BJJ Self Defense Part 1: Proximity, Panic and Claustrophobia

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This might be a bit controversial but BJJ IS A MARTIAL ART! That means it's a fighting method, used for stopping (and possibly hurting) people who are intent on doing you serious harm. Sure, it's also a fantastic sport, a fitness method, and a way to challenge yourself. I enjoy it for all those aspects too. But being able to take care of business in the street comes first. … [Read more...]

Why Don’t More BJJ Students Ask Questions?

Stephan Teaching a Jiu-Jitsu seminar

I know I've been lucky, but most of my martial arts instructors have encouraged questions. For example, my BJJ coach, Marcus Soares, is known for his killer conditioning sessions ('warmups,' he calls them...). But right after putting his class through hell he always starts the technical part of class by asking, "Are there any questions." He then takes time to answer each and every question, … [Read more...]

The Answer is Out There!

Stephan Teaching a Jiu-Jitsu seminar

Let's say that you want to add a new technique - any technique - to your game. With new techniques there's always a ton of trial and error, struggle and effort, discouragement and tough times before it starts working reliably for you. But here's the thing: no matter what area of jiu-jitsu or submission grappling you're working on, I guarantee you that there's someone out there who has … [Read more...]

Some Principles and Concepts for an Effective Closed Guard

Closed Guard

Too often people forget about the bread-and-butter strategies that have been effective for decades and get seduced by the latest shiny technique. Maybe there's not a better example of something that has stood the test of time like the closed guard. The closed guard has been controlling and submitting opponents with the gi, in no gi submission grappling, in MMA and self defense for a very … [Read more...]

How to Train with Beginners so that Nobody Gets Hurt and You Both Get Better

Stephan teaching BJJ

The most dangerous situation in BJJ is training with an absolute novice. I'm serious!  Someone who has never trained before is often unpredictable, jerky, and just doesn't know the rules of the game yet. All that thrashing around, lack of control, as well as potential ego issues means that there's a pretty high likelihood of something going wrong. Either that dude planting an elbow in your … [Read more...]

Five Great Followups to a Failed Triangle Choke

Triangle Choke Combinations & Followups

The Triangle Choke is definitely another one of those Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu signature moves. It's a super-powerful submission and it is responsible for ending a LOT of BJJ, MMA and submission grappling matches. But the sad fact is that no submission works for everyone, or on every opponent all the time... For example, sometimes your legs can be too short to apply an effective triangle choke. … [Read more...]

The Easiest Way to Teach (and Learn) the Armbar from Guard

Teaching the armbar from guard

The armbar from guard is one of those bread-and-butter techniques in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A signature move, if you will. Unfortunately it can also be difficult for some people execute the mechanics of the armbar from the guard correctly. It's easy to get confused with all that gripping, shifting, adjusting and swivelling, and then completely botch the whole technique. But I've found a … [Read more...]

A Closed Guard Pass Direct From Brazil

Gordo Closed Guard Pass

I’m in the middle of trying something new at Grapplearts.com… The lion’s share of the BJJ videos in the article and technique section of this site have been produced by yours truly (Stephan Kesting). But recently one of my very first BJJ training partners also wanted to contribute some cool footage to the video vault. … [Read more...]

The Biggest Gi Choke Mistake (And How to Fix It)

Gi Choke Grips

How a single 'quick fix' can triple the power of your gi choke attacks Gi chokes are a fundamental and effective strategy in BJJ. Maybe the two best known gi choke are the cross collar choke from guard and the cross collar choke from mount.  We'll explore that choke in more detail below, but rest assured that it has been used to submit world class competitors at the highest levels of competition. … [Read more...]

The Best Way to Tie Your Belt

How to tie your BJJ or Judo Belt

It's funny: in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu both people start a match looking so neat and tidy in their designer gi's. But less than a minute later it's usually a complete yard-sale: the lapels have come undone, the gi is pulled over someone's head, and the loose belt is wrapped around someone's ankles. Well, here's a 4 minute breakdown on how to tie your BJJ or Judo belt so it stays in place and hardly … [Read more...]

New to Jiu Jitsu? You’ll need a lot of this…

Laurie Berenson BJJ Sparring

The following guest post is written by Laurie Berenson. She comes to BJJ from a background of training in Muay Thai. I really like her attitude so I invited her to put pen to paper and share her perspective with us. She is currently studying under black belts William Stevens and Casey Van Brookhoven at Stevens Martial Arts in New Jersey, USA. When Stephan Kesting asked if I’d consider … [Read more...]

What Do White Belts Need to Learn in Their 1st Year of BJJ?

white belt

by guest author Mark Mullen I'm currently in Rio de Janeiro doing a little training in BJJ. While here I have met a number of white belts at the Connection Rio BJJ hostel. Sitting around the pool or over acai after training, inevitably the topic of conversation turns to BJJ and the struggles of the white belts trying to find their way in the art suave. … [Read more...]

Question: My Mind Goes Blank During Sparring…

Mind going blank during training

------------------------------ QUESTION ------------------------------ Hi Stephan, First of all, I want to thank you for creating your instructional apps and having these frequent tips/newsletters.   They have really helped me to get started in BJJ.  Even though I have been signed up to receive your emails for a while now I have only just begun my training.   … [Read more...]

Jiu-Jitsu for the Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse Weapons1

I've just put the most important video I've ever shot onto Youtube: Jiu-Jitsu for the Zombie Apocalypse. A lot of people will tell you that jiu-jitsu will be useless when the Zombie Apocalypse hits.  But those people have an agenda: usually they're trying to sell you flamethrowers, or have stocks in the big arms companies. … [Read more...]

A Easy Way to Stay Out of Trouble in the Guard

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Posture, posture, posture... Everyone talks about posture as THE solution to staying out of trouble in the guard. Every guard pass ever taught starts out with, "First, make posture in the guard." But the trouble is that your opponent knows this too. If you're in his closed guard, and if posture is good for you, then posture is bad for him. So guess what? He'll work like crazy to disrupt, destroy, … [Read more...]

How to Maintain Rear Mount, Improve Guillotines, and Thwart ‘Combatives’ Experts

Gripping for Rear Mount

Rear mount seems like such a simple position: I mean, you're basically just piggybacking on your opponent, right? Well, success in jiu-jitsu usually means doing simple, fundamental things with a high degree of sophistication and attention to detail. And rear mount is no different - switch your grip by a couple of inches, have your hand open instead of closed, do the wrong thing for even a … [Read more...]

3 Open Guard Options vs. Standing Opponents

Open Guard Sweeps No Gi

If you don't have a gameplan from the open guard then this position can quickly become a confusing and ineffective tangle of arms and legs . And open guard chaos gets much, much worse when you don't have a good grip on your opponent. … [Read more...]

Tap Out Less Often! The ‘Submission Defense’ App for Android…

submission defense blog

After a ton of planning and working with video editors and Android app programers, I'm thrilled to announce that Submission Defense - the latest Grapplearts app for the Android platform - is finally ready!! This app was designed with one single-minded purpose: to help you tap out much less often. … [Read more...]