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…)
The half guard is one of my favorite guard positions. And here are three of my favorite half guard sweeps and attacks!
Not only is each of these moves a high percentage technique in its own right, but when you put them together they create a powerful one-two-three combination that will serve you well in the half guard for the rest of your grappling career. (more…)
This article and video are about how to train and continue to make progress in BJJ when you’re dealing with an arm injury.
Now I hope that you go through your entire BJJ career without ever suffering a single injury. But this is a contact sport, and therefore you’re probably going to get a little banged up from time to time. (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…)
A few years ago I released the Roadmap for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructional package.
This is a multi-component product that focuses on the strategies, tactics, techniques and training methods of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s basically a quick start guide for how to get good on the ground as fast as possible. (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…)
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…)
Hip and leg flexibility is a huge asset in grappling, especially when it comes to not letting your opponent pass your guard, for launching sneaky sweeps and submissions from the guard position, and for weaseling your way out of tight pins.
Plus if you’re training in MMA, Muay Thai, Karate, Kickboxing, or any other martial art that involves kicking then flexibility will obviously help you out there as well. (more…)
There’s almost nothing worse than a painful back. Unlike other body parts, an injury to your back comes to define your entire life.
If your arm is strained, or you’ve twisted your knee, or if you’ve tweaked your shoulder, then usually you can find a way to get through your day without aggravating your injury too much. But a sore back finds a way to haunt you every second of every day. (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…)
When I started doing BJJ the kneemount position kind of confused me…
I knew that it was considered to be a good position, and I knew it led to a bunch of submission options, but still, it never really ‘clicked’ for me. (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…)