My Favourite Spider Guard Variation and Triangle Choke Setup

The Spider Guard is a very diverse position.  Normally you start with the Double Feet on Biceps variation, but after that there are a TON of variations (including the Leg Lasso, de la Spider, Reverse de la Spider, Spider X, Collar-Spider, and Collar-Sleeve variations).

Of all these Spider Guard Variations the Collar-Spider is probably my very favourite.

We’ll go into more detail about it in a second, but basically you’ve got one grip on his sleeve and one grip on his opposite lapel.  One of your feet is on the biceps of the arm you’re controlling, and the other foot can be in any number of different positions. (more…)

Spinning Triangle Choke from Leg Lasso Spider Guard

The first time I saw this triangle choke setup was about 15 years ago when I was still working as a field biologist. At the time I was on a contract 3,000 miles away from home, and living out of a motel.

To stay in shape I went for runs and lifted weights on alternate days, but once a week I would drive for 2 hours each way (4 hours in the car total) to go to the nearest BJJ school.

Training there kept my head in the game, allowed me to blow off a little steam, and learn some cool new jiu-jitsu. (more…)

Powerful Options and Variations for the Berimbolo

The Berimbolo is an incredibly powerful technique in modern BJJ. It’s both a way of finalising a sweep and completely bypassing your opponent’s guard with a single technique.

Imagine not only being able to easily sweep your opponent from your open guard, but NOT having to fight your way past his guard.  Instead you directly teleport to a dominant, match-ending position such as mount or rear mount, bypassing his legs altogether.

Well, that’s the power of the Berimbolo, and you can’t really do modern BJJ without an understanding of this technique.  (more…)

A Spider Guard Triangle Choke Setup for No Gi

A lot of people think that Spider Guard is only applicable to BJJ with the gi.  They’re kinda right, but they’re also mostly wrong.

You see, it’s more complicated than “no gi equals no Spider Guard…”

First of all, if you get good at something as intricate and technical as Spider Guard then it develops your sensitivity, leg dexterity, coordination, strategic and tactical thinking like crazy.  It’s the ultimate attribute development tool for the guard. (more…)

How To Do the Twister the Easiest Way

The Twister is a flashy and hellishly effective submission made famous by Eddie Bravo.

It’s now illegal in IBJJF competition, but it shows up sometimes in submission grappling and you’re even starting to see it in MMA!

If you catch your training partners in it – carefully and gently of course – then you get major bragging rights and some instant ‘mat cred.’ (more…)

Kimura Armlock Grips Explained!

The Kimura, much like any other technique, is usually taught as a series of steps.

First do this…  Then move your hand here… Then adjust your body this way… Then finish by doing this other thing.

It can be a lot to remember, but it’s always easier to remember all the steps and adjustments if you understand WHY you’re doing them.

When I first learned about the Kimura armlock attack I got lots of contradictory, conflicting advice about applying this submission.  This was most notable when it came to the grip for the Kimura: some people told me that I absolutely had to control my opponent’s wrist with all 5 fingers together, but other people said it was OK to grab with your fingers on the opposite side of the wrist from your thumb.
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37 Powerful BJJ Submissions for Grapplers

Have you ever wondered what the most popular and powerful BJJ submissions in BJJ are?  Here’s our list of the top 37 submissions taught in BJJ academies all over the world.

WARNING: not all of these techniques are legal in IBJJF competition, or allowed at all schools.  But it’s still better to be familiar with these illegal techniques just in case someone tries to use them on you. And many of these illegal BJJ moves still have a ton of validity for MMA applications or self defense situations, so they are well worth learning! (more…)

A Sneaky Rolling Judo Choke!

In BJJ it’s often what you don’t see coming that kills you. Which is why it’s important to have a couple of surprise attacks in your arsenal.

Today’s video is from the Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu instructional set that I did with BJJ world champion Brandon Mullins. It’s a rolling entry from Judo that takes you directly into one of the most powerful chokes in the entire jiu-jitsu repertoire: the Bow and Arrow choke.  It’s an example of the borders between Judo and jiu-jitsu becoming very fuzzy…  (more…)

World Championship Guard Passing with Leandro Lo

In BJJ it’s what you don’t know that hurts you. If you get caught in a position that you don’t have an answer to, that you don’t understand, then life on the mat just got exponentially more difficult.

This problem is most pronounced for the guard. It can be really difficult to keep up with the changing technology. One year it’s the X Guard, taking the world by storm, then it’s the 50/50 guard, and then it’s the worm guard…

You don’t necessarily need to add each of these new guard positions to your own personal repertoire, but you DO need to know how to shut them down. You need good answers for each of these positions. (more…)

BJJ Beginner Tips Interview and Podcast

In this Grapplearts interview I talk to BJJ Black Belt Ritchie Yip, focusing on tips that BJJ beginners need to know.  But sometimes the conversation goes a little off track!

You can follow/consume/download/watch this awesome and informative interview several different ways…

  1. You can watch the Youtube video below
  2. You can download the mp3 file by right clicking here and selecting ‘Save As’
  3. You can subscribe to the Grapplearts Radio Podcast in iTunes by clicking here (more…)

Three and a Half Techniques to Escape from a Tight Closed Guard Overhook

Just the other day I shared four counters to a pesky deep cross-collar grip from closed guard.

Well, the cross-collar grip isn’t the only way your opponent might try to destroy your posture…

There’s another posture-breaking grip that can be just as bad, and unlike the cross-collar this one can be used in BJJ, MMA and submission grappling.  Gi and no gi.   (more…)

How to Counter the Cross Lapel Grip from Closed Guard

Your opponent sneaking his hand deep on your lapel is always a bad situation.

