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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 November 2019

13/11/2019 - Teaching | Side control | Transition to mount (reverse scarf hold)

Teaching #914
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 13/11/2019

Short Version:
  • Scoop up their near elbow by scraping your hip along the around
  • Once their arm is up high, turn tightly into reverse scarf hold
  • Move your hips back, then drive your knee across
  • If you need to, block their knees with your arms
  • To finish, put your knee to the mat on the far side, pushing back to clear their leg

Full Version: This is the other main method I use for going to mount from side control. It involves reverse scarf hold, 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). While trying to scrape that arm off the ground, grab their triceps with your same side arm to help pull it out of place.

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 push back with your knee to clear the space. You can also try using the 'fishtail' method (slapping the mat with the side of your lower leg) when your knee touches the mat. You could possibly grab their belt or cup their far hip to stop them shrimping midway through. Either way, I'd recommend using steady pressure to get into place, rather than relying on explosive power, flexibility or luck.


Teaching Notes: Nothing I can think of to add here, though I guess I didn't mention the danger of that midway bridge, worth adding next time. Re-read notes, as ever, I don't always remember to check through my write up above (especially with the more basic techniques like this one). ;)

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