Bodybuilding, Jiu-Jitsu, and My Quest to Make 240 lbs with Abs…

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In my late twenties I went through a phase that most young men go through - I wanted to get big.  Maybe not as big as Dorian Yates and the other professional bodybuilders active at the time, but certainly bigger than most other men in my peer group.  Yes, I admit that there was a certain element of vanity at work,  but I also told myself that it would be good for my jiu-jitsu. The trouble was … [Read more...]

Bernardo Faria’s guard pass: the over-under

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In Judo there is the concept of 'Tokui Waza', which means your "favorite" or "best" technique. This is the technique, or techniques, which you are most comfortable with and use when the chips are down. In Bernardo Faria's case, his Tokui Waza has to be the over-under guard pass. This pressure-based technique has resulted in a boatload of gold medals for Bernardo, most recently a gold in both … [Read more...]

Dealing with Competition Nerves in BJJ

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Many people want to compete in BJJ but become absolute nervous wrecks in the days and weeks before the competition.  They get unhappy, stressed out and sometimes even get physically sick before a big tournament. A bit of stress is fine - it's fuel for the engine - but too much isn't good.  If you can't even breathe as you shake hands with your opponent then you're probably not going to function … [Read more...]

The Simplest Mount Escape for MMA and BJJ?

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In BJJ the Mount is one of the very worst positions you can be in.  And if punches are flying in either an MMA or a self defense context then things are much, much worse. The truth is that if you find yourself mounted in a fight then you screwed up a long time ago.  Your opponent is either more lucky or more skillful than you. That being said, if you have good mount escape techniques it IS … [Read more...]

Anderson Silva Screws Up (Video Proof)

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Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva in his prime was probably the most talented striker the UFC ever had. This man could do it all: insanely high striking accuracy, pinpoint punches, devastating knees, unreal timing, an amazing ability to bob and weave.  When he was on fire he didn’t just beat opponents: he broke them and systematically dismantled them, and left them slumped unconscious on the … [Read more...]

How Bernardo Faria Won Double Gold at the BJJ Mundials

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In this in-depth interview I talk with Bernardo Faria, the 99kg BJJ fighter who recently took gold in not only his own weight class but also in the absolute division of the 2015 BJJ Mundials. Some of the highlights of my talk with Bernardo Faria included... His mindset going into big tournaments How he developed and refined his highly individual BJJ gameplan What he's learned training … [Read more...]

Roxanne Modafferi about MMA Training, Continuing to Improve, Tryouts for The Ultimate Fighter, and More

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In this podcast episode I talk with Roxanne Modafferi, MMA fighter and TUF standout, about The differences between MMA training in Japan and the USA, Continuing to improve after 12 years in the sport, Training tweaks that finally snapped a 6 fight losing streak, What tryouts forThe Ultimate Fighter were really like, And much more... You can read, listen to, or download the interview … [Read more...]

Top 10 Throws and Takedowns for BJJ

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If you do BJJ or submission grappling then you should have some ways to get the fight to the ground.  Yes, pulling guard is an option in sport BJJ competition, but ultimately this is a martial art, which means we have to at least occasionally consider the self defense aspects of what we're doing. Are you going to pull guard in a streetfight?  Not bloody likely. In this Grapplearts article … [Read more...]

Flying Armbar Guard Pull

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Some people will tell you never, ever to pull guard. "Fight from the top," they tell you... In general that's good advice, but what if you run into someone with vastly superior takedown skills? Or someone who is good at defending takedowns and determined to fight a completely defensive battle? It's good to have some takedowns in your arsenal. But it's also good to have some other ways to get … [Read more...]

