf hold" is a pinning hold that is performed from side control by turning slightly sideways, spreading the legs for stability, and encircling the opponent's head with one arm and holding the other arm close to the chest. Transitions and submission holds are comparatively difficult to perform effectively from this position, instead a variation of this hold is used called kuzure-kesa-gatame (崩袈裟固) or "modified scarf hold". This hold is similar to the kesa-gatame, except that instead of encircling the head, the opponent's arm is encircled. Kodokan Judo also classifies the commonly used techniques ushiro-kesa-gatame and makura-kesa-gatame as kuzure-kesa-gatame.[2]

Twister Side-Control[edit]

Twister Side-Control is the position in which a submission known as the Twister can be applied more easily. It involves a practitioner leaning to face his opponent's legs, and placing the hand furthest from the legs head[clarification needed] behind the opponent's back, then leaning the opponent towards him. This can be done to catch an opponent who is shrimping away. This position does not have complete control and weight as with Kesa-gatame and Kata-gatame, but affords a greater opportunity to apply the Twister or kimura. Other moves can also be applied from this position, such as The Baby Arm and several more.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Goodey, Ray. Hon Kesa Gatame / Kesa Gatame. URL last accessed April 21, 2006.
  2. ^ The Kodokan Judo Institute. Kodokan.Org classification of techniques. URL last accessed March 4, 2006.
  • Gracie; Renzo, Gracie, Royler; Peligro, Kid; Danaher, John (2001). Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and technique. Invisible Cities Press. ISBN 1-931229-08-2.
  • Løvstad, Jakob. The Mixed Martial Arts Primer. URL last accessed March 6, 2006. (DOC format)
  • Page, Nicky. Groundfighting 101. URL last accessed March 4, 2006.