How to Counter the Toreando Guard Pass

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So there you are, on your back and fighting your opponent with your legs.  Maybe you're using the Spider Guard, the Butterfly Guard, or any other variation of Open Guard, but regardless, both you and he are jockeying for grips and position. You’re trying to set up your guard sweeps and submissions, and he’s trying to pass your guard. Then - disaster! Your opponent grips both your pant … [Read more...]

A Surprising Kimura Setup from Kesa Gatame

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I don't know what exactly went wrong with the settings on the camera the night we filmed this.  The colour in this video is far from perfect: things are weirdly washed out and at the same time it looks like I've got a horrible sunburn. But it really doesn't matter, because the teaching is really solid. In this video, under the guise of teaching a fancy and surprising setup for the Kimura, my … [Read more...]

My Favourite Spider Guard Variation and Triangle Choke Setup

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The Spider Guard is a very diverse position.  Normally you start with the Double Feet on Biceps variation, but after that there are a TON of variations (including the Leg Lasso, de la Spider, Reverse de la Spider, Spider X, Collar-Spider, and Collar-Sleeve variations). Of all these Spider Guard Variations the Collar-Spider is probably my very favourite. We'll go into more detail about it in a … [Read more...]

What are the Collar-Sleeve, Collar-Spider and Reverse de la Riva Positions?

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Today we're going to talk about the fourth brand new instructional app in the Spider Guard Masterclass series, and cover a few new positions in the process... The app is called Spider Guard Masterclass Volume 4: Next Level Spider Guard, Part 2, and it focuses on three powerful variations of Spider Guard: The Collar-Sleeve position, The Spider-Collar position, and The Reverse de la Riva … [Read more...]

What are the Leg Lasso and Spider X Variations of Spider Guard?

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We've been talking a lot about the instructional apps in the Spider Guard Masterclass series... And today we're going to take a look at the third app in this series.  It's called Spider Guard Masterclass Volume 3: Next Level Spider Guard, and it focuses on the Leg Lasso and Spider X variations of Spider Guard. This app covers a LOT of the techniques used by the top competitors in the world when … [Read more...]

Spinning Triangle Choke from Leg Lasso Spider Guard

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The first time I saw this triangle choke setup was about 15 years ago when I was still working as a field biologist. At the time I was on a contract 3,000 miles away from home, and living out of a motel. To stay in shape I went for runs and lifted weights on alternate days, but once a week I would drive for 2 hours each way (4 hours in the car total) to go to the nearest BJJ school. Training … [Read more...]

Powerful Options and Variations for the Berimbolo

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The Berimbolo is an incredibly powerful technique in modern BJJ. It's both a way of finalising a sweep and completely bypassing your opponent's guard with a single technique. Imagine not only being able to easily sweep your opponent from your open guard, but NOT having to fight your way past his guard.  Instead you directly teleport to a dominant, match-ending position such as mount or rear … [Read more...]

Double Feet on Biceps Spider Guard

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If you've ever been shown Spider Guard by your instructor then chances are it was the double feet on biceps variation. This is the classic form of Spider Guard first developed in the eighties, which has continued to change and evolve and as a consequence is still very effective today. But it can seem like a complicated position, and if you've ever had problems with it then there might just be … [Read more...]

Understanding Spider Guard – the Critical Fundamentals

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Today is the release date for the first of the five brand new Spider Guard instructional apps from Grapplearts.com. The name of this app is "Understanding Spider Guard, The Critical Fundamentals." This may sound like a boring topic but I promise you that it's anything but!!  It's super-useful, super-applicable, and super-important information. … [Read more...]

Black Belt Blindness, And Other Dangers….

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A black belt is just a 2 inch wide piece of cloth, not a license to pontificate upon matters about which you are utterly ignorant. It's also doesn't give you the right to have people's unquestioning obedience. To get a legitimate black belt in BJJ requires more time, effort, and investment than a black belt in almost any other martial art.  If someone has spent the blood, sweat and tears … [Read more...]

A Spider Guard Triangle Choke Setup for No Gi

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A lot of people think that Spider Guard is only applicable to BJJ with the gi.  They're kinda right, but they're also mostly wrong. You see, it's more complicated than "no gi equals no Spider Guard..." First of all, if you get good at something as intricate and technical as Spider Guard then it develops your sensitivity, leg dexterity, coordination, strategic and tactical thinking like crazy. … [Read more...]

Perspectives on BJJ Drilling – An Interview with SBG’s Steve Whittier

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Steve Whittier from SBG East Coast is a cool guy. He manages to combine both thoughtful analyses and controversial opinions into one eloquent package. In this interview we talked about lots of different BJJ and MMA related topics, but the main emphasis and recurring theme was functional drilling and the efficacy of different types of BJJ training methods but we also covered self defense vs. sport … [Read more...]

