Why Talent is Way Overrated


So I'm touring Casa Loma recently, the famous castle in downtown Toronto and the largest private residence ever constructed in Canada. Just the usual touristic wandering of the halls, climbing the turrets, and exploring the never-ending parade of lavishly decorated rooms. All of a sudden I heard something beautiful drifting through the marble and hardwood hallways. … [Read more...]

How to Build Self Confidence in BJJ


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...]


Diver on Board

I saw something amazing in the pool where I was hanging out after a workout today. First I noticed that there was a group of about 7 men jumping off the highest part of the diving tower, again and again. This wasn't a dinky little diving board 1 meter off the water. They were throwing themselves off the 5 meter board, which is high enough to make anyone's heart go pitter-pat. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP20: The Art and Science of Teaching Martial Arts

Ritchie getting his bjj black belt

I recently interviewed my friend, training partner, black belt, and school owner Ritchie Yip. The main theme of our discussion was the art and science of teaching martial arts, including how to teach students with different learning styles and experience levels. Not every student learns the same way, and a good teacher knows how to adapt his material and curriculum to help students of all learning … [Read more...]

The Real Secret to Mastering a Skill

Upper Norish Creek

New Year's eve is just around the corner, making this the traditional time for drawing up plans, making resolutions, and setting your goals for the upcoming year. "This year I'm gonna do this… I'm gonna stop doing that…" Goal setting is super important and I'm all for it. I hope that you have your goals for the year clearly written out and displayed in a prominent place. But the problem is … [Read more...]

Fascism, the USSR, Iran, Afghanistan, El Salvador and Vampires.


Most of the time I restrain myself and keep the discussion in this blog focused on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Grappling, and MMA. But sometimes I just have to go outside the reservation... Like many people, I'm a huge fan of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History show. No matter what I'm involved in, whenever one of those exquisitely crafted podcasts comes out I drop everything and immerse myself in … [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...]

More On Concussions in MMA

Ground and Pound in MMA

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...]

Get Your Action Photo Featured on Grapplearts


Over the years a lot of readers have had their photos of grappling action appear on the Grapplearts Featured Photo page.  Some photos were taken by professional photographers, but the majority were taken by amateurs, sometimes even just snapped on on iPhone at the local tournament or open mat. People love these photos, which is why we've recently been cross-posting them on the Grapplearts … [Read more...]

The Truth about Supplements – Everyone is Lying to You


When it comes to supplements for BJJ, or any other sport for that matter, almost everybody giving you advice is lying to you. Or at the very least, deluded by wishful thinking... And just to alienate even more people, by the term 'supplements' I'm including most vitamins, minerals, ergogenic aids, pre-workout drinks, post-workout shakes, homeopathic medicine, herbal concoctions, chinese … [Read more...]

My Digital Reading List, May 23, 2013


I always say that this jiu-jitsu stuff is a marathon, not a sprint. Partially this is because it takes time to remodel your body so that it can do the things you want it to do. It's also because you need to find and incorporate hundreds of little tricks, tweaks and techniques that work with your body and your ever-evolving style on the mats. … [Read more...]

BJJ Lessons from a Sushi Master

Yoshikazu Ono

I just watched a really cool documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi (available on Netflix, iTunes, etc.).  This 2011 film paints a fascinating portrait of Jiro Ono, an 85 year old master chef who's been making sushi for 75 years. Jiro - the protagonist - is a single-minded perfectionist workaholic who hates national holidays because they keep him away from his obsession,  which is working on … [Read more...]

Sumo Wrestling: Practical Techniques for the Martial Artist

Sumo Wrestlers

Written by: Andrew Zerling Originally published in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts - Volume 21 Number 1 - 2012 All photos courtesy of Aikido Centers of New Jersey - Manasquan Dojo, except where noted. Abstract The study and appreciation of sumo wrestling, Japan’s ancient and popular martial art, is greatly overlooked in the West. This article focuses on sumo’s winning techniques, with … [Read more...]

The Best BJJ Submissions Revealed


What's the best submission in BJJ? Wow, that's a tough question!  And the first problem is trying to define what we mean by the word 'best'... Before we get into semantics and statistics let's start by agreeing that there are a million different submissions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling, and that not all of these techniques were were created equal.   … [Read more...]

How to Improve Your Hip and Leg Flexibility

Yoga for Martial Arts

Hip and leg flexibility is a huge asset in grappling, especially when it comes to not letting your opponent pass your guard, for launching sneaky sweeps and submissions from the guard position, and for weaseling your way out of tight pins. Plus if you're training in MMA, Muay Thai, Karate, Kickboxing, or any other martial art that involves kicking then flexibility will obviously help you out … [Read more...]

Inflexible, Stiff Back? Try This Workout…

Crescent Lunge from Sun Salutation 3

There's almost nothing worse than a painful back. Unlike other body parts, an injury to your back comes to define your entire life. If your arm is strained, or you've twisted your knee, or if you've tweaked your shoulder, then usually you can find a way to get through your day without aggravating your injury too much. But a sore back finds a way to haunt you every second of every day. … [Read more...]