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...]

Podcast EP24: 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...]

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...]

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...]

Podcast EP23: 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...]

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...]

How to Pass ‘Worm Guard’

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One of the big trends in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu recently has been the increasing sophistication of lapel-based guard control and sweeps. In this style of game the lapel gets fed around arms, behind the torso, and between the legs to make it difficult for your opponent to pass your guard and also much easier to sweep him. The most recent variation in this evolutionary trend is a position called … [Read more...]

Takedowns for People Who Don’t Do Takedowns…

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At it’s core BJJ is an incredibly effective way of fighting on the ground. But the sad truth is that grapplerts who haven’t trained in Judo or wrestling can often have a lot of problems getting the fight to the ground. In fact the only plan many BJJ practitioners have for getting a match to the ground is to pull guard, end of story. … [Read more...]

How to Build Self Confidence in BJJ

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Today I want to share the single best piece of advice I ever got from sport psychology. Let's set this up by supposing that you have an ambitious goal, like getting your BJJ brown belt, or winning a medal in a major competition… To achieve that goal you’ve obviously got to do lots of drilling, sparring, conditioning, etc. All these things get your body into shape and ready for action. But … [Read more...]

The Most Dangerous Throw in Judo & BJJ

Kani Basami - the most dangerous judo and bjj throw

There's a good reason that the extremely effective throw Kani Basami has been banned in all Judo and most BJJ competitions: it's super dangerous! Kani Basami has inflicted severe lower body injuries in dojos and competitions all over the world. I myself used it extensively until I was sparring with a wrestler, misjudged the distances, and landed on his ankle severely twisting it. He was out … [Read more...]

Self Defense, Competition, and Performing In High Pressure Situations

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Performance under pressure is always tricky.  In fact a lot of martial arts practitioners worry about whether they'd actually be able to execute their skills in super-stressful situations. Of course competing at a tournament or performing at belt tests can be stressful.  But the scariest high pressure situation of all is a self defence scenario where you and/or your family is being … [Read more...]

Lapeloplatas, Feet on Lapel Spider Guards, & Other Gi BJJ Tricks

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My friend Ostap Manastyrski and I recently shot a video about the evolving trend in the competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world that involves playing with the lapels of your opponent. People are now doing spider guard on the lapels, attacking with omoplata-style movements against the lapels, and developing all kinds of new gi-based tricks and strategies to manipulate and off balance their … [Read more...]

Keenan Cornelius’s Inverted Spinning Armbar Explained…

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In the No Gi super fight at the 2013 BJJ Expo between Keenan Cornelius and Lucas Leite there was an absolutely spectacular submission. Keenan hit an inverted spinning armbar from half guard that impressed the hell out of everyone who saw it. First, here's the match itself. The armbar sequence starts at about 8:01. … [Read more...]

The Easiest Way to Do the Berimbolo

At the bottom of this post is a Youtube video I just created to show the easiest way to do the Berimbolo. Now if you're a Berimbolo aficionado then you've probably already scrolled down. But maybe you're on the fence about this move. Or maybe you don't even know what it is and why you should care about it. Well, give me a minute to put it into context for you... … [Read more...]

More On Concussions in MMA

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Last week I published my contentious, 'Does MMA Make You Stupid' article. Since then there have been a few more developments on the concussion controversy, so I figured it was worth sharing the updates so as to keep you in the loop. UPDATE 1: STEPHAN KESTING ON THE NHB NEWS PODCAST Over the weekend I was contacted by Eddie Goldman, the Godfather of MMA, from the NHB News website and podcast. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP17: Rafael Lovato Jr. on Training and Competing in BJJ

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This is a great interview with BJJ competition legend Rafael Lovato Jr.  You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways… Play the audio-only Youtube video at the bottom of this list, and/or Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file to your computer, and/or Subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (RECOMMENDED, because … [Read more...]

The Highest Percentage Sidemount Escape in BJJ?

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Sidemount is arguably the pinning position you're going to run into most often in BJJ.  Most guard passes lead into sidemount, and from sidemount you can get to almost every other position (it's kind of like the Grand Central Station of BJJ pinning)! So it's not surprising that there are a ton of different sidemount escapes involving shrimping, bridging, spinning, reguarding, etc. … [Read more...]