If you have any exposure to standup grappling then you know the power of a standing underhook. It allows you to dominate your opponent, move him around, and set up lots of throws, takedowns and other moves. (more…)
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…)
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…)
Let’s talk about two of my favorite sweeps from the open guard. These are high percentage techniques that are used again and again at every level, by novice whitebelts and world-class blackbelts.
When learning a new position I think it’s important to learn the high percentage stuff right away. (more…)
Today I want to teach you how to do the most important sweep from the butterfly guard correctly.
This is because sometimes in life, you just HAVE to learn certain things. (more…)
What is an ‘advanced’ guard sweep?
Well, sometimes it’s a technique that requires such ridiculous levels of strength, flexibility, or explosiveness that it’s completely out of reach of 99% of recreational BJJ players. (more…)
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…)
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…)
Many battles are lost by not sufficiently stabilizing sidemount, and/or choosing the wrong attacks to use from that otherwise dominant position.
Let’s say that you’ve done everything right and cut through the guard of a bigger stronger opponent. (more…)
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).
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…)
It’s a fact: big guys don’t like losing to smaller guys.
That’s why sometimes, when a bigger guy realizes he’s not going to be able to actually win a match, he changes gears and uses all his strength and size for only one thing… (more…)
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…)
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…)
Judo has a lot to offer to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. And vice versa. Judo places more emphasis on throwing, of course, and BJJ is more ground-oriented, but Judo groundwork (known as ‘newaza‘) isn’t entirely dissimilar to BJJ groundwork. (more…)
What? Abandon the Mount? The position you’ve worked so hard to achieve?!? Let me explain…
BJJ is a position-based art. The positional system of BJJ is the central organizing theme of my ‘Roadmap for BJJ’ book (more…)
The first time someone showed me the standing Kimura attack I was pretty skeptical…
I was like, “yeah, that would never work, not in a million years!” (more…)
The omoplata is one of my very favorite submissions. But there are a lot of ways to screw it up. Here’s how to make sure it works for you. (more…)
Here’s a video in which Emily Kwok uses me as a dummy to teach the fundamentals of the Seated Guard and also one of my very favorite sweeps: the ‘Idiot Sweep.’
(I call it that because it’s so simple and so effective that when you catch your opponent with it, he feels like – well – an idiot.) (more…)
I was recently watching an out-of-print instructional DVD by a friend of mine and had one of those really great ‘aha’ moments.
It was a tweak that I can use to make my closed guard much, much harder to pass. And also much more powerful when it comes to setting up attacks and sweeps. (more…)
A reader writes…
Q: Hi Stephan, I’ve got a question for you if you don’t mind me asking. I often struggle when it comes to rolling with big guys. I weigh roughly 52 kilos and the guys at the gym obviously weigh a lot more than me. (more…)
There’s nothing worse than having an opponent counter your armbar attempt by locking his hands together and using grip and bicep strength to stop you from extending the arm. Especially if he’s big, strong, and determined to not let tap him out! (more…)
In these photos Marc Laimon shows some of the techniques he used to defeat Ryron Gracie at Grappler’s Quest in Las Vegas, November 6th, 2004. (more…)
Getting a handle, or a grip, on your opponent in MMA is not always easy. Here Denis uses an unusual grip both to control his opponent and remove one of his potential weapons from the equation. (more…)
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…)