Master The Mount Game

Winning Is a Top-Down Affair

Jiu Jitsu is a groundwork game—that’s more than obvious. What may not be as obvious is the difference between a top and bottom strategy.

Much of Jiu Jitsu (these days) seems to be focused on being on the bottom. I think it’s just lazy rolling habits in the gym that have pushed guys to “give in” and accept the bottom position.

It seems like a lot of us (me included) tend to rush to get into a bottom position, hoping to work our closed, half, open guard games, while looking to capitalize on the mistakes of the person on top.

That’s unfortunate because the truly dominate position is the top position—especially the mount position.

I definitely feel this aspect of ‘bottom first’ is mostly due to jiujitsu gym culture. We just don’t think about the self-defense aspect as much as we should.

I mean think about it, if you were in a street fight where kicks, punches, eye gauges and elbows could be thrown at you, then where would you rather be, on your back or mounted on top?


The truly dominate position is the top position—especially the mount position.


Ricksons Mount Game

No one better exemplified just how dominant the mount can be as well as Rickson Gracie. His fights were centered on getting and then maintaining the mount position.

From there, Rickson would chain his attacks together, working seamlessly between techniques, flowing back and forth from one attack to another as he adjusted to his opponent’s moves.

Inevitably, Rickson would finally find the finishing technique that left him victorious.

Mastering the mount position should be started early in your practice, but it’s never too late to pick up the techniques and skills you need, which you can find here.

As with all of Jiu Jitsu, the mount starts with good technique. Obviously your opponent isn’t going to just lie there in complete submission once you get the mount. He’ll be trying to escape, to roll you, or even to submit you.

If you’re out on the street or in a tournament then you’ll have to deal with all the adrenaline pouring into a fight or flight response. It’s not pretty and definitely not easy keeping an opponent on their back if they don’t want to be there. Especially, if you don’t train for it.

If you’re struggling to maintain your mount position, then your opponent is effectively nullifying the best thing you have going and you’ll quickly lose that position.

A critical hidden jiujitsu concept for maintaining mount, which is rarely taught by most gyms, is being able to anticipate what your opponent is going to do, while they are mounted.

Developing a sensitivity to your opponents movements is best accomplished with one element—connection.


Developing a sensitivity to your opponents movements is best accomplished with one element—connection.


You need good connection in the mount position to begin to feel and recognize when your opponent is gearing up for a movement.

With proper connection, you’ll be able to anticipate and counter that movement.

In this video, Henry Akins demonstrates how effective proper connection is. Special credit goes out to Jiujitsu Magazine for capturing this gold.

Other Important Mount Details

There’s too many good details and not enough time to mention them all in one blog post, so I’ll leave you with a few critical Rickson techniques, that Henry Akins shares in his Mount Maintenance Module.

The Skydiver

I call this the skydiver, because it reminds me of skydiving.

When you’ve got your opponent mounted and they are trying to escape, one thing they might try is pushing hard on your hips with their hands. They literally try to push you away at the hips.

A slick counter is to go skydiver on the guy by sinking your hips into your opponent. This has the dual benefit of not only lowering your center of gravity, making it harder to move you, but also it applies extra pressure on your opponent, which makes his movements that much harder to achieve.

To do that, you’ll need to broaden your base by pushing out your knees—but don’t forget about your feet! You’ll need to position your feet, by tucking them in under your opponents butt, which will in turn help limit his options.

High Mount

Another key will be keeping your opponent’s shoulders on the mat. Think about it, when your shoulders are flat on the mat, how much twisting and moving can you do? You’re severely limited.

Watch the Rickson Gracie video above, again, and pay attention to Rickson as he secures the high mount on his opponent.

Finishing from Mount

All of this is well and good, but just getting mount won’t win any matches. You’ve got to be able to do something from mount. That’s where knowing different attacks comes in handy.

But you can’t just know them, they need to be second nature. And that only comes from drilling. But again, drilling only comes after gaining knowledge. There’s no sense in drilling what you don’t know. There’s even less sense in drilling something incorrectly or drilling ineffective techniques.

Henry Akins’ video course “Mount Attacks” walks you through those techniques that will get you on top so you can finish on top.

Henry’s knowledge comes from training under Rickson Gracie, who we already mentioned was a master at the mount position. Taking on the mount position is demystified when you learn those techniques that Henry picked up from Rickson.

In no time, you’ll be happy to let your opponent flop to his back as you slip into the mount, and then slip in a satisfyingly tight choke.

Want a mount game like Rickson Gracie’s? Go Here.
Need to add more mount attacks? Go Here.