A Little-Known Move to Recover Guard from Turtle

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…)

How NOT to Get Triangle Choked While Passing the Guard

The very first guard pass I learned was the stacking guard pass (also known as the smashing guard pass or sometimes the ‘over under’ pass).

Initially I was doing this pass all wrong, and I can’t even begin to count how many times I got triangle choked trying it. But eventually I learned a few tweaks that made it much harder for my opponents to apply the triangle choke, and now it’s one of my bread and butter guard passes. (more…)

BJJ Self Defense Part 5: Defending the Low Tech (and Deadly) Headlock!

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…)

BJJ Self Defense Part 2: Escaping the Mount

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…)

Five Great Followups to a Failed Triangle Choke

The Triangle Choke is definitely another one of those Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu signature moves. It’s a super-powerful submission and it is responsible for ending a LOT of BJJ, MMA and submission grappling matches.

But the sad fact is that no submission works for everyone, or on every opponent all the time…

For example, sometimes your legs can be too short to apply an effective triangle choke. (more…)

How to Escape the Mount of a Much Larger Opponent

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…)

A Sneaky Armbar Escape

The armbar escape in the video below is one of my favourite armbar defenses. I like it because it’s simple and effective against a wide variety of grapplers, but also because of the reaction it gets from people who were oh-so-close to armbarring you.

They’ll either laugh or swear out loud after you get out; either reaction is pretty gratifying! (more…)

How to Defeat The Judo-Style Rolling Armbar

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…)

How to Counter the Cross-Collar Grip

When you’re in your opponent’s guard one of the most annoying things he can do is secure a really good cross-collar grip on you.  True, this grip doesn’t have much utility for MMA or no-gi training (in fact being too reliant on it can create some really bad habits for when the gi comes off), but in BJJ the cross-collar grip is a serious problem.

When your opponent snags a cross collar grip on you it’s important to deal with it immediately!  First of all, against someone who is a collar choke expert, a single deep grip on your lapel puts you into extreme danger… (more…)

How to Stabilise Mount Against a Bigger, Stronger Opponent

Many smaller grapplers avoid the mount position because they feel it’s too easy for a larger opponent to simply throw them off or roll them to the bottom. It usually takes a TON of work to get to the mount, and it really sucks when some big doofus simply sits up and rolls you to the bottom where you have to start all over again! (more…)

How to Maintain Rear Mount, Improve Guillotines, and Thwart 'Combatives' Experts

Rear mount seems like such a simple position: I mean, you’re basically just piggybacking on your opponent, right?

Well, success in jiu-jitsu usually means doing simple, fundamental things with a high degree of sophistication and attention to detail. And rear mount is no different – switch your grip by a couple of inches, have your hand open instead of closed, do the wrong thing for even a moment and the whole thing goes straight to hell! (more…)

The Highest Percentage Sidemount Escape in BJJ?

Sidemount is arguably the pinning position you’re going to run into most often in BJJ.  Most guard passes lead into sidemount, and from sidemount you can get to almost every other position (it’s kind of like the Grand Central Station of BJJ pinning)!

So it’s not surprising that there are a ton of different sidemount escapes involving shrimping, bridging, spinning, reguarding, etc. (more…)

Tap Out Less Often! The 'Submission Defense' App for Android...

After a ton of planning and working with video editors and Android app programers, I’m thrilled to announce that Submission Defense – the latest Grapplearts app for the Android platform – is finally ready!!

This app was designed with one single-minded purpose: to help you tap out much less often. (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…)

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…)

BJJ Training Strategies

Having the right assortment of techniques is pretty darn important in BJJ. But having the right training strategies is even more important…

By ‘training strategies’ I’m talking about the big picture. Like knowing which techniques to use, when to use them, and how to correctly train those techniques in the first place. (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…)