12 April 2012

12/04/2012 - Teaching (Mount Escapes)

Teaching #049
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 12/04/2012

Tonight, it was time to again cover the two simplest methods of escaping the mount. Like last time, there were a few drills I wanted to include, beginning with shrimping in pairs (one person standing by the others armpits, bottom person shrimps back to guard). I also had them do bridges from side to side, then with a big step.

The first basic escape is the trap and roll. A typical starting point would be when they try to establish their first grip on your collar for a choke. That provides you with a chance to trap their arm. The usual grip would be to grab their wrist with your opposite hand, then their elbow with your other hand. There are various other possibilities, like wrapping the arm, but the essential thing is to stop their ability to post their hand for base. You could bump to knock them forward, meaning they will normally catch themselves by putting a hand on the mat. You can then bring your linked arms over that extended arm, bending their elbow and trapping the arm.

You also need to trap their leg on that same side. Otherwise, they will be able to use that for base as you attempt to roll them. In order to prevent that, step your same side foot over their lower leg, hooking it in tightly. This means they are now like a chair with two of its legs missing. A common problem is that you're having trouble trapping their foot, because it is too high up. If that happens, try to use your elbow (or even your hand, if you need more reach, but that could leave your neck vulnerable) to shove their knee backwards, until their lower leg is in range.

To finish, you're going to bridge towards that trapped side. As with the side control escape, get your heels close to your bum first for maximum leverage. Bridge up and over your shoulder, turning into their guard. Make sure that you're bridging over your shoulder and turning to your knees, not simply rolling over to your side. If you don't raise your hips properly, you may merely give up your back.

You can still trap and and roll if they bring an arm under your head: simply reach back as if you were combing your hair to trap their arm, then progress as before. Finally, you might find you need to remove their legs from being threaded in between yours (known as 'grapevining'). To clear them, bring one of your feet back to your bum, then push off their hook on that leg with your other foot. Another method, which Rener uses, is to just circle your leg around, though that depends on how well they're using their grapevine.

The trap and roll escape does work, but on its own may not be enough against an experienced opponent. Personally, I prefer the elbow escape, which relies more on shrimping than bridging. As a rule of thumb, if you're underneath, you don't want to be flat on your back. So, start your elbow escape by turning to your side and working your elbows inside their knee. Keep defending your neck throughout, so that your elbows form a frame. Create some space by bridging. You can then use your frame to help you shrimp into the space you just created, pushing against their leg.

The idea is to make enough space to pull your leg through: don't just bridge and plop back down. That leg will need to be flat, the other raised, or it will be hard to pull it free. After you're on your side, you can simply bump slightly, then simultaneously shove their knee with your elbow while sliding your flat leg underneath. Once it's out, you can then use that leg to wrap around one of theirs. Getting half guard may be a possibility here, but generally I'd recommend you keep working towards full guard. To do that, continue shrimping and framing until both legs are free.

You can also use a frame against their hips, one arm across, the other bracing against that wrist, elbow in tight. That's also handy for stopping them moving up higher in mount. However, be extra careful with your neck if you do that: as your arms are down by their hips, that could leave you vulnerable to chokes.

As with any technique, try to combine your escapes rather than obsessing over just one. Also, don't give them your head: that's what the person on top wants for control. Connected to that, make sure you always defend your neck and keep your elbows tight. I'm a small guy, so this is what I tend to do most classes: stay really tight, elbows in, knees curled up, not leaving anything loose for them to attack, or space for them to wedge their hands through.


  1. Combining escape techniques is wonderful advice. I am usually smaller than my opponents, and I have the best escape success when I try the hip-knee escape, then when my opponent attempts to grab my arm, I bump, then I sneak my knees in and obtain half guard.

  2. I rely way too much on the leg drag escape: it's pretty much the only mount escape I use. So, it's good to teach a class like this, as it reminds me to try and follow my own advice! ;p