Cheat Death...and Escape The Mount
In the a street fight situation arguably the worst place you can possibly be is in bottom mount, the aggressor on top of you holding you down with all his weight and having the ability to land full force deadly strikes to your head and face.
This is why escaping the mount is typically one of the first things we learn in jiu jitsu. If nothing else, simply being able to off balance your attacker and get them to a position where they can’t deliver strikes is crucial to your survival.
In jiu jitsu we know that on the mats being in bottom mount puts us at risk of submission attempts of all kinds, as well as the simple fact of physical exhaustion. It can be extremely tiring for the person on bottom to work trying to escape the mount whereas it is rather simple and requires little effort to maintain the dominate top position. In addition to the threat of submissions, we know if our opponent is able to secure this position in a points based tournament they will earn points and have the rather easy ability to maintain dominance unless we disrupt it.
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Let’s breakdown How To Do The Perfect BJJ Mount Escape with Professor John Danaher and Professor Bernardo Faria to see their advice on how to get out of this what could be deadly position.
The first step Professor Danaher talks about in understanding how to escape is first understanding the wedges that allow the opponent in the top mount position to maintain the mount. The first wedge is the feet tucked under the bottom persons hips with an additional optional wedge of one arm under the head.
Shrimping is key to a successful elbow escape. Professor Danaher warns that shrimping is not just a simple warm up, it is the foundation of a successful bottom game in jiu jistu. In this video he breaks down two types of shrimping, the sliding shrimp and the power shrimp.
When doing the sliding shrimp you should be lifting your hips off the mats with the only points of contact on the mats being your foot and your opposite shoulder. Once the hips are lifted off the mats, the goal is to shoot your hips back creating an L shape with your body and ideally landing your hips where your shoulder line previously was. Professor Danaher again warns about the dangers of being lazy with this movement and not practicing a full range of motion shooting the hips all the way up to the shoulder line.
“What the hell is a power shrimp?”
A power shrimp is a shrimp movement executed while bridging. Start with brining both feet close to your butt and pointing one knee out. When you bridge up your knee that is pointed out should touch the mat and you should be on a single shoulder with your upper body mostly on your side. The points of contact on the mat when doing this movement should be your foot and opposite shoulder along with your knee that was initially pointed out. Professor Danaher states that the key to success with any elbow escape is a power shrimp followed by two sliding shrimps to first off balance the opponent, then create the space needed to execute the escape.
Let’s look at the details of the escape.
First and foremost, we need to establish a strong frame. To do this, one arm is placed with your forearm across the opponent’s waistline with that hand cupping the hip. The second hand then is placed on top of your first hand pushing and reinforcing your frame to make the frame very strong keeping what little space you have on the bottom.
Once the frames are established the next motion must be a power shrimp. Professor Danaher mentions a common mistake here is starting with the wrong body movement. A lot of jiu jistu practitioners start with a sliding shrimp which doesn’t off balance the opponent and in turn, allows them to continue to follow you as you execute sliding shrimp after sliding shrimp across the mat.
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In addition, once we have the frame in place, we must trap the foot and point that knee in the direction we want to shrimp allowing us to do the single shoulder bridge followed by a shrimp (aka: power shrimp). During this bridge it’s important to remember the key is to be on a single shoulder, simply lifting the hips straight up and being on both shoulders will make it nearly impossible to off balance the opponent. In addition, it’s important to keep your fingers pointed toward the mat and your elbow tight to your side, preventing the opponent from getting an underhook.
After executing the power shrimp, the knee that was pointed away should easily slide inside the opponent’s thigh creating a butterfly hook. From here we can continue pulling that leg out as we now execute a sliding shrimp in the opposite direction to create the space needed and finally one more shrimp in the original direction allowing space for your opposite leg to escape and wrap behind the opponents waist and locking up our guard.
Keep in mind if you prefer to play open guard, half guard, butterfly guard, or anything other than closed guard you can stop this escape once you’ve reached that point.
Like anything, it can seem impossible, until it’s done, and it’s all about the details. Looking at the details from Professor Danaher on how to escape the mount, the common mistakes we make, and why we may not have a high success rate with our escape is crucial in understanding the perfect mount escape and being able to execute it reliably on the mats, or worse, in the streets.
The amazing John Danaher has released his first DVD in the Gi! Check out his DVD "Go Further Faster: Pin Escapes and Turtle Escapes". This fundamental DVD will give you the technique and insight to get to a higher level in the sport and second, to reduce the time ordinarily taken to get there. Check it out here!
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