The Fundamental Rear Mount

In the last tip we talked about how you should (mostly) avoid crossing your ankles while rear mounted on your opponent. This week I just want to go over some fundamental tips that may help you maintain rear mount on an opponent trying to escape.

Let’s start with the feet, also called your ‘hooks’. Your hooks should not be in too deep or too shallow: if the back of your knees are resting on your opponent’s thighs then they are too deep. If, on the other hand, your feet are touching the inside of your opponent’s inner thighs then they are usually too shallow. Experience, gained from actual drilling and sparring, will teach you the positioning and maneuvering to best maintain contact with your opponent using your hooks.

Your hips should be square with, and slightly above, your opponent’s hips. Many of the escapes he will want to use involve twisting his hips and creating an angle between his hips and yours. A fundamental part of maintaining rear mount, therefore, is continuously shift your body so your hips stay lined up with his.

Finally we will discuss hand and arm positioning. There are many variations of how to place your arms, especially with the gi. I will just discuss just one of my favorites, which I teach to beginners on their first day and also use myself when sparring. Start with your right arm going underneath his right armpit and your left arm going over top of his shoulder. Link your hands together, palm-to-palm, with your right palm facing upwards and your left palm facing downwards. Your arms form a big loop, encircling his head and one arm. Usually your head is to the right side of his head. Your left arm is ready to choke him if he gives you even a moment’s opening.

The rear mount, properly executed, is one of the most dominant, devastating positions in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, submission grappling, and MMA. Hopefully some of the above concepts have either taught you something new or reinforced something you do already.

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