Knee Mount in BJJ: Getting, Retaining, and Escaping Knee Mounts
In our series of the mount, today knee mount is on our list. It is also commonly known as the famous knee-on-belly position.
Getting stabbed in the belly by the opponent would be the last thing every jiu-jitsu practitioner would want.
But this is an extremely dominating position that most of the grapplers try. But it is one of those positions in BJJ that are difficult to master.
The knee mount is a position that requires a substantial amount of balance and subtle shifts in weight that could only be learned with practice, no coach could ever teach you that.
Knee Mount: BJJ Position
The knee-to-belly is a popular position not only in jiu-jitsu but also in MMA and wrestling. The reason for the popularity is the exceptional amount of control you can get on the opponent’s body through this position.
The key point for executing and maintaining a knee mount is a good balance. Most of the practitioner’s struggle with implementing a strong knee mount because they struggle with maintaining balance.
If your opponent is giving you a hard time in exposing themselves and are playing defensively, then the only option you have got is the knee mount.
Your opponent is more likely to expose themselves as an impulse action due to the stress on their belly.
So, most of the time you can get into the knee mount through side control. During the side control, your forearm is resting on the belly of your opponent.
Keeping pressure on your forearm, lift your right leg and replace the forearm with your shin. And, put your other leg out.
To jump and place your shin on the belly is not an efficient move because it creates a lot of space for your opponent to move away.
Make sure to stick your foot against the hip of your opponent after you have established the knee mount.
You have to maintain your balance using your toes. As soon as you get in the knee mount your partner will start moving, use your toes to float with their movement, and press their body with your weight.
Retaining a Knee Mount
Most people end up losing the knee mount within the first few seconds because they can’t maintain their balance efficiently.
To retain this position for a long time and use it against your opponent, you need to know the techniques to retain it.
You should know whether it’s easier to maintain a knee-to-belly position or transition into another position according to the situation.
Retain from Hip Bridge
Your opponent could lift his hips and sweep you in the forward direction. To stop this, you can land on your hands as your opponent sweeps you.
Then put both your knees on the opponent’s belly and switch your direction. You will end with your opposite knee on their belly.
You can repeat this movement in the opposite direction if the opponent tries to sweep you.
This is an easy way to retain your knee mount but it requires speed. Make sure that your knee never leaves the opponent’s body.
Retain from Shrimping
Another method your opponent could use for escaping knee mount is through shrimping.
To prevent this, you can’t use the strength of your knee as they would slip anyway.
So, your opponent's shrimp makes sure that you drop your weight on your opposite foot so they don’t fall on the knee you had stuck into their belly.
Now put pressure on their arms and push them towards the mat. While doing this move around in a circle and put your opposite knee on the belly of the opponent.
You need to have both the strength to hold your opponent down using force from your arms and speed to quickly move around in the opposite direction.
This could be another variation of the knee mount. In this method, you need to place your knee a little above your opponent’s belly just below their diaphragm.
The key point in this move is to point your knee towards the sternum and put pressure. The pressure on the diaphragm would make breathing difficult.
Your hips should be lifted while doing this so you can put more pressure on your opponent’s body.
Ways to Escape a Knee Mount
Your opponent would never maintain a simple position in knee mount, they would try techniques to retain or transition to some other position according to the situation.
So, the chances of your escape depend upon the cause and effect of your opponent’s moves.
Knee mount is however easy to escape if your opponent hasn’t mastered the skills to maintain a knee-to-belly.
Pushing the Opponent
You can use proper techniques for pushing the knee of your opponent against your belly, but just can’t simply push their knee away.
If you try to push the knee using your hands, there are greater chances of getting stuck in an armbar.
Grab the other leg of your opponent from the Gi or his shin if you are playing No-Gi. Your other hand should be on their belt or their belly in No-Gi.
As you have locked your opponent in place, push yourself backward, let off your left hand, and get up to your knees.
Make sure that you don’t let off your right hand as your opponent could start attacking you.
Sweeping the Opponent
It might sound surprising but you can sweep your opponent after being stuck in a knee mount.
Start by grabbing the right hand of your opponent and slip your leg to the gap in their armpits.
Your shin should be touching against the opponent’s bicep. Grab his opposite leg using your left hand, scoot your hips underneath your opponent, and sweep them to your left side.
You can put your knee onto the opponent’s bicep or switch into a knee mount.
Near Elbow Scrape
As we have discussed before, if you simply try to push your opponent then you have a high chance of getting stuck in the armbar.
So, if you have to push then you will do it by using the elbow of your arm that is near the opponent’s knee.
Imagine that if your opponent has his right knee stuck to your belly, you will be using your right elbow.
Bridge a little bit to the opposite side of your opponent and bring your elbow against your opponent’s knee.
Now, push their knee and escape your hip at the same time.
Outside Knee In
In this technique, you use your hips to walk out step-by-step.
Swing your outside leg and bring behind your opponent, grab the knee of your opponent using your near hand.
Now keep walking your hips in a circle gradually. As you continue walking, your opponent’s leg will cut through and they will fall on the ground.
From here you can get on top of your opponent by hooking the upper body of your opponent.
Submissions from Knee Mounts
If you have successfully executed the knee mount, then you have several different submissions.
These submissions can be thrown in according to the situation and considering the cause and effect of your moves.
We will go through the most famous and effective submissions from knee-to-belly.
The first submission on the list is the famous armbar choke. There is a high chance that your opponent will make such mistakes in which you can use the armbar submission.
As your opponent pushes your knee away, use it as an advantage and grab his arm with under grip.
Now, get up and sit on your opposite side, hook the upper body of your opponent using the over-under hook.
Use your other hand to grab the leg of the opponent and pull it back.
Make sure that your body is aligned perpendicular to your opponent otherwise, he can switch hips and slip away.
If you can’t go into the armbar submission because your opponent is pushing your belly instead of the knee, then don’t worry because they have made things worse for themselves.
So now you will shoot your hips back, drop your chest, and hook from the tricep of your opponent.
Using your other hand, grab the opponent’s neck with an under hook. Pull your hands as far as they can go.
Lock their neck and put pressure until they tap out.
Cross choke is commonly used in almost all kinds of mounts for submitting the opponent, but it is effective in the knee mount.
This is the simplest kind of submission to execute from a knee-on-belly position.
Grab the collar of your opponent with an under-grip using both hands.
Now swing your right arm and bring it towards the neck of the opponent, lasso around their neck, and apply pressure.
Deadlift Back Take
If your opponent is doing a good job by defending his neck and not giving you a chance to throw in the armbar, then you have to try a deceptive method for submission.
After you have grabbed the opponent’s collar, you can hop out and stand behind his head.
Your opponent would never be expecting this move from you and he wouldn’t know what’s going to happen next.
Now deadlift to pick your opponent.
Now hop your both feet across his back, drop your body and pull the opponent back in a seatbelt position to make them submit.
As your opponent will be paying so much attention to maintaining the front defense, it would be really hard to defend that pickup.
But you need to be fast otherwise you are just making crafting an escape for your opponent by yourself.