Rickson Gracie Black Belt Shows “Chill Out” Side Control (Scarf Hold)

Rickson Gracie Black Belt Shows “Chill Out
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What is the easiest side control variation you can hold to completely and utterly pin somebody down? It is a scarf hold variation called Chill Out Side Control developed by Rickson Gracie black belt Henry Akins which not only completely pins somebody down but allows you to submit them easily while chilling on the spot. 

Henry Akins’ “Chill Out” Scarf Hold Side Control

Henry Akins is a Rickson Gracie black belt and the person who was Rickon’s head instructor for a very long time. He has a knack for making all of Rickon’s concepts and approaches to BJJ, like connection and pressure, simple to understand. 

His Chill Out Side Control pressure position is very simple for everyone to use immediately and with great success. 

The scarf holds variation works because pinning is not just based on pressure or blocking movement, but rather both, making it impossible for the other person to escape. If they manage to beat one or the other, there is always something in place to keep them pinned.

On top of that, Henry introduces immediate submissions based on the highly predictable ways in which the bottom person can move. 

Henry Akins scarf hold
Henry Akins instructional preview

Pinning Pressure

The scarf hold position is similar to Judo side control, (Kesa Gatame) with one really important distinction – the arm does not go behind the opponent’s neck but rather underhooks their far side shoulder. 

This provides a much more secure position because both shoulders are under the control of your arms. Furthermore, that far arm of yours goes around the opponent’s upper arm, as you aim to cusp your ear with your palm, essentially resting your head on your hand. 

Your near arm holds a shotgun grip on the opponent’s near arm, just like you would in Judo side control. 

The pin is due to the direct control of both shoulders. If the bottom person tries to pull either arm out, they simply pull the top person’s weight on top of them even more. 

The pressure comes from lifting everything off the ground, essentially keeping only your feet and the elbow of the far arm in contact with the mats. 

This pressure-pin combination will exhaust anyone while you simply rest in chill side control. 

Submission Attacks

There are three immediate submission attacks available from the position, without you having to risk losing control or having to transition far. You just keep chilling in the scarf hold as you get taps. 

Paper Cutter Variation

The Chill Out Side Control offers a nasty paper cutter choke without the need to hold the opponent’s collar, which makes it a viable option even without a Gi. 

All you need to do is thread the hand of your near side arm across the opponent’s neck, looking to grab the far side collar. As long as you can keep the opponent’s head looking straight up, which is easy via your palm, you’ll be able t easily choke them out by placing your elbow on the mats first and driving it towards their ear. 


When people inevitably start to try and pummel their arms around to create space or alleviate pressure, you simply take the arm they are providing you with and execute a joint lock.

When the far side arm tries to get in front of your head, you simply grab the inside of their wrist with your other arm. This puts you in a position for an immediate and brutal Americana, as your other arm is already in place to lock the figure four grip. 

Straight Armlock

Another chill submission you can do from this scarf holds variation is a straight armlock on the near side arm. 

When your opponent decides to wiggle this arm free and tries to alleviate some of that paper cutter pressure or push your head, you simply allow them. This puts their arm across their chest and in the perfect position for an armlock. 

All you need to do is step over their head with your far leg, turning your hips towards the mats. This traps the arm in place so that you can use the elbow of your far side arm to pull the trapped arm towards your hip, thus executing a very painful straight armlock.

Final Thoughts

This Chill Out Side control is extremely effective and will help you pin and submit even higher belts with relative ease once you get comfortable with it. It is like scarf hold on steroids, providing some crazy pinning pressure and inescapable submission holds.

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