The fifty-fifty guard is a strange creature. In it you and your opponent face each other in the exact same position with your legs intertwined.
On the one hand there’s no doubt that it’s a really powerful sweeping position for whoever’s on bottom.
But on the other hand it has a reputation as a really horrible way to stall. (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…)
I know, I know, I KNOW!
I go on and on about how tapping out is no big deal, and how you can get injured if you let ego get in the way, and how everybody gets caught from time to time…
But there I was, leaping all over the place to escape a submission, becoming increasingly desperate as the noose tightened around my neck, just because the whole thing seemed so cheesy. (more…)
Some leglocks are simple, straight-ahead, super-effective submissions that should be in every grappler’s arsenal.
Other leglock attacks, by contrast, are super-complicated multi-step techniques. And once you actually manoeuvre everybody into place you’re left with something that resembles an octopus orgy: arms, legs, and other body parts tangled together in a giant Gordian knot. (more…)
What is the Spider Guard?
The Spider Guard is a form of Open Guard where you grip your opponent’s wrists or sleeves and have at least one foot controlling at least one of his arms. Typically the sole of your foot will be placed against his biceps, or your leg will spiral around his elbow with your toes hiding underneath his upper arm.
The Butterfly Guard is one of my very favorite positions these days.
Regardless of whether you’re rolling with or without the gi, the Butterfly Guard keeps your opponent’s weight off of you, it gives you unparalleled mobility on the bottom, and it allows you to unleash blistering combinations of some of the most powerful sweeps and reversals in all of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. (more…)
The Half Guard is a funny position.
Once upon a time it was a position of last resort. Something that you would try to achieve if your opponent was passing your guard. A last-ditch attempt to stop him from getting to a truly dominant position.
My, how things have changed in the last 20 years…
Are you confused about the definition of the Open Guard? You are NOT alone. In fact, when I started BJJ someone tried to explain the different variations of the Open Guard to me and I think his explanation left me more confused than I had been originally.
So, what is the Open Guard? (more…)
Here’s a short 1:30 minute video breakdown of me explaining the basics of the closed guard.
And just to keep things interesting I also throw in my single best tip about how to maintain the closed guard, shut down your opponent’s guard pass attempts and put you in a position to successfully launch your own attacks. (more…)
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…)
I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s tip about escaping the armbar from guard. Today I want to continue exploring how to get out of submissions and share my two best triangle choke escapes with you.
I’ve experimented with lots of different triangle escapes. Unfortunately I’ve found that many commonly-taught techniques (more…)
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…)
One of my newsletter readers recently had an interesting question for me:
Q: “Hi Stephan, I have this training partner with a huge neck who is incredibly resistant to chokes. Everybody in class has problems choking him. The problem is that my favorite submission is the triangle choke – what’s a simple way to finish the choke on someone like that? Thanks – Dave from England.” (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…)
Sometimes the best way to get better is simply to stop doing things wrong.
Over the years I’ve shot quite a few guerilla-style videos breaking down many of the most common mistakes that I see for different positions and submissions. (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…)
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:
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…)
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…)