Mount: A Guide For Top And Bottom Mount BJJ

Mount is the most foundational position in BJJ. It’s where Royce Gracie always moved towards to ground and pound his opponents to force them to turn their backs so he could choke them, and today it’s still 4 points in BJJ competition. It’s also a position that can feel impossible to escape and frustrating to finish a submission from on top. In this article I try to give an overview of the most important techniques from mount so that you always have something to go for.

Contents of this article

mount BJJ

What Is Mount?

Mount is a dominant position in Brazilian jiu jitsu and MMA in which the top person is seated on the bottom person with the legs next to his waist (for the unacquainted it resembles the ‘woman on top’ position in the bedroom). It’s arguably the best position in MMA due to its potential for ground and pound and it’s worth 4 points in BJJ competition, which is the most, together with back mount which is also 4 points.

Why is Mount Important?

Mount is important in BJJ and MMA because it’s one of the most dominant positions you can get. It’s also one of the most common positions for fights to end in because of its potential for submissions and ground and pound. And it’s also a common position in a street fight, because it’s an intuitive position to take, even for people who don’t train Brazilian jiu jitsu.

What Do You Do In Full Mount?

If you’re on top in full mount you try to submit your opponent or take the back. And if it’s a self defense situation or mixed martial arts you can also ground and pound your opponent. If you’re on bottom in mount you try to protect yourself and to escape the position.

Which Submissions Can You Do From Mount?

From mount you can do several submissions, such as:

  • Americana
  • Arm triangle
  • Arm Bar
  • Mounted triangle choke
  • No gi Ezekiel choke
  • Cross collar choke
  • Mounted guillotine

Americana

The Americana is a great submission for beginners that attacks the shoulder joint. You wrap your arms around one of your opponent’s arms and twist his elbow to the sky. The Americana is one of the most common submissions at the 0 to 2 stripes white belt levels, but at blue belt level and higher it almost never happens, because it’s easy to defend. In the video below Andre Galvao explains how to do an Americana from mount.

Americana Lock From Mount by Andre Galvao

Arm triangle

The arm triangle is a head and arm choke in which you close one artery with your own arm and one artery with your opponent’s own arm. It’s a very solid submission, but it’s hard to master. If it’s performed perfectly it’s a clean choke, but most lower belts accidentally make it a neck crank. In the video below you can watch Lachlan Giles explain how to set up the arm triangle from mount.

Head and arm choke from mount (arm triangle) - Lachlan Giles

Arm Bar from Mount

The arm bar from mount is possibly the best submission in BJJ from mount. It’s a high percentage sequence in which you from mount through S mount and then to the arm bar. The challenge is to keep everything tight as you move through this sequence so that your opponent can’t pull his arm out. In the video below Firas Zahabi demonstrates the arm bar from mount.

Basic Armbar from the Mount. Key details - Firas Zahabi

Mounted triangle choke

A mounted triangle is the normal triangle choke with your legs but from mount. To do a mounted triangle you have to get one of your opponent’s arms out of the way so that your can trap one arm and the neck together with your legs, but this isn’t always easy. Therefore, the triangle choke as set up from mount is not very common. But, it’s still a powerful option, escpecially when combined with other attacks such as arm bars. In the video below Craig Jones shares a new setup for the triangle choke from mount.

New BJJ Triangle Choke Set Up On The Mount by Craig Jones

Cross collar choke

The cross collar choke from mount is a choke in which you close off both arteries by grabbing the collars of your opponent. It’s a simple submission to learn but a hard submission to master. At the highest level of black belt competition it’s not common. The only exception to this is Roger Gracie, who tapped out half of his opponents with this submission at the World Championships. In the video below you can watch Roger Gracie explain the details of his famous cross choke.

Roger Gracie, Cross Collar Choke: Jiu-Jitsu Magazine, Issue #27.

How to Escape from Mount

There are three ways you can escape from mount: the knee elbow escape, the trap and roll escape and the kipping escape. Each works best in a specific scenario where you get a specific reaction from your training partner.

The Knee Elbow Escape

The knee elbow escape is a mount escape with which you try to get back to half guard and then to full guard. It works best when your opponent is sitting upright at the height of your hips without controlling your head. In the video below you can watch John Danaher explain the details of the knee elbow escape.

How To Do The Perfect BJJ Mount Escape by John Danaher

The Trap and Roll Escape

The trap and roll escape is a mount escape with which you try to reverse your opponent and land on top in closed guard. It works best when you can trap your opponent’s arm and leg on the side you want to bridge them off of you. In the video below you can watch Rener Gracie explain the details of the trap and roll escape.

Gracie Combatives - Lesson 1 - Slice 2 (2-6)

The Kipping Escape

The kipping escape is a mount escape with which you try to get back to single leg x guard or another leg entanglement. This escape was popularized by John Danaher and Gordon Ryan, who use it very successfully in no gi jiu jitsu. The kipping escape works best when your opponent is leaning forward towards your head so that their hips become light. In the video below you can watch Gordon Ryan explain the details of the kipping escape.

Gordon Ryan Mount Escape (Kipping Escape)

How Do You Get A Mount in BJJ?

You can get a mount in BJJ through one of the following sequences:

  • You pass the guard directly to mount, for example with a smash pass
  • You move from side control to mount by stepping over your opponent’s legs
  • You sweep someone directly to mount from your guard, for example with a pendulum sweep from closed guard
  • You lose back control over your opponent but are able to retain mount control
Effective but Sneaky Way to Take Mount in BJJ

How Do You Hold A Mount in BJJ?

The key to holding a mount in BJJ is to recognize which escape your opponent is trying to perform and to keep upgrading your position. So if your opponent tries a kipping escape, you counter it by sitting up straight. If your opponent attempts a knee elbow escape, you dig an underhook. Once you get to double underhooks and a high mount position, your opponent won’t be able to escape.

Of course, this is easier said than done, and there are many details you need to learn to stabilize mount against an experienced BJJ practitioner. In the video below, the legend Roger Gracie gives you some tips on how to maintain the mount position. And in the second video my old friend Chewy has some useful tips as well.

Concepts for Maintaining Mount
How To Stop Losing Mount Position in BJJ (2 Fundamental Adjustments)

Who Has The Best Mount in BJJ?

Roger Gracie has the best mount in BJJ, followed by Gordon Ryan. Roger Gracie submitted 4 opponents from mount with a basic cross collar choke at the Worlds Championships in 2009, which is an unparalleled achievement in BJJ. Gordon Ryan made a point of finishing several opponents from mount at WNO to promote his BJJ mount instructional.

What’s The Best Mount BJJ Instructional?

The best mount instructional is Systematically Attacking From Top Pins: Mount by Gordon Ryan. That’s probably my favorite instructional of all time, together with the side control dvd in the same series. I used to find it very hard to submit people that are only focused on keeping their arms tight without trying to escape. Gordon Ryan taught me how to force my attacks on them and now I can always get into an arm bar and a mounted triangle. Thanks Gordon!

BJJ Mount Variations

There are three major mount variations in Brazilian jiu jitsu: standard mount, technical mount and S mount. Technical mount is when the bottom player is on his side and the top player steps up one leg, usually in preparation to take the back. S mount is when the top player is able to wrap his leg all the way under the opponent’s shoulder with his foot pointing north. The S mount is usually a preparatory step for attacking an arm bar from mount.