The Oft Neglected Backstep
North/South Choke

Mount, S-mount, and Half Mount: In Reverse!

In the last post, I discussed the backstep pass as well as how to use the backstep to set up the knee bar. One thing I have found over the years, however, is that unless you snatch the knee bar really fast when using the backstep, it is hard to finish the submission because your O can use his free foot to defend the knee bar. This completely changed for me when I saw Keenen Cornelius's so-called "knee trap"--which solved the problem I was having with the back step to knee bar plus opened my eyes up more generally. While Cornelius names the techniques he uses in the video below--three different set ups for the knee trap--he doesn't discuss the name of the positions he uses as entries. Some have called the first position the "steering wheel"--but I don't like the name because it doesn't highlight the fact that there are two related positions--one where you have your O's legs split and one where you have your O's hips (and hence his knees) entirely entrapped.

I prefer to call these two positions the reverse mount and reverse half mount (following Sambo Steve--see below). Not only are there are a lot of nice leg locks from these two positions, but they are stable and easy to set up--e.g., you can use a backstep or front step from top half guard to set up the reverse half mount and when your O inserts his hook to defend, you stuff his leg and backstep into reverse mount. I have been working with both positions with success. Indeed, it seems like this is a more stable platform from which to build a leg system than inside and outside ashi garami (a la Danaher Death Squad). Thoughts from those experienced with both positions? In the meantime, here are some videos to get you started--beginning with the aforementioned one from Keenan that got me started down this particular path!

Here is a video with some suggestions concerning how to backstep from a faint knee slide to get to reverse half mount:

This video has some tips on a calf slicer from full reverse mount--which he sets up with a leap frog from North South. I am not sold on the leap frog set up (see videos below for better set ups), but the calf slicer works from both reverse mount and reverse half mount. Judge for yourself: 

Here is Sambo Steve with some submissions from reverse mount:

Relson Gracie's Kevin Tang with some additional suggestions:

Now here is a position called the reverse S-mount--which is a lot like the "Tangy" mount from the past video. Rather than being squared up with your O--as was the case in the Sambo Steve video--you are off to the side a bit, more like the S-mount. Either way, the front step from knee on belly is a great entry into either reverse full mount or reverse S-mount since your O won't be expecting you to step over him in that way (at least not the first few times you do it)!


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That Keenan Cornelius tip looks great. I'm already in the habit of going for the knee bar from both top and bottom half guard, but I often have trouble with people defending by using the free leg. Going after that leg first, and locking it down, could be just the ticket.

Thomas Nadelhoffer


The knee trap will change this aspect of your game. It certainly changed the way I looked at the entry, position, and submissions from here!

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