I always say that this jiu-jitsu stuff is a marathon, not a sprint.
Partially this is because it takes time to remodel your body so that it can do the things you want it to do. It’s also because you need to find and incorporate hundreds of little tricks, tweaks and techniques that work with your body and your ever-evolving style on the mats.
To find those training methods, tweaks and techniques takes research, which is made much easier by the internet!
In the spirit of sharing some of the new BJJ techniques and body hacks that I’m personally exploring right now, here’s what’s on my reading list this weekend…
A Comparison of Kettlebell Styles: I’ve played around with kettle bells a bit, and found that they’re a very useful tool. For example, the basic kettlebell swing gives you many of the benefits of Olympic lifting with a much lower risk of injury. But there’s so much conflicting and contradictory advice about how to do even the most basic Kettlebell movements that it’s hard to know what correct technique looks like. The article linked to above helps explain the different schools of thought behind KB swings and snatches.
The Berimbolo Sweep in BJJ: At 6’2″ and 215 lbs I don’t really have the classic body type for all that crazy-upside-down-spinning-inverted-guard stuff. That being said it’s hard to ignore the effectiveness of Berimbolo sweep (a crazy-upside-down-spinning-inverted-guard move) in sport BJJ.
I’ve practiced it only a few times and haven’t swept anyone with it yet in sparring. But doing some reps of the Berimbolo gave me the confidence to start using a similar-but-different inverting spinning move to stop my training partners from passing my guard. Maybe it IS possible to teach an old dog new tricks…
Keenan Cornelius Sneak Previews: Keenan and his team just keep on giving away more previews from their upcoming DVD set. Earlier this week I learned a really cool omoplata finish from them that I hadn’t seen before. They ask for your email address, but I was happy to give it because I figured a) it was a good way to find out about new preview clips and b), if I didn’t like what they sent me, I would just click on the unsubscribe link which is on every email. Anyway, I’m very interested to see what techniques they release next…
Cardio for 3 Minutes a Week??!? Some research from McMaster University suggests that just a few minutes of all-out exercise give you the same benefits as spending hours on the stair master or treadmill. I’m dubious, but I’m going to test it on myself. I’ll do a month of these 30 second intervals and then see how I perform on my gold standard cardio workout (a horrendous 40 to 60 minute climb up Grouse Mountain on the North Shore of Vancouver). Other than getting shot off a treadmill or going into cardiac arrest what’s the worst that can happen?
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…)
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:
A lot of grapplers have creaky joints, and tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are just two of the most common overtraining injuries you’re likely to encounter at the club. Here’s one grappler’s solution to his grappling-induced elbow problems. (more…)
Cardiovascular training can be a confusing topic and there are many different and divergent views on the subject. Different reputable sources inform us that you don’t need to do cardio (more…)
An individual seeking to become a complete martial athlete cannot afford to leave the ancient practice of yoga out of his/her training regimen. No other exercise addresses and develops as many physical AND mental attributes as yoga does. (more…)
By Stephan Kesting
Originally published in Ultimate Athlete, March 2003
The hard time for the training is already passed” – Rickson Gracie in Choke, before the 1995 Japan Vale Tudo Fighting Championship (more…)
By Stephan Kesting
Originally published in Ultimate Athlete, June 2003
|“Proper planning and preparation prevents piss-poor performance” - the 7 “P’s” of the British SAS (more…)|
In the not-so-distant past weight training was discouraged for martial artists. “It will make you slow”, “it will make you muscle-bound”, and “all you need is technique” were common opinions from the ‘experts’. (more…)
When Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro started talking the drills he uses I paid attention. Shaolin has won the World BJJ Championships 4 times, holds the 140 to 155 lb belt in Shooto, and has a long list of other titles. He is an outstanding competitor in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, submission grappling and mixed martial arts, so he knows how to train effectively and efficiently! (more…)
Rhadi Ferguson is a 4-time US National Judo Champion, a 2004 Judo Olympian and a 2005 Abu Dhabi competitor. Since his retirement from active competion he is at the forefront of combative strength and conditioning training. (more…)
by Marcus Soares and Stephan Kesting
Originally published in Grappling Magazine
by Guest Author, Mark Mullen (BJJ Brown Belt, Judo Brown Belt)
I’ve been grappling for many years, and here’s a situation that comes up all the time…
I often spar younger, heavier, beginners. At the end of the round they’re usually fighting for breath, arms trembling from fatigue. (more…)
A reader writes: Hi Stephan,
Thank you for the newsletters! I started training BJJ and MMA about 5 months ago – it’s been life changing for me. (more…)
I found this short Youtube video and voice-over really inspiring and wanted to pass it on.
It has nothing to do with martial arts.
But in a way it has EVERYTHING to do with martial arts! Plus the sports-specific training footage is pretty cool too, and might give you some good ideas for your own conditioning!! (more…)
It’s January and all the gyms are packed with newly-inspired fitness junkies. But you can’t always get to a gym, and sometimes the weather makes it tough to go for a run. The beauty of bodyweight, however, means that you can work out almost anywhere. (more…)
It’s easy to train an activity when you’re calm, relaxed and not tired. But being able to execute those same movements correctly when you’re fatigued and gasping for breath is something entirely different. (more…)
I had a great conditioning workout today, motivated by two entirely different things.
The first thing firing me up was watching a Christiane Cyborg conditioning session on Youtube. She was preparing for her recent fight in Strikeforce against Gina Carano. (more…)