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…)
The ‘basic’ butterfly guard sweep is one of the most strongest sweeps in grappling. That’s why it shows up again and again at the highest levels of competition. It’s powerful, reliable, and works for a wide range of body types. It works with and without the gi, on bigger people, smaller people, wrestlers, and judoka.
This combination of power and versatility makes the butterfly guard sweep one of my favorite go-to moves of all time! (more…)
When people teach the rear mount they often show you how to get your hooks in to achieve the rear mount, and then they teach you a couple of submissions from the back.
Their idealized flowchart has two steps:
- Get your hooks in,
- Submit your opponent.
Oh, if only life were so simple!
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…)
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:
In the last 5 years the Deep Half Guard position has taken the BJJ and submission grappling world by storm. And every serious grappler now needs to know how to neutralize and pass the Deep Half Guard.
This position is a variation of the half guard. If someone manages to get settled into this position underneath you then they’re right under your center of gravity, can compromise your balance, and very likely be able sweep you or take your back with a wide variety of techniques. (more…)
Here’s a clip of Emily Kwok teaching something really cool – how to set up the head and arm choke (also known as ‘kata gatame’) from mount, and then how to ratchet it on so tightly that your opponent has no choice but to tap out, no matter how big he is. (more…)
Should you pull guard in competition? And if you decide to pull guard, then how do you do it correctly?
In a certain sense, I am uniquely unqualified to answer these questions…
If you have any exposure to standup grappling then you know the power of a standing underhook. It allows you to dominate your opponent, move him around, and set up lots of throws, takedowns and other moves. (more…)
Smaller opponents can become big nuisances, especially if they have legitimate skills.
You would think that the very fact that you’re bigger than your opponent means you should be able to go full-Conan on them every time…
Mongol General: “Conan! What is best in life?”
Conan: “To crush your enemies, see them driffen before you, and to hear the lamentation of their vimmen.” (more…)
Let’s talk about two of my favorite sweeps from the open guard. These are high percentage techniques that are used again and again at every level, by novice whitebelts and world-class blackbelts.
When learning a new position I think it’s important to learn the high percentage stuff right away. (more…)