Recently I published an article on my blog by one of my very first BJJ training partners, Mark Mullen, talking about the private lessons he, as a black belt, took when he was in Brazil.
Almost as an aside Mark mentioned that he had received permission to film some of his private lessons.
Since then quite a few people have gotten in touch with me to ask what they would have to do to see the video footage of these lessons… (more…)
It’s also my ‘go to’ escape when I’m sparring with tough training partners…
And to top it off, this technique works with the gi, without the gi, and in MMA! (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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
Incorporating a new move into your sparring and competition repertoire can be tricky. Too many people go and and try their nifty new technique on everybody right away, hoping that it will work at least some of the time. But this may not actually be the best way to do it.
In fact, this scattershot method, and not having a concrete plan for rolling out new moves, can even be counterproductive… (more…)
The armbar is one of the most common, most popular, and most powerful submissions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you train with anybody your own level or higher then you’re gonna get caught in it… often.
You need to have answers for this problem…. (more…)
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…)
In recent years the X Guard has become one of the bread and butter positions in the open guard repertoire. It’s an incredibly powerful position, both in gi and no gi grappling (click here for an intro to the X Guard).
There are a ton of great techniques, sweeps, and drills that revolve around the X guard, but today I want to share a new drill with you that I recently learned from Clark Gracie in the basement of a friend’s house. (more…)
I recently did a podcast interview with Clark Gracie at a friend’s house. After the interview we were talking about the rear naked choke and I realised two things: A) my friend had mats, and B) I had a camera in the car.
This was a great opportunity to pick his mind some more, so we quickly set up shop and Clark shared some really great tips about setting up and amplifying the power of the rear naked choke, (or ‘Mata leão’ in Portugese). (more…)
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…)
In the No Gi super fight at the 2013 BJJ Expo between Keenan Cornelius and Lucas Leite there was an absolutely spectacular submission. Keenan hit an inverted spinning armbar from half guard that impressed the hell out of everyone who saw it.
First, here’s the match itself. The armbar sequence starts at about 8:01. (more…)
The de la Riva guard is an open guard position in which you entangle one of your opponent’s legs with your own leg. It was popularised years ago by Ricardo de la Riva, and has since become a staple of gi and no gi jiu-jitsu.
But a related position, the Reverse de la Riva guard, is still a mystery to many grapplers… (more…)
At the bottom of this post is a Youtube video I just created to show the easiest way to do the Berimbolo.
Now if you’re a Berimbolo aficionado then you’ve probably already scrolled down. But maybe you’re on the fence about this move. Or maybe you don’t even know what it is and why you should care about it.
Well, give me a minute to put it into context for you… (more…)
Here’s a 12 minute tutorial I just put out breaking down two really cool variations of the Omoplata armlock which is one of my all-time favourite techniques.
The first variation is called the ‘Marceloplata’ – it’s named after superstar grappler Marcelo Garcia who popularised this technique. The Marceloplata is a great option to use when you’ve almost finalised a regular Omoplata but your opponent has managed to stall your attack by locking down one of your legs.
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…)
Takedowns can seem difficult, tricky and confusing. Especially if you’re not gifted with a surplus of fast-twitch muscle and innately awesome timing.
But my friend and BJJ world champion Emily Kwok has a concept that makes the whole takedowns game a LOT easier. (more…)
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…)
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…)
Today I’m going to share two of my favourite (and very powerful) X guard sweeps with you. Plus I’ll show you how put them together so that it looks like you have amazing timing without actually having to increase your reaction speed one iota.
Let’s first talk about what makes two techniques work well together in general. (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…)