My Digital Reading List, May 23, 2013

I always say that this jiu-jitsu stuff is a marathon, not a sprint.

Partially this is because it takes time to remodel your body so that it can do the things you want it to do. It’s also because you need to find and incorporate hundreds of little tricks, tweaks and techniques that work with your body and your ever-evolving style on the mats. (more…)

The Armbar from Fifty-Fifty Guard by Keenan Cornelius

fifty fifty guardThe fifty-fifty guard is a strange creature. In it you and your opponent face each other in the exact same position with your legs intertwined.

On the one hand there’s no doubt that it’s a really powerful sweeping position for whoever’s on bottom.

But on the other hand it has a reputation as a really horrible way to stall. (more…)

How to Counter the Stupidest Closed Guard Break Ever - The Elbow Grind on the Inner Thighs

Grinding away on your inner thighs is the favourite (and often only) closed guard breaking strategy of meathead grapplers everywhere.

I don’t know who originally came up with this bush league, Dim Mak wanna be, pressure point bull**** strategy, but for some reason you run into ‘grinders’ at almost every club.

Like most pain compliance techniques the elbow grind is something that works semi-OK in sparring, but almost never works in competition (more…)

My Favorite One-Two Sweeping Combo from X Guard

Today I’m going to share two of my favourite (and very powerful) X guard sweeps with you. Plus I’ll show you how put them together so that it looks like you have amazing timing without actually having to increase your reaction speed one iota.

Let’s first talk about what makes two techniques work well together in general. (more…)

6 Steps for an Effective Sleeve Choke

I know, I know, I KNOW!

I go on and on about how tapping out is no big deal, and how you can get injured if you let ego get in the way, and how everybody gets caught from time to time…

But there I was, leaping all over the place to escape a submission, becoming increasingly desperate as the noose tightened around my neck, just because the whole thing seemed so cheesy. (more…)

The 3 Fanciest Leglocks That Actually Work

Some leglocks are simple, straight-ahead, super-effective submissions that should be in every grappler’s arsenal.

Other leglock attacks, by contrast, are super-complicated multi-step techniques. And once you actually manoeuvre everybody into place you’re left with something that resembles an octopus orgy: arms, legs, and other body parts tangled together in a giant Gordian knot. (more…)

My Favorite One-Two-Three Sweep Combo from the Half Guard

The half guard is one of my favorite guard positions. And here are three of my favorite half guard sweeps and attacks!

Not only is each of these moves a high percentage technique in its own right, but when you put them together they create a powerful one-two-three combination that will serve you well in the half guard for the rest of your grappling career. (more…)

How to Escape Kesa Gatame and the Headlock

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…)

The Best BJJ Submissions Revealed

What’s the best submission in BJJ? Wow, that’s a tough question!  And the first problem is trying to define what we mean by the word ‘best’…

Before we get into semantics and statistics let’s start by agreeing that there are a million different submissions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling, and that not all of these techniques were were created equal.   (more…)

How to Defend and Escape the Kimura from Side Control

Defending and escaping the Kimura when you’re on the bottom of side control is always difficult.  There are several different reason for this…

First of all, the figure four grip used in the Kimura is very powerful control.  It’s a natural handle that your opponent can use to manipulate your entire body, both in gi or no gi. And once your opponent has secured this grip it’s a real pain to get out of this submission. (more…)

How to Defend and Escape the Armbar from Guard

If you’ve been grappling for any length of time then you know that anytime you’re in the closed guard you’ve got to watch out for the armbar from guard. It’s one of the most common and highest percentage submissions in all of BJJ, submission grappling and MMA.

So if we’re going to be running into a technique like the armbar from guard this frequently then we HAVE to have some good answers for it, or else we’ll be tapping out all the time! (more…)

The Easiest Triangle Choke Followup

One of my newsletter readers recently had an interesting question for me:

Q: “Hi Stephan,  I have this training partner with a huge neck who is incredibly resistant to chokes.  Everybody in class has problems choking him.  The problem is that my favorite submission is the triangle choke – what’s a simple way to finish the choke on someone like that?  Thanks – Dave from England.” (more…)

The Difference Between the Brabo Choke and the Anaconda Choke... Plus Tips for Both

I recently received the following question about the Brabo and Anaconda chokes from a reader of the Grapplearts Newsletter:

Hi Stephan, I’ve been training in BJJ for about a year. In no gi training I really like chokes, but I still get confused sometimes: what is the difference between the Anaconda Choke and the Brabo Choke? I get my hand positioning all messed up every time I try either of these techniques…”
(more…)

Fifty Ways to Improve Your Grappling Almost Immediately

Sometimes the best way to get better is simply to stop doing things wrong.

Over the years I’ve shot quite a few guerilla-style videos breaking down many of the most common mistakes that I see for different positions and submissions. (more…)

How to Stop Your Opponent from Turtling During Your Guard Pass

I was recently asked the following question:

“Hi Stephan, My biggest problem on the mats right now is people turtling and going to their to knees when I’m about to pass their guard. Once they’re in turtle they either roll back to guard or stand up and all the hard work I did to pass their guard is for nothing. (more…)

How to Salvage a Failed Butterfly Guard Sweep

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…)

Hidden Techniques for Maintaining Rear Mount

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:

  1. Get your hooks in,
  2. Submit your opponent.

Oh, if only life were so simple!

(more…)

No Gi Guard Passing Strategies vs. Bigger People

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…)

Ambush Armbar from Modified Scarf Hold

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:

“There’s always going to be someone bigger, stronger or faster than you, but there never has to be anyone sneakier than you!”
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How to Counter the Backstep Guard Pass

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…)