Leg Locks from Mount (Bottom!): a BJJ Tutorial

Updated on June 23, 2016
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Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

Say whaaaaaaa?

That's right - you can actually set up some really effective leg attacks from the bottom of mount! If you'd like to see more unorthodox attacks where you bend (and sometimes break) the BJJ rules, check out this compilation of techniques like this. Meantime, let's get right into it: there are three essential attacks covered here, and I've been using all three for more than a decade (and some for nearly 2 decades). Attacking legs from mount bottom can be a double whammy for your opponent because not only are leg attacks still relatively obscure and not very well understood, but attacking from bottom of mount is almost always unexpected.

Option 1: Basic Hands on Hips

While the basic stepover escape from mount works well whenever you have head mobility, if your partner is hugging your head as in the video above, this makes the aforementioned escape (and subsequent escapes into deep half guard and so on) very tough to hit. The solution: keep your elbows in tight close to your body (and, especially, inside of your opponent's hips to prevent S-mount). The idea here is to create a frame with your hands on their hips so that you can lift your partner's hips up. Clearly, this is going to be tough to accomplish with a bench press action, so you're going to want to use a bridge so that your hips are effectively lifting your partner's hips. From here, your partner will either topple over (not likely) or base out with one or both of their legs. When they base out, you can simply snake your knee through the middle to start recovering a butterfly guard. However, since your hips are so low relative to your partner's body, if you want to, you can relatively easily snake your right leg around your partner's left leg for an over/under heel hook set up (as shown in the video), or continue on to single leg X-guard or any variation you're comfortable with.

Another look

Second Option: Goathook Escape

Goathook Details

The importance of the initial "hands in the armpits" posture can't be stressed enough if you're going to attempt the Goathook escape, and neither can the importance in understanding your own flexibility. Although there are variations of this escape that will work for less flexible folks, the one in this video and the one I describe here assume a relatively high spinal and hip flexibility, so be careful if you're trying this for the first time. Listen to your body!

After the initial posture is achieved, the key is to keep your elbows in as you bump your partner up and forward. As your hips drop back down to the ground, you should be able to bring your legs up toward your own head and near your partner's armpits, essentially folding yourself in half. With your right hand, grab your right foot to bring it across your partner's stomach (this is an area where you really need to listen to what your knee is telling you). From here, switch to your left hand on your foot, and then use your right hand to build a frame for your knee so that your partner can't smash all of their weight onto your knee. Next up, make a counter-clockwise helicopter motion with your left foot, causing your partner to lose their balance slightly to their left. From here, the game is not to come up on top, but rather to slide back with your hips so that you can get your left knee inside, in between you and your partner. If you get this, you have essentially the exact same technique as the last position.

Another Look at the Goathook Escape

"But They'll Armbar You"

Dealing with the switch to technical or S-mount is an important topic for mount escape and survival, and never more so than when you're trying a Goathook escape. Once you've gotten the hands in armpits posture, your partner is likely to attempt to switch to S-mount or technical mount, and you've got to be ready. Assuming they are sliding their left knee up toward your head, the most important reaction is to drop your right elbow to the mat immediately. This takes away your partner's opportunity to armbar you right away. Next up, hip out to your left side so that you can slide your right knee inside. Finally, we're in the same position as previously described, and ready to set up a nice heel hook finish (or however you'd prefer to escape).

Leglocks or armlocks?

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Keep At It

What makes these techniques so awesome is that people are going to write them off as ineffective, disregard them, and then completely forget that they exist. Meantime, you will know better, and you can keep refining them for your specific game. I can't begin to guess how many times I've gotten another black belt with these techniques over the years, so I can assure you that they do work on all skill levels from white to black belt. Having said that, mount is a tough spot to find yourself in, so don't get discouraged if the learning curve is steep at first. After time, these moves can work well for you.

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