The Key to Dominating from the Spider Guard

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Today's video clip is about a rarely-discussed but absolutely essential aspect of the Spider Guard. It's the secret sauce of the Spider Guard. And it comes down to pressure... Pressure is one of those things that can be hard to see if you don't know what you're looking for. But there's no mistaking pressure when you feel it! … [Read more...]

How to Adjust Your Triangle for Maximum Tightness and Effectiveness

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Some techniques just require a bit more tweaking than others... For example, when I was a whitebelt the armbar was fairly easy to learn.  The triangle choke, on the other hand, was relatively easy to apply, but hard to finish, (which was very frustrating). It took a lot of experimentation, coaching and adjusting before I was able to successfully choke out even cooperating, non-resisting … [Read more...]

Spider Guard Masterclass is Now Live

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After almost 6 months of planning, filming and editing Spider Guard Masterclass is now ready for release! I'm biased of course, but I think that this is an absolutely amazing project. It's an A to Z reference guide for the Spider Guard, which is arguably the most dominant form of open guard in modern BJJ. Checking out this instructional is also risk free: if you don't absolutely love it, … [Read more...]

The Complete Spider Guard Gameplan Mindmap

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OK, this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen… I recently did an interview with Elliott Bayev on how to build BJJ gameplans. While we were talking Elliott dropped some hints about the Spider Guard project that we've been working on together... One of the things that Elliott did for this project was to create an in-depth mindmap showing his entire Spider Guard gameplan. And you can get … [Read more...]

How to Build a BJJ Gameplan

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Here's a really cool video interview I did with my friend, BJJ blackbelt, renowned coach, and fierce competitor Elliott Bayev. This interview is special because we break down the steps of building a BJJ gameplan.  We go right from the basic BJJ self defense gameplan, and build up to the intricate strategies used by world class competitors. There are tons of immediately useful takeaways … [Read more...]

How to React Without Thinking

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What Bruce Lee and Malcolm Gladwell Taught Me About Mushin (or the Art of No-Mind and Executing the Perfect Technique), Bruce Lee and Malcom Gladwell agree with Mark Mullen.  Sometimes things just happen too quickly to use conscious thought. Sometimes you just need to forget about thought and simply react to the situation. … [Read more...]

The Combat Challenge Sprint Workout

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Here’s a great workout for you: the Combat Challenge Sprint workout. This is the same sprint training protocol used by many of the best competitors in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, a sport that focuses on a viciously difficult obstacle course in which firefighters push themselves to their limits simulating foreground activities.  This worker was a key component of my friend Jamie McGarva's … [Read more...]

Don’t Panic, This is Normal!

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I often hear from people distraught about some area of their jiu-jitsu lagging behind. It might be their sweeps from the closed guard, their submissions from side mount, their escapes from rear mount, or their butterfly guard passes, but in that that one specific area they’re just not as good at as they should be. Here's the thing though: there will ALWAYS be areas where you are lagging … [Read more...]

Grappling Machine T Shirts, Only Available For 7 Days

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Here's something that some of you will love, and some of you will hate... It's a brand new limited edition steampunk-style Grapplearts T-shirt: the 'Grappling Machine' design. No Affliction-style skulls, pitbulls, grim reapers or upside-down crosses in this design, sorry! We did a small test run of this design, and the few lucky people who got their hands on one of them loved it. … [Read more...]

What’s the Best Conditioning for BJJ?

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I often get asked about the best kind of conditioning for BJJ and MMA. People want to know what’s better: running vs swimming, circuit training vs powerlifting, crossfit vs bodybuilding, sprints vs extended cardio, kettlebells vs dumbbells, bodyweight exercises vs barbells.. Having done quite a bit of strength and conditioning over the last 20 years I actually do have some definite opinions … [Read more...]

A Little-Known Move to Recover Guard from Turtle

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When BJJ world champion Brandon Mullins and I started talking about doing a second instructional set, he was adamant about including a section focusing on the advanced applications of fundamental movements. I was initially dubious.  I didn't think that most people would be interested in this.  But the more we talked about it, and especially when he started showing me what he wanted to cover, I … [Read more...]

A High Percentage Triangle Choke Attack from Half Guard

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Some people are under the mistaken impression that you can only defend or sweep from the Half Guard.  But it's a big mistake to ignore the powerful submission attacks that present themselves from that position! One of the most powerful, most effective, and most popular attacks from the Half Guard is the Triangle Choke.  You see this in high level competition all the time, both with and without … [Read more...]

