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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

14 February 2013

14/02/2013 - Teaching (Mount Top)

Teaching #094
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 14/02/2013

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There are two basic types of mount to choose from, which I'll call low and high. Once you've achieved mount, I find that low mount provides the most control. First off, you want to immobilise their hips, as their main method of making space is to bridge up forcefully.

Bring your feet right back, threading them around their legs to establish two hooks: this is known as a grapevine. Alternatively, you can also cross your feet underneath, which has the advantage of making it much harder for them to push your hooks off. Your knees are ideally off the ground, to generate maximum pressure. How far off the ground they are depends on your dimensions: the key is getting loads of hip pressure. Another option, which I learned from Rob Stevens at Gracie Barra Birmingham, is to put the soles of your feet together and then bring your knees right off the floor.

Whichever option you're going for, thrust those hips into them, using your hands for base, where again you have a couple of options. Either have both arms out, or put one under the head while the other goes out wide for base. Try to grip the gi material by their opposite shoulder, or even better, by the opposite armpit. Keep your head on the basing arm side, loading up your weight there. If they're bridging hard, you can switch from side to side.

A basic escape is to trap an arm, bridge and roll. So, don't let them grab your arm and crush it to their side. Instead, swim it through, like Ryron and Rener demonstrate in the third slice of the third lesson in Gracie Combatives. Be sure to do it one at a time, or you may get both arms squashed to your sides.

You can also turn to what’s called technical mount if they roll to either side. I didn’t go into too much detail on that, as that’s a whole other lesson in itself (which I last taught in conjunction with s-mount), but it is worth pointing it out as an option at this stage. I included the basic drill where you turn from side to side in the warm-up.

The drawback to the low mount is that there aren't many submissions from there: the ezequiel is one of the few high percentage attacks. In terms of their defence, they are mostly going to be trying to unhook your feet and digging their elbows under your knees, so you'll be battling to keep those in place.

To attack, you're better off climbing further up, into high mount. Again, you need to worry about their hips. To control them, put your feet by their bum, tucking your toes underneath: Roger Gracie points this out as of particular importance. In what you might call 'middle' mount where you're still over their hips, Saulo suggests that you 'ride' their bridges, like you were on a horse. Lean back, then as they bridge, lift up: you’re aiming to move with their hips, rather than just leaving a big space. So, this takes a good understanding of timing.

He also recommends against leaning forward, as he feels that gives them more space and leverage to escape. Hence why he leans back instead. Experiment, seeing how holding the head works for you versus leaning back. I think Saulo’s method requires more experience, and personally I feel unstable there, but as ever, I want to offer students choice whenever possible.

The danger of leaning back is when you're facing somebody with flexibility and/or long limbs. They might be able reach their legs over to kick into your armpits, either sliding out through your legs or pushing your over. You must control their hips with your feet, to prevent them from bending their body. Swimming the arms through might help you out here, this time against their legs, depending on how they attack. If they do get their feet in place, I generally grab on the back of their collar, stay really low, then attempt to gradually work my hips back to flatten them out: that worked for me last time it happened.

Another option is to move off their hips, shifting into an even higher mount. Gradually walk your knees into their armpits (pulling on the top of their head may help) being careful of the elbows. If they start to work an elbow into your thigh, twist to one side and raise that knee. Pull their arm up with whatever you can grab, then reinsert your knee. I've seen Rob S teach grabbing their sleeve with your opposite hand, while Mauricio likes to grab the elbow with their opposite hand and Felipe essentially shifts to technical mount for a moment.

A final thing I wanted to mention, from Demian Maia, is that you can also use the cross-face. If they turn on their side to get their elbow back in, you can use the cross face to bring their head out of alignment: moving them with their head is easier than trying to move their shoulders or arms or whatever. Also, the body follows the head, so they are going to have trouble bridging or turning if you've got a solid cross face.

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Teaching Notes: As before, I don't think the Saulo option was very popular, but I had enough time to teach it during the high mount section, so thought I'd throw it in there. The main interesting point to come out of this lesson from a teaching perspective was a reminder that different body types require slight modifications of a technique. I always use a low mount with my feet crossed under their bum, but then I'm small with short legs.

The taller people in class had rather more trouble. If they tried to cross their feet, they couldn't get them under the other person's bottom without messing up their posture on top. The other option was bringing their crossed feet out behind, between their partner's legs, but that makes them a lot more vulnerable to getting stuck in various escapes (like the heel drag to half guard).

I suggested trying standard grapevines if your legs are that long, although that does have the problem that people can unhook your grapevines and again go for an escape (which is the reason I cross my feet in the first place). Something for me to consider in future lessons, and perhaps watch how some taller grapplers use mount in competition.

From my own lineage, Roger is a good example, who I talked about in this lesson. However, I mentioned him from a high mount perspective rather than low mount. I'll have to see if I can find videos of Roger doing low mount: TrumpetDan most likely has it covered somewhere, as he has put up lots of good analysis of Roger's game.

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