In BJJ it’s what you don’t know that hurts you. If you get caught in a position that you don’t have an answer to, that you don’t understand, then life on the mat just got exponentially more difficult.
This problem is most pronounced for the guard. It can be really difficult to keep up with the changing technology. One year it’s the X Guard, taking the world by storm, then it’s the 50/50 guard, and then it’s the worm guard…
You don’t necessarily need to add each of these new guard positions to your own personal repertoire, but you DO need to know how to shut them down. You need good answers for each of these positions. (more…)
Just the other day I shared four counters to a pesky deep cross-collar grip from closed guard.
Well, the cross-collar grip isn’t the only way your opponent might try to destroy your posture…
There’s another posture-breaking grip that can be just as bad, and unlike the cross-collar this one can be used in BJJ, MMA and submission grappling. Gi and no gi. (more…)
Your opponent sneaking his hand deep on your lapel is always a bad situation.
Once he has this grip on you from his closed guard he can use it to break your posture forward, which kills your ability to pass the guard and is very tiring to fight against…
…or he can use it to attack you with cross-collar chokes (which have ended a LOT of matches)…
…or he uses your frantic reactions the threat of the grip to set up any number of armlocks, sweeps and other attacks. (more…)
When it comes to passing the guard you basically have two options: pass with speed, or pass with pressure.
Speed-based guard passes typically rely on creating some distance between you and your opponent, getting some kind of control on his feet or legs, and then blasting your way past your legs with some quickly manoeuvring. The ‘Toreando’ pass and its variations would be classic examples of speed-based passing.
In pressure-based passing you incrementally gain control over more and more of your opponent’s body until you slowly edge your way past his guard. (more…)
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…)
Passing the guard and establishing a stable position is maybe the single hardest thing to do in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
You can know a ton of guard passing techniques, but what if you’re in the Closed Guard and can’t start your pass because your opponent absolutely refuses to open up his legs. He just keeps you in his guard with his ankles crossed and wears you down with his wickedly strong legs, relentless attacks, and incredible determination to never-ever uncross his ankles. (more…)
Regardless of whether you want to add this modern BJJ inverted spinning stuff to your own personal repertoire or not, you should still know how to counter this position.
But even if you don’t use the Reverse de la Riva Guard yourself, the chances are still good that you’ll eventually run into someone who does. And when that happens hopefully you have an answer that allows you to counter the most common attacks from the RDLR, and then work directly into a guard pass. (more…)
One of the big trends in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu recently has been the increasing sophistication of lapel-based guard control and sweeps. In this style of game the lapel gets fed around arms, behind the torso, and between the legs to make it difficult for your opponent to pass your guard and also much easier to sweep him.
The most recent variation in this evolutionary trend is a position called ‘the Worm Guard,’ used by Keenan Cornelius in the 2014 World championships against some very legitimate opponents.
Even if you think that this type of guardplay is the devil’s work and never, ever intend to use it in your own game you will probably still run into someone at your academy (or in competition) who will try it on you.
And in order too counter it you first need to understand it! (more…)
When it comes to sparring, many BJJ rookies just freak out for the whole session.
Every grip is a deathgrip, they spaz out when they’re in the guard, and then push with every bit of their strength the whole time that they’re pinned on the bottom.
And then they get tired… (more…)
The cartwheel guard pass is one of the most spectacular guard passes out there. But it’s not as difficult to do as you might think.
In the video below I show you an easy four step progression, including some drills you can do on your own, to incorporate this exciting move into your repertoire. (more…)
The de la Riva guard has exploded in popularity in recent years. Since it was popularised by Ricardo de la Riva there have always been sweeps and submission available from this position but the ascent of the berimbolo (a spinning-and-upside-down method of taking the back) has made it even more popular among the BJJ competition crowd.
So even if you never ever plan to use this style guard yourself you need to have some answers to it, because you WILL run into it. (more…)
This butterfly guard pass doesn’t require athleticism, speed or killer grips; instead this guard pass is all about the timing.
To have great timing you either need to have super-fast reflexes to react to your opponent, OR you have to ‘train’ your opponent to give you a certain energy so you can anticipate it and have your response already waiting for him. (more…)
Many matches are won or lost in the struggle to pass the guard.
In fact passing the guard of a skilled player may be the single hardest thing to do in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
It’s not uncommon for a high-level competitor to spend 8 or 9 minutes of a 10 minute match fighting like crazy trying to pass the guard. (more…)
I’m in the middle of trying something new at Grapplearts.com…
The lion’s share of the BJJ videos in the article and technique section of this site have been produced by yours truly (Stephan Kesting).
But recently one of my very first BJJ training partners also wanted to contribute some cool footage to the video vault. (more…)
There’s a strong argument to be made for knowing how to pass the guard both standing up AND kneeling down. This keeps your opponent guessing and allows you to change your game up and avoid his strengths.
What I’m going to give you today is a free sample of my Black Belt Grappling Concepts Course that’ll show you how to shut down one of the most common problems you’ll encounter when you’re using standing guard passes… (more…)
by guest author Mark Mullen
I’m currently in Rio de Janeiro doing a little training in BJJ. While here I have met a number of white belts at the Connection Rio BJJ hostel. Sitting around the pool or over acai after training, inevitably the topic of conversation turns to BJJ and the struggles of the white belts trying to find their way in the art suave.
This is a great interview with BJJ competition legend Rafael Lovato Jr. You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways…
- Play the audio-only Youtube video at the bottom of this list, and/or
- Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file to your computer, and/or
- Subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (RECOMMENDED, because this allows you to also listen to previous interviews and podcasts), and/or
- Read the transcript below. (more…)
Drilling is critical to skill development in BJJ in general, which is why we talk about it so often in this blog (click here to see some past articles about drilling).
Drilling and technique repetition become even more important if you’re dealing with a position like the butterfly guard. (more…)
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…)
This article and video are about how to train and continue to make progress in BJJ when you’re dealing with an arm injury.
Now I hope that you go through your entire BJJ career without ever suffering a single injury. But this is a contact sport, and therefore you’re probably going to get a little banged up from time to time. (more…)
Passing the guard of a skilled opponent is one of the hardest things to do in BJJ.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at high level BJJ and submission grappling competition like the Mundials or ADCC. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
In the last 5 years the Deep Half Guard position has taken the BJJ and submission grappling world by storm. And every serious grappler now needs to know how to neutralize and pass the Deep Half Guard.
This position is a variation of the half guard. If someone manages to get settled into this position underneath you then they’re right under your center of gravity, can compromise your balance, and very likely be able sweep you or take your back with a wide variety of techniques. (more…)