Using The Grapevine To Build A Crushing Mount Game In BJJ & MMA

In the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts, positional dominance is one of the most critical skills to master. The mount position is one of the most sought-after positions in the world of grappling, especially in MMA, as it offers robust control and is an excellent position to rain down strikes. It is a fantastic position where you can dictate the pace of the fight and slowly sap the opponent’s energy. Among the myriad techniques to solidify this position, one often overlooked yet profoundly effective method is the grapevine. In this article, we go into the nuances of using the grapevine and how it can significantly boost one’s control in BJJ and MMA.


The Grapevine Defined

Before we go over the finer details of the grapevine, let’s first discuss what the technique is. The grapevine, a technique where the legs wrap around the opponent’s legs from the mount position, is a formidable tool to pin and control the opponent. Unlike traditional mount control, where the emphasis lies on upper body dominance, the grapevine adds a layer of lower body entanglement, enhancing stability while limiting the opponent’s mobility. This is a simple yet highly useful addition to the mount game with very few downsides.

To execute the grapevine, you start by securing the mount position by focusing on proper hip alignment and weight distribution. Loop your leg over the opponent’s leg, crossing at the ankle or calf region, ensuring a tight grip. The other leg follows suit, intertwining with the opposite leg to form a secure grapevine. Once the grapevine is in place, the opponent’s options become severely restricted. Attempting to bridge or shrimp to escape the mount becomes exponentially more challenging as the grapevine anchors the opponent’s legs to the mat. This restriction of movement gives you enough time to launch attacks or transition to more dominant positions. While it should be mentioned that the grapevine can and will be removed by a seasoned grappler, it is still a safe and practical way to add an additional layer to your mount.


Suffocating Pressure

Beyond mere restriction, the grapevine aids in applying crushing pressure on the opponent. By driving the hips forward and engaging the core, you can further pin the opponent to the mat, sapping their energy while maintaining control. This relentless pressure can induce panic in the opponent, forcing them into making mistakes ripe for exploitation. The beauty of the grapevine mount is that you do not have to be a heavyweight to use this effectively. BJJ practitioners of all shapes, sizes, and levels of experience can leverage the power of the grapevine to instantly add suffocating pressure to their mount pressure.


Offense From The Mount

A heavy mount sets up many submission options for the attacker. Before we study the more complicated submissions from this position, it is best to learn the fundamentals at the start to ensure mastery of both the position and submission. We chose the trusty americana as it is a simple and practical technique for all belt levels.

The video starts from the mount with a grapevine. Slowly isolate the opponent’s arm as you maintain pressure from the top. Establish your figure four grip and lock in the americana. To finish, drag the opponent’s arm towards their hip while raising it slightly as you go. You can utilize a loose grapevine as you do the americana in case the opponent bridges, as this is one of their means to defend the submission. This is a nice sequence that can lead to a potential submission or in other instances, a gateway to positions like the gift wrap, technical mount, and even the kimura trap.

Of course, in MMA, you can pepper the opponent with punches and elbows to soften them up before performing the americana. The americana has been criticized as a beginners-only move, but it is untrue, especially in the context of fighting or mixed martial arts. Championship-level athletes like Jon Jones have successfully used the americana in the UFC against some of the best fighters in the world.


Grapevine In MMA

In the realm of MMA, where transitions between striking and grappling are paramount, the grapevine assumes even greater significance. By seamlessly blending striking combinations with grappling techniques (like the aforementioned americana example above), you can keep opponents guessing and off-balance. From the grapevine position, strikes can be unleashed with devastating efficiency, all while maintaining control and minimizing the risk of counterattacks.


Escaping The Grapevine

In this video, BJJ black belt and respected coach Henry Akins shares a simple way to escape the grapevine. For those who don’t know, Henry Akins is a Rickson Gracie black belt and is one of the most technical practitioners you will ever see.

It is paramount to understand the defensive side of the grapevine. Once you get stuck on the bottom, the best thing to do is to not panic and spaz. Doing these will lead you nowhere and will sap your energy quickly. Instead, direct your attention to using efficient and small movements to escape the grapevine and improve your overall position.

Aim to straighten and kick your leg from the bottom mount to escape the grapevine. From here, the next goal is to turn to the side and enter the half-guard. Since this escape puts you in the half-guard, it is recommended that you also have at least a basic understanding of how to use the half-guard to stay safe once there.



The grapevine is a potent addition to the arsenal of mount control. Its ability to restrict, exert pressure, and facilitate attacks makes it a formidable tool for practitioners of all levels. By understanding its nuances and integrating it into their game, practitioners can elevate their mount control to unparalleled heights, dictating the flow of the fight with precision and finesse. So, next time you find yourself in the mount position, remember the power of the grapevine and watch as your mount improves.


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