Once he has this grip on you from his closed guard he can use it to break your posture forward, which kills your ability to pass the guard and is very tiring to fight against…

…or he can use it to attack you with cross-collar chokes (which have ended a LOT of matches)…

…or he uses your frantic reactions the threat of the grip to set up any number of armlocks, sweeps and other attacks. (more…)

The Three Most Important Pull-Up Variations for BJJ (Plus 16 Additional Variations)

There’s a ton of pulling in BJJ.

Regardless of whether you’re finishing an X choke, pulling your arm out of an almost-applied armbar, or breaking someone’s posture from guard, it’s all made a lot easier if you have a decent grip and good pulling power

Which makes pull-ups one of the most important exercises you can do for your jiu-jitsu.

But there are a lot of variations of the pull-up, and sometimes people are confused as to which variation they should do. (more…)

Top Secret Sentry Removal Technique

If you’re new to the martial arts then you might not get the humour of this, but believe me, there are many jackasses out there with their own versions of this information. The difference is that their tongues aren’t firmly planted in the side of their cheeks.

Anyway, this particular technique was far too deadly to put into Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu – putting such information into the wrong hands would be completely irresponsible.

So we put it onto Youtube instead… (more…)

A Super-Powerful Omoplata Finish

If you grapple then you have to use the omoplata. After all, it’s one of the ‘big five’ attacks from the guard (armbar, kimura, triangle, guillotine and omoplata).

Much of the time the omoplata ends up functioning as a sweep – your opponent rolls out of it to escape, you follow him, and get to the top. That’s not a problem – you’re now on top after all – but wouldn’t it have been nice to get the submission instead?

Let me introduce you to a variation of the omoplata called ‘The Rack’. (more…)

This is the easiest move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

It’s a move that you can learn today and use tomorrow (especially if you’ve been drilling your triangle choke details that we covered in another recent blog post).

Hint: it’s from the Double Biceps Spider Guard.

Check out the video below – Elliott reminds me of a trapdoor spider exploding out of it’s lair when he slams it on. Then give the move a try and let me know what you think in the comments below! (more…)

The Key to Dominating from the Spider Guard

Today’s video clip is about a rarely-discussed but absolutely essential aspect of the Spider Guard.

It’s the secret sauce of the Spider Guard. And it comes down to pressure…

Pressure is one of those things that can be hard to see if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But there’s no mistaking pressure when you feel it! (more…)

How to Adjust Your Triangle for Maximum Tightness and Effectiveness

Some techniques just require a bit more tweaking than others…

For example, when I was a whitebelt the armbar was fairly easy to learn.  The triangle choke, on the other hand, was relatively easy to apply, but hard to finish, (which was very frustrating).

It took a lot of experimentation, coaching and adjusting before I was able to successfully choke out even cooperating, non-resisting partners with the triangle. (more…)

How to Build a BJJ Gameplan

Here’s a really cool video interview I did with my friend, BJJ blackbelt, renowned coach, and fierce competitor Elliott Bayev.

This interview is special because we break down the steps of building a BJJ gameplan.  We go right from the basic BJJ self defense gameplan, and build up to the intricate strategies used by world class competitors.

There are tons of immediately useful takeaways here.

Along the way we also discuss self defense, the role of competition, and the evolution of new techniques and positions in BJJ.

This should really help you formulate your own gameplans.

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A Little-Known Move to Recover Guard from Turtle

When BJJ world champion Brandon Mullins and I started talking about doing a second instructional set, he was adamant about including a section focusing on the advanced applications of fundamental movements.

I was initially dubious.  I didn’t think that most people would be interested in this.  But the more we talked about it, and especially when he started showing me what he wanted to cover, I became a convert.

You see, there are movements people already know and use, but they just don’t know how to use them to their full potential. (more…)

A High Percentage Triangle Choke Attack from Half Guard

Some people are under the mistaken impression that you can only defend or sweep from the Half Guard.  But it’s a big mistake to ignore the powerful submission attacks that present themselves from that position!

One of the most powerful, most effective, and most popular attacks from the Half Guard is the Triangle Choke.  You see this in high level competition all the time, both with and without the gi.

But you can’t just slap the triangle choke on from Half Guard without any preparation.  You have to set it up first.

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A Fast and Simple Butterfly Guard Sweep

Jiu-jitsu doesn’t always need to be complicated. In fact, sometimes the best solution is also the simplest, most direct solution.

Consider a situation where your opponent is in your guard but is refusing to engage you in any meaningful way. Maybe he’s ahead on points and is trying to coast for the rest of the match, or maybe he just wants the satisfaction of being able to say that you didn’t catch him in anything.

Anyway, in this situation he’s sitting back on his heels and defensively gripfighting like crazy any time you try to lay hands on him. (more…)

A Super Sneaky and Slick Triangle Choke Attack!

This is one of the sneakiest, slickest submission attacks I have ever seen.

The first time I saw this technique was when BJJ world champion Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins used it at the IBJJF European Championships in 2013.

At first I just didn’t understand what I had seen.  One minute his opponent was in the X Guard, and the next he was tapping out from a super-tight triangle choke.  I had to watch it a bunch of times to even begin to figure out what had happened. (more…)

Shutting Down the Guard Pass

It’s called ‘rolling’ for a reason: if you’re doing BJJ then you’re going to be somersaulting all over the place.  And there are three types of rolls that you encounter all the time on the mats:

  1. The forward roll,
  2. The backwards roll
  3. The side roll

In the video below BJJ world champion Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins shows how you can use the third movement – the side roll – to defend against a very common and otherwise difficult-to-deal-with style of guard pass.   (more…)