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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

13 August 2014

13/08/2014 - Teaching | Women's Class | Maintaining Low Mount

Teaching #182
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 13/08/2014

In the first week, we looked at escaping the mount, followed by an attack from the mount last week. This week, I wanted to progress to holding that position, to provide a platform for attacking as well as giving the flip side to the escape I opened with. 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 (remember, you can always remove it for base if you're really getting thrown hard to that side) 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.

To do the trap and roll/upa escape we learned a fortnight ago, they will need to get control of your arm. So, don't let them grab it and crush your arm 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, though that does require a gi (there is a nogi version, but it isn't common). 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.

As ever, the mixed class was next, where we continued looking at butterfly guard.


Teaching Notes: This particular class is one I've taught many times before, as mount is a favourite position of mine. However, that's always been in a gi setting so far: the women's class is essentially nogi at the moment, which changes things in terms of attacks (in terms of maintaining, it's much the same, except that you can't grab the gi to anchor your hand under the head. Hooking into the armpit or grasping the opposite shoulder works too, so that isn't a big adjustment). There are even less submissions in a nogi mount, especially for me as I rely a lot on the gi for my attacking. The americana is pretty much the only attack I go for without a gi from mount.

After we had drilled the low mount, I decided to add in a quick detail on getting the americana from there, as everyone who showed up today had either been in the americana class last week, or was already familiar with the americana (it was really good to have Alex there, as she's experienced: that also meant she could act as uke). All I needed to mention was that if you have an arm under their head, then you can still lock up the americana, you just need to circle your arm around to put your elbow next to their head, or it will be hard to finish the submission.

I also covered a few things after getting questions, like on adapting the escape if they've got an arm under your head. That again is easy enough: you do a 'combing your hair' motion to trap their arm against your head, then complete the bridge and roll as usual. Pushing on their hip with your free hand can be useful to increase your leverage.

I'm especially pleased that it seems everyone is enjoying themselves, with lots of smiling and laughing during sparring. That to me is a sign of a good class: before anything else, jiu jitsu should be fun! :D


  1. Grapevine? If the person on the bottom straightens their leg, you've got a world of pain there. Put the hooks in and either cross your ankles or put them sole to sole in prayer mode.

  2. Ha - I have to disagree. I have heard that before, but in 8 years experience training and 3 years teaching, I've seen zero evidence, despite being on the receiving end of many, many grapevines and applying them myself.

    So I think it could be a terminology issue, especially as Rener and Ryron also include grapevining in Gracie Combatives? Though personally, I don't use the grapevine from mount as my legs are too short. ;)