How To Find the High Percentage BJJ Techniques to Rely On

high percentage guard retention

As a young martial artist I once debated whether a certain Kung Fu striking technique could actually work in a real fight. To prove my point I mentioned that a bouncer I knew had successfully used that technique on a drunk in the bar the other night The guy I was arguing with shut me down with a devastatingly simple rebuttal, “Yeah Stephan, that doesn't prove anything, because ANYTHING will … [Read more...]

BJJ Competition Mindset Tips

Tips for competition mindset

Here's a video that I shot with Rob Biernacki and one of his visiting students in response to a question I'd received from an email newsletter subscriber about competing at your very best in BJJ tournaments. You can watch the video below or scroll down to see the main points that we covered... I get a lot of questions asking for tips, tricks and … [Read more...]

Getting in Shape for a BJJ Tournament, FAST!

How to get in shape fast for a BJJ tournament

So I got this letter from a reader asking about how to get into shape for a BJJ tournament as fast as possible... --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi Stephan,   I've just read your article on Tapering and Peaking for MMA and BJJ Competition and found it to be very informative and I have a question that relates to the topic.   I have a grappling … [Read more...]

Leg Lasso Spider Guard Pass

How to pass leg lasso spider guard with Rob Biernacki

If you've ever been caught in the leg lasso position by someone with a good spider guard then you'll know exactly how a fly feels when it gets caught in the web of a big, old, nasty spider... Basically, in a correctly executed leg lasso spider guard you're in deep trouble! Your arms are both trapped so you won't be able to make effective grips.  Because of the tremendous leverage of the … [Read more...]

BREAKING NEWS: Rare German Jiu-Jitsu Footage Discovered, Changes Martial Arts Forever

german jiu-jitsu

In the extensive Grapplearts video vaults I recently discovered rare archival footage of an incredibly deadly martial art that I had somehow missed... This savage system of self defense is called 'German Jiu-Jitsu' and as the website so clearly and succinctly states, it is clearly clearly much better than all other kinds of jiu-jitsu. Watch the video below and tell me if … [Read more...]

Napoleon and How To Be Ready for Anything in BJJ

Napoleon and how to prepare for anything in BJJ

Napoleon Bonaparte may have been a megalomaniac who left millions dead in his wake, but if you read about his battles and military campaigns there is no doubt that he was a strategic and tactical genius. (Well, maybe he wasn't a genius when he invaded Russia in 1812, but before that he was damn near unstoppable...) He fought over sixty battles in his lifetime, during which he was … [Read more...]

BJJ Q&A Podcast with Rob Biernacki

Grapplearts BJJ Q&A Podcast with Rob Biernacki

There's a new Grapplearts Radio podcast out!! I recently brought Rob Biernacki - a BJJ black belt and the creator of the highly reviewed BJJ Formula apps -  back into the studio for his second appearance on the Grapplearts Radio Podcast... We mostly did a Q&A format in which we answered reader questions about everything from passing the guard to organising your training, but we also went … [Read more...]

Movements and Transitions from Knee on Belly

Knee on Belly Movements and Transitions

When I first learned the knee on belly position I was told that you should use it for two reasons... Get two points in a tournment, and/or Put so much weight on your opponent and making him so uncomfortable that he would open up his defences and give you the chance to armbar or choke him. Now points and pressure are still totally valid uses of the knee mount.  For example, I think using … [Read more...]

A Simple Tweak to Develop a Powerful Bridge in BJJ

A high, powerful BJJ Bridge

The bridge is one of the most important movements in all of BJJ. It is one of the three critical pin escape movements and can be used to escape almost every bad position. For example, the classic (and highly effective) 'Upa' mount escape would not exist without bridging your hips high up to ceiling before turning your body and getting out of the mount. And my favourite way of escaping … [Read more...]

The Pros and Cons of Bridging Onto Your Head

Wrestler bridging onto head

Neck bridging is an exercise that supposedly strengthens the neck that is almost unique to the grappling arts. It is also controversial. Broadly speaking, there are two main ways of bridging: the backwards neck bridge (belly to the sky) or a forwards neck bridge (where you are belly-down to the mat). Most grapplers who bridge do both forward and backward bridging. First the pro of … [Read more...]

Should You Compete in BJJ Tournaments?

Do you need to compete to get your BJJ black belt?

I often get asked whether competition is essential to BJJ, and if you need to have competed to get promoted to black belt. (If you prefer to watch or listen to me talk about this this topic then just scroll to the bottom of this blog post and look for the video called "Do you need to compete to get your black belt"). The quick answers are: no, you don't necessarily need to compete.  And no, … [Read more...]

How to do the Armbar Without Crushing Your Balls

How to prevent your balls from getting crushed during the armbar

It's a question that I get from BJJ beginners all the time, "How do I do the armbar without crushing my balls in the process?" And it's a legitimate problem for people starting out their BJJ career.  In fact, it's a simple equation... Elbow + Groin = OUCH!! Now you could wear a cup, but most intermediate and advanced players don't do that unless they're training for MMA. Instead of … [Read more...]