A Fast and Simple Butterfly Guard Sweep

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Jiu-jitsu doesn't always need to be complicated. In fact, sometimes the best solution is also the simplest, most direct solution. Consider a situation where your opponent is in your guard but is refusing to engage you in any meaningful way. Maybe he's ahead on points and is trying to coast for the rest of the match, or maybe he just wants the satisfaction of being able to say that you didn't … [Read more...]

A Super Sneaky and Slick Triangle Choke Attack!

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This is one of the sneakiest, slickest submission attacks I have ever seen. The first time I saw this technique was when BJJ world champion Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins used it at the IBJJF European Championships in 2013. At first I just didn't understand what I had seen.  One minute his opponent was in the X Guard, and the next he was tapping out from a super-tight triangle choke.  I had to … [Read more...]

Shutting Down the Guard Pass

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It's called 'rolling' for a reason: if you're doing BJJ then you're going to be somersaulting all over the place.  And there are three types of rolls that you encounter all the time on the mats: The forward roll, The backwards roll The side roll In the video below BJJ world champion Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins shows how you can use the third movement - the side roll - to defend against … [Read more...]

The Easiest Way to Develop Fast Guard Sweeps

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Speed kills!  When it comes to blowing through your opponent's defenses there's nothing like being just a little bit faster than him.  That way you're always a step or two ahead, and he never has the chance to catch up. But how exactly do you do this? Well, have you ever heard of something called Hick's Law?  It's an idea that comes from academic research, and has been applied to areas as … [Read more...]

The Two Biggest Benefits of Training Martial Arts

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Funny story... I was passing through the downtown core of a major North American city a few years ago. I had 40 minutes to kill, so I went for a walk and quickly came across a martial arts club I had heard about but never set foot in.   So into the club I went, to check it out and introduce myself. I was immediately struck by two contrasting impressions... The first thing I noticed were … [Read more...]

Should You Correct Your Weaknesses or Focus on Your Strengths?

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This is an article by longtime Grapplearts contributor and BJJ Black Belt Mark Mullen. A question I always ask when I discuss jiu-jitsu with senior black belts is, "In developing your game is it better to develop your strengths, or to focus on weaknesses in order to correct them?"   The simplest form of this question is about developing your top game vs your bottom game in BJJ. … [Read more...]

Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins on BJJ Training, Competition, Transitions and Evolution

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I've got a super cool, super informative interview for you today! This is the first time in Grapplearts history that I’ve interviewed a person for a second time.  But boy, did my friend, BJJ black belt, and fierce competitor Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins ever deliver! (click here for the first interview). (Brandon and I originally worked together to create the highly acclaimed instructional … [Read more...]

How to Not Get Slammed in Your Closed Guard or Triangle Choke

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Getting picked up and slammed when you've got your opponent in the closed guard is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you in grappling. It's definitely a legitimate technique for big and strong guys to use. And in MMA and self defense slamming an opponent is one of the best ways to open the guard, or to escape a tight triangle choke. Getting power-bombed and then and … [Read more...]

The Danger of All-Or-Nothing Thinking…

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In life it's funny what ends up making a lasting impression on you. An offhand comment can stick with you for years and years, and have an effect way beyond anything the original person intended. There's a phrase like that that pops up in my mind often when I'm thinking about BJJ.  But it originated in a very different place. In fact this comment got stuck in my brain more than 20 years ago … [Read more...]

Rodolfo Vieira Pressure Guard Passing

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When it comes to passing the guard you basically have two options: pass with speed, or pass with pressure. Speed-based guard passes typically rely on creating some distance between you and your opponent, getting some kind of control on his feet or legs, and then blasting your way past your legs with some quickly manoeuvring. The 'Toreando' pass and its variations would be classic examples of … [Read more...]

Judo for BJJ

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An article by Mark Mullen Most students of Brazilian jiu-jitsu are aware that the origins of modern day BJJ came from Japanese judoka Mitsuyo Maeda who was one of the earliest of Jigoro Kano's members at the Kodokan. Since those early days, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has evolved significantly and now Olympic style judo and sport BJJ have diverged into their own sports. The rules governing IBJJF … [Read more...]