Author Archives: Stephan Kesting
Should you pull guard in competition? And if you decide to pull guard, then how do you do it correctly?
In a certain sense, I am uniquely unqualified to answer these questions…
If you have any exposure to standup grappling then you know the power of a standing underhook. It allows you to dominate your opponent, move him around, and set up lots of throws, takedowns and other moves. (more…)
A reader writes: Hi Stephan, I’ve been doing BJJ for about 6 months and am wondering if you have any advice about what to do when you’re starting on the knees?
I find that most wrestling-style takedowns are very difficult to do from the knees, especially because my opponents are really good at sprawling. (more…)
Smaller opponents can become big nuisances, especially if they have legitimate skills.
You would think that the very fact that you’re bigger than your opponent means you should be able to go full-Conan on them every time…
Mongol General: “Conan! What is best in life?”
Conan: “To crush your enemies, see them driffen before you, and to hear the lamentation of their vimmen.” (more…)
by Brendan Hufford
When you’re teaching, regardless of whether it’s BJJ or calculus, there’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach. In fact, any experienced teacher knows that different teaching methods are required to get through to different students. (more…)
Let’s talk about two of my favorite sweeps from the open guard. These are high percentage techniques that are used again and again at every level, by novice whitebelts and world-class blackbelts.
When learning a new position I think it’s important to learn the high percentage stuff right away. (more…)
Today I want to teach you how to do the most important sweep from the butterfly guard correctly.
This is because sometimes in life, you just HAVE to learn certain things. (more…)
What is an ‘advanced’ guard sweep?
Well, sometimes it’s a technique that requires such ridiculous levels of strength, flexibility, or explosiveness that it’s completely out of reach of 99% of recreational BJJ players. (more…)
You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways…
- Hit play in the middle of the audio player at the bottom of this list, and/or
- Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file to your computer, and/or
- Subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (RECOMMENDED, because this allows you to also listen to previous interviews and podcasts), and/or
- Read the transcript below. (more…)
When I first faced BJJ black-belt, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Mundial and regional champion Zorobabel Moreira on the mat in Singapore last year, I thought I had signed up for a personal self-defence trial. I had no idea what BJJ was and had never worn a “gi”. (more…)
There’s this one impressive, fancy-pants guard pass that I’ve seen in competition many times. It makes everybody go ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaah’, but despite its dramatic nature it’s undeniably effective and has won a LOT of matches at the highest levels of competition.
I tried to imitate this technique, of course, but it was always a complete disaster. I never managed to figure out exactly what these high-level guys were doing. (more…)
Every grappler needs to have a basic understanding of takedowns. You don’t want to be so uni-dimensional that you have no idea how to take somebody down.
But the problem is that not every takedown you learn from Judo or wrestling will work on someone a lot bigger and stronger than you. (more…)
Many battles are lost by not sufficiently stabilizing sidemount, and/or choosing the wrong attacks to use from that otherwise dominant position.
Let’s say that you’ve done everything right and cut through the guard of a bigger stronger opponent. (more…)
Having the right assortment of techniques is pretty darn important in BJJ. But having the right training strategies is even more important…
By ‘training strategies’ I’m talking about the big picture. Like knowing which techniques to use, when to use them, and how to correctly train those techniques in the first place. (more…)
Today’s tip is about the details of the Triangle Choke, one of the very highest percentage submissions at every level of competition.
Have you ever noticed how some people can catch EVERYBODY in their signature submission, again and again? Once they’ve got their setup position it’s pretty much a done deal (this applies whether that signature submission is an armbar, a triangle choke, a kneebar, or an upside-down, inside-out Jehosophat choke).
It’s amazing what some big guys will do when they get frustrated. In fact, sometimes they’ll try stuff so stupid that it’ll take you completely by surprise!
Now, many BJJ instructors never bother to teach you what to do against these ‘stupid attacks.’ (more…)
It’s a fact: big guys don’t like losing to smaller guys.
That’s why sometimes, when a bigger guy realizes he’s not going to be able to actually win a match, he changes gears and uses all his strength and size for only one thing… (more…)
Jiu-jitsu is so cool! As you might know, the omoplata armlock is one of my very favorite techniques. But even after 10 years of studying this position, I’m still learning new stuff about it…
Today I want to share a variation of the omoplata that I learned this summer working with Brandon Mullins. Of course this finish works great on larger people, but even though I’m 6’2′ and 215 lbs I’m gonna ‘hijack’ it and use it in my own game as well. (more…)
by guest author Brendan Hufford
Tournaments are inherently stressful environments. There is always a lot of commotion, and unfortunately, there is also often a lot of disorganization. Assisting our students in navigating such an environment is an essential skill that separates a teacher from a coach.
The first time I ever saw the triangle choke in action was in 1994, during the last match of UFC 4.
Royce Gracie had just squared off against Dan Severn, a seemingly unstoppable wrestler with a huge weight advantage. I remember thinking, ‘There’s just no possible way that Royce is gonna win this one.’ (more…)
Judo has a lot to offer to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. And vice versa. Judo places more emphasis on throwing, of course, and BJJ is more ground-oriented, but Judo groundwork (known as ‘newaza‘) isn’t entirely dissimilar to BJJ groundwork. (more…)
In this interview 2 x World No Gi Champion Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins shares his best competition and training advice. The questions come from my newsletter readership, who I polled to see if they had any questions for Brandon, especially about training, competing or holding their own against bigger opponents. Boy, did they ever!
We then sifted and sorted hundreds of emails to pick out the very best questions for him, and this in-depth conversation was the result. Maybe one of my best interviews ever! (more…)
A Guest Article by Mark Mullen
The majority of most BJJ’ers training time is spent attending structured classes at their academy. And most academies divide their structured classes into 3 portions: (more…)
Recently I managed to catch up with Vinicius ‘Draculino’ Magalhães and pick his brain about the ongoing evolution of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Draculino started training in Rio in the 1980′s, back in the days when many of the big names in BJJ were just young kids with blue and purple belts around their waists. (more…)