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Trouble Controlling the Mount? There’s a Common Theme You Might be Overlooking
The concepts of effectively controlling the mount position may be some of the toughest to grasp in BJJ.
The stability and control that are required to maintain the mount did not come easy to me, and still manage to throw me for a loop to this day. Watching monsters of the mount position over the years such as Saulo, and Xande, Roger Gracie, and other titans of the sport, had always left me puzzled as to how they were able to control the mount with seemingly no effort. These players ride the waves of the mount position, and tame their opponents with such domination, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the incredible amount of skill. Of course, there is hours and hours of consistent training at play here, but why do some do it so much better than others?
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Let’s take a look at a couple of different videos with mount control in mind. This first one is from Marco Barbosa. It’s short, but he offers some nice ideas here for maintaining the mount. Have a look.
Barbosa demonstrates the possible pitfalls of being “head to head and belly to belly”. It seems in this position we are more affected by our partners hips. When they move, we move. This makes for a difficult ride in the mount, and it keeps our hands busy, having to constantly stabilize our balance. Barbosa offers the suggestion of placing his bodyweight over the head, this steals power from the bridge. It also constricts the ability to move the head, which in turn will make a bridge, and other escape-based movements much more difficult. With his body forward and his pressure focused more over his opponent’s head, Barbosa is able to use his feet to mitigate the movement of his partners legs and keep them at bay. Interesting mechanics at play here.
In this second video Murilo Bustamante gives us a quick bit of insight into one of his mount concepts. Check it out.
In this video with Bustamante we can observe some similarities in ideology to the Barbosa video. Most notably having a strong connection to our partners hips. In this case Bustamante references squeezing his partner with the legs, and refers to it as a poor choice, as it keeps us so connected that we experience and must deal with every movement our opponent makes from the bottom.
Bustamante remedies this by spreading his knees wide and tucking his feet under the butt. This increases his stability when dealing with bumps from his partner, and it helps him steady the position.
This third video comes from ChewJitsu. Again, more common ground here where the hips are concerned. Give it a watch.
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There’re a couple ideas here to consider as well. He prefers to cross the feet under the butt. This transfers our bodyweight and an incredible amount of pressure to our partners hip area, making it difficult for his hips to be effective. When you try this, I always likened the position and distribution of pressure to pretending your skydiving. When you cross your feet take your hands off the floor and lift your chest. This will let you and your partner feel the full power of this position. He also couples this with scooping the head and lifting it, which further impedes any bridging movement from your opponent. I find this difficult to do sometimes, especially with a larger, stronger partner, but if you can make it happen, it will definitely increase your ability to wrangle your opponent from the top. Great stuff!
So, we’ve seen 3 different videos, with three different practitioners. The first one chose to utilize a high position in the mount. The second remained in a middle mount position. And the third player used a lower mount position. This is a matter of preference, but they all have something in common.
I feel that one of the most shared themes here is how you deal with the power of your partners hips. We witnessed how to negate the hips, how to ride them without compromising our balance, and also how to compress them so much that they almost become useless to your opponent. When we’re attempting to get the job done in the mount, we can’t keep pausing to recover. If our partner is able to constantly keep our hands busy, our chances of mounting a solid attack before we get thrown from the potion are pretty low. We have to find a way to take the mobility and power out of our partners hips so we can stay the course.
I hope this little study connects some dots if you’re like me and have struggles with the mount. There’s lots of answers, figuring out which one is right for you can be challenging. Keep searching until you find what fits your jiu-jitsu!
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