mount escapes

Master Jiu-Jitsu Mount Escapes with This Must-Read Guide

The mount position is a dominant and controlling position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) where one practitioner sits on top of their opponent, straddling their torso and controlling their upper body. 

It is considered one of the most advantageous positions in BJJ, offering great control and the ability to launch powerful attacks. From the mount, the person on top can apply submissions and strikes and effectively nullify their opponent’s movements.

While catching in the mount can be highly disadvantageous, mastering mount escapes is crucial for any BJJ practitioner. Mount escapes are essential for effectively defending against skilled opponents and regaining control in a match. 

With a solid understanding of mount escapes, one can be protected, exhausted, and vulnerable to submissions or strikes.

The primary goals for the person in the mount position are to maintain control and impose their will on the opponent. The key objectives include:


  1. Control: The person in the mount aims to establish a strong base and secure control over their opponent’s upper body. This involves distributing their weight evenly, staying balanced, and using their legs, hips, and arms to control the opponent’s movements.
  2. Limiting mobility: By establishing a tight mount, the person on top restricts their opponent’s ability to bridge, roll, or escape. They use their hips, knees, and chest to pressure and immobilize the opponent’s hips and shoulders.
  3. Attacking opportunities: While maintaining control, the person in the mount actively seeks opportunities to launch effective attacks, such as submissions or strikes. They aim to capitalize on the positional advantage and exploit openings created by their opponent’s defensive reactions.

Common challenges faced by the person in the bottom mount

Being trapped in the bottom mount can present numerous challenges and disadvantages. The person on the bottom must contend with the following:


  1. Limited mobility: The person on the bottom mount has restricted movement due to the weight and pressure exerted by their opponent on top. It becomes challenging to bridge, roll, or create space to escape.
  2. Vulnerability to attacks: The bottom person is susceptible to a wide range of attacks, including submissions such as chokes, arm locks, and shoulder locks, as well as strikes and positional advancements by the person on top.
  3. Fatigue and energy expenditure: Maintaining defense against a skilled opponent from the bottom mount requires constant effort and energy expenditure. This can lead to exhaustion, making it harder to execute effective escapes.
  4. Psychological pressure: Being at the bottom mount can create a sense of frustration and panic, potentially impairing decision-making and contributing to further disadvantageous positions.

Elbow Escape

The elbow escape is a fundamental BJJ mount escape that focuses on creating space and regaining guard. This technique allows the practitioner on the bottom to free one of their legs and create enough room to slide their hips out from under the opponent, eventually transitioning to a more favorable position.

Elbow Escape Execution

  1. Establish hand and arm positioning: Start by placing both hands on your opponent’s hips or lower abdomen. This helps maintain control over their movements while setting up for the escape.
  2. Bridge and shrimp: Initiate a small bridge by raising your hips off the ground and driving your top shoulder into your opponent’s chest. Simultaneously, shrimp (sideways hip escape) by pushing off with your leading foot and sliding your bottom leg away from your opponent.
  3. Create space with your elbow: Use your top-side elbow to create a frame against your opponent’s thigh or knee as you bridge and shrimp. This frame acts as a lever to create space and prevent your opponent from re-establishing a tight mount.
  4. Slide your knee and hip out: With the space created by your elbow frame, begin sliding your knee and hip out towards the side where you have established the structure. This movement is crucial for clearing your opponent’s leg and transitioning to a more advantageous position.
  5. Regain guard or transition to a dominant position: Once your knee and hip have cleared your opponent’s leg, you can either re-establish your guard or transition to a dominant position, such as side control or back control.
Jiu Jitsu Mount

Tips for maintaining proper hip movement during the escape

  1. Maintain a strong bridge: Focus on pushing your hips high when initiating the bridge. This helps to create maximum space and disrupt your opponent’s balance.
  2. Utilize explosive shrimping: Combine the bridge with a strong shrimp, driving off your top foot and using your bottom leg to generate power and distance. This explosive movement enhances the effectiveness of the escape.
  3. Engage your core: Maintain a tight and engaged core throughout the escape. This stability allows for better control and balance, making executing the hip movement required for the escape easier.
  4. Coordinate the timing of your movements: Coordinate the bridge, shrimp, and hip slide in a fluid motion. Practice the timing and coordination of these movements to maximize efficiency and prevent your opponent from countering your escape.

Strategic Approaches to BJJ Mount Escapes

Timing plays a crucial role in executing successful mount escapes in BJJ. One strategic approach is identifying transitional moments during the mount where the opponent’s control is momentarily compromised. 

