Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 23/03/2016
There are two main methods I use for transitioning from side control to mount. The first method involves reverse scarfhold, where you switch your hips into a scarf hold position to pry their elbow up (you have the option to switch back to a more orthodox side control to trap their arm too). As experienced grapplers will tend to keep their elbows tight, dragging your hip along the floor and into their elbow should enable you to scoop up their arm. However you manage it, getting the near elbow out of the way is key to this particular technique for transitioning to mount.
Having killed the near arm, switch one arm to grip their far arm, putting your other hand by their near hip. Shift your hips right back towards their head, as far as you can. Your elbow will either be in their far armpit or wrapped underneath their far arm for control. This position means you're also blocking their view with your entire body. Lean into them, using your body weight to help maintain control.
That therefore stops them from seeing exactly what you're doing (note that when Saulo shows it on his DVD, he suggests you mess with them by slapping their legs, until you can pick your moment). When you've got up really high and are ready to go (at this point, they should almost be bridging to relieve the pressure), grab their knee to stop them snatching mount, then bring your leg across. Ideally, you'll pin their knee to the mat, squashing both their knees together.
If you're able to clamp their knees onto the near side, there is the possibility of inserting your foot behind their knees and switching through to mount. However, it generally isn't going to be easy to get them into that position, so I wouldn't rely on this, but still, if you can get it that's an easy route to mount. Second, you can grab your own foot and pull it across, or just squeeze it past your own arm, depending on your flexibility. This is useful when you have limited space, but personally I find it feels a little awkward, in that you might tangle yourself up in your own limbs.
Beginners will often try to simply swing their leg over, which is instinctive. However, while that can sometimes work, especially if you time it well, there are two main dangers. The first is that they will snatch half guard as your leg swings over, as it will normally be within range of their own legs. The second is even more dangerous. If they bridge into you midway through your swing, they can roll you onto your back and end up in your guard.
The safest option is to slide your knee across their belt line, then 'fishtail' (slapping the mat with the side of your lower leg) when your knee touches the mat. You can also grab their belt or cup their far hip to stop them shrimping midway through. I feel this is the best method, using steady pressure to get into place, rather than relying on explosive power, flexibility or luck.
Teaching Notes: I may remove the fish tail element, as that causes problems. Perhaps instead, I could teach driving your knee backwards once you've got it across their belt line, pushing into their hip and thigh? I can't remember where I first saw that (though I'm sure it's in my blog somewhere), but that should be a lot easier than the fish tail. Next week I might go with the diagonal side control to mount transition on its own, though I've also been considering teaching the baseball bat choke at some point. But as we've moving into mount next month, I think sticking with the transition makes more sense.