Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 20/04/2012
Tonight Geeza discussed the transition between side control and mount. Unusually, he demonstrated mount to side control, which isn't something you'd typically expect: on the one hand, that's dropping down the positional hierarchy, which isn't normally advisable. However, if you're about to lose position, it makes sense to go for one almost as solid before you fall even further down, such as into guard or half guard.
Another interesting comment Geeza made was that he feels that side control is preferable to the mount if your opponent is going nuts trying to escape. If you'd asked me which I prefer a year ago, I would have said side control, no question. More recently, I've been feeling increasingly comfortable in the mount, so now I'm not sure (although on the other hand, on the rare occasions I do submit somebody, it's almost always from either side control or top half guard and pretty much never from mount).
So, if you find that they're about to escape by turning and bridging, then you can switch from mount to side control by swinging the leg (on the side to which they're turning) over their head. Turn your body to face the mat, swinging your other leg around in the process. You can then reverse by swinging back over their head, to land in s-mount (particularly if they turn towards you after you've just spun to side control). Essentially, you're breakdancing on them, which looks awesome if you get it right, but it's a risky move.
A safer transition is the standard side control to mount. Secure a solid side control with one arm under the head, cross-facing, while the other goes under their far armpit. Prying their near elbow open with your near knee, bringing that in tight to put their near arm out of commission. Crawl up towards their head with your far side hand, then slide your knee across their belt line. Once it's far enough, turn your body slightly to slap the side of that foot on the mat (to avoid getting stuck in half guard), then secure the mount.
We finished up with a bit of specific sparring. Geeza put an interesting twist on it, as you could start in either side control or mount, but the goal was to make at least two transitions. That was good for the person on top, as it forced them to work their mobility rather than clamping down in a static hold, while the person on the bottom could work on timing their escapes with those transitions.
On top, I tried starting in both side control and mount, generally going for side control with the less experienced training partners, as mount seems almost unfair in that situation. I didn't with everyone though: one of the blues quickly punished my sloppy attempt to switch to mount from side control by catching my leg in half guard. It's always good to get a reminder of the danger that comes with trying to rush that transition.
From mount, as Geeza said, it's easier to make that transition, because you're starting in a more dominant position. It also gave me a chance to practice holding mount against someone much bigger. My tactic of loading up my weight on one side by putting my head in the opposite direction when they roll (something I learned from Roger, IIRC) wasn't quite enough when the size difference is really big, or rather, I need to pull it off perfectly when the discrepancy is that large. Another good lesson to keep in mind.
Underneath, the person on the bottom almost had the advantage, as the person on top had to move. It was mainly a matter of waiting for them to start shifting their weight, or baiting them into motion. I like the drill, so something I'll look to incorporate into mount lessons in future. It would combine well with the Saulo side control, as that's a fluid position. Also, I'm not sure what criteria Geeza uses, but I got a stripe.