The BJJ Self Defense Experiment

Other submissions that were used in the BJJ Self Defense Experiment

Have you ever wondered if your BJJ would stand up in a self defense situation against an opponent determined to clean your clock with his fists? By the end of this article I'm hoping you'll have a much better idea of what to focus on to sharpen your BJJ skills for self defense purposes... The self defense implications of grappling are important to me (click here to see my other posts on the … [Read more...]

Five Tricks to Tighten Up Your Sidemount

how to tighten up sidemount

There's nothing worse than weathering the storm in someone's guard, passing their guard by fighting your way past their legs, finally getting to sidemount, making one tiny mistake and then - boom - you're back in their guard. It's tiring, demoralising, and leaves you open to getting swept or tapped out. No!  After doing all that work you want to stay in sidemount, make them pay for giving … [Read more...]

Podcast EP31: BJJ Sports Psychology with Gustavo Dantas

Gustavo Dantas Interview About BJJ Sports Psychology

It's one thing to lose in BJJ competition if your opponent really is better than you.  But it's quite another to be beaten by an opponent that you KNOW you're better than... to underperform... not to live up to your potential. It sucks! The most common reason for losing to someone with lesser jiu-jitsu skills is that you psyched yourself out and lost the match mentally.  You can be in top … [Read more...]

How to Throw Defensive, Stiff-Arming, Bent-Over Opponents

Judo throws vs defensive, bent over opponents

A reader writes... Question: Hi Stephan, I'm looking for a way to incorporate some of judo take-downs into my BJJ game, but I'm having a lot of difficulty finding throws that work with the low center of gravity that is so central to the jiu-jitsu defence against throws. The defensive bent-over posture makes it nearly impossible to get good access to their hips, or even their legs while … [Read more...]

The de la Riva Guard

de-la-Riva

By Don Whitefield and Stephan Kesting We asked BJJ legend Ricardo de la Riva to show us the Five Most Imporant Techniques from the 'de la Riva Guard! Here's what he showed us, and we'll go through each one of them! The Basic de la Riva Sweep The Reverse de la Riva Sweep The Entangled Leg Sweep The Back Trip Sweep The Cross Knee Guard Pass Counter Ricardo de la Riva is a slight … [Read more...]

Mental Toughness is Transferrable

baden powell trail sign

A few days ago I checked off one of the items on my lifelist by completing a 30 mile mountain ultramarathon (BC's 'Kneeknacker') with 8,000 feet of elevation gain and 8,000 feet of elevation loss. But instead of doing it in the summer we decided to do it on the shortest day of the year. Without support. In the snow. We started with headlamps in the rain before dawn, and finished with … [Read more...]

How to Take the Back from X Guard

How to take the back from X Guard

It's almost impossible to use the Butterfly Guard without also using the X Guard... When you attack with the Butterfly Guard your opponent is going to be doing his absolute best to shut you down. For example, that means that he'll be posting hands and feet all over the place to stop you from sweeping him. When he posts his hands or otherwise gets them out of position it opens up … [Read more...]

Hitting the Omoplata from the Butterfly Guard

butterfly guard to omoplata

Many people use the butterfly guard only as a sweeping position. But that's a mistake because you can also hit powerful submissions from the butterfly guard. In fact attacking with sweeps sets up submissions, and attacking with submissions sets up sweeps.  Attacking with both from any guard position makes your game so much more effective; why would you want to limit yourself to only one or the … [Read more...]

Don’t Overthink Jiu-Jitsu

armbar in progress

Back when I was a brown belt I rolled with a large, strong, aggressive and completely unskilled white belt. This white belt was absolutely determined to illustrate the size difference between us by using all his weight and all his strength at all times. You know the type... At one point he was in my guard with his forearm across my throat. Essentially he was giving me the classic trigger … [Read more...]

How to Stop the Double Underhooks Guard Pass

How to stop the double underhooks guard pass

The double underhooks guard pass is one of the low passes you see most in high level competition. It's favored by big, strong dudes who love to smash people. Once they get your hips hoisted up and your body bent in half you feel pretty vulnerable. At that point they can pass your guard, take your back, move to the crucifix, or any number of horrible, nasty finishes. So you've GOT to have an … [Read more...]

A Mean Option When Your Opponent is Stalling in BJJ Sidemount

people on the bottom can often stall in sidemount

Have you ever trained BJJ with anyone who’s so desperate not to tap out that all they do is stall? Someone who’s whole ego is wrapped up in the idea that such-and-such brown belt hasn’t managed to submit them out recently? It’s one of the biggest traps the ego can lead someone into on the mats… Back in the day I trained with one of these guys who’s entire sense of jiu-jitsu self-worth was … [Read more...]

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

strike-defense-cover-and-technique-394x1024

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...]

Podcast EP30: 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)

How-to-come-up-with-new-jiu-jitsu-techniques

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...]

Podcast EP29: Skepticism and the Martial Arts

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...]