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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

17 July 2013

17/07/2013 - Dónal Private: Ezequiel from Mount Series

Class #509 - Private #011
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 17/07/2013

The reason I started taking privates from Dónal was to cover off lots of the techniques I already know, adding in tweaks and refinements from Dónal. With another five or so more lessons, I'll have covered off the bulk of what I had originally planned, especially now that we have a drilling class on Sundays.

Today I wanted to look into attacking from mount. I feel relatively comfortable maintaining the position, particularly in low mount, but I struggle to get any kind of submissions from there. The main two I attempt are the ezequiel choke (which I've taught once before) and the americana, so that's what I wanted to focus on today. The main thing I like about the ezequiel choke is that you can do it from what I think is the strongest controlling mount, where you're low with your feet tucked under their bum and an arm under their head. The difficulty I tend to have is getting my choking hand through, as they can normally see what is happening and block it, or are simply staying too tight and defensive in the first place.

Dónal's solution was going for that ezequiel choke (sometimes also spelled ezekiel) as soon as you land in mount (a quick point on that: bring your head further out towards your basing arm to increase your top pressure). When your arm goes under their head, block their view with your own head, keeping three fingers extended on the reaching under hand. Those are going to shoot inside your other sleeve: because you're only using three fingers rather than four, you've increased your reach. Bring your sleeve arm through across their neck, then pull your three-finger hand elbow across as well (a tip from Caio Terra, apparently). From there, complete the choke as usual, doing a motion like you're attempting to decapitate them.

If as often happens they block your hand coming across, you can flow into the americana. In order to block, they will tend to cover by their jaw with their opposite hand. To do that, they will invariably raise their elbow. That's you chance to shove your knee into that space. Usually I slide up, to stay tight. Dónal does it differently: rather than sliding, go slightly on your toes, then drive your knee and hip straight in. This is faster and more powerful. Keep driving your knee inwards to really squash their arm into their face.

Your other leg also shoots up, putting their other arm in a similar position. This is very uncomfortable and doesn't leave them with many options. A common last-ditch escape they might try is bringing their legs right up into your armpits. If they try that, drop your shoulder, which should help unless they're incredibly flexible.

Due to the way their arms are tangled up, you may be able to get a wristlock (especially if their hand is bent into the mat at an awkward angle: just apply gradual pressure to their elbow), or an americana. Dónal normally does the typical paintbrush from here, but because of the position, I bent it against my leg instead, more like a kimura: Dónal decided that actually worked better, so we stuck with that.

Should that not work either, Dónal had a third option, taking the back. Their elbow will probably be up high, so you can push it with your arm, then bring your body around to press your ribs against their arm. Coming up on your toes and giving them a little room to rotate, roll them in the direction of the other arm, reaching under their neck to grab their opposite wrist.

This is the same as the gift-wrap, but you don't want to be too tight. That's because your other arm is going to go under their elbow, with the intention of grabbing next to your other hand. If you need to, raise up your elbow to create the space and angle. If it isn't already, bring your knee up by their head, then push forward with both hands, then use the momentum to roll backwards over your knee. Secure the back, then immediately go for what's called the short choke.

I've seen of version of this taught before. I first saw it on Demian Maia's DVD, then later got some additional tips at the second Leverage Submission Grappling seminar I attended a few months ago. Move your initial grip to their shoulder, digging under their chin to get your forearm tight into their neck: make sure your other grip keeps control of their arm. You might also want to try and control their other arm with your same side leg, if you're finding they are able get that arm in the way of your choke entry.

To finish, the method I use is anchoring my hand on the shoulder, then driving my own shoulder into the back of their head as I expand my chest, as if I was trying to touch their other shoulder. Dónal's method is slightly different, as he brings the elbow of his choking arm back, so it is towards their same side shoulder, then squeeze his arm for the choke. They both work. :)


  1. The Ezekiel from mount has been my go-to lately since everyone has stuffed the rest of my game. It really works! Won my final tournament match this past weekend with it. It can get TIGHT. Have fun with it and make it your own!

  2. Yeah: I can land it on white belts and sometimes early blues, but against anyone that knows what they're doing, I tend to end up just maintaining the position after failing to jam that hand through. The tips from this private should hopefully give me a lot more options. :)