I recently worked with a female friend to teach her a little bit about jiu-jitsu for self defense.
Obviously I believe that jiu-jitsu is super important for self defense in general, but when it comes to women who want to defend themselves, well, it’s completely indispensable. We can argue all day about what percentage of real fights end up on the ground (like the Gracies I believe it’s very high), but when you’re talking about sexual assault going to the ground is almost inevitable.
Therefore if you’re a woman who wants to be a hardened target, you need to have some high quality training in, and understanding of, the ground game. (more…)
Here’s a really cool video interview I did with my friend, BJJ blackbelt, renowned coach, and fierce competitor Elliott Bayev.
This interview is special because we break down the steps of building a BJJ gameplan. We go right from the basic BJJ self defense gameplan, and build up to the intricate strategies used by world class competitors.
There are tons of immediately useful takeaways here.
Along the way we also discuss self defense, the role of competition, and the evolution of new techniques and positions in BJJ.
This should really help you formulate your own gameplans.
I was passing through the downtown core of a major North American city a few years ago. I had 40 minutes to kill, so I went for a walk and quickly came across a martial arts club I had heard about but never set foot in. So into the club I went, to check it out and introduce myself.
I was immediately struck by two contrasting impressions…
The first thing I noticed were the inspirational posters and sayings painted all over the walls. (more…)
Getting picked up and slammed when you’ve got your opponent in the closed guard is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you in grappling.
It’s definitely a legitimate technique for big and strong guys to use. And in MMA and self defense slamming an opponent is one of the best ways to open the guard, or to escape a tight triangle choke.
Getting power-bombed and then and having your opponent’s weight land on you always hurts. Especially if your opponent is bigger than you are, which is usually the case if he can lift you up. (more…)
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…)
Today we’re going to look at and learn about one of the most fundamental movements in all of BJJ. It’s the “technical standup,” and make sure that you’re doing it correctly.
The technical standup is used ALL the time in BJJ, submission grappling and MMA.
This exact move can get you out of trouble in scrambles, prevent guard passes, and finish sweeps for you, but first and foremost the technical standup allows you to get back to your feet in a real fight without getting your teeth knocked out… (more…)
If you’ve been reading my emails and training in grappling then, by this point, you’re going to be quite familiar with the guard.
In some ways it’s the iconic BJJ position.
But do you know WHY it’s such an integral part of BJJ? Why do we focus on this position so much? And why would we ever want to be lying on our backs on the pavement in a streetfight? (more…)
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…)
This might be a bit controversial but BJJ IS A MARTIAL ART!
That means it’s a fighting method, used for stopping (and possibly hurting) people who are intent on doing you serious harm.
Sure, it’s also a fantastic sport, a fitness method, and a way to challenge yourself. I enjoy it for all those aspects too. But being able to take care of business in the street comes first. (more…)
Stephan: I’m here today with my friend, Adam Singer, who runs The HardCore Gym in Athens, Georgia. He is probably best known for being Forrest Griffin’s MMA coach during the formative years of Forrest’s career. He’s also a jiu-jitsu black belt and has trained tons of fighters.
I’m really looking forward to picking his brain about MMA and jiu-jitsu and the relationship between these things. He’s an outspoken guy, so I’m sure we’ll have a good conversation. (more…)
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…)
Performance under pressure is always tricky. In fact a lot of martial arts practitioners worry about whether they’d actually be able to execute their skills in super-stressful situations.
Of course competing at a tournament or performing at belt tests can be stressful. But the scariest high pressure situation of all is a self defence scenario where you and/or your family is being threatened.
If push were to come to shove and you actually had to defend yourself could you actually use your skills? Or are you worried that your mind might turn to mush in the heat of the moment… (more…)
Reverse lapeloplatas and inside-out upside-down berimbolos might be fun to train and effective for some guys in high level competition, but at its core Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a martial art. So once in a while we need to regroup, refocus, and give some thought to what parts of the art we would use in a real self defense situation. (more…)
BJJ is a great fitness activity and a wonderful sport. But at it’s core Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is still a martial art.
The word ‘martial’ is defined as “being related to fighting or war“. And that means you have to be ready throw down should the s**t hit the fan out there in the cold, cruel world.
A lot of self proclaimed self defence experts will emphatically and categorically tell you to “never, ever go to the ground in a streetfight.” But no single strategy works in every situation, and anyone telling you to always do something, or never do something, is automatically wrong.
The truth is that you may well be forced to use your grappling skills in a self defense context. (more…)
I’ve just put the most important video I’ve ever shot onto Youtube: Jiu-Jitsu for the Zombie Apocalypse.
A lot of people will tell you that jiu-jitsu will be useless when the Zombie Apocalypse hits. But those people have an agenda: usually they’re trying to sell you flamethrowers, or have stocks in the big arms companies. (more…)
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…)
This is an interview with one of my most influential teachers – 9th degree Kajukenbo Karate black belt Philip Gelinas. Philip is also a high-ranking instructor in several different Filipino martial art systems, a BJJ brown belt, an instructor in Combat Submission Wrestling, and was recently inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame. (more…)
Stephan’s note: today I interview Burton Richardson who has spent decades researching the training methods that make martial arts techniques practical, reliable, and functional. His approach is very applicable to street self defence, but is equally valid for anyone wanting to compete. (more…)
This is a rather rambling post; in the words of Mark Twain, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
First, and most importantly, I really hope that you had a great Christmas (or alternate celebration of your choice). And that you got to spend time with friends, family and loved ones.
Next, congratulations on surviving the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse! (more…)
Recently I managed to catch up with Vinicius ‘Draculino’ Magalhães and pick his brain about the ongoing evolution of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Draculino started training in Rio in the 1980′s, back in the days when many of the big names in BJJ were just young kids with blue and purple belts around their waists. (more…)
Most Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission grappling students are male, and in most grappling schools females are the exception, not the rule. My foundation in the martial arts was self-defense oriented, not competition oriented. (more…)
Why getting off the ground is a critical skills in grappling!
(originally published in Black Belt Magazine)
When mixed martial arts competition exploded in North America, martial artists quickly learned that most fights end up on the ground. And for years the prevailing wisdom was that groundfighting was inevitable, and if a fight went to the ground it would most likely stay there. (more…)
I was recently asked “what are the most common mistakes that first-time competitors make?”
BJJ tournaments in general, and ESPECIALLY your first competition, are likely to be a little bit chaotic. (more…)