A reader writes: Hi Stephan, I’ve been doing BJJ for about 6 months and am wondering if you have any advice about what to do when you’re starting on the knees?

I find that most wrestling-style takedowns are very difficult to do from the knees, especially because my opponents are really good at sprawling. (more…)

How to Defeat a Smaller Opponent

Smaller opponents can become big nuisances, especially if they have legitimate skills.

You would think that the very fact that you’re bigger than your opponent means you should be able to go full-Conan on them every time…

Mongol General: “Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: “To crush your enemies, see them driffen before you, and to hear the lamentation of their vimmen.(more…)

A Fancy-Pants Z Guard Pass that Never Worked Until...

There’s this one impressive, fancy-pants guard pass that I’ve seen in competition many times. It makes everybody go ‘oooh’ and ‘aaaah’, but despite its dramatic nature it’s undeniably effective and has won a LOT of matches at the highest levels of competition.

I tried to imitate this technique, of course, but it was always a complete disaster. I never managed to figure out exactly what these high-level guys were doing. (more…)

Best Takedown vs. Larger Opponents?

Every grappler needs to have a basic understanding of takedowns.  You don’t want to be so uni-dimensional that you have no idea how to take somebody down.

But the problem is that not every takedown you learn from Judo or wrestling will work on someone a lot bigger and stronger than you. (more…)

Advanced Triangle Choke Details

Today’s tip is about the details of the Triangle Choke, one of the very highest percentage submissions at every level of competition.

Have you ever noticed how some people can catch EVERYBODY in their signature submission, again and again? Once they’ve got their setup position it’s pretty much a done deal (this applies whether that signature submission is an armbar, a triangle choke, a kneebar, or an upside-down, inside-out Jehosophat choke).

(more…)

Defending Stupid Big Guy Attacks (and the Honor of Jiu-Jitsu)

It’s amazing what some big guys will do when they get frustrated. In fact, sometimes they’ll try stuff so stupid that it’ll take you completely by surprise!

Now, many BJJ instructors never bother to teach you what to do against these ‘stupid attacks.’ (more…)

Advanced Omoplata Armlock Finish

Jiu-jitsu is so cool! As you might know, the omoplata armlock is one of my very favorite techniques. But even after 10 years of studying this position, I’m still learning new stuff about it…

Today I want to share a variation of the omoplata that I learned this summer working with Brandon Mullins. Of course this finish works great on larger people, but even though I’m 6’2′ and 215 lbs I’m gonna ‘hijack’ it and use it in my own game as well. (more…)

Are my legs too short to apply the triangle choke?

The first time I ever saw the triangle choke in action was in 1994, during the last match of UFC 4.

Royce Gracie had just squared off against Dan Severn, a seemingly unstoppable wrestler with a huge weight advantage.  I remember thinking, ‘There’s just no possible way that Royce is gonna win this one.’ (more…)

Passing the Guard in MMA

by Denis Kang and Stephan Kesting
Originally published in Grappling Magazine, October 2005

Denis Kang knows all about passing the guard in mixed martial arts competition. He has fought in Japan and throughout North America, and has passed the guards of many good fighters, including Minoru Suzuki, Keith Rockel and Stephan Potvin. He knows that passing the guard is one of the hardest things to do in a fight (more…)