Blueprint To Escape Side Control

Dan Faggella is back again with another course showing off the techniques that have made him one of the more successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belts in the USA.  As we all know, Dan weighs in at less than 130 pounds soaking wet and has made a name for himself by doing well in the absolute divisions of tournaments. That’s pretty crazy for a small guy.

In this course Dan Faggella shows off some great techniques that he personally uses for regaining in his guard and counteracting side mounts and Kesa Gatame. This was in response to a survey he took with all his students and online which identified that one of the greatest frustrations of lower level practitioners was getting pinned under side control. If that sounds like you, read on as you can get this course of next to nothing if you’re a fan of BJJ Video Vault.

But if you landed on this page just so you can get the exclusive package for BJJ Video Vault fans (e.g. Side Control Escapes Blueprint DVD, but also his Half Guard Escapes DVD and his Sneaky Side Control Escapes DVD all for $1), go to 3 x DVD for $1 Package

Blueprint To Escape Side Control


This source is rough around the edges in terms of production, but much like Faggella’s previous courses, he has not focused on getting HD video quality but instead choosing to focus on some very solid techniques. The techniques are presented in a sequential manner, making them easily absorbed and applicable; with an extra emphasis on practicality for smaller practitioners. Basically the details of each technique are examined in order to insure effectiveness for the smaller practitioners. However, the applicability for larger grapplers is obviously there as well.

Firstly Who is Dan Faggella?

Dan Faggella is a regular writer for BJJ Today and an intelligent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. He is a Pan-American Champion, as well as a writer (for many other large Jiu Jitsu magazines), and self-proclaimed “Jiu-Jitsu nerd”. Dan has made a name for himself as being one of the USA’s top absolute division competitors while weighing only 130 pounds. Take a look at the video below to see him take on a 240 pound man!

Production Quality

As I previously mentioned, this course is a little rough around the edges when it comes to video quality. Dan is often times a little muffled and a little difficult to understand while he is explaining his techniques. This is because the sound is not HD quality and nor are the images. So if you strictly want HD quality, this may not be for you. But given you’re getting this for next to nothing and not paying $147 for a DVD set, I’m not sure there is actually anything to complain about here.

Also, the camera angles are much improved from his previous courses that we have reviewed, but there is still some shakiness in the footage. The editing job is also adequate but when compared to some of the recent big DVD releases it doesn’t stack up. But as we said, it should stack up and that is not a fair comparison.

Techniques Shown

Dan breaks this DVD down into three main sections with sub levels of techniques for each; which includes: guard retention, under hook variations, and the skull crawl.

Guard Retention: This is a position that Dan is extremely comfortable working, as he slides in and out of the side control almost effortlessly. As you will find out when you acquire this course, when Dan says “Guard Retention” this means all the guards. He speaks about different techniques to recover the Full Guard and Butterfly Guard, but his main focus is the Half Guard; as he shows numerous setups to not only recover Half Guard, but also to take the back.

  1. Under Hook Variations: From here what I found most interesting and useful was the different ways to roll into single leg takedowns as well as taking the back. As a little guy, Dan is extremely quick and he showed some great clarifying details to speed up your movements when rolling into a single leg takedown. Obviously when you are on the bottom in Side Control you aren’t always thinking offensively, so Dan takes the time to go over some danger areas in leaving yourself open for submissions, and how to fix these problems.
  2. The Skull Crawl: This is definitely the most intriguing technique to me, as this is something I have never seen before. Dan has incorporated this technique into his game as a smaller man due to a lack of power in his shrimping movement. Watching Dan demonstrate this technique reminded me of a snake slithering of a crawl space. He uses the analogy of a kitten squeezing under a door, but you get the picture.
  3. Sub-sections: So during each of these sections, Dan goes through three main positions that the demonstrated technique can be used. He shows the classic cross body Side Control, the Kesa Gatame, as well as the more frustrating North South position. So once the you go through the videos you learn a plethora of techniques that can be applied in almost any situation and variation of Side Control.

Other Tips

One of the significant points emphasized in the course besides the overall techniques, was the attention to detail. As a smaller man, Dan knows first-hand that if your technique is not on point, there is a high probability that the technique won’t work or work efficiently. So Dan spends a good portion of time speaking about the little arm movements that make each move more effective, and demonstrates the differences between an improper movements etc.

Who Should Watch This?

I would recommend this DVD to all lower belts and smaller practitioners. The ability to escape the Side Control or regain guard is a technique that needs to be mastered if you want to have a successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game. With that being said, anyone who picks up a copy of this course will probably learn something new. It is extremely important to learn from smaller men and women, as their technique is always extremely precise and in many instances, better than larger practitioners. This is because they MUST rely on technique as the power and athletic game is simply not for them.

Also, if you are a larger or even average sized practitioner, be sure that you can incorporate some of these movements into your game as well. It will probably even come to you easier and it will grow your technique in leaps and bounds.

Closing Thoughts

As I have reviewed more more and more courses and DVD sets, I find myself at a cross road. This is undoubtedly a solid course with some great techniques, but it isn’t on par with some of the other DVD sets that I have reviewed recently. If you were to put this course next to Eddie Bravo’s “Mastering the Rubber Guard” DVD or Kennan Cornelius’ “Break Through Jiu-Jitsu”, it is not at the same quality level.

But here in lies the deciding factor. Those DVDs retail for over $100. This one you get for well, next to nothing (only if you’re a BJJ Video Vault fan). You can head over to special access page to get the course for $1.00. Yes, that’s one dollar. And there’s more.

As Dan is a writer for this website (BJJ Today), he will be offering not only the Side Control Escapes Blueprint DVD, but also his Half Guard Escapes DVD and his Sneaky Side Control Escapes DVD all for $1. That’s 3 DVDs for $1. And you may be asking why he would be offering that? Well, Dan is so confident that you’ll love the content that he is willing to let you have all 3 DVDs at next to nothing so you can test his stuff out. And if you then want to continue with his courses after 30 days, there is a membership fee (e.g. you will have to start paying). But even if you don’t continue, you still get to keep the 3 DVDs for just $1.

So head over to 3 x DVD for $1 Package

Also, you must be a BJJ Video Vault fan to be eligible so if you tell your training partners about this offer, make sure they head over to the BJJ Video Vault fan page at BJJ Video Vault Facebook and like the page first.

So go ahead and get a different perspective of our art from Dan Faggella, there is no such thing as having too many techniques. If you liked this break down of this course, feel free to LIKE the article to let me know. And let’s try to get as many SHARES as we can as to spread the word about this product!

Reviewed by Josh Leduc


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