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…)
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…)
When BJJ world champion Brandon Mullins and I started talking about doing a second instructional set, he was adamant about including a section focusing on the advanced applications of fundamental movements.
I was initially dubious. I didn’t think that most people would be interested in this. But the more we talked about it, and especially when he started showing me what he wanted to cover, I became a convert.
You see, there are movements people already know and use, but they just don’t know how to use them to their full potential. (more…)
Getting picked up and slammed when you’ve got your opponent in the closed guard is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you in grappling.
It’s definitely a legitimate technique for big and strong guys to use. And in MMA and self defense slamming an opponent is one of the best ways to open the guard, or to escape a tight triangle choke.
Getting power-bombed and then and having your opponent’s weight land on you always hurts. Especially if your opponent is bigger than you are, which is usually the case if he can lift you up. (more…)
An article by Mark Mullen
Most students of Brazilian jiu-jitsu are aware that the origins of modern day BJJ came from Japanese judoka Mitsuyo Maeda who was one of the earliest of Jigoro Kano’s members at the Kodokan.
Since those early days, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has evolved significantly and now Olympic style judo and sport BJJ have diverged into their own sports.
The rules governing IBJJF competition differ from those of Olympic judo requiring different strategies by the competitors and consequently a different emphasis on techniques. (more…)
Here’s something brand new that I’ve been working on for a whole year. It’s available right now and I think you’re really going to like it!!
How would you like a top-to-bottom game plan for the closed guard position?
What about a complete roadmap for the Open Guard?
And while we’re at it, would a game plan for the modern Half Guard help you out? (more…)
One of single biggest errors you can make when you’re practising a martial art is to assume that everybody else practices that same martial art.
Let me explain that…
Boxers spend 99.9% of their time learning how to fight other boxers. Wrestlers train to attack with, and defend against, wrestling techniques. (more…)
Today we’re going to look at and learn about one of the most fundamental movements in all of BJJ. It’s the “technical standup,” and make sure that you’re doing it correctly.
The technical standup is used ALL the time in BJJ, submission grappling and MMA.
This exact move can get you out of trouble in scrambles, prevent guard passes, and finish sweeps for you, but first and foremost the technical standup allows you to get back to your feet in a real fight without getting your teeth knocked out… (more…)
If you’ve been reading my emails and training in grappling then, by this point, you’re going to be quite familiar with the guard.
In some ways it’s the iconic BJJ position.
But do you know WHY it’s such an integral part of BJJ? Why do we focus on this position so much? And why would we ever want to be lying on our backs on the pavement in a streetfight? (more…)
The first time I ever saw the Mount position was during a schoolyard fight in grade one. One kid pushed the other kid to the ground, climbed on top, sat on his chest in the classic bully position, and then absolutely dominated the fight. He punched and slapped and taunted the other kid who was completely unable to do anything about it until the fight was broken up by the teachers.
The kid on the bottom wasn’t too badly hurt in the end, but only because it’s hard for grade 1 punches to do much actual damage.
The take-home lesson was clear though: he who maintains the Mount wins! (more…)
This might be a bit controversial but BJJ IS A MARTIAL ART!
That means it’s a fighting method, used for stopping (and possibly hurting) people who are intent on doing you serious harm.
Sure, it’s also a fantastic sport, a fitness method, and a way to challenge yourself. I enjoy it for all those aspects too. But being able to take care of business in the street comes first. (more…)
This is a video from the archives that I shot with my friend and training partner at Infighting MMA in downtown Vancouver.
Infighting has since moved into a much nicer, larger facility, but the information in this video is still 100% valid. It’s all about the ‘dirty boxing’ techniques that are technically illegal in boxing but still end up deciding fights all the time. (more…)
At it’s core BJJ is an incredibly effective way of fighting on the ground.
But the sad truth is that grapplerts who haven’t trained in Judo or wrestling can often have a lot of problems getting the fight to the ground.
In fact the only plan many BJJ practitioners have for getting a match to the ground is to pull guard, end of story. (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…)
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…)
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…)
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.
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…)
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…)
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…)
There’s a reason that the Rear Naked Choke (or RNC) has finished so many matches in MMA, BJJ and submission grappling: it’s a very powerful and super-difficult to escape submission! This effectiveness is the main reason that we’ve devoted so much time to this choke on Grapplearts – (click here to see the RNC archives). (more…)
Kesa Gatame is one of the most under-utilized positions in BJJ. Jiu-jitsu people tend to ignore this position but generations of judo players and wrestlers have proved that Kesa Gatame IS a powerful and effective way to pin someone. And – even worse for someone caught in it – Kesa Gatame is also a great entry into some very effective armlocks, leglocks, neck cranks and diaphragm chokes. (more…)
Here’s a short 1:30 minute video breakdown of me explaining the basics of the closed guard.
And just to keep things interesting I also throw in my single best tip about how to maintain the closed guard, shut down your opponent’s guard pass attempts and put you in a position to successfully launch your own attacks. (more…)