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Mastering the Art of Mount Escapes in BJJ

January 25, 2024
The mount grappling & BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that emphasizes ground fighting and submission holds, requiring both skill and strategy. One of the critical aspects of BJJ is mastering escapes, particularly from the mount. The mount, a dominant position where one person sits on the other’s chest, is one of the strongest positions in BJJ, giving the top player a significant advantage. From the mount, the fighter has many submission options, limiting their opponent’s mobility while keeping them pinned to the mat.

Escaping the mount can feel like an insurmountable challenge at first, but it is an essential skill for any practitioner of BJJ.  This comprehensive guide will teach you the proper techniques for escaping the mount and regaining the advantage. 

Preventing the High Mount

Being able to escape the mount is critical, but your ability to limit your opponent’s advantage is just as important. In the high mount, a BJJ fighter focuses on controlling their opponent’s chest by sitting on it or the belly, severely limiting their ability to breathe and move. You want to do everything you can to prevent your opponent from putting you in the high mount because you won’t be able to use your elbow or hip bridge escape from this position.

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Before worrying about learning escapes, you need to hone your guard retention and distance management skills. Of course, you will inevitably face someone who passes your guard and attempts to hold the top position. At this moment, it is critical to fight to limit their positioning and keep them over your hips. Establish a frame against the top opponent’s waist with your arms and hands to prevent them from advancing up your torso. If you can keep your hips under your opponent, you can use your power and mobility to escape. They will neutralize your ability to break their positioning if they manage to secure the mount on your chest and belly.

Now, let’s talk about escapes:

Upa (Bridge and Roll) Escape

The Upa Escape, commonly known as the Bridge and Roll, is a fundamental technique in BJJ. This move involves a combination of bridging and rolling to dislodge your opponent. The Upa Escape requires timing and strength but is highly effective even against larger opponents. 

  1. Positioning: Start by lying on your back with your opponent mounted on top. Keep your arms close to prevent arm locks.
  2. Bridge: Explosively bridge your hips upward, lifting your opponent slightly off the mat.
  3. Roll: Choose an arm of your opponent’s to trap, and then roll towards that side, using the momentum to reverse the positions.

Elbow Escape (Shrimp or Hip Escape)

To execute the Elbow Escape technique, you have to create space and move your hips out from under your opponent. Shrimp is particularly useful when your strength alone is not enough to escape. Here’s how to perform it:

  1. Create Space: Use your arms and elbows to create a frame against your opponent’s hips, as discussed above.
  2. Shrimp Movement: Push off the mat with your feet, moving your hips to one side, away from your opponent.
  3. Regain Guard: Slide your knee between you and your opponent, bringing your elbow and knee together, and establish half guard.  

Knee-to-Elbow Escape

The Knee-to-Elbow Escape is a variation of the Elbow Escape that offers an alternative method to regain guard. To execute this escape:

  1. Frame Creation: Start with a frame against your opponent’s hip using your elbow.
  2. Bridge and Connect: Perform a slight bridge and slide your knee towards your elbow on the same side.
  3. Recover Guard: Use the space created to insert your knee and transition to a guard.

Foot Drag Escape

The Foot Drag Escape is a lesser-known technique but can be highly effective. It begins the same as the shrimp escape but has some noticeable differences. This escape is unique in its approach and can be a surprise element in your arsenal. Here’s how it works:

  1. Positioning: Create a frame against your opponent’s hips while you shift your hips to one side.
  2. Control the Foot: Using your foot, reach for your opponent’s foot on the side you intend to escape.
  3. Drag and Shift: Drag the foot across your legwhile simultaneously shifting your weight.
  4. Escape to Side Control: Use the created space to escape to a side control position and go to half guard, where you can calculate your next move.

High Bridge Escape

This is an advanced version of the Upa Escape and is effective when a standard Upa doesn’t create enough momentum. It involves:

  1. High Bridging: Perform an exaggerated bridge, lifting your opponent higher.
  2. Trap and Roll: Similar to the Upa, trap an arm and roll towards that side.

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Leg Over Head Escape

This escape is more complex and requires flexibility and timing but is highly effective:

  1. Leg Positioning: Swing your legs up towards your opponent’s head.
  2. Create Leverage: Use your legs to create leverage and off-balance your opponent.
  3. Escape to Top Position: Use the momentum to reverse the positions.

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Buck and Push on Knee

This simple yet effective escape is quick and creates immediate space:

  1. Buck Up: Perform a quick upward buck to create space.
  2. Push on Knee: Immediately push on your opponent’s knee to create more space and slide your leg against their opposite leg to get it free.
  3. Escape to Guard: Push their legs away and use the space to regain a guard position.

Heel Drag

This is a subtle escape focusing on leg manipulation and is particularly useful against opponents focusing on upper body control.:

  1. Grab the Heel: Reach for your opponent’s heel near your hip.
  2. Drag and Shift: Drag the heel across while shifting your body to the opposite side.
  3. Regain Guard or Side Control: Use the opening to regain a more advantageous position.

Double Ankle Grab Sweep

This technique involves a sweep from the mount and can catch an opponent off-guard, especially if they are unbalanced:

  1. Grab Ankles: From the bottom, grab both of your opponent’s ankles.
  2. Sweep: Use your legs and hips to sweep your opponent backward.
  3. Transition to Top Position: Capitalize on the sweep to gain a top position.

Trap and Scoot

This technique is a combination of trapping an arm and scooting away:

  1. Trap an Arm: Trap one of your opponent’s arms against your body.
  2. Scoot Away: Use your legs and remaining arm to scoot your hips away from the trapped arm.
  3. Escape to Guard: Use the created space to regain a guard position.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced practitioner, understanding and practicing these escapes can significantly enhance your ground game. Visit nagafighter.com for more information on BJJ techniques and training. And remember, the key to mastering any escape is consistent practice and a willingness to learn.