Learning to escape side control against bigger opponents is one of the most difficult things to do in BJJ, and many grapplers will struggle with this for years at the beginning of their journey. Thanks to Emily Kwok though, a huge number of them will be able to streamline that process by focusing on escapes that are specifically designed to work in spite of a size disadvantage. While it’s hard for any smaller grappler to escape any dominant position from under a larger opponent, it’s even harder for women in the sport. Not only will most women have a size disadvantage when training with men but the biological differences that come into play will only increase that disadvantage.
Side control is often regarded as one of the most difficult positions to escape from anyway, even without any size discrepancy coming into effect. This is especially true when the top player isn’t actually attempting any submissions or transitions and is content on simply controlling from that position. That’s one of the additional reasons that newer grapplers have difficulty in escaping the position when they first start, because their fellow newer grapplers might not be confident enough to do anything other than hold the position.
There aren’t many better sources of advice on how to deal with this problem than Emily Kwok either, as she was at one point one of the best BJJ competitors on the planet and is a well-respected coach. She won the IBJJF World Championship back in 2007 and that was at a time when there were significantly fewer women competing in the sport. Any woman who wanted to win at the highest level like Kwok would have been years training and sparring with men bigger than them on a regular basis. If anyone knows the best way to reliably escape side control when sparring with bigger opponents, Kwok would be one of the best candidates.
The footage of Emily Kwok explaining how to escape side control when going against bigger opponents was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Stephan Kesting: