Ronda Rousey and the Power of Gameplans

UFC Belt

In case you were hiding under a rock, Ronda Rousey fought Liz Carmouche last night at UFC 157. She both validated her UFC Women's Bantamweight title, and made history by being in the first-ever women's match in the the UFC. And just in case you were under that aforementioned rock, despite a very spirited fight by Liz Carmouche, Ronda won the match with an armbar at 4:49 of the first round. … [Read more...]

How to Salvage a Failed Butterfly Guard Sweep

Buttefly Guard Sweeps

The 'basic' butterfly guard sweep is one of the most strongest sweeps in grappling. That's why it shows up again and again at the highest levels of competition.  It's powerful, reliable, and works for a wide range of body types.  It works with and without the gi, on bigger people, smaller people, wrestlers, and judoka. This combination of power and versatility makes the butterfly guard sweep … [Read more...]

Hidden Techniques for Maintaining Rear Mount

rear mount legwork

When people teach the rear mount they often show you how to get your hooks in to achieve the rear mount, and then they teach you a couple of submissions from the back. Their idealized flowchart has two steps: Get your hooks in, Submit your opponent. Oh, if only life were so simple! … [Read more...]

No Gi Guard Passing Strategies vs. Bigger People

No Gi Guard Passing Strategies

Passing the guard in a technical manner during no gi training can often be very frustrating, especially for people coming from a gi-based background.  To the uninitiated it just seems that things move too fast... That there aren't any good handles to control your opponent... … [Read more...]

How to Set Up the X Guard

Butterfly Guard to X Guard

I love the X Guard.  It's such a high-percentage position. First of all, it can be applied from a huge number of open guard and half guard situations.  If you've ever watched an X Guard specialist you'll know that he needs just a tiny bit of room to insert those hooks and - BOOM - he's slithered into the X Guard. And once an opponent is caught in the X Guard he's going down!  In fact, by the … [Read more...]

Ambush Armbar from Modified Scarf Hold

armbar from modified scarf hold

I might not be 100% correct with the actual wording, but I'll always remember this fantastic quote from Karate legend Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace which I read in Black Belt magazine many years ago.  It went something like this: "There's always going to be someone bigger, stronger or faster than you, but there never has to be anyone sneakier than you!" … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Backstep Guard Pass

countering the backstep guard pass

BJJ and submission grappling are in a continual state of evolution.  New techniques, tactics and strategies emerge, or are rediscovered, or are brought into the art all the time. The backstep guard pass is one such modern technique.  You won't see this guard pass in old-school BJJ … [Read more...]

How to Pass Deep Half Guard

how to pass deep half guard

In the last 5 years the Deep Half Guard position has taken the BJJ and submission grappling world by storm.  And every serious grappler now needs to know how to neutralize and pass the Deep Half Guard. This position is a variation of the half guard.  If someone manages to get settled into this position underneath you then they're right under your center of gravity, can compromise your balance, … [Read more...]

How to set up and apply the head and arm choke


Here's a clip of Emily Kwok teaching something really cool - how to set up the head and arm choke (also known as 'kata gatame') from mount, and then how to ratchet it on so tightly that your opponent has no choice but to tap out, no matter how big he is. … [Read more...]

A Surprising Way to Pull Guard…

Pulling single leg x guard

Should you pull guard in competition?  And if you decide to pull guard, then how do you do it correctly? In a certain sense, I am uniquely unqualified to answer these questions... You see, much of my BJJ comes from 8th degree black belt Marcus Soares, and Marcus is very much from the old-school Carlson Gracie way of doing things. … [Read more...]