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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

03 November 2011

03/11/2011 - Teaching (Attacking Mount)

Teaching #026
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 03/11/2011

Last week, I talked about maintaining mount using the s-mount and the technical mount. Tonight I wanted to show a few basic attacks from those two positions, starting with s-mount. The common option there is to go for an armbar, which is what I most associate with s-mount.

To remind you how to get to s-mount, shift up into high mount, knees into their armpits. If they're using a standard defence, with their arms crossed to protect their neck, your knees should have shoved their arms up. That leaves you space to slide a knee up to their head, turning to face their other arm, then curl the other leg around their armpit, so your foot is pointing to their head. Once you're in s-mount, the arm is often right there for the taking, as you've squashed their arms up onto their chest in the process of getting there. Slide your arm past their bicep, then secure that in place by gripping your own gi.

Lean forward to increase the pressure on their chest, which also makes it easier to bring your leg over their head. Alternatively, you can post your free hand by the far side of their head, using that for base to swing your leg round instead. Either way, at this point, there are two schools of thought. The first is that you should bring your heels in close to either side of their shoulder, squeezing your knees. The second suggests crossing your feet instead. Some people argue that crossing your feet makes it easier for the person underneath to fling your legs off, as well as reducing your downwards pressure. Others feel that crossing your feet helps to lock the shoulder in place. Experiment with both. When you drop back for the armbar, make sure you've slid down their arm close to their shoulder and their thumb is pointing up.

Before you can drop back for the armbar, they will probably lock their arms together to stop you. For the purposes of this technique, we'll assume they're grabbing the bicep of their free arm. There is a handy drill to work the grip break for this, which involves switching from side to side. Start by grabbing the outside of their far arm. Post your other arm behind you for base, or if you prefer, keep it hooked between their arms (which is perhaps better for control). Use that to switch to a crouch above them, then turn and adjust into s-mount on the other side.

If for some reason you can't land the armbar, or you want to try a different attack, then Aesopian (still haven't filled in his gi survey? Go here!) has a nifty method (he has more cool stuff from s-mount on there, if you're interested in playing more with the position) of switching to a triangle instead. You want the armbar, but once again they're using that bicep grab to block you. This time, you've going to shove the wrist of their free arm down, until you can bring your leg over the top. Push it through so that your calf goes to their neck. Lean forward and post your free arm on the far side of the mat, also using your near side leg for base. From there, you should now be able to triangle your legs, then bring your torso back to the centre for the mounted triangle (or roll to guard to finish it, if your prefer).

Another simple grip break I tend to use is to lean back towards their head, while you're still holding their locked arms. Draw a semi-circle with your body from there, swinging towards their legs. Depending on how they're gripping, that may pull the arm free: this one is probably best for when they're just clasping their hands together. However, keep in mind that there are many different grips they can use (clasping hands, grabbing their bicep, gripping their sleeve, holding under your knee etc), which an equally large number of grip breaks. So, don't rush when you're in that armbar position: maintain control, take your time and work out how best to dislodge their arm.

In technical mount, I like to go for a choke: there are several choke options from mount. For most of them, you need to get a hand under their top arm to grasp their nearest collar, then open it up. Your other hand curls around their neck, whereupon you can feed the collar for a tight grip.

For this particular choke, your first hand is now going to push through past the crook of their elbow, catching their arm in the process. Bring your hand behind their head, then pull your collar gripping hand back towards you, snaking around their neck. This should result in a tight choke: your first hand is mainly blocking their arm, rather than playing a major role in the choke.

Also note that it is tempting to try and use that grip on their arm to drop back for an armbar. It's a possibility, but be careful, as it is all too easy to leave sufficient space that they follow you round, ending up in your guard instead of at the receiving end of a submission. If you do want the armbar, make sure you post an arm by their head to stop them turning. Gradually bring your leg over their head, then slide down their arm and fall back towards their legs.


  1. The S Mount is my favourite set up for the arm bar. I was gonna cover it on my blog soon but I'll have to give it a miss for a while now.

    Great write up as usual mate \m/

  2. Thanks: out of interest, do you use it for anything else? I hadn't really thought of s-mount as a position in itself until recently, as I've also only ever learned it as a way to get the armbar. So, it was eye-opening to read stuff like Aesopian's attack series from there.

  3. Never have before but I'm making an agreement with myself that I'm going to vary my attacking subs from all over. So I think I'll be going for more mounted triangles or even try for the baseball bat choke from S Mount. There's even a cool shoulder lock variation that I've been tossing about in my mind. If I manage to make it work I'll get it on film and post it on my blog.