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…)
Incorporating a new move into your sparring and competition repertoire can be tricky. Too many people go and and try their nifty new technique on everybody right away, hoping that it will work at least some of the time. But this may not actually be the best way to do it.
In fact, this scattershot method, and not having a concrete plan for rolling out new moves, can even be counterproductive… (more…)
Man, nobody else fights like Masakazu Imanari. Such a distinctive (and scary) style…
Imanari is a man on a mission: if there’s a leg in the room somewhere then he’s going to find it and tear it off. Every moment of every fight he’s looking to wrap up that leg: it doesn’t matter if you’re punching, kicking, clinching or on the ground.
Even the former UFC fighter (and infamous heel hooker) Rousimar Palhares doesn’t turn himself upside down and launch himself towards his opponent while looking for a heel hook. (more…)
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…)
There’s never been a better time to get better at BJJ.
A sixteenth century samurai who wanted to improve his duelling skills had relatively limited options. If he put up with enough hazing and character testing then, maybe, his sensei would eventually decide to teach him some good stuff. And hopefully he would have learned some things by watching, or participating in, the occasional sword fight. (more…)
Love her or hate her, Ronda Rousey is an armbar machine. At UFC 168 she defeated Meisha Tate with her eighth armbar in eight MMA fights. This armbar streak is an amazing achievement, and a lot of people (including a lot of people who don’t actually train) have been asking me how to counter this attack.
I was thinking about doing this but it turns out that someone beat me to it. (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.
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…)
In recent years the X Guard has become one of the bread and butter positions in the open guard repertoire. It’s an incredibly powerful position, both in gi and no gi grappling (click here for an intro to the X Guard).
There are a ton of great techniques, sweeps, and drills that revolve around the X guard, but today I want to share a new drill with you that I recently learned from Clark Gracie in the basement of a friend’s house. (more…)
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.
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…)
by Mark Mullen
A few weeks back I penned an article called “What Do Whitebelts Need To Learn In Their 1st Year of BJJ?“. That prompted a few people to request a discussion of the next step in the BJJ journey: Bluebelt.
If we think of the whitebelt as a time of fleshing out the skeleton of the positional hierarchy and learning the mechanics of basic techniques, I would sum up the Bluebelt as a time of experimentation. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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.
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.
In the No Gi super fight at the 2013 BJJ Expo between Keenan Cornelius and Lucas Leite there was an absolutely spectacular submission. Keenan hit an inverted spinning armbar from half guard that impressed the hell out of everyone who saw it.
First, here’s the match itself. The armbar sequence starts at about 8:01. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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 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.
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…)
—————————— QUESTION ——————————
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…)
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…)
I recently talked to John Perretti, the former matchmaker for both the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Extreme Fighting Championship.
In our fifty minute interview John and I discussed the early days of the sport, how he found and selected fighters, brain trauma in the combat sports, his disdain for the current state of the UFC, and much more.