Holding Mount Top

This week was mount week in BJJ. I taught top position on Monday and escape and survival on Tuesday. I looked around the net to see if I could find some good information on holding mount top. I wanted some structural stuff about how to build the posture from top position. I didn’t really find anything. Not that there isn’t anything out there. Just that I didn’t find it. Most of what I found was the typical submissions and cool moves from top. Those are important for sure. What I find though is that most people have a really hard time holding mount. Myself included. As a top position it’s very hard to hold. Probably the most difficult of all the top positions. If you can’t hold it well then knowing all the submissions in the world isn’t going to do you much good.

Why Use It?

As a position mount top is better suited for MMA and self defense than it is for BJJ competition. I say that with some reservation. I know there are people like Roger Gracie who make a living off the mount top. It can be done. Largely though because it’s so hard to hold people opt for other top positions. For self defense and MMA however it’s a great position. The ability to punch the other guy in the face both interrupts and shortens the availability of escapes. Strikes make this position way stronger. In BJJ competition the bottom guy can take more time to escape and if he builds a proper posture he can remain safe.

There are quite a few different variations on how to hold mount top. I’ll outline a basic concept of holding that can be applied to different types of mount.


The posture is built largely with the lower body. Here’s what you have to keep in mind when mounted:

Squeeze knees together, touch toes, lift up, roll hip forward…


  • Squeeze your knees together tightly. This is very important. It closes off space and makes it harder for the bottom guy to pry your knees open to shrimp out.
  • Touch your toes together. This helps to keep you attached and prevents him from launching you with an upa. It also prevents him from building a proper posture if he turns to his side.
  • Lift your rear up off him. Don’t sit on him. Once you lift yourself up off him you’ll create a tiny bit of space where it’s helpful to you and not to him. It gives you some cushion to soften the blow of his upa.
  • Roll your hips forward. (naughty hips) This connects your upper and lower body and helps you to ride out the upa.
  • If you place your hands on the mat for base make sure you keep them far enough away that the bottom guy can’t harvest them easily. Keep them wide.
Keep your hands wide and forward so they don’t get captured. Squeeze the knees together and roll the hip forward. Touch the toes if you can.


Video of Basic Mount Top Posture

Video of  Mount Top Retention Strategy



  1. Great video on the biomechanics of the mount. Would you say that what you’re describing is similar to how Roger maintains and holds mount?

    • Thanks Ed. I don’t actually watch much video footage so I’m not sure if it’s similar to what Roger does? Thanks for the comment.

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