3 Ways to Safely Control an Opponent on the Ground for Self Defense.

Reverse lapeloplatas and inside-out upside-down berimbolos might be fun to train and effective for some guys in high level competition, but at its core Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a martial art. So once in a while we need to regroup, refocus, and give some thought to what parts of the art we would use in a real self defense situation. (more…)

The 3 Steps of Berimbolo

Sometimes the best way to really understand something is to teach it. When it comes to jiu-jitsu, breaking a technique down into steps (not too many, not too few) and finding the best way to convey the underlying principles often helps clarify things in your mind.

I’ve been doing a lot of this with the berimbolo sweep recently. (more…)

3 Ways to Close the Distance in a Streetfight

BJJ is a great fitness activity and a wonderful sport. But at it’s core Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is still a martial art.

The word ‘martial’ is defined as “being related to fighting or war“. And that means you have to be ready throw down should the s**t hit the fan out there in the cold, cruel world.

Sometimes in a street confrontation you should run away, sometimes you should look for improvised weapons, sometimes you should punch and kick, and sometimes your best option is to grapple. (more…)

What Do White Belts Need to Learn in Their 1st Year of BJJ?

by guest author Mark Mullen

I’m currently in Rio de Janeiro doing a little training in BJJ. While here I have met a number of white belts at the Connection Rio BJJ hostel. Sitting around the pool or over acai after training, inevitably the topic of conversation turns to BJJ and the struggles of the white belts trying to find their way in the art suave.

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On Starting a Conditioning Program for BJJ & Submission Grappling

There are lots of reasons to start doing a conditioning program if you’re training in BJJ or submission grappling. The most important (yet often overlooked) benefit is to injury proof your body and allow you to train longer, harder, and more often.  Other benefits can include increased strength, improved muscular endurance, elevated aerobic and anaerobic capacities, and more explosiveness, all of which will only improve your grappling game. (more…)

Five Reasons to Grapple in a Streetfight

A lot of self proclaimed self defence experts will emphatically and categorically tell you to “never, ever go to the ground in a streetfight.”  But no single strategy works in every situation, and anyone telling you to always do something, or never do something, is automatically wrong.

The truth is that you may well be forced to use your grappling skills in a self defense context. (more…)

Home Drilling for BJJ Skill Development

I often get questions from BJJ and submission grappling practitioners about whether they can benefit from doing additional drills at home.  Often the people asking these questions are either extremely time-constrained and can’t make it to the class as often as they would like.  Or they are just very serious students of the art and want to improve as fast as humanly possible.

My answer is that there ARE a lot of solo movement drills in BJJ.  And yes, drilling can sometimes be very, very helpful.   (more…)

The Android BJJ Apps Are Finally Here!

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.

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Question: My Mind Goes Blank During Sparring...

—————————— QUESTION ——————————

Hi Stephan,

First of all, I want to thank you for creating your instructional apps and having these frequent tips/newsletters.   They have really helped me to get started in BJJ.  Even though I have been signed up to receive your emails for a while now I have only just begun my training.   (more…)

Jiu-Jitsu for the Zombie Apocalypse

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…)

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…)

Does MMA Make You Stupid?

MMA has been my guilty pleasure for a long time.

On the one hand, I’m a huge fan. I’ve been watching the UFC since its inauguration in 1993, and have enjoyed fights in Pride FC, Shooto, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and many other organisations. I have good friends who are professional fighters, and have helped them prepare for their fights. And I have nothing but respect for the skill, athleticism and mental toughness of the modern MMA fighter.

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A Easy Way to Stay Out of Trouble in the Guard

Posture, posture, posture… Everyone talks about posture as THE solution to staying out of trouble in the guard. Every guard pass ever taught starts out with, “First, make posture in the guard.”

But the trouble is that your opponent knows this too. If you’re in his closed guard, and if posture is good for you, then posture is bad for him. So guess what? He’ll work like crazy to disrupt, destroy, and break down your posture whenever he’s got you in the closed guard.

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Top Five Diet Tips for BJJ

I often get questions about diet and nutrition from grapplers and martial artists.  People want to eat correctly because they think it will make them more effective in BJJ class, allow them to recover faster after training, and provide them with better health overall.

Well, it’s true.  What you eat can have a HUGE effect on your performance. (more…)

How to Maintain Good Posture in Butterfly Guard

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,

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How to Stabilise Mount Against a Bigger, Stronger Opponent

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…)

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 Most Powerful Kneebar

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.

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