When sparring, anytime someone would get me in side control, I would instinctively reach up and try to trap their head. This movement was wrong and got me into all sorts of trouble while rolling.
Recently, my professor was watching me and asked me, “Why are you hugging him?” while referencing my arm coming around the head. He directed me to instead when I head into that position, work for an underhook. Immediately, not after hugging him, because he caught me doing it again.
The reason I’m pointing this out is because the last couple of days I have been catching myself immediately working for the underhook when I end up in side control. I don’t have all the necessary tools to submit or work well off of my back, but I have been trying to improve on that, and this small tip has proven really helpful for defending.
Sure, I have no idea what I can do once I’m there, but getting used to the motion, and breaking out of the habit of reaching up and trying to headlock my opponent is a start. We are building the foundation, and these basics are crucial.
So, if you find yourself with someone on top of you in side control, try and work for that underhook!