Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins on BJJ Training, Competition, Transitions and Evolution

I’ve got a super cool, super informative interview for you today!

This is the first time in Grapplearts history that I’ve interviewed a person for a second time.  But boy, did my friend, BJJ black belt, and fierce competitor Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins ever deliver! (click here for the first interview).

(Brandon and I originally worked together to create the highly acclaimed instructional How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent Volume 2.)

In today’s interview Brandon and I discuss a TON of stuff, including,

  • Life and death on the seminar circuit,
  • What changes you need to make to your guard to transition from gi to no-gi,
  • How to connect moves together to make a smooth and fluid game,
  • The evolution of jiu-jitsu, including the new positions and strategies that are continuously changing the sport,
  • Why you always need to pushing to improve your position even when you’re ahead on points. (more…)

How to Do the Head and Arm Choke (aka 'Kata Gatame')

The Head and Arm choke is a super-powerful submission that works with and without the gi, with and without strikes, in BJJ, Judo, Submission Grappling and Judo.

It’s ended a lot of matches and even put a few people to sleep.

The Head and Arm choke comes from Judo (where it’s known as Kata Gatame) and if you grapple then it’s a technique that you need to know! (more…)

Takedowns for People Who Don't Do Takedowns...

At it’s core BJJ is an incredibly effective way of fighting on the ground.

But the sad truth is that grapplerts who haven’t trained in Judo or wrestling can often have a lot of problems getting the fight to the ground.

In fact the only plan many BJJ practitioners have for getting a match to the ground is to pull guard, end of story. (more…)

The 3 Steps of Berimbolo

Sometimes the best way to really understand something is to teach it. When it comes to jiu-jitsu, breaking a technique down into steps (not too many, not too few) and finding the best way to convey the underlying principles often helps clarify things in your mind.

I’ve been doing a lot of this with the berimbolo sweep recently. (more…)

Question: My Mind Goes Blank During Sparring...

—————————— QUESTION ——————————

Hi Stephan,

First of all, I want to thank you for creating your instructional apps and having these frequent tips/newsletters.   They have really helped me to get started in BJJ.  Even though I have been signed up to receive your emails for a while now I have only just begun my training.   (more…)

A Easy Way to Stay Out of Trouble in the Guard

Posture, posture, posture… Everyone talks about posture as THE solution to staying out of trouble in the guard. Every guard pass ever taught starts out with, “First, make posture in the guard.”

But the trouble is that your opponent knows this too. If you’re in his closed guard, and if posture is good for you, then posture is bad for him. So guess what? He’ll work like crazy to disrupt, destroy, and break down your posture whenever he’s got you in the closed guard.

(more…)

How to Maintain Good Posture in Butterfly Guard

Posture in the butterfly guard is incredibly important.  With the butterfly guard (as with any guard position) good posture is the key to defending the guard pass, attacking with submissions, and/or sweeping your opponent.

But maintaining good posture is easier said than done,

(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!”
(more…)

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…)

How to Pass Deep Half Guard

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…)

How to set up and apply the head and arm choke

Here’s a clip of Emily Kwok teaching something really cool – how to set up the head and arm choke (also known as ‘kata gatame’) from mount, and then how to ratchet it on so tightly that your opponent has no choice but to tap out, no matter how big he is. (more…)

A Surprising Way to Pull Guard...

Should you pull guard in competition?  And if you decide to pull guard, then how do you do it correctly?

In a certain sense, I am uniquely unqualified to answer these questions…

You see, much of my BJJ comes from 8th degree black belt Marcus Soares, and Marcus is very much from the old-school Carlson Gracie way of doing things. (more…)