These transitional moments can occur when the person on top transitions between attacks, adjusts their position or attempts to secure a submission.

By actively observing and recognizing these transitional moments, the practitioner on the bottom can seize the opportunity to initiate their escape. Timing the escape during these moments increases the chances of catching the opponent off-guard and capitalizing on their temporary lapse in control.

Importance of reading the opponent's movements and reactions

Reading and anticipating the opponent’s movements and reactions is essential to effectively time mount escapes. By observing their body language, weight distribution, and subtle cues, the practitioner on the bottom can gain insights into their opponent’s intentions and potential vulnerabilities.

For example, suppose the opponent shifts their weight too far forward or extends their arms too far. In that case, it may indicate an opportunity to execute an escape, such as the trap and roll or elbow escape. By developing a keen sense of observation and the ability to read their opponent, the practitioner can exploit these openings and execute their escape with precision.

mount escapes

Proactive vs. reactive approaches to mount escapes

Practitioners can adopt either a proactive or reactive approach when strategizing mount escapes. A proactive approach involves seeking opportunities to escape the mount position before the opponent establishes complete control. 

This approach requires high awareness and anticipation, as the practitioner aims to prevent the opponent from fully settling into a dominant mount.

On the other hand, a reactive approach involves responding to the opponent’s movements and actions, capitalizing on their transitions or momentarily weakened control to execute an escape. This approach requires the ability to remain calm under pressure, quickly identify openings, and react swiftly and decisively.

Both approaches have merits, and the choice depends on the individual’s style and preference. Some practitioners may prefer a proactive approach, constantly seeking opportunities to disrupt the opponent’s mount. In contrast, others may excel in reacting effectively to the opponent’s movements.

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Mastering mount escapes is a vital skill for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. The mount position in BJJ offers the person on top a dominant position with numerous attacking opportunities. 

In contrast, the person at the bottom faces significant challenges and disadvantages. However, with the proper techniques, strategies, and drills, it is possible to escape the mount and regain control of the match.

Throughout this article, we have explored different mount escapes, including the elbow escape and trap and roll escape. These techniques provide effective means of creating space, regaining guard or transitioning to more advantageous positions. 

By understanding the characteristics of the mount position, the goals of the person on top, and the common challenges faced by the person on the bottom, we gain valuable insights into the dynamics of mount escapes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does it take to master BJJ mount escapes? 

A: The time it takes to master BJJ mount escapes can vary depending on various factors such as individual aptitude, training frequency, and consistency. It is a skill that requires practice and refinement over time. With dedicated training and a focus on proper technique, you can see improvements in your mount escapes within a few months. However, mastery is an ongoing process that continues throughout your BJJ journey.

Q: Can I do specific drills to improve my BJJ mount escapes? 

A: Yes, several drills can help improve your BJJ mount escapes. Some standard drills include practicing the elbow escape, trap, and roll escape with a partner, focusing on proper hip movement and timing. You can also incorporate specific positional sparring sessions where you start in the mount position and concentrate solely on escaping. Additionally, drilling transitional movements, such as combining the mount escape with regaining guard or transitioning to other dominant positions, can further enhance your skills.

Q: What should I do if my opponent counters my mount escape? 

A: It is important to anticipate that your opponent may counter your mount escape attempts. If your initial escape is countered, staying calm and adjusting your strategy is crucial. You can try transitioning to alternative escapes, such as bridging and shrimping to create space, or utilizing other techniques like knee-elbow or hip escape. Being adaptable and proactive in countering your opponent’s counters is critical to successfully escaping the mount.

Q: How can I improve my timing and anticipation for mount escapes? 

A: Improving timing and anticipation for mount escapes comes with experience and practice. One effective way is to train regularly and actively observe your training partners’ movements while in the mount position. Focus on reading their body language, weight distribution, and cues that indicate transitional moments or weaknesses in their control. Developing a keen sense of observation and training with different partners can sharpen your timing and anticipation skills.

Q: Can I use strength alone to escape the mount position? 

A: While strength can benefit certain situations, relying solely on strength to escape the mount position is not recommended. BJJ emphasizes technique, leverage, and timing over brute force. Proper execution of mount escapes involves using leverage, hip movement, and proper technique to create space and disrupt your opponent’s control. By effectively focusing on technique and leveraging your body mechanics, you can efficiently escape the mount position, regardless of size or strength differentials.

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