In my early days of martial arts training I ran into quite a few teachers who were so full of themselves that students asking questions was almost unheard of.
At first I thought that this was normal. I thought that maybe things would change after I’d paid my dues for 10 or 20 years…
And then I started training in JKD under Makoto Kabayama. (more…)
Today’s topic isn’t sexy. There aren’t any clever armbars, killer chokes, or brand new strategies that’ll give you an edge on the mat.
But it might just save you years of suffering and stalled progress.
Today I want to talk about three big lessons I learned dealing with various types of martial arts injuries… (more…)
If you’re new to the martial arts then you might not get the humour of this, but believe me, there are many jackasses out there with their own versions of this information. The difference is that their tongues aren’t firmly planted in the side of their cheeks.
Anyway, this particular technique was far too deadly to put into Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu – putting such information into the wrong hands would be completely irresponsible.
So we put it onto Youtube instead… (more…)
OK, this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen…
I recently did an interview with Elliott Bayev on how to build BJJ gameplans. While we were talking Elliott dropped some hints about the Spider Guard project that we’ve been working on together…
One of the things that Elliott did for this project was to create an in-depth mindmap showing his entire Spider Guard gameplan. And you can get that gameplan completely for free right now. (more…)
Here’s a really cool video interview I did with my friend, BJJ blackbelt, renowned coach, and fierce competitor Elliott Bayev.
This interview is special because we break down the steps of building a BJJ gameplan. We go right from the basic BJJ self defense gameplan, and build up to the intricate strategies used by world class competitors.
There are tons of immediately useful takeaways here.
Along the way we also discuss self defense, the role of competition, and the evolution of new techniques and positions in BJJ.
This should really help you formulate your own gameplans.
What Bruce Lee and Malcolm Gladwell Taught Me About Mushin (or the Art of No-Mind and Executing the Perfect Technique),
Bruce Lee and Malcom Gladwell agree with Mark Mullen. Sometimes things just happen too quickly to use conscious thought.
Sometimes you just need to forget about thought and simply react to the situation. (more…)
I was passing through the downtown core of a major North American city a few years ago. I had 40 minutes to kill, so I went for a walk and quickly came across a martial arts club I had heard about but never set foot in. So into the club I went, to check it out and introduce myself.
I was immediately struck by two contrasting impressions…
The first thing I noticed were the inspirational posters and sayings painted all over the walls. (more…)
This is an article by longtime Grapplearts contributor and BJJ Black Belt Mark Mullen.
A question I always ask when I discuss jiu-jitsu with senior black belts is, “In developing your game is it better to develop your strengths, or to focus on weaknesses in order to correct them?”
The simplest form of this question is about developing your top game vs your bottom game in BJJ. (more…)
In life it’s funny what ends up making a lasting impression on you. An offhand comment can stick with you for years and years, and have an effect way beyond anything the original person intended.
There’s a phrase like that that pops up in my mind often when I’m thinking about BJJ. But it originated in a very different place.
In fact this comment got stuck in my brain more than 20 years ago when I was taking a biochemistry class at McGill University of all places… (more…)
Anyone in my age group will understand how it came to be that the first martial art I fell in love was ninjutsu.
Ninjas were everywhere those days, and what could be better than sneaking around wearing black, throwing smoke bombs, and building booby traps?
Of course I too was determined to become a ninja, but first I needed the gear. I asked, begged, pleaded my parents to be given the tools of the trade (black outfit, sword, split toed sandals, all that good stuff), but unfortunately my mind control techniques weren’t up to snuff and I received no help from them.
For some reason my long suffering parents had their doubts that throwing stars and poisoned blow darts were good toys for their rambunctious 8 year old son. Plus any ninja clans operating in the Greater Toronto Area were too well hidden for me to find them, especially since I was still almost a decade shy of testing for my driver’s license.
So my dreams of living a life in the shadows were crushed at an early age (more…)
I know I’ve been lucky, but most of my martial arts instructors have encouraged questions.
