Every attack should be performed with intent to finish, however your opponent is likely to use your attack against you. This is especially true for your mount attacks, where you are in a very dominant position and your opponent’s best chance of escape may be when you start an attack. Although fundamentals students are primarily concerned with learning single attacks, it’s good to see how a more advanced game is played and how responsiveness to a situation gives you alternate attacks that suddenly become more likely to succeed than your original attack.
In this class, we cover a cross collar choke setup where the opponent attempts an upa, but we are ready to transition to an armbar.
Failed Cross Collar to Technical Mount
The basic sequence for this attack chain is a cross collar choke setup to technical mount (sometimes called side mount) to an armbar. As soon as your opponent feels that one of your arms is potentially trapped, they will reinforce the trap and attempt to upa you to get a reversal. Fortunately, their upa is an expected reaction if you don’t finish the choke first.
When transitioning against an upa attempt, it’s very important to keep your hips light and to immediately start transitioning your hips to the side away from the upa. It’s not uncommon when sparring to have more skilled partners pre-position off to the side to discourage the upa and make the transition even easier.
As your opponent attempts to upa, your goal is to turn 90 degrees away from the upa and to get your knee at or near the head. Your other foot will drift up to the waist, and your chest should be blocking your opponents elbow from going back to the ground. Because you started with a cross collar choke grip, you are already under the arm you are attacking, and you are in a good technical mount position.
Technical Mount To Armbar
From this strong position, all you need to do is adjust our position so that we can sit down and take the armbar. The first adjustment to make is to use your top hand to post on the floor so that you can move your outside foot up to the armpit. Instead of simply placing your hand on the floor, take the opportunity to cross face your opponent and lock their head turned away from you. This gives them one more element to deal with and misalignment of the head to the spine reduces their mobility.
Now that you have your knee at the head and your other foot in the armpit for an s-mount, you can lean away from the head to make your knee light. The concept of leaning away from a limb you want to make light and easily moved is an important concept, and it’s worth taking the time to exaggerate this motion a bit so you can feel the difference in mobility. Now that your knee is light, swing your leg over the head and do nothing more than sit down.
As with any mount armbar attempt, it’s important to avoid putting too much energy into the system. If you try to put your back on the mat quickly to finish the armbar fast, you take the risk of your opponent using the momentum to sit up into you and stacking your knees next to your ears. I even recommend trying to hunch over your opponent, as you see me doing in this video. This gives your opponent the least amount of momentum to work with, and maximizes your control of the situation before you attempt the armbar. This is especially important when working against much larger opponents who are used to the sitting motion giving them enough to roll up and start the stack (you have further to fall, thus more unavoidable energy).
When finishing this armbar, keep your initial choking hand deep in the collar. This will give you incredible leverage to pull your opponent into your hips, which will increase your success rate for finishing the armbar.