How to Pass 'Worm Guard'

One of the big trends in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu recently has been the increasing sophistication of lapel-based guard control and sweeps. In this style of game the lapel gets fed around arms, behind the torso, and between the legs to make it difficult for your opponent to pass your guard and also much easier to sweep him.

The most recent variation in this evolutionary trend is a position called ‘the Worm Guard,’ used by Keenan Cornelius in the 2014 World championships against some very legitimate opponents.

Even if you think that this type of guardplay is the devil’s work and never, ever intend to use it in your own game you will probably still run into someone at your academy (or in competition) who will try it on you.

And in order too counter it you first need to understand it! (more…)

Takedowns for People Who Don't Do Takedowns...

At it’s core BJJ is an incredibly effective way of fighting on the ground.

But the sad truth is that grapplerts who haven’t trained in Judo or wrestling can often have a lot of problems getting the fight to the ground.

In fact the only plan many BJJ practitioners have for getting a match to the ground is to pull guard, end of story. (more…)

How to Build Self Confidence in BJJ

Today I want to share the single best piece of advice I ever got from sport psychology.

Let’s set this up by supposing that you have an ambitious goal, like getting your BJJ brown belt, or winning a medal in a major competition…

To achieve that goal you’ve obviously got to do lots of drilling, sparring, conditioning, etc. All these things get your body into shape and ready for action. But when we’re talking about elite jiu-jitsu then almost everybody is in shape. And most people are fast and strong and have great timing. (more…)

The Most Dangerous Throw in Judo & BJJ

There’s a good reason that the extremely effective throw Kani Basami has been banned in all Judo and most BJJ competitions: it’s super dangerous!

Kani Basami has inflicted severe lower body injuries in dojos and competitions all over the world. I myself used it extensively until I was sparring with a wrestler, misjudged the distances, and landed on his ankle severely twisting it. He was out of commission for months recovering from that injury. (more…)

Self Defense, Competition, and Performing In High Pressure Situations

Performance under pressure is always tricky.  In fact a lot of martial arts practitioners worry about whether they’d actually be able to execute their skills in super-stressful situations.

Of course competing at a tournament or performing at belt tests can be stressful.  But the scariest high pressure situation of all is a self defence scenario where you and/or your family is being threatened.

If push were to come to shove and you actually had to defend yourself could you actually use your skills?  Or are you worried that your mind might turn to mush in the heat of the moment… (more…)

Lapeloplatas, Feet on Lapel Spider Guards, & Other Gi BJJ Tricks

My friend Ostap Manastyrski and I recently shot a video about the evolving trend in the competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world that involves playing with the lapels of your opponent.

People are now doing spider guard on the lapels, attacking with omoplata-style movements against the lapels, and developing all kinds of new gi-based tricks and strategies to manipulate and off balance their opponents from the bottom.

As we say in the video, we’re not sure if this is a good thing or not.  But like it or not, it IS a very real trend, so if you compete you need to be aware that it’s going on… (more…)

At the bottom of this post is a Youtube video I just created to show the easiest way to do the Berimbolo.

Now if you’re a Berimbolo aficionado then you’ve probably already scrolled down. But maybe you’re on the fence about this move. Or maybe you don’t even know what it is and why you should care about it.

Well, give me a minute to put it into context for you… (more…)

More On Concussions in MMA

Last week I published my contentious, ‘Does MMA Make You Stupid‘ article. Since then there have been a few more developments on the concussion controversy, so I figured it was worth sharing the updates so as to keep you in the loop.

UPDATE 1: STEPHAN KESTING ON THE NHB NEWS PODCAST

Over the weekend I was contacted by Eddie Goldman, the Godfather of MMA, from the NHB News website and podcast. (more…)

Rafael Lovato Jr. on Training and Competing in BJJ

This is a great interview with BJJ competition legend Rafael Lovato Jr.  You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways…

  1. Play the audio-only Youtube video at the bottom of this list, and/or
  2. Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file to your computer, and/or
  3. Subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (RECOMMENDED, because this allows you to also listen to previous interviews and podcasts), and/or
  4. Read the transcript below. (more…)

The Highest Percentage Sidemount Escape in BJJ?

Sidemount is arguably the pinning position you’re going to run into most often in BJJ.  Most guard passes lead into sidemount, and from sidemount you can get to almost every other position (it’s kind of like the Grand Central Station of BJJ pinning)!

So it’s not surprising that there are a ton of different sidemount escapes involving shrimping, bridging, spinning, reguarding, etc. (more…)

Get Your Action Photo Featured on Grapplearts

Over the years a lot of readers have had their photos of grappling action appear on the Grapplearts Featured Photo page.  Some photos were taken by professional photographers, but the majority were taken by amateurs, sometimes even just snapped on on iPhone at the local tournament or open mat.

People love these photos, which is why we’ve recently been cross-posting them on the Grapplearts Facebook page as well…

(more…)

Ronda Rousey and the Power of Gameplans

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…)

A Surprising Way to Pull Guard...

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…

You see, much of my BJJ comes from 8th degree black belt Marcus Soares, and Marcus is very much from the old-school Carlson Gracie way of doing things. (more…)

Roy Dean: BJJ, Aikido, Judo, Wrestling, and the Martial Artist's Path

You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways…

  1. Hit play in the middle of the audio player at the bottom of this list, and/or
  2. Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file to your computer, and/or
  3. Subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (RECOMMENDED, because this allows you to also listen to previous interviews and podcasts), and/or
  4. Read the transcript below. (more…)

A Fancy-Pants Z Guard Pass that Never Worked Until...

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…)

Best Takedown vs. Larger Opponents?

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…)

BJJ Training Strategies

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…)

BJJ Competition and Training Strategies with Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins

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…)