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Simple Concepts For Improving Your BJJ Side Mount

April 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 166

As a bigger guy, I love the top side mount position in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's the starting point for some of my best submissions: Americana (upward shoulder lock), Kimura (downward shoulder lock), and the head-and-arm choke. It is also a great position to maintain control of your opponent, letting them carry your weight for awhile and wear themselves out trying to escape.

In the classic top side mount position, you are laying chest-to-chest across your opponent; you on top, they with their back on the mat. In the examples to follow, you are positioned across your opponent's right side. To maintain your control, you will typically put your left forearm under your opponent's head, and bring your right arm under their left armpit. This underhook is very important to keeping things nice and snug when you clasp your hands together.

But since it's an easy position to maintain, it's also easy to make mistakes that reduce your effectiveness without knowing anything's wrong. If you find that you're not getting the success you want in BJJ competitions and training, improve your top side mount with these two simple ideas.

1) Drop your hips

Typically, when you're in top side, both of your knees are fairly close to your opponent, legs underneath you, in line with the rest of your body - you're on your hands and knees. The problem with this is that your hips are high. Not only is your center of gravity up, making you more susceptible to being rolled into a reversal, but the heaviest part of your body is not applying any pressure to make your opponent's life worse.

To change things for the better, slide your right knee in a little bit toward the center of your body. It's no longer blocking their right hip, so they could potentially use that space to slide their knee through and escape your side mount. But they won't be able to when you turn your torso toward their head, and drop your right hip into the space where your right knee used to be. If you did it right, you will hear a grunt as the air is forced from their lungs.

It's still important from this position to keep your legs spread out. When your right leg comes in, your left also has to move out. The best way to do this is to extend your left leg and put your foot on the mat. It should be in line with your opponent's head.

2) Climb higher

Tip #1 was solely about maintaining better control from top side mount, in a way that makes things worse for the poor soul underneath you. However, you really can't attack from that position. You have to come back to all fours. When you do that, you don't want to be down by their abdomen. Like with a great top mount position, the key is to keep climbing.

When you are in a high enough position, your left knee will be past your opponent's shoulder, as if providing a pillow for their head. Climbing this high does two very advantageous things. One, it allows for easier control of the top part of their body. Your opponent will not be able to fully extend their arms to keep you away, and you are avoiding the strength in their core and hips when keeping control. Two, you're positioned farther away from their legs. If you're down farther, it doesn't take much flexibility and motion to slide their right leg in between the two of you, eventually getting into guard. From your position up by their shoulders, they will have to literally fold themselves in half to get their leg in.

If they try to get their leg around, all the better for us. To do so will require getting on their side and shrimping away. As they get on their side, they lose much of the leverage they had against the mat to push us away. It will likely be easy for us to bring our left leg over their head, and end up in a north-south top position - a prime place to attack their left arm with a Kimura.

However, that's another technique, for another time....

Paul Herzog and his son Christopher have been taking judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instruction at Petushin Martial Arts since the new Rosemount, Minnesota facility opened in 2010. In addition to receiving some of the best grappling instruction in the Midwest, Paul has lost over 35 pounds, and Chris has gained strength and self-confidence. If either of those sounds appealing, please contact the academy at 612-991-9116 or go to to arrange your first visit!

Source: EzineArticles
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Top Side Mount


Side Mount Position


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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


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