When Should an MMA Fighter Retire?

When should a fighter retire from MMA?

Quitting MMA One of the hardest decisions a fighter ever has to make is when to hang up the gloves and retire from the MMA game. In many sports professional athletes are usually forced into retirement by orthopaedic issues. A knee just can’t take the pounding anymore… A problem shoulder just keeps on getting worse… As the the mileage takes its toll and the injuries add up, athletic … [Read more...]

How to Defend Strikes on the Ground


You're walking down the street, someone bumps you, words are exchanged, you get pushed to the ground, and now some big gorilla is trying to knock your teeth down your throat.  No matter how focused you are on the sportive aspects of grappling you've still GOTTA know how to defend strikes on the ground!!! It doesn't matter if your goal is casual recreation or if you wanna be the next UFC … [Read more...]

New T-Shirts: Keep Calm and Grapple On

Keep Calm and Armbar On shirts

We just released these brand new shirts.  I had fun looking into the history of the classic 'Keep Calm and Carry On' meme - turns out it comes from just before World War 2 where the British government was trying to bolster the public morale in the face of imminent war. They might boost your morale too, but hopefully your situation is a little bit less dire than Europe in 1939... There are … [Read more...]

The 16 Most Important Techniques for the BJJ Beginner

16 BJJ Beginner Techniques

What's the most common problem (aside from getting caught under side control) facing the BJJ beginner? It's probably feeling overwhelmed by the staggering number of techniques that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu contains! There are a thousand variations of sweeps and locks and chokes and pins and escapes and guard passes.  It's enough to make your head spin! So where then do you start?  Which … [Read more...]

A Better Armbar?

Another armbar using both hands, this time in MMA

The armbar, as it is usually taught, involves using BOTH of your hands or arms to control ONE of your opponent's arms. This two-on-one control can be used when trying to break through your opponent's defenses, as in the photo below: The two-on-one arm control is usually retained right until your opponent taps out to the finalized armbar, as in the following photo: Now this regular … [Read more...]

How To Use Moves You Already Know to Do Advanced Techniques

From Advanced BJJ Fundamentals mobile app

We've just launched the latest Grapplearts BJJ instructional mobile app with my friend Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins. It's called Advanced BJJ Fundamentals. The name of this app isn't accidental, because it's all about using the fundamental building blocks of jiu-jitsu to make learning easier, to amplify the effectiveness and reliability of your techniques, and to build an advanced … [Read more...]

BJJ Q&A – Popular Reader Questions Answered

BJJ Podcast

I recently did the second-ever Grapplearts Radio Q&A format podcast.  In it I answered questions from my newsletter readers. In this particular podcast we cover many topics, including How to come back to BJJ training after an injury... and not lose your mind while you're rehabbing... Options for transitioning out of Z guard (and half guard in general) to open guard How to improve … [Read more...]

How to Stop the Leg Shuck Pass

timthumb (1)

The leg shuck pass has become a very popular, very powerful way to pass the guard. This pass is applied from the feet against many types of open guard. It involves an angle change, hipping in, and pushing your opponent's leg out of position. If all goes well then you end up in a very good position on your opponent's side. You should definitely be familiar with the leg shuck, especially if … [Read more...]

Does the Spider Guard Translate At All to No Gi?

No gi Spider Guard

TONS of top BJJ practioners use the spider guard as their primary form of guard from the bottom. This position has won many BJJ tournaments, from local competitions to the Mundials. And although you'd think that these champions would be completely lost in no gi submission grappling competitions like ADCC that's usually just not the case.  Even though there aren't any sleeves or collars to hold … [Read more...]

How to Come Up With New Jiu-Jitsu Techniques (and Succeed at Online Dating Too)


The key to having great ideas is to have LOTS of ideas.  Dream them up, test them out, and discard the bad ideas quickly! Almost all the new variations of jiu-jitsu techniques you dream up will die a lonely death in the graveyard of stupid ideas. Most of your brilliant new ideas will be crap.  Most things you try out in life will fail... Expect this and learn to welcome it. Speed towards … [Read more...]

Skepticism and the Martial Arts (Podcast)

Skepticism-and-the Martial-Arts

Skepticism is your best defense against the lies, hoaxes and magical thinking that are so rampant in the traditional martial arts. Join us on this Grapplearts Radio interview where I talk with Jeff Westfall about chi, the evolution of kata, insane martial arts teachers, Indonesian Silat counters to BJJ submissions, the chimpanzee brain, the fight or flight reflex, signs that you might have … [Read more...]

