Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 08/04/2015
From the low mount, your attacking options are limited. I've found the most reliable is the ezequiel choke, which has the advantage of being low risk and also opening up a route to high mount even if you don't get the choke. To begin, you need to get one arm under their head. Many people will just give you that space as they try to escape, but if not, you can press into their neck to get them to raise their head.
Once you have an arm under the head, you can progress to the next stage. To get the choke, you need to block off both sides of their neck. For the first side, you're going to use your gi. With the hand you have under their head, grab your free sleeve. Pull it tight to the nearest side of their neck. Remember that it is the sleeve that is applying that half of the choke, not your hand. You therefore need to pull that sleeve across and into their neck. You may need to grip the sleeve with less fingers to increase your range, so that you are pulling gi material into their neck.
Curl your free hand in past their chin, moving it across their neck. Keep reaching, until you can make a chopping motion down into the other side of their neck. Make sure you're pressing into the side of their neck, not the throat (although crushing the windpipe may still get a tap, it isn't as efficient). To finish, pull on the sleeve as you chop. If you need to increase your leverage, raise up slightly (some people will even put a foot by the head to really drive). However, be aware that giving them more space could lead to an escape.
Obviously it isn't going to be that easy in sparring. They're going to be blocking you with their hand, trying to buck you off, disrupting your attack any way they can. To avoid that, there are a couple of options. One is to slip your arm inside their defending arm, pushing your arm through, then driving your elbow to the mat. You can then slide that arm back to trap their arm to their side, clearing the way for your choke attempt. Alternatively, they may give you the opportunity by pushing on your knee.
Fill up the space by sticking your head right next to theirs. Use this as both a means of control and a barrier against their efforts to get a hand back inside. Stay low, then gradually slip in your second hand. Again, they may give you the opportunity by bridging. If they are staying really tight, use your head to push into their skull, aiming to get them to turn it away. When that space appears, follow your head with your hand, then slip through for the choke.
Teaching Notes: I want to emphasise pulling the elbow across next time, in order to get the gi sleeve into the neck. Lots of people ended up with their hand up high, because they were focusing on getting a firm grip on the sleeve rather than creating that cord of sleeve for the choke. Of course, it is also important to note that sometimes the gi may just be too tight for an effective ezequiel choke.
In that situation, you can instead use it to get them to raise their elbow, enabling you to move into high mount. Another option is to pull their gi lapel over their arm (e.g., if they're blocking) and feed it to your other hand. Pull that close to the neck, then slip your other hand inside, finishing off the choke as before.
It's not as effective as the orthodox grip and tends to require more leverage, but a handy potential variation if your gi isn't baggy enough. Also, I'd like to highlight reaching the arm inside to clear their arm out of the way, as that's useful for the choke set-up.
Tonight was my first time teaching on the big mats downstairs. It is awesome having all that space, but sound is trickier than the smaller room upstairs. Not only is downstairs huge, so your voice has to carry further, but there are people lifting weights and exercising all around the outside. The sound system wasn't working too well either, but I think I have a back-up plan (and if that fails, I'll look into getting some good portable speakers for my phone, so the timer is suitably loud).