The Two Biggest Benefits of Training Martial Arts

Funny story…

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…)

Why Talent is Way Overrated

So I’m touring Casa Loma recently, the famous castle in downtown Toronto and the largest private residence ever constructed in Canada.

Just the usual touristic wandering of the halls, climbing the turrets, and exploring the never-ending parade of lavishly decorated rooms.

All of a sudden I heard something beautiful drifting through the marble and hardwood hallways. (more…)

3 Ways to Deal With Injuries in BJJ

I’m not going to pretend that injuries don’t suck.  They do.

There have been many great athletic careers cut short by injury.  Many people who would otherwise have been great have had their dreams derailed when a bone went ‘crack’ or a ligament went ‘snap’ and then never quite recovered.

The typical reaction of the BJJ addict when they get injured is, ‘Oh no, now I can’t train.(more…)

How to Build Self Confidence in BJJ

Today I want to share the single best piece of advice I ever got from sport psychology.

Let’s set this up by supposing that you have an ambitious goal, like getting your BJJ brown belt, or winning a medal in a major competition…

To achieve that goal you’ve obviously got to do lots of drilling, sparring, conditioning, etc. All these things get your body into shape and ready for action. But when we’re talking about elite jiu-jitsu then almost everybody is in shape. And most people are fast and strong and have great timing. (more…)

Self Defense, Competition, and Performing In High Pressure Situations

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…)

The Real Secret to Mastering a Skill

New Year’s eve is just around the corner, making this the traditional time for drawing up plans, making resolutions, and setting your goals for the upcoming year.

This year I’m gonna do this… I’m gonna stop doing that…

Goal setting is super important and I’m all for it. I hope that you have your goals for the year clearly written out and displayed in a prominent place. But the problem is that people want have their cake and eat it too.

In the popular new age Oprah conception of the world the only thing stopping you is your imagination or – alternately – your lack of belief in yourself.

(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…)

Does MMA Make You Stupid?

MMA has been my guilty pleasure for a long time.

On the one hand, I’m a huge fan. I’ve been watching the UFC since its inauguration in 1993, and have enjoyed fights in Pride FC, Shooto, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and many other organisations. I have good friends who are professional fighters, and have helped them prepare for their fights. And I have nothing but respect for the skill, athleticism and mental toughness of the modern MMA fighter.

(more…)

Rafael Lovato Jr. on Training and Competing in BJJ

This is a great interview with BJJ competition legend Rafael Lovato Jr.  You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways…

  1. Play the audio-only Youtube video at the bottom of this list, and/or
  2. Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file to your computer, and/or
  3. Subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (RECOMMENDED, because this allows you to also listen to previous interviews and podcasts), and/or
  4. Read the transcript below. (more…)

BJJ Lessons from a Sushi Master

I just watched a really cool documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi (available on Netflix, iTunes, etc.).  This 2011 film paints a fascinating portrait of Jiro Ono, an 85 year old master chef who’s been making sushi for 75 years.

Jiro – the protagonist – is a single-minded perfectionist workaholic who hates national holidays because they keep him away from his obsession,  which is working on creating the perfect sushi experience for his customers. (more…)

Ronda Rousey and the Power of Gameplans

In case you were hiding under a rock, Ronda Rousey fought Liz Carmouche last night at UFC 157. She both validated her UFC Women’s Bantamweight title, and made history by being in the first-ever women’s match in the the UFC.

And just in case you were under that aforementioned rock, despite a very spirited fight by Liz Carmouche, Ronda won the match with an armbar at 4:49 of the first round. (more…)

20,000 lbs of snow and the true meaning of self defense...

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…)

What Champion Bodybuilder Kai Greene Can Teach You About BJJ

An old training partner sent me a short email yesterday. Here’s what it said:

“I know you have a paucity of spare time – but this video of pro bodybuilder Kai Greene is GREAT!  His plain speaking talk about self discipline and mastering fundamentals to achieve excellence is probably the best I have heard. I think you will enjoy this.”

(more…)

BJJ Competition and Training Strategies with Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins

In this interview 2 x World No Gi Champion Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins shares his best competition and training advice.  The questions come from my newsletter readership, who I polled to see if they had any questions for Brandon, especially about training, competing or holding their own against bigger opponents. Boy, did they ever!

We then sifted and sorted hundreds of emails to pick out the very best questions for him, and this in-depth conversation was the result. Maybe one of my best interviews ever! (more…)