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...]

How to do the Windshield Wiper Guard Pass

How to do the windshield wiper guard pass

The windshield wiper is a leg motion used by a TON of high level BJJ guys to pass the guard (and also to showboat sometimes). It allows you to cross from one side of your opponent's body to the other without him entangling you in either guard or half guard. For example, let's say that you're passing the guard to your right and your opponent counters by high-legging (i.e. stepping over your … [Read more...]

Butterfly Guard Sweep Counter

Butterfly Sweep Counter

The Butterfly Sweep is one of those fundamental moves that you see everywhere. In every dojo and at every major tournament there's someone who specialises in the Butterfly Guard. And every Butterfly Guard specialist uses the basic Butterfly Sweep as one of their bread and butter moves. This sweep just plain works.  It can be used in gi or no gi.  It can be used against small, fast people or … [Read more...]

Passing the Guard like Leandro Lo

Leandro Lo Guard Passing

If you’re passing the guard then the very first thing you need to worry about is avoiding getting swept or submitted.  After all, it’s pretty hard to use your killer guard passing techniques if your opponent hits a sweep on you and takes you to the bottom right away… That’s why in our recent instructional on passing the guard the first thing Rob Biernacki and I teach is how NOT to get swept or … [Read more...]

New Instructional App: BJJ Guard Passing and Top Game Formula!

BJJ Top Game and Guard Passing Formula

Hey, I've just released the latest Grapplearts instructional. It's called The BJJ Guard Passing and Top Game Formula (or 'Top Game Formula' for short).  And it's available for Apple, Android and Kindle devices. And during the new release period it's half price (regular price $19.99 USD, this week only $9.99). Guard passing is without a doubt the most complex task in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. … [Read more...]

BJJ Rear Mount Master Class Q&A

BJJ Rear Mount Q&A

When Rob Biernacki and I released the BJJ Back Attacks Formula instructional some of the readers of my email newsletter grabbed the app right away and asked some great questions related to the rear mount in BJJ. As it turns out, my partner in rear mount crime was coming back through town recently, so it seemed like a good idea to film videos answers to those questions. Here are the questions … [Read more...]

37 Powerful BJJ Submissions for Grapplers

timthumb.php

Have you ever wondered what the most popular and powerful BJJ submissions in BJJ are?  Here's our list of the top 37 submissions taught in BJJ academies all over the world. WARNING: not all of these techniques are legal in IBJJF competition, or allowed at all schools.  But it's still better to be familiar with these illegal techniques just in case someone tries to use them on you. And many of … [Read more...]

Three BJJ Guard Posture Mistakes That’ll Get You KILLED on the Mats

BJJ Posture mistake 3: hand on ground

Using the Power of Posture and Positioning to Prevent Problems (Note to the reader: this lesson #5 from of the Beginning BJJ Course. To receive the other lessons by email please sign up for the free email-based course) Whenever I've got someone in my guard I watch them very carefully for mistakes. If they make a mistake (and if I can capitalize on it quickly) then - boom - they're gonna get … [Read more...]

Weak vs Strong Side of Rearmount; the Debate Continues

strong side of rearmount

It turns out that the rearmount is a controversial position. On the one hand it's widely acknowledged as a position of total domination. If you get to the rearmount then your opponent should be in deep trouble. In the last 10 years it's become widely accepted that the over-under arm position (aka the 'harness grip' and/or the 'lasso') is probably the most powerful way of controlling your … [Read more...]

My Favourite Muhammad Ali Quote

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali passed away 2 days ago at age 74 after putting quite a dent into the universe. He was a great boxer.  The greatest of all time according to some (especially himself). And his conscientious objector status to the Vietnam War made him hugely unpopular at the time, and then an icon to an entire generation. When we remember Ali we often end up thinking about his quips, quotes, … [Read more...]

How To Do the Cross Collar Choke from Mount

How to do the cross collar choke from mount

The cross collar choke from mount is one of the very first chokes that you learn in BJJ. And it works well against beginners who have no idea how to defend with their hands... But as soon as people start getting all defensive and defending their collars it starts getting hard to get your own hands in deep enough. And a shallow grip makes it hard to generate enough power against the neck to … [Read more...]

How to Avoid BJJ Injuries (and Other Dumb Ways to Die)

How to Prevent BJJ Injuries

There’s a smartphone game out there called Dumb Ways to Die. Well, many BJJ guys are playing a similar game every time they step on the mats. It’s called Dumb Ways to Get Injured. To fight this trend here’s an important new article written by my friend (and training partner from long ago) Jeff Meszaros. In this article you get some of Jeff’s crazy stories about some of the dumbest things … [Read more...]

How to do the Heel Hook (and How to Train it Safely)

How to do the heel hook

The heel hook is one of the most devastating leglocks you can apply! Instead of attacking the big muscles of the leg (like the quads, hamstrings, or glutes) the heel hook targets the small ligaments of the knee and the ankle. This means that you can really screw up someone's leg if you apply it in anger. The heel hook is banned in most clubs and illegal in almost all gi tournaments.  But … [Read more...]

10 Habits of Successful BJJ Competitors

competition bjj

by Jeff Meszaros, photo copyright James Sizemore For people who want to win at grappling tournaments, there's a ton of material available regarding what to do once a match has begun. But what should someone do on tournament day before their fights begin? What do the top BJJ players do to help themselves to perform at their very best? Here are a few ideas to consider... Have a "Competition … [Read more...]