How to Salvage a Failed Butterfly Guard Sweep

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…)

Hidden Techniques for Maintaining Rear Mount

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:

  1. Get your hooks in,
  2. Submit your opponent.

Oh, if only life were so simple!

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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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How to Pass Deep Half Guard

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…)

How to set up and apply the head and arm choke

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…)

A Surprising Way to Pull Guard...

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…

You see, much of my BJJ comes from 8th degree black belt Marcus Soares, and Marcus is very much from the old-school Carlson Gracie way of doing things. (more…)

How to Defeat a Smaller Opponent

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…)

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…)

BJJ Training Strategies

Having the right assortment of techniques is pretty darn important in BJJ. But having the right training strategies is even more important…

By ‘training strategies’ I’m talking about the big picture. Like knowing which techniques to use, when to use them, and how to correctly train those techniques in the first place. (more…)

Advanced Triangle Choke Details

Today’s tip is about the details of the Triangle Choke, one of the very highest percentage submissions at every level of competition.

Have you ever noticed how some people can catch EVERYBODY in their signature submission, again and again? Once they’ve got their setup position it’s pretty much a done deal (this applies whether that signature submission is an armbar, a triangle choke, a kneebar, or an upside-down, inside-out Jehosophat choke).

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Defending Stupid Big Guy Attacks (and the Honor of Jiu-Jitsu)

It’s amazing what some big guys will do when they get frustrated. In fact, sometimes they’ll try stuff so stupid that it’ll take you completely by surprise!

Now, many BJJ instructors never bother to teach you what to do against these ‘stupid attacks.’ (more…)

Advanced Omoplata Armlock Finish

Jiu-jitsu is so cool! As you might know, the omoplata armlock is one of my very favorite techniques. But even after 10 years of studying this position, I’m still learning new stuff about it…

Today I want to share a variation of the omoplata that I learned this summer working with Brandon Mullins. Of course this finish works great on larger people, but even though I’m 6’2′ and 215 lbs I’m gonna ‘hijack’ it and use it in my own game as well. (more…)

Are my legs too short to apply the triangle choke?

The first time I ever saw the triangle choke in action was in 1994, during the last match of UFC 4.

Royce Gracie had just squared off against Dan Severn, a seemingly unstoppable wrestler with a huge weight advantage.  I remember thinking, ‘There’s just no possible way that Royce is gonna win this one.’ (more…)

Draculino talks about the Evolution of BJJ (Interview)

Recently I managed to catch up with Vinicius ‘Draculino’ Magalhães and pick his brain about the ongoing evolution of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Draculino started training in Rio in the 1980′s, back in the days when many of the big names in BJJ were just young kids with blue and purple belts around their waists. (more…)