S-mount basics + armbar + grip break
Last night, for no reason at all, I was struck with the urge to put together tutorial on how I do mount without the gi. So that's what I did.
My best game from mount is all built on the s-mount, which is where one of my legs is pointing up towards their head, making an S out of my legs. I have seen very little information on s-mount online, in books and in DVDs, so I figured I'd show what I've come up with so far.
Below is how I setup the s-mount, how I take the armbar from it and a bonus armbar defense grip breaker. So this is really a three-in-one tutorial.
I'm flexible enough to just jump into this s-mount much preparation, but for best results and less strain, you'll want to start like this:
I've got mount with both hands posting on the mat above his head for base.
I slide my left knee up, driving it under his arm. I was doing this slowly until Leo Kirby showed me how Marcelo taught him to just force the knee forward with battering ram speed.
Once my knee is up by his head, I swing my other leg around...
...and fold it under his far armpit, so it's point up towards his head.
Be careful when you do this movement that you don't give him space to elbow escape and bring his knee in. I stay tight and heavy with my thigh on his body and make the smallest circle with my foot possible.
After driving my knee up and folding my other leg, I should be sitting with my hips behind his shoulder, with his elbows being forced to his chest.
I keep turning and driving my knee up until their head is resting on my thigh.
My rear foot is somewhat behind me and I'm posting with my right hand on the far side of their hips for base. I am leaning forward with my chest low so my weight remains on them and I'm less likely to fall backwards or forwards.
Maybe you need long arms and legs like me, but I'll reach behind their head and grab my ankle. This puts pressure on the head and pulls my leg in tighter.
I can also grab the far knee and hug it to take away their bridging power.
This is s-mount, the base of operations from which all attacks will be launched.
But no, you won't be happy if I end here. Where's the submissions? What about the buku big attacks?
Well, here's an armbar for you.
You may have noticed that Trog was already doing a RNC grip to defend the impending armbar. This is where we pick up.
I thread my left hand through his arms. I reach until I can grab my right hip and we are elbow to elbow.
I lean forward and to my right, towards his far hip. This puts a lot of weight on his chest and makes my left leg light and free to move.
While leaning towards his far hip, I pass my left leg over his head.
I sit back and cross my ankles. I go right over left so the top one is holding my leg across their face.
I've seen a lot of arguments over whether or not to cross the ankles when doing armbars, so I'll explain why I cross them now. If my feet are under their far arm, I'll cross my ankles to lock the shoulder in place. I will not cross my ankles otherwise since it wouldn't lock their upper body and instead makes my legs a single unit which is easier to throw off when doing escapes.
I switch from hugging the far leg to the near one. This is the position that Eddie Bravo calls the spider web. If you have his book, he goes over it in great detail and has a lot of great grip breaks he does to get the armbar or alternate submissions and transitions to other positions like taking the back.
Eddie does such a good job of addressing this position that I actually thought I might just end this here, saying to check his book if you have any questions on how to proceed. I use mostly his material from here, like the slide grip break and switching to the triangle, and I didn't feel like just copying out of his book for my tutorial.
But I decided I should follow through and try to offer something new. So here is a grip break that I haven't seen covered anywhere else yet.
I am sitting with spider web. My right arm is holding their knee and my left arm is hugging their near arm (elbow-to-elbow, grabbing my hip).
Here's some advice that was given to me that really helped me learn to overcome armbar defenses: Stop and examine the grip, then figure out a smart way to break. You should be in control and have the time to inspect it and figure out a good solution.
Everyone runs into the problem of people defending the almost-on armbar. Some just jerk on the arm and kick the far arm and hope it'll all just fly open. And this works, but I think you can find more intelligent ways to open them up.
So let's take a look -- how is Trog defending the armbar? He is making the RNC grip even stronger by grabbing both elbows. I don't have room to step on his biceps even if I tried, and jerking on the arm won't do much against this.
Here's how I unlock this.
I wedge my right hand between his forearms...
...and reach through until I've trapped the wrist of the arm I want to attack in the crock of my elbow.
I take my left arm out and grab his hand. And yes, hold the hand itself, not just the wrist. You need control over which direction the thumb is pointing for the next step.
In one big, quick motion, lean to the side their head is on...
...then swing out and fall back, pulling their arm free...
...and continuing the same motion, swing back to center and finish the armbar.
You need to be very wary of them doing the hitch hiker escape when you use this grip break. That is where they point their thumb over their head (like they're a hitch hiker), bend their arm and then spin out of the armbar and come to their knees. This is where your grip on the hand is important. You use it to counter the escape by turning their thumb back towards their hips, away from the direction you swing out. This turns their arm so they can't bend their elbow and do the escape.
Be careful when doing his grip break since the swinging motion can catch the elbow at odd angles, especially if you're turning their hand and they try to hitch hiker.
I recommend you drill how to take s-mount and the armbar that I've shown here to get started. The rest of this series builds on these.