The title pretty much sums it up, I often have trouble maintaining mount, so much so, that i rarely even bother going to the position because i get reversed so quickly. This makes me miss out on those 4 points, which can make a big difference if the match goes the full length.


  • 1
    where does your mount usually fail? how do you get swept? Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 3:47
  • it varies, sometimes the hip bump sweep, or when i stay low ish to avoid that, they get back to 1/2 guard easily.
    – Patricia
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 15:01
  • what about high mount? Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 17:59
  • the good old bridge and roll!
    – Patricia
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 19:03

8 Answers 8


There are a number of common issues in maintaining a mount. Examine your mount, and perhaps you'll find one of these to be a problem:

  1. No base with your knees – When you're riding low, you need to create a strong base, and your knees offer you that base. Keep your knees out while pulling your feet in to give both control and a base at the same time.

  2. Stop going forward and down – When you're riding low, it's likely that you're putting your weight forward and down, making yourself a nice convenient package to get bucked and taken into a half-guard. Keep your posture higher and back a bit, then work for the arm control.

  3. Maintain your posture – It's easy to want to look down at your opponent. Looking down is bending forward, and you're going to get bucked, even when you're riding higher.

  4. Go to one knee – When they do hip out, go onto the front-side knee to keep them from pulling you into that half- or full-guard.

  5. Lock your feet – Keeping your feet locked behind them keeps them from pushing up and slipping into butterfly guard.

  6. Control their hips – Keeping your feet locked behind them and your weight down against the hips can keep them from bucking to change the position.

These are not a guarantee of anything, but they are extremely common problems, and may help you examine your own positioning and see where you're going wrong.


Just as there are many ways to skin a cat, it is important to realize that there is not just One True Mount. There are many different types of mount, and different concepts apply for maintaining them. Here are some keys I use for some of them:

Low mount

  • Ankles crossed under opponent's thighs or grapevined at his ankles.
  • Hips pushing into opponent
  • Knees flared out (See Roger Gracie)
  • Awareness of opponent trying to trap an arm for the trap-and-bridge escape

Mid mount

  • Squeeze opponent's trunk with your knees
  • Heels hooked under opponent's thighs
  • Awareness of opponent's hands and elbows as he might try to push one of your knees down for an elbow escape into half guard or butterfly/half butterfly.

High mount (knees in opponent's armpits)

  • Squeeze with the knees

  • Absolutely no space between your legs and the opponent. It is more important to be close with your legs and "fit" around your opponent than it is to put hard pressure at a certain point.

  • Stay aware of your opponent swinging his legs up and over to try for the monkey escape. Be prepared to lean forward over your opponents head and quickly shrug off his feet if this happens.

If you decide to put your left hand in your opponent's collar to start going for a cross choke, it is a good idea to compensate for this loss of base on the left side by moving your head and upper body to the right.

Experiment with shifting your balance to put more pressure on one side. Symmetry is not important in maintaining mount, as long as you get the job done.


Something I've noticed helps me sometimes is (after doing what Keith Nicholas suggested in his tip) driving my knees up towards their armpits, separating their elbows from their sides. This takes away the power from their bridge and isolates their arms somewhat, giving me attacks or setups when they try to regain that space back. Also sometimes when they bridge and I ride them I sneak my feet under the small of their back, this seems to stifle their bridging power.

So in summary, play with

  • High mount, on their upper body
  • Driving knees into their armpits
  • Feet under the small of their back

I tend to grapevine to help with establishing a mount with a really squirmy opponent. You can't stay there for long because its kind of neutral, and there are counters, but it can be good to help settle into mount.

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    Ive found this is good when mount is initially secured, the person on bottom will generally buck like crazy to get you off. I also like to spread my arms out wide and away where they can't grab and drive my pelvis into their stomach. Once they stop thrashing you can start solidifying mount and starting your attack. Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 4:21
  • grapevining is good if you have the knee/hip flexibility to pull it off. unfortunately, i cannot.
    – Patricia
    Commented Feb 14, 2012 at 15:02

This doesn't directly answer your question, but instead of thinking about the missed 4 points, consider the opportunity for a submission. Pick one that you're good at from guard (triangle, guillotine, armbar, kimura, but not americana) and start setting it up before you get rolled. Finish as he comes up on top.

I like working one leg high to set up the triangle, but left elbow to his left (or right to right) shoulder to set up the kimura also works nicely for me. Going straight for a one armed guillotine from mount gives you a good opportunity to sink it in tighter as he bridges. For armbar grab his right elbow with your right hand (or left with left), and palm his left ear with your left hand (or right with right) to have the armbar waiting for you on the bottom.

Going for americana from mount is a waste, you're just giving them a free bridge, and odds of finishing it are miniscule.

  • 1
    i'm going to have to disagree with the americana from mount being a waste, i've finished 2 fights a couple tournaments ago with it :P you make a good point about setting up the subs and not worrying about staying in mount though. i do often catch the arm bars on the way off. but the points game is still a huge part of the sport.
    – Patricia
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 14:16
  • You'll only succeed if there's a skill discrepancy, and then only if they have poor shoulder mobility. If you've got that skill discrepancy, you're not going to have trouble maintaining mount. Baiting the americana is the easiest mount escape there is - everything else they have to work for, but if you go for the americana you're giving them the bridge.
    – Robin Ashe
    Commented Jul 4, 2012 at 20:12
  • Great answer. You have a point with the Americana, too--it works if you're a lot better than them, or if they're not so good, but it's totally absent in high-level judo and BJJ competition. It's just not high-percentage. Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 13:23
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    granted, it's best from side control, but i wouldn't call it a waste from mount. if all else fails, they'll often straighten their arm to avoid it, or like you said bridge, and when they do, hello arm bar.
    – Patricia
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 16:22

Sit astride of their chest and put your knees in their armpits. Sit up on your buttocks and spread them to get a secure seat. Sit up high on him and ride him as he tries to buck. Lean slightly forward or back upon him as you ride him. Tuck your feet under his buttocks or side and sit upright on him to prevent him throwing you forward.


I like to sprawl my arms and body right out, this means when your partner cannot shift you as your body is sprawled all over him. Also make sure your feet are touching and not grape vining.


To be honest, if you want to learn how to maintain and attack from mount - you should be watching Roger Gracie videos on YouTube. No one is better than Roger from that position.

I personally feel watching competition videos is MUCH more valuable than watching instructionals. You may want to watch instructionals to get a good base understanding of the position but nothing beats watching what the black belts do in actual competition.

If you find yourself having a lot of troubles maintaining mount (maybe you are smaller), don't be afraid to give it up and go straight to knee on belly / side control. You can then go back to mount and score even more points. I do this when rolling with really large (mid section large) opponents where my knee's don't even touch the ground when mounted!

Good luck.

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