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Keeping Mount with Bernardo Faria
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Keeping Mount with Bernardo Faria

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The mount is considered one of the best positions in jiujitsu for offense. The top person has so many options for dismantling their opponent: chokes, armbars, shoulder locks, back takes, etc. But to do any of these, they need to be able to hold this position against desperate escape attempts. 

Many beginners struggle to hold on to mount, particularly against bigger or more skilled opponents. This is because they are having trouble generating pressure needed to make the position uncomfortable and create openings that can be exploited.

In side control the top person can exert almost their whole body weight to pin the bottom player down. In mount this isn’t the case because the top player is on their knees, taking much of their own weight instead of being able to apply directly down on to the other person. 

So instead of raw pressure, Bernardo Faria has some simple tricks to help prevent basic escapes. Bernardo is a five-time world champion and is renowned for his focus on the simple fundamentals of the sport. 

 

One of the most common mount escapes that every white belt learns is the elbow escape, where the bottom person turns slightly on to their side, frames one arm against their partner’s hips and the other wedges inside the knee (sometimes called a box frame). This frame acts a barrier against the attackers lower body as the defender hip escapes and re-guard. 

First Defense

Bernardo’s response is simple. He takes his hand (same side as the one that his partner is framing against) and slides it deep under his partners head. He grabs their collar with a thumb in grip. Bernardo moves all his weight to his left side (opposite side that the opponent is trying to escape on). As part of this shift, his left knee moves down and out a little bit, towards his partners hips. If he doesn’t move his knee this weight shift is awkward and ineffective. 

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At the same time, Bernardo straightens his arm. Suddenly his opponent goes from escaping to being in the middle of a brutal cross face. Bernardo’s forearm acts as a barrier that is anchored by the collar grip, and the shifting his body weight to his left drags his opponent’s head that way as well.

This is an important mechanical concept across all of the grappling: where the head goes the body follows. A few common examples are collar ties in the stand up game, with collar grips breaking the posture down in guard, and cross face pressure in side control. If the head is pushed one way the rest of body will follow it. 

In this case, the head is being pushed away from the side the body needs to go to escape. The person on bottom will have no choice but to turn to the other side. This creates a nice flow drill where you and a partner can go back and forth to each side. If they can escape, reset. If you block the escape, they attack the other side. 

Nogi Variation 

For nogi, the technique is very similar. Without a collar to grab, Bernardo punches his arm under the head, connecting bicep to jaw line. Again, Bernardo’s left knee shifts down towards his opponent’s hips to make room for him to shift his weight. His hand cups the shoulder and drives the cross face into his opponent until they give up on the elbow escape. 

This version is more similar to how one would apply to the cross face in top side control. 

Both these mount retention techniques are simple to learn and rely on body mechanics rather then any natural attributes. They can be added to your game easily and increase the time you can stay in that dominant position.

Bernardo Faria is widely regarded as one of the best competitors of ALL-TIME. What's even crazier is that he is an EVEN BETTER TEACHER! Escapes From Anywhere By Bernardo Faria has all of the essential tools to get out of Jiu-Jitsu's most DOMINATING positions! Don't get stuck ANYMORE!

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