Sweeping to S-Mount
S-Mount, the Best Mount
S-mount is a brutally effective position, and one which many a BJJ practitioner has spent hours on the mat trying to establish. While there are some great fundamental ways to get to the position, the defensive corollary has continued to keep pace, and so the position often remains elusive. Here, we'll delve deeply into a particular sweep sequence that yields S-mount a high percentage of the time, and one that's not frequently taught across the world. Here we go!
High Level Overview
This technique has cemented itself deeply into my core of favorites. At the highest conceptual level, all you really need to do is climb up on top of your partner so that you can push them over more effectively, and be sure that you are in the position to establish S-mount upon completion of the sweep. Start with a cross-grip arm drag, and then grip their far armpit so that you will keep their arm trapped. From here, you have a nice triple attack (you can sweep, armbar, or climb onto the back). Trying one of the other options will often yield an easy route to the back, so that's the one we're taking.
Start by going for a pendulum sweep to your left. This will no doubt cause your partner to resist back into you. Use this energy to push off of them and start climbing onto their back. It's important that you pull your left arm out and away from your partner, or else your partner will be able to grab onto it and keep you from getting all the way up on top. Your arm is like the kickstand of a bicycle; use it to keep your base while climbing.
Execution of the Sweep
Once you've climbed up on top of your partner's back, you're not really done yet. As you finish your ascent, make sure that your right foot hooks past your partner's hip. If you can't make this part happen, you can still climb up on top and finish a back take, but you can't do the transition to S-mount. Once your foot is in place, pivot your body at a right angle, making sure to pinch your left knee in tight. This will help to take away your partner's lower-body base. Finally, be sure to cup their elbow, taking away one of their "table legs", making the sweep much, much easier. Push from the side, and sweep straight to technical mount! From here, just lift their far arm up so that you can establish S-mount.
There are many other options to get to a similar position, most of which arise from the open guard. Here, we'll take a look at a Kimura attack that lets you finish the same way. Start with scissor half guard, and grab a Kimura grip as normal ("that's how we do", as the kids might say). As your partner defends the initial attack, use this "anchor" to move around them, climbing up onto their back. The biggest difference here with the transition to the back is that you will need to throw your top knee over your partner's body; when you use the closed guard to set this up, you'll already be pretty much where you will need to be. One other thing that might actually make this option higher percentage for you: you might be able to use your knee to block your partner's elbow here, keeping your hands free for the finishing attack.
Favorite from Closed Guard
This sweep has worked quite well for me for the last 15 years or so, and it has naturally evolved a great deal to accommodate my own game (along with the styles of my students, naturally). You may find a few different tweaks work better for you, and that's one of the great things about jiu jitsu: the variations! Experiment, and don't be afraid to "fail" while trying new techniques. Failure, after all, really just means that you learn. As always, please let me know how these moves work for you!