How To Do the Twister the Easiest Way

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The Twister is a flashy and hellishly effective submission made famous by Eddie Bravo. It's now illegal in IBJJF competition, but it shows up sometimes in submission grappling and you're even starting to see it in MMA! If you catch your training partners in it - carefully and gently of course - then you get major bragging rights and some instant 'mat cred.' … [Read more...]

Grapplearts BJJ & Submission Grappling T-Shirts

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A lot of people ask me about Grapplearts shirts. And while I'm happy to create them I don't want to stock tons and tons of T-Shirt inventory in a cacophony of sizes and colours. That's why I tend to do shirts in limited edition campaigns: I put a design out there, and if we get enough interest in a in it then we go out and get the shirts printed up, ship them out, and then close down the … [Read more...]

Kimura Armlock Grips Explained!

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The Kimura, much like any other technique, is usually taught as a series of steps. First do this...  Then move your hand here... Then adjust your body this way... Then finish by doing this other thing. It can be a lot to remember, but it's always easier to remember all the steps and adjustments if you understand WHY you're doing them. When I first learned about the Kimura armlock attack … [Read more...]

37 Powerful BJJ Submissions for Grapplers

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Have you ever wondered what the most popular and powerful BJJ submissions in BJJ are?  Here's our list of the top 37 submissions taught in BJJ academies all over the world. WARNING: not all of these techniques are legal in IBJJF competition, or allowed at all schools.  But it's still better to be familiar with these illegal techniques just in case someone tries to use them on you. And many of … [Read more...]

A Sneaky Rolling Judo Choke!

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In BJJ it's often what you don't see coming that kills you. Which is why it's important to have a couple of surprise attacks in your arsenal. Today's video is from the Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu instructional set that I did with BJJ world champion Brandon Mullins. It's a rolling entry from Judo that takes you directly into one of the most powerful chokes in the entire jiu-jitsu repertoire: the Bow and … [Read more...]

World Championship Guard Passing with Leandro Lo

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In BJJ it's what you don't know that hurts you. If you get caught in a position that you don't have an answer to, that you don't understand, then life on the mat just got exponentially more difficult. This problem is most pronounced for the guard. It can be really difficult to keep up with the changing technology. One year it's the X Guard, taking the world by storm, then it's the 50/50 guard, … [Read more...]

A Powerful Surprise Choke Attack from Sidemount

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This is one of my very favourite attacks from Sidemount. It works in a BJJ context (i.e. with the gi), in submission grappling, and even in MMA. It's a very powerful attack, but the best thing about is that if it doesn't work then you don't typically lose position. You stay on top and can easily switch to a followup attack. … [Read more...]

BJJ Beginner Tips Interview and Podcast

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In this Grapplearts interview I talk to BJJ Black Belt Ritchie Yip, focusing on tips that BJJ beginners need to know.  But sometimes the conversation goes a little off track! You can follow/consume/download/watch this awesome and informative interview several different ways... You can watch the Youtube video below You can download the mp3 file by right clicking here and selecting 'Save … [Read more...]

4 Magic Phrases to Help You Learn BJJ Faster

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In my early days of martial arts training I ran into quite a few teachers who were so full of themselves that students asking questions was almost unheard of. At first I thought that this was normal. I thought that maybe things would change after I'd paid my dues for 10 or 20 years... And then I started training in JKD under Makoto Kabayama. … [Read more...]

The Three Ways to Escape ANY Submission…

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Jiu-jitsu has hundreds of submissions including chokes, cranks, armlocks, wristlocks, kneebars, footlocks, crushes, and many other ways to make people tap out. But if you're caught in a submission - any submission - there are only three ways to get out.  This relates to the timing of the defense: before, during or after. Let's go through them, one by one... … [Read more...]

Three and a Half Techniques to Escape from a Tight Closed Guard Overhook

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Just the other day I shared four counters to a pesky deep cross-collar grip from closed guard. Well, the cross-collar grip isn't the only way your opponent might try to destroy your posture... There's another posture-breaking grip that can be just as bad, and unlike the cross-collar this one can be used in BJJ, MMA and submission grappling.  Gi and no gi.   … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Cross Lapel Grip from Closed Guard

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Your opponent sneaking his hand deep on your lapel is always a bad situation. Once he has this grip on you from his closed guard he can use it to break your posture forward, which kills your ability to pass the guard and is very tiring to fight against... ...or he can use it to attack you with cross-collar chokes (which have ended a LOT of matches)... ...or he uses your frantic reactions the … [Read more...]

Three Big Lessons from Three Martial Arts Injuries

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Today’s topic isn’t sexy. There aren’t any clever armbars, killer chokes, or brand new strategies that’ll give you an edge on the mat. But it might just save you years of suffering and stalled progress. Today I want to talk about three big lessons I learned dealing with various types of martial arts injuries… … [Read more...]