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

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 Grapplearts.com). 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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWcbLgxANFo 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...]

Kurt Osiander Interview – the Barbarian of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Kurt Osiander BJJ Interview

I've just released the latest podcast (episode 35), featuring an interview with Mr Kurt Osiander. Kurt is an old-school BJJ black belt under Ralph Gracie.  He's known for his no BS communication style, his informative Youtube instructional videos, and his swearing (this interview is definitely not for the ears of little children or the overly sensitive). The topics we cover include... … [Read more...]

Stephan’s on Snapchat

Stephan Kesting on Snapchat

Hey, I'm now on the social video app Snapchat! I'm sharing some BJJ tips there almost every day, plus a little bit of behind-the-scenes footage of what goes on at the Grapplearts Evil Schemes Lair (TM). Most of what I've posted on Snapchat disappears within 24 hours (it's the nature of the platform). If you're interested in BJJ and the martial arts in general then follow me on snapchat! … [Read more...]

Are my legs too short to apply the triangle choke?

Triangle with Short Legs

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.' The fight went to the ground quickly, and after 15 minutes of getting manhandled Royce … [Read more...]

Here’s Why Your Guard Attacks Don’t Work

why most guard attacks fail

When you first learn an sweep or a submission from the guard you usually learn the steps in a 1, 2, 3 manner. "First grab the sleeve and lapel like this... Then open your legs and escape your hips... Now put your foot on the hip and pull him forward...." And so on Then you go ahead, learn all the steps, and get your repetitions in.  You do all the prep work. But then, when you try to … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Bullfighter / Matador Pass

How to counter the bullfighter / matador pass

In the 'Bullfighter' (aka 'Matador' aka 'Toreando') guard pass, you grab your opponent's legs, push them to the ground, and then run around to the side. (There are some refinements to this technique, of course, but even the super basic version I just described can be super-difficult to stop if you're facing someone who is explosive, athletic, and determined.) If you're on the bottom using … [Read more...]

A Triangle Choke Escape that Requires Almost No Training…

silat triangle choke escape

Years ago I came back from an Indonesian Silat training camp led by Dan Inosanto. I showed up at BJJ class the next day and was telling a few guys about how much I had enjoyed the training. One guy with a slightly smartass tone asked me, "How would a Silat guy escape from my triangle choke then?" It turns out that there IS a very effective, super high percentage Silat escape to the … [Read more...]

3 Lessons Learned from BJJ Injuries

BJJ and Martial Arts Injuries

One of the secrets of BJJ is to get good before you get too banged up with injuries to be good. To help you avoid crippling injury I shot a 15 minute video talking about some of the most important lessons I've learned dealing with injuries. Some of these injuries could have stopped my BJJ career dead in its tracks, or left me in constant pain for the rest of my life, or necessitated some … [Read more...]

A Storm in the Mountains and Risk in BJJ

risk and reward in the outdoors and bjj

Today we're going to talk about assessing risk and reward in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but first let me tell you a story about what happened up on a mountain recently... Risk vs Reward in the Outdoors I arrived at the Black Mountain trailhead in the Mount Cypress area a few hours before dark, intending to squeeze in a 90 minute trail run to Eagle Bluffs and back.  In my pack was a light fleece coat, … [Read more...]