I recently worked with a female friend to teach her a little bit about jiu-jitsu for self defense.
Obviously I believe that jiu-jitsu is super important for self defense in general, but when it comes to women who want to defend themselves, well, it’s completely indispensable. We can argue all day about what percentage of real fights end up on the ground (like the Gracies I believe it’s very high), but when you’re talking about sexual assault going to the ground is almost inevitable.
Therefore if you’re a woman who wants to be a hardened target, you need to have some high quality training in, and understanding of, the ground game. (more…)
The mount is one of the most dominant positions in grappling. The reason for this is mostly because of what could happen if you got mounted in the street.
An attacker in the mount (aka the ‘schoolyard bully’ position) can rain down powerful punches into your face with virtual impunity.
If you try to punch back from the bottom of mount then your strikes probably won’t even reach his head. (more…)
The following guest post is written by Laurie Berenson. She comes to BJJ from a background of training in Muay Thai. I really like her attitude so I invited her to put pen to paper and share her perspective with us. She is currently studying under black belts William Stevens and Casey Van Brookhoven at Stevens Martial Arts in New Jersey, USA.
When Stephan Kesting asked if I’d consider writing a guest post for grapplearts.com from the beginner’s perspective. I immediately balked at the idea. What could I speak to as a white belt? Not much! But I do know that one of the single biggest things jiu jitsu has taught me so far is to have patience… (more…)
The next generation of instructional Android apps have finally arrived!
As evidenced by the fact that I slept about 2 hours last night, and now I’m in front of my computer AGAIN, it’s taken a TON of development and testing to get here…
But today we’re releasing the first Android app in the ‘How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent’ series with myself and black belt world champion Emily Kwok.
Posture in the butterfly guard is incredibly important. With the butterfly guard (as with any guard position) good posture is the key to defending the guard pass, attacking with submissions, and/or sweeping your opponent.
But maintaining good posture is easier said than done,
Many smaller grapplers avoid the mount position because they feel it’s too easy for a larger opponent to simply throw them off or roll them to the bottom. It usually takes a TON of work to get to the mount, and it really sucks when some big doofus simply sits up and rolls you to the bottom where you have to start all over again! (more…)
Takedowns can seem difficult, tricky and confusing. Especially if you’re not gifted with a surplus of fast-twitch muscle and innately awesome timing.
But my friend and BJJ world champion Emily Kwok has a concept that makes the whole takedowns game a LOT easier. (more…)
Part of the problem with leglocks is that there are tons of variations. And too many options create confusion, increase your decision-making time, and lead to paralysis by analysis, so it really helps to have someone set you straight and narrow down your choices.
But for some reason certain leglock aficionados love to collect endless leglock variations.
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…)
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…)
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…)
I might not be 100% correct with the actual wording, but I’ll always remember this fantastic quote from Karate legend Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace which I read in Black Belt magazine many years ago. It went something like this:
BJJ and submission grappling are in a continual state of evolution. New techniques, tactics and strategies emerge, or are rediscovered, or are brought into the art all the time.
The backstep guard pass is one such modern technique. You won’t see this guard pass in old-school BJJ (more…)
In the last 5 years the Deep Half Guard position has taken the BJJ and submission grappling world by storm. And every serious grappler now needs to know how to neutralize and pass the Deep Half Guard.
This position is a variation of the half guard. If someone manages to get settled into this position underneath you then they’re right under your center of gravity, can compromise your balance, and very likely be able sweep you or take your back with a wide variety of techniques. (more…)
Here’s a clip of Emily Kwok teaching something really cool – how to set up the head and arm choke (also known as ‘kata gatame’) from mount, and then how to ratchet it on so tightly that your opponent has no choice but to tap out, no matter how big he is. (more…)
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…
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…)
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…)
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…)
by Valerie Worthington, Emily Kwok, and Lola Newsom
Groundswell Grappling Concepts
We have a hypothesis about some women who grapple. We may be projecting, but our wholly unscientific data collection and analysis supports it. Namely, Brazilian jiu jitsu affords women who are looking for such things a mechanism for subversion. (more…)
A reader writes…
Q: Hi Stephan, I’ve got a question for you if you don’t mind me asking. I often struggle when it comes to rolling with big guys. I weigh roughly 52 kilos and the guys at the gym obviously weigh a lot more than me. (more…)
Although the sport and art of grappling is currently mostly a male activity, many female readers have commented on how important it is for women to learn to grapple (see Why Should Women Grapple?). In this article Liz Bader, an active mixed martial art competitor and instructor, explains what women should be aware of before they step onto the mat for the first time. (more…)