Does MMA Make You Stupid? Impact, Concussions and Brain Damage in Mixed Martial Arts

MMA Punch

MMA has been my guilty pleasure for a long time. On the one hand, I'm a huge fan. I've been watching the UFC since its inauguration in 1993, and have enjoyed fights in Pride FC, Shooto, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and many other organisations. I have good friends who are professional fighters, and have helped them prepare for their fights. And I have nothing but respect for the skill, … [Read more...]

Taking Responsibility for Your Own BJJ Training

bjj competition

A Guest Article by Kaeli Sweigard When you choose your actions, you choose your consequences. I used to work with “at risk” youth, and this was something I constantly re-iterated to them. They would break into cars, and then complain about having to go to court. I wanted them to really grasp the fact that they could make a different decision, and they would get different results. I wanted them … [Read more...]

11 Short MMA Conditioning Workouts by Chuck Liddell’s Coach John Hackleman

John Hackleman on MMA workouts

John Hackleman is a friend of Grapplearts and a very successful MMA coach.  He runs The Pit Gym and guided Chuck Liddell to UFC Lightweight Champion status and has coached many other MMA fighters. As an MMA trainer he is keenly aware of the importance of conditioning for fighters, but also for 'regular' people training martial arts for self defense. Hackleman is also a very direct … [Read more...]

The 2 Easiest Takedowns for No Gi Submission Grappling and MMA

2 simplest no gi takedowns

Just because you didn't wrestle in High School or do 10 years of Judo doesn't mean that you always need to pull guard! In this 5 minute Youtube video Denis Kang and I riff about the the simplest, easiest takedowns for No Gi. Denis is a BJJ black belt and has fought in Japanese Pride, the UFC, and ADCC, so his credentials are impeccable. And me? I just like to find the easiest ways to do … [Read more...]

5 IBJJF Competition Mistakes You Don’t Have to Make


by Guest Author Joanna Trindade I'm a BJJ blue belt, and although I've competed in local tournaments before I recently had the opportunity to step it up a notch.  The plan was to compete at my first IBJJF tournament at the 2015 Chicago Summer Open. My teammate, coach and I drove the 1.5 hours from Milwaukee to Chicago at 6:30 in the morning. I wasn’t nervous for most of the drive except for … [Read more...]

A Roadmap for BJJ – This Book Now Available on Kindle

Roadmap for BJJ book on Kindle

I've just taken my BJJ Manifesto - A Roadmap for BJJ - and turned it into a Kindle book!  So now you can take it with you on your Kindle device, or using the Kindle app for your smartphones and tablets (which is how I consume most of my digital book content). The Roadmap for BJJ book is the most concentrated approach to learning the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu I can give you.  In the book you'll … [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...]

How to Tape Your Fingers for BJJ

How and why to tape you fingers in BJJ

Some BJJ players - including myself - train and compete with their hands au naturel. But BJJ can be rough on the hands and fingers, especially grip-dependent positions like Spider Guard and de la Riva, and some competitors have so much tape covering their fingers that they look like mummies shambling out from beneath an Egyptian pyramid. In the video below BJJ black belt Rob Biernacki and I … [Read more...]

Your Open Guard Options vs. Standing Opponents

Two types of guard vs standing opponents

If you end up on the bottom with your opponent standing up and detached from you then be prepared for a very frantic and dangerous scramble.  Unhindered by your grips and hooks he can deploy his favourite Open Guard passes on you without having to feel endangered by your own attacks. And if he's an athletic guy then the situation is even worse.  He'll be able to use his speed and explosiveness … [Read more...]

4 Takedowns from the Rear Bearhug

rear bearhug takedowns

You can get to the rear standing bearhug from a lot of different scenarios.   An arm drag or duck under from wrestling on the feet, for example.   Or you could end up here starting from the ground if your opponent tries to get back to his feet from the ground the way many wrestlers like to do. Many BJJ people are far more comfortable on the ground than on their feet, and thus get a little bit … [Read more...]

10 Tips on Running for BJJ

Stephan Kesting Running

I blame Bruce Lee, for it was he who first brought the fact that martial artists should run to my attention. It was in the eighties and I came across a photo of Bruce Lee running down the road in the book Bruce Lee's Fighting Method Vol 2.  The text talked about how important he thought running was, and mentioned that, "Even when he was sent to India to find suitable locations for filming, he … [Read more...]

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


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

Bernardo Faria over-under guard pass

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

How to deal with nerves in bjj competition

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...]