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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

09 April 2013

09/04/2013 - GrappleThon In A Few Weeks & Teaching (Maintaining Mount)

Teaching #103
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 09/04/2013

If you're somehow not aware of the Team Lloyd Irvin scandal, then take a look at this great summary, ''. Irvin is sadly trying to bury the facts with SEO, so the more you can click on and link to Lloyd Irvin Rape, the better.

Update: Looks like TLI got hold of the original site and put in a redirect. However, the original content is still here.

Also, the GrappleThon is less than a month away! I'm trying to pull a press release together, so hopefully I'll be able to get that into a newspaper somewhere (last time I had the benefit of a professional press officer, so may not be as successful this time), but we'll see. We've currently raised £4,542.35, which is very cool: still taking donations of course, so if you'd like to help the cause, please go here. :D

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.

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.


Teaching Notes: This is becoming a fairly defined lesson now, but as ever I'm still looking for tweaks. I think that the opening section on low mount is rather lighter on detail than high mounts, so I can shift some parts across. Next time, I will add the arm swimming to low mount, leaving the cross-facing in high mount. The cross-facing is something I emphasised this time, as I personally find it useful. Also, turning to the side, lifting a leg slightly then pulling their arm.

Something else I will add next time is grabbing the head and using that to either stop them sliding away when you've got to high mount, or to help pull yourself up into high mount from low mount. I was reminded of it when sparring Geraldine (again: she's making a habit of being a useful training partner for things like this ;D), because I was commenting how people will try to slide back up under high mount. She immediately used it on me, quite effectively, which was cool.

I'm not sure if it is worth including the Saulo option, as I don't think many people use it (though I know one student specifically said it worked well for him, so I can't discount it). However, it is handy to demonstrate what you can do with a more upright posture, which leads into the warning about their legs reaching to grab your armpits.

While teaching, I used something I saw on a video a while ago, I can't remember who from (Jason Scully or Jeremy Arel, possibly?) Very simple, but to show hip pressure from mount, get the person you're demonstrating on to go through the alphabet without pressure. Then have them do it again, but this time apply pressure partway through. The change in voice hopefully gets a little laugh and helps solidify the concept in peoples' heads.


  1. Pretty sure it was Jeremy.

    It was a video about the cross collar from mount I believe.

  2. Cheers - yeah, it does sound more like him. I'll have to have a dig through my watch list on YouTube or something. Most likely I saw it on DSTRYR, as I don't tend to seek out videos online all that often.