Author Archives: Stephan Kesting
The Butterfly Guard is one of my very favorite positions these days.
Regardless of whether you’re rolling with or without the gi, the Butterfly Guard keeps your opponent’s weight off of you, it gives you unparalleled mobility on the bottom, and it allows you to unleash blistering combinations of some of the most powerful sweeps and reversals in all of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. (more…)
The Half Guard is a funny position.
Once upon a time it was a position of last resort. Something that you would try to achieve if your opponent was passing your guard. A last-ditch attempt to stop him from getting to a truly dominant position.
My, how things have changed in the last 20 years…
Are you confused about the definition of the Open Guard? You are NOT alone. In fact, when I started BJJ someone tried to explain the different variations of the Open Guard to me and I think his explanation left me more confused than I had been originally.
So, what is the Open Guard? (more…)
Here’s a short 1:30 minute video breakdown of me explaining the basics of the closed guard.
And just to keep things interesting I also throw in my single best tip about how to maintain the closed guard, shut down your opponent’s guard pass attempts and put you in a position to successfully launch your own attacks. (more…)
What’s the best submission in BJJ? Wow, that’s a tough question! And the first problem is trying to define what we mean by the word ‘best’…
Before we get into semantics and statistics let’s start by agreeing that there are a million different submissions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling, and that not all of these techniques were were created equal. (more…)
Defending and escaping the Kimura when you’re on the bottom of side control is always difficult. There are several different reason for this…
First of all, the figure four grip used in the Kimura is very powerful control. It’s a natural handle that your opponent can use to manipulate your entire body, both in gi or no gi. And once your opponent has secured this grip it’s a real pain to get out of this submission. (more…)
I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s tip about escaping the armbar from guard. Today I want to continue exploring how to get out of submissions and share my two best triangle choke escapes with you.
I’ve experimented with lots of different triangle escapes. Unfortunately I’ve found that many commonly-taught techniques (more…)
If you’ve been grappling for any length of time then you know that anytime you’re in the closed guard you’ve got to watch out for the armbar from guard. It’s one of the most common and highest percentage submissions in all of BJJ, submission grappling and MMA.
So if we’re going to be running into a technique like the armbar from guard this frequently then we HAVE to have some good answers for it, or else we’ll be tapping out all the time! (more…)
One of my newsletter readers recently had an interesting question for me:
Q: “Hi Stephan, I have this training partner with a huge neck who is incredibly resistant to chokes. Everybody in class has problems choking him. The problem is that my favorite submission is the triangle choke – what’s a simple way to finish the choke on someone like that? Thanks – Dave from England.” (more…)
A few years ago I released the Roadmap for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructional package.
This is a multi-component product that focuses on the strategies, tactics, techniques and training methods of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s basically a quick start guide for how to get good on the ground as fast as possible. (more…)
Passing the guard of a skilled opponent is one of the hardest things to do in BJJ.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at high level BJJ and submission grappling competition like the Mundials or ADCC. (more…)
In case you were hiding under a rock, Ronda Rousey fought Liz Carmouche last night at UFC 157. She both validated her UFC Women’s Bantamweight title, and made history by being in the first-ever women’s match in the the UFC.
And just in case you were under that aforementioned rock, despite a very spirited fight by Liz Carmouche, Ronda won the match with an armbar at 4:49 of the first round. (more…)
Hip and leg flexibility is a huge asset in grappling, especially when it comes to not letting your opponent pass your guard, for launching sneaky sweeps and submissions from the guard position, and for weaseling your way out of tight pins.
Plus if you’re training in MMA, Muay Thai, Karate, Kickboxing, or any other martial art that involves kicking then flexibility will obviously help you out there as well. (more…)
There’s almost nothing worse than a painful back. Unlike other body parts, an injury to your back comes to define your entire life.
If your arm is strained, or you’ve twisted your knee, or if you’ve tweaked your shoulder, then usually you can find a way to get through your day without aggravating your injury too much. But a sore back finds a way to haunt you every second of every day. (more…)
The first Grapplearts Instructional app for Android devices is finally here!
Apps are such a great tool. They give you a way to brush up on your skills when you’re on the go, on the bus, stuck in a bank lineup, whatever.
Now I’ve had some bestselling apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch available for quite a while. (more…)
Sometimes the best way to get better is simply to stop doing things wrong.
Over the years I’ve shot quite a few guerilla-style videos breaking down many of the most common mistakes that I see for different positions and submissions. (more…)
When I started doing BJJ the kneemount position kind of confused me…
I knew that it was considered to be a good position, and I knew it led to a bunch of submission options, but still, it never really ‘clicked’ for me. (more…)
I was recently asked the following question:
“Hi Stephan, My biggest problem on the mats right now is people turtling and going to their to knees when I’m about to pass their guard. Once they’re in turtle they either roll back to guard or stand up and all the hard work I did to pass their guard is for nothing. (more…)
The ‘basic’ butterfly guard sweep is one of the most strongest sweeps in grappling. That’s why it shows up again and again at the highest levels of competition. It’s powerful, reliable, and works for a wide range of body types. It works with and without the gi, on bigger people, smaller people, wrestlers, and judoka.
This combination of power and versatility makes the butterfly guard sweep one of my favorite go-to moves of all time! (more…)
This is a rather rambling post; in the words of Mark Twain, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
First, and most importantly, I really hope that you had a great Christmas (or alternate celebration of your choice). And that you got to spend time with friends, family and loved ones.
Next, congratulations on surviving the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse! (more…)
An old training partner sent me a short email yesterday. Here’s what it said:
When people teach the rear mount they often show you how to get your hooks in to achieve the rear mount, and then they teach you a couple of submissions from the back.
Their idealized flowchart has two steps:
- Get your hooks in,
- Submit your opponent.
Oh, if only life were so simple!
Passing the guard in a technical manner during no gi training can often be very frustrating, especially for people coming from a gi-based background. To the uninitiated it just seems that things move too fast… That there aren’t any good handles to control your opponent… (more…)