For example, my BJJ coach, Marcus Soares, is known for his killer conditioning sessions (‘warmups,’ he calls them…).
But right after putting his class through hell he always starts the technical part of class by asking, “Are there any questions.” He then takes time to answer each and every question, regardless of whether it applies to BJJ, MMA or self defense. (more…)
My friend Ritchie Yip really nails it in this video.
Ultimately it’s not about winning tournaments, triangle choking a mugger in an alley, or being king of the dojo. It’s about developing the strength, the fortitude and – dare I say it – character that will serve you for the rest of your whole life in any field of endeavour. (more…)
So I’m touring Casa Loma recently, the famous castle in downtown Toronto and the largest private residence ever constructed in Canada.
Just the usual touristic wandering of the halls, climbing the turrets, and exploring the never-ending parade of lavishly decorated rooms.
All of a sudden I heard something beautiful drifting through the marble and hardwood hallways. (more…)
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…)
I saw something amazing in the pool where I was hanging out after a workout today.
First I noticed that there was a group of about 7 men jumping off the highest part of the diving tower, again and again.
This wasn’t a dinky little diving board 1 meter off the water. They were throwing themselves off the 5 meter board, which is high enough to make anyone’s heart go pitter-pat. (more…)
I recently interviewed my friend, training partner, black belt, and school owner Ritchie Yip. The main theme of our discussion was the art and science of teaching martial arts, including how to teach students with different learning styles and experience levels. Not every student learns the same way, and a good teacher knows how to adapt his material and curriculum to help students of all learning styles.
It’s sad that instructors (and aspiring instructors) often don’t know this stuff. They’d have happier students, better students, and bigger schools if they did. (more…)
New Year’s eve is just around the corner, making this the traditional time for drawing up plans, making resolutions, and setting your goals for the upcoming year.
“This year I’m gonna do this… I’m gonna stop doing that…”
Goal setting is super important and I’m all for it. I hope that you have your goals for the year clearly written out and displayed in a prominent place. But the problem is that people want have their cake and eat it too.
In the popular new age Oprah conception of the world the only thing stopping you is your imagination or – alternately – your lack of belief in yourself.
Most of the time I restrain myself and keep the discussion in this blog focused on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Grappling, and MMA.
But sometimes I just have to go outside the reservation…
Like many people, I’m a huge fan of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History show. No matter what I’m involved in, whenever one of those exquisitely crafted podcasts comes out I drop everything and immerse myself in the Mongol conquests, or the origins of World War 1, or comparisons of Alexander the Great to Hitler. It’s amazing stuff.
This might just be the coolest thing I have ever seen. A Kangaroo MMA match complete with kicks, clinching, takedowns and a bona fide chokeout for the submission of the night! (more…)
I’ve just put the most important video I’ve ever shot onto Youtube: Jiu-Jitsu for the Zombie Apocalypse.
A lot of people will tell you that jiu-jitsu will be useless when the Zombie Apocalypse hits. But those people have an agenda: usually they’re trying to sell you flamethrowers, or have stocks in the big arms companies. (more…)
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…)
Hey, we’re having another Grapplearts T Shirt Giveaway! This time three lucky readers are going to get a coveted Grapplearts T shirt shipped directly to their home!
I recently noticed that my grappling and jiu-jitsu channel on Youtube had passed 10 million total views! I’m stoked about this, and I think it’s a big landmark for an independently operated business. Thanks to every single reader who helped out by liking, subscribing and commenting on the videos; every little bit helps! (more…)
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…
When it comes to supplements for BJJ, or any other sport for that matter, almost everybody giving you advice is lying to you. Or at the very least, deluded by wishful thinking…
And just to alienate even more people, by the term ‘supplements’ I’m including most vitamins, minerals, ergogenic aids, pre-workout drinks, post-workout shakes, homeopathic medicine, herbal concoctions, chinese medicine, and all the other products offered by the supplement-industrial complex. (more…)