BJJ / Grappling Tips: Cross Side Top Theme Part 2 - transitioning to mount

In a previous post I explained the main concepts a jiujitsu practitioner needs to keep in mind to control their opponent from cross side top (ak. side mount or side control). I explained that I've found that the key to maintaining that control is through a combination of the right positioning / postures, weight distribution and pressures on the opponent body and limbs and I promised I'd discuss what I have found to be the most dominant ways to transition from side to mount so here we go:

From a private lesson I took from my teacher, professor Eddie Kone, many
years ago. Notice how free his hands are to attack and submit, as opposed to
being preoccupied with holding or squeezing the opponent.

I mentioned last post that there are many different ways of laying cross side on top of your opponent and that in this particular 6-week study, I'm focusing on the version closest resembling judo's kuzure yoko shiho gatame as opposed to the more often seen underhook-and-cross-face style of hold down. This is not to say that this is the only way I hold someone in side control. It's just my current favourite and the one I'm exploring. Naturally, my transitions to mount will flow directly (and sometimes indirectly) from that particular style of side control.


Since my top arm is wrapped around the outside of the opponent's far arm, the body's naturally more incline to turn to face the legs than to face the opponent's head. What this means is that it would be more natural for me to transition to the mount using the high step method than through the knee slide method:

Screenshots are courtesy of Evolve University & Chew Jitsu
After flattening the opponent, I use my back to push and open up (separate from the torso) the opponent's nearside elbow. The flattening action actually makes opening the elbow easier.

Once the elbow is open and my back has shrimped away from their legs, I prop their nearside knee with my knee / upper shin (I don't feel it makes a difference which leg!) then drag both their legs down to collapse them before high stepping to the mount. Here's a nice clip of Mr Roger Gracie showing what I mean:

I have to admit, however, I do two things differently to Roger. I'm not Roger's size so I need to put in a couple of safety measures when I high step to mount:

  1. I use my nearside leg (the one I am not stepping over with) to hook under their nearside leg. This gives me my first leg hook before I've even mounted and prevents them sliding under me for a sneaky backdoor escape from the mount - aka elbow escape from the side control.
  2. I don't step onto the mat with my foot. Rather, I hook my heel on their far hamstring-area then use that connection to pull myself up onto them, sliding that heel deeper into what becomes my second leg hook. This slide is lead by the hips

Rather than stepping, hook the heel and pull yourself on top

In the next and final post on the topic of the Side Mount - Top, I will discuss submission opportunities that arise naturally when your control is tight and your mount transitions are always a threat! Stay tuned.



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