6 Steps for an Effective Sleeve Choke

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…)

The 3 Fanciest Leglocks That Actually Work

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 Butterfly Guard?

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…)

How to Defend and Escape the Kimura from Side Control

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…)

How to Defend and Escape the Armbar from Guard

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…)

The Easiest Triangle Choke Followup

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…)

Fifty Ways to Improve Your Grappling Almost Immediately

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…)

How to Stop Your Opponent from Turtling During Your Guard Pass

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…)

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!”
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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…)

A Fancy-Pants Z Guard Pass that Never Worked Until...

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…)

Best Takedown vs. Larger Opponents?

Every grappler needs to have a basic understanding of takedowns.  You don’t want to be so uni-dimensional that you have no idea how to take somebody down.

But the problem is that not every takedown you learn from Judo or wrestling will work on someone a lot bigger and stronger than you. (more…)