Hidden Techniques for Maintaining Rear Mount

rear mount legwork

When people teach the rear mount they often show you how to get your hooks in to achieve the rear mount, and then they teach you a couple of submissions from the back.

Their idealized flowchart has two steps:

  1. Get your hooks in,
  2. Submit your opponent.

Oh, if only life were so simple!

The reality is that a LOT happens between you getting your hooks in and tapping out your opponent, especially if your opponent has any level of training.

Nobody likes being trapped in rear mount, and so your opponent will do everything in his power to get out. His escape attempts can lead to some crazy positional dogfights.

The sad fact is that many grapplers have no idea how to use technique to maintain the rear mount during these positional battles.  They usually just try to squeeze harder, which means getting tired a LOT quicker.

The good news is that there are some relatively simple adjustments that ensure you maintain control in the rear mount.  Once you learn these techniques you’ll find yourself using the whole time you’re on someone’s back, from the moment you get your hooks in, right up until he taps out from a choke or other submission.

So let’s break down maintaining the rear mount a little bit…

When you’re on someone’s back in rear mount you have to fight three simultaneous battles:

  1. The upper body battle which includes gripping, controlling and threatening the choke with your arms (typically you’ll be in the ‘Seatbelt’ or ‘Over-Under’ grip, where one of your arms comes over his shoulder and the other arm goes under his opposite armpit)
  2. The lower body battle to insert and retain your ‘hooks’ in the correct position (usually your calves will be pressing against the front of his thighs)
  3. The body orientation battle to keep your opponent on whichever side works best for you (typically you’ll want your opponent to be on his side, with your overhooking/choking arm closest to the floor and your underhooking arm on the top side)

This may sound like a lot of things to keep track of, but this complexity can work to your advantage if you know what to do.

Too often the rear mount ends in an exhausting stalemate.  Anyone can drop their chin and protect their neck with their hands.

Movement and struggle create opportunity. It’s a lot harder for your opponent to defend the choke during movement, especially when he also has to worry about the lower body battle and the body orientation battle at the same time.

That’s why if you understand the battle for the hooks and how the upper body game and the lower body game work together, you can keep your opponent on the run.  And in the fight for hooks, body orientation and grips you’ll be given some really good openings for submissions.

To understand the lower body battle check out the techniques that Emily shows in the video below. She’s learned many of these tricks, tips and adjustments from the master of the rear mount himself, Marcelo Garcia!

Even though this video clip is excerpted from one of my instructional products called ‘How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent in NO GI’ the concepts, tips and techniques shown below work pretty much the same in both gi and no-gi.

(And *ahem* that highly reviewed no gi instructional product is available both as a series of mobile apps or a 5 DVD set.)

Additional Resources


How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent in No Gi Mobile Apps

How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent in No Gi on DVD

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