How to Pass the Leg Lasso in Spider Guard

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Passing the guard of a good Spider Guard player is one of the most difficult, most frustrating aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And one of the very worst variations of Spider Guard to deal with is the 'Leg Lasso.'  This is when your opponent wraps his leg around your arm and buries his foot under your armpit. (If you can't visualise the Leg Lasso from this description then watch the video - … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Toreando Guard Pass

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So there you are, on your back and fighting your opponent with your legs.  Maybe you're using the Spider Guard, the Butterfly Guard, or any other variation of Open Guard, but regardless, both you and he are jockeying for grips and position. You’re trying to set up your guard sweeps and submissions, and he’s trying to pass your guard. Then - disaster! Your opponent grips both your pant … [Read more...]

A Surprising Kimura Setup from Kesa Gatame

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I don't know what exactly went wrong with the settings on the camera the night we filmed this.  The colour in this video is far from perfect: things are weirdly washed out and at the same time it looks like I've got a horrible sunburn. But it really doesn't matter, because the teaching is really solid. In this video, under the guise of teaching a fancy and surprising setup for the Kimura, my … [Read more...]

My Favourite Spider Guard Variation and Triangle Choke Setup

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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 … [Read more...]

What are the Collar-Sleeve, Collar-Spider and Reverse de la Riva Positions?

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Today we're going to talk about the fourth brand new instructional app in the Spider Guard Masterclass series, and cover a few new positions in the process... The app is called Spider Guard Masterclass Volume 4: Next Level Spider Guard, Part 2, and it focuses on three powerful variations of Spider Guard: The Collar-Sleeve position, The Spider-Collar position, and The Reverse de la Riva … [Read more...]

What are the Leg Lasso and Spider X Variations of Spider Guard?

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We've been talking a lot about the instructional apps in the Spider Guard Masterclass series... And today we're going to take a look at the third app in this series.  It's called Spider Guard Masterclass Volume 3: Next Level Spider Guard, and it focuses on the Leg Lasso and Spider X variations of Spider Guard. This app covers a LOT of the techniques used by the top competitors in the world … [Read more...]

Spinning Triangle Choke from Leg Lasso Spider Guard

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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 … [Read more...]

Powerful Options and Variations for the Berimbolo

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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 … [Read more...]

Double Feet on Biceps Spider Guard

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If you've ever been shown Spider Guard by your instructor then chances are it was the double feet on biceps variation. This is the classic form of Spider Guard first developed in the eighties, which has continued to change and evolve and as a consequence is still very effective today. But it can seem like a complicated position, and if you've ever had problems with it then there might just be … [Read more...]

Understanding Spider Guard – the Critical Fundamentals

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Today is the release date for the first of the five brand new Spider Guard instructional apps from Grapplearts.com. The name of this app is "Understanding Spider Guard, The Critical Fundamentals." This may sound like a boring topic but I promise you that it's anything but!!  It's super-useful, super-applicable, and super-important information. … [Read more...]

Black Belt Blindness, And Other Dangers….

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A black belt is just a 2 inch wide piece of cloth, not a license to pontificate upon matters about which you are utterly ignorant. It's also doesn't give you the right to have people's unquestioning obedience. To get a legitimate black belt in BJJ requires more time, effort, and investment than a black belt in almost any other martial art.  If someone has spent the blood, sweat and tears … [Read more...]

A Spider Guard Triangle Choke Setup for No Gi

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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 … [Read more...]

Perspectives on BJJ Drilling – An Interview with SBG’s Steve Whittier

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Steve Whittier from SBG East Coast is a cool guy. He manages to combine both thoughtful analyses and controversial opinions into one eloquent package. In this interview we talked about lots of different BJJ and MMA related topics, but the main emphasis and recurring theme was functional drilling and the efficacy of different types of BJJ training methods but we also covered self defense vs. … [Read more...]

How To Do the Twister the Easiest Way

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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.' … [Read more...]

Grapplearts BJJ & Submission Grappling T-Shirts

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A lot of people ask me about Grapplearts shirts. And while I'm happy to create them I don't want to stock tons and tons of T-Shirt inventory in a cacophony of sizes and colours. That's why I tend to do shirts in limited edition campaigns: I put a design out there, and if we get enough interest in a in it then we go out and get the shirts printed up, ship them out, and then close down the … [Read more...]