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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

04 April 2016

04/04/2016 - Teaching | Mount | Maintaining High Mount

Teaching #488
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 04/04/2016

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, which will also stop them wriggling back out) 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.

The difficulty in reaching high mount tends to be getting past their elbows. The ezequiel choke is one way to get them to lift their elbow: as soon as they give you that space, shove your knee into the gap. To really fire the leg forward, you can push off your toes. Another option is to simply keep walking your feet up their sides, as if you were climbing up a wall. Every time you see a gap, fill it, until eventually you're up really high and their bridge is nullified. Finally, another nifty option is to push on their shoulders with your hands, stiff-arming. Putting your weight into their shoulders makes it hard for them to prevent their elbows rising, where again you can slip those knees in.

You will probably also want to anchor yourself in place somehow. Grabbing the top of the head is the simplest option. Alternatively, you can put your elbows on the mat, directly above their shoulders. It's important that when you get that space, don't let them have it back. Hooking under an arm and walking your fingers up can help make that space too. Finally, on a somewhat different topic, keep in mind that cross facing to stop them turning works from mount, just as it does from side control.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: Having added the ezequiel to the low mount class, I think although it does work ok in that, it would be good to show it in the high mount class too. It fits well as an option for going into high mount, particularly given the class still feels rather sparse. Having said that, I didn't go into detail on switching to technical mount, which would be another good option to add in. I could show switching to technical mount as they turn, as well as the back take from there. Or just keep including it in the warm-up?

In sparring, I was keen to practice driving a hand in, then working for a choke. Like last time we did mount month, I was looking for the Saulo choke. I encountered an interesting problem with that today, which was that my sparring partner's gi has slipped down his shoulders, so there was nothing to grab. Probably a good reminder to get back to working on the armbar. I've yet to work out a high percentage way to attack the mount. I can hold it against the average student (although my class is almost all white belts, so it's not been tested that much), but often struggle to then progress to something.

There was a point last yet where I was starting to feel confident with the mount choke, but that seems to have dropped off again. All about combinations, so I think the way to go would be armbar into a choke, along with technical mount options. I'll keep playing with that over this month. :)

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