Video: Gordon Ryan Explains The Two Pathways to Escape Side Control

Gordon Ryan’s absence from competition doesn’t mean he’s been absent from teaching. Ryan’s recent instructional focuses on attacking from dominant top positions like side control and mount (“pins,” as he and his coach John Danaher call them). Check out the video below for a taste of this instructional, as Ryan explains the two major pathways to escape side control.

“Conventionally, there are jiu-jitsu based escapes, where my partner’s back stays on the floor, and there’s more wrestling-based escapes where my partner’s back comes off the floor, so we have to be able to deal with both,” says Ryan.

In short, jiu-jitsu players will tend to escape side control by trying to regain guard. Conversely, wrestlers will generally try to escape side control by getting to their base and trying to gain top position. By understanding these two basic pathways to escape, the top player can quickly shut down those pathways, and Ryan’s instructional explains in his full instructional exactly how to do that.

Gordon Ryan is widely considered the top pound-for-pound no-gi grappler in the world. Earlier this year, he announced an indefinite leave of absence from competition as he deals with ongoing stomach issues. He is undefeated in competition since 2018, and had looked dominant in 2021 so far with submission wins over Ronaldo Junior and Vagner Rocha.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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