A 4 x World Champion Teaches the Omoplata from Closed Guard

omoplata from the closed guard by Bernardo Faria

In this video my friend (and 4 x world champion) Bernardo Faria takes you through the old school omoplata armlock from the closed guard. I have seen Bernardo tap out everybody, from white belt to black belt, using ONLY the omoplata armlock at one of his seminars. It was incredible.  So needless to say he's really bloody good with the omoplata and a great person to study for this attack! As … [Read more...]

A Hidden Danger When Martial Artists Get Injured…

Martial Arts Injuries: a Hidden Danger

If you're doing a 'real' martial art then it's going to involve some form of contact... And if you're doing any contact activity for long enough then, eventually, you're going to get injured. Now hopefully your injury won't be anything serious; maybe just a sprain, a bad bruise, or a tweak that will heal quickly. But in the worst case scenario - especially if it's a serious injury like an … [Read more...]

European Grappling Styles


by Jeff Meszaros So, we’ve finished the first leg of your around-the-world grappling tour and it’s been a blast (click here to read Asian Grappling Styles, the previous article). In the previous part of the journey we started in Japan, where you got thrown flat on your back by judo champions and slapped around by sumo wrestlers. Then, in Korea, you did ssireum, which was kind of like sumo but … [Read more...]

A Powerful Choke from Knee on Belly

knee on belly choke

Knee on belly (also known as Kneemount) is a super-dominant position in jiu-jitsu. If you're using this position correctly then you're driving down into your opponent with all your weight, making it hard for him to breathe, and forcing him to give you openings for submissions (click here to read 3 Ways to Get a Really Heavy Kneemount on Grapplearts). Most typically the guy on the bottom of … [Read more...]

Asian Grappling Styles

Asian Grappling Styles

by Jeff Meszaros Do you like traveling? Of course you do! There’s the food, the music, the culture, the art, and if you’re a martial artist, you can bring along your mouthguard and try the local style of fighting, whatever it may be. Depending on the place, you might also need your shorts, pants, jacket, belt or jug of oil. Because each country has its own distinct style. Wouldn’t it be fun … [Read more...]

How to Make Your Chokes Tighter

BJJ Choke Mechanics

Psst, wanna tap out more people with chokes, including that super-tough guy with the giant neck? Success in choking is all about the details and getting the underlying mechanics correct. Yes, you can get chokes to work with bad technique - people do it all the time.  But it's difficult, wastes a lot of energy, and isn't very high percentage. But on the other hand as soon as you get the … [Read more...]

Base, Posture and Structure, the 3 Most Important Concepts in BJJ

Base, posture and structure - the 3 most critical bjj concepts

The idea that overall body alignment in BJJ can be broken down into 3 components (base, posture and structure) was introduced to me by Rob Biernacki. And I have found these 3 concepts to have hugely practical applications on the mat. There is power in definitions and distinctions because it allows you to clarify your thinking and problem solving processes. So let's take a look at base, … [Read more...]

The Core Concepts of BJJ

The Core Concepts of BJJ

Rob Biernacki and I have previously released three BJJ instructional apps (Back Attacks Formula, Top and Guard Passing Formula, and Guard and Bottom Game Formula) which have been very well received in the BJJ community. (Judging from the number of 5 star reviews in the app stores they've helped a lot of people kick ass and take names on the mats.) The big news is that the final app in the … [Read more...]

The Two Most Important Guard Retention Techniques

high percentage guard retention

Retaining your guard and preventing guard passes can seem like a daunting task. There are so many techniques that your opponent might use to try and pass your guard.  Do you need to learn a different technique to counter each combination and permutation of grips, movement and body positioning you might run into? Not at all.  There may be many different guard passing techniques, but there are … [Read more...]

Butterfly Guard: Get Up, Sit Up, Get Up Off Your Back!

How to sit up and get off your back in butterfly guard

The Butterfly Guard is a very powerful sweeping position where you sit on your butt, leaning slightly forward, with both of your feet inside your opponent's legs (click here for a quick intro to the butterfly guard on However you do NOT want to be flat on your back when you're playing butterfly guard. When you're lying back like that you almost all the power behind your … [Read more...]

The Secret to Getting Your Black Belt

Getting Your Black Belt Pssst, want to become a BJJ black belt? The 'secret' is simple: just don’t quit! Of course, the devil is in the details, which is why this article is more than two lines long... I want to start with the fact that almost everybody can eventually become a black belt, so if you just keep training hard then you’ll probably make it. One my … [Read more...]

How to Train BJJ with an Injured Neck

How to train BJJ with a sore neck

Necks are delicate things.  Seven small stacked cervical vertebrae protecting all the nerves in your spinal cord and held together with a multitude of flimsy ligaments and muscles. Yet in BJJ we stress the neck continuously.  We attack it with chokes, crucifixes, and cranks.  We stack our opponents, turn their heads with crossfaces, and scissor his head with our legs.  We also use our head and … [Read more...]

7 Reasons Martial Artists Should Do Cardio

Bruce Lee - the ultimate martial artist - doing cardio

Today I want to share 7 reasons that all martial artists should do some form of cardio. This article actually started on a great run up my favourite local mountain. During that run, while dodging roots, rocks and puddles, I also spent a lot of time thinking about the direct martial arts benefits people get after they start working on their cardio. After the run, while cooling down and … [Read more...]