Breaking Down My Jits Game: Side Control

In the past twelve months, my jits game has come on hugely. I have begun to develop a concrete game plan but it still has gaping holes in it. Over a few blog posts, I’m going to break down my strengths and weaknesses, assess what areas I need to work on, and begin to put a plan in action for addressing those areas.

My strongest position is top side control. At a guess, 90% of my submission wins happen or develop from side control. Even when rolling with people in my own weight category, I have a strong, heavy side control that’s difficult to escape from. From side control, I’ve a few go to attacks.

North South Choke

The North South Choke is my go to move. I have even tapped brown belts with it regularly. It is by far my highest percentage move, especially in competitions (people down the club expect it and resist it). However, as I encounter better opponents and become better known on the Irish competitive jits scene (there are only a few hundred people and the numbers fall off as people get better, I already know a lot of the refs and people in my division), its effectiveness will start to fall. I need to use it more as a threat and a launching off point than the final attack. If I can build attacks on top of it, I can use the threat of submission to open opponents up. I also could put some more work into the mechanics of finishing it. The Monson version has got me to about 80% with it but there are other experts on it and I need to track down their ideas too.

Knee Ride

I don’t use knee ride enough. It’s a strong position and I am decent at it. It’s also worth two points in competition. I need (pun not intended, then intended when I noticed it) to start to use it more and also to have a look at attacks directly from it. I’m not confident in my cross collar choke so should look at the potential for arm triangles and kimuras.

Arm Attacks

I have a reliable straight-arm/key-lock combination that I should break out more. The step over straight-arm in particular is worth investigating again; especially with the nastier cross face subtleties. It also has the potential to be tacked on to a NS choke threat… This is one area that has the potential to come on if I put the time into it.

Gi Attacks

This is a fresh area for me. Only in the last few months have I started to do any gi attacks from side control. The two that I’ve found most effective are the step over with the back of my opponent’s collar and the turn choke with my own lapel. I’m actively trying to incorporate more chokes like these into my game and, like the arm attacks, they have potential.

Arm Triangles

Another area that I’ve scratched the surface of but would benefit from more work. I have occasionally hit a D’arce choke off a failed NS attempt and need to reexamine it, particularly given my new game plan is to hit things off failed NS attempts! A failed arm triangle attempt also leads into arm attacks so in the interest of tying my whole side control game together, arm triangles are a high priority area.


My side control game is my best but also has the most potential. There a few areas where I’ve got 10% of the work done and I’m operating at 50% effectivness. With another 10%, I reckon I can get to the marvelous Pareto, 20% work done, 80% effectiveness. If I spend some time on arm triangles and the transitions between NS chokes, arm triangles, and arm attacks then my game will be developing to where I need it to be.