My Favourite Spider Guard Variation and Triangle Choke Setup

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The Spider Guard is a very diverse position.  Normally you start with the Double Feet on Biceps variation, but after that there are a TON of variations (including the Leg Lasso, de la Spider, Reverse de la Spider, Spider X, Collar-Spider, and Collar-Sleeve variations). Of all these Spider Guard Variations the Collar-Spider is probably my very favourite. We'll go into more detail about it in … [Read more...]

Podcast EP26: Perspectives on BJJ Drilling – An Interview with SBG’s Steve Whittier

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Steve Whittier from SBG East Coast is a cool guy. He manages to combine both thoughtful analyses and controversial opinions into one eloquent package. In this interview we talked about lots of different BJJ and MMA related topics, but the main emphasis and recurring theme was functional drilling and the efficacy of different types of BJJ training methods but we also covered self defense vs. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP25: BJJ Beginner Tips Interview and Podcast

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In this Grapplearts interview I talk to BJJ Black Belt Ritchie Yip, focusing on tips that BJJ beginners need to know.  But sometimes the conversation goes a little off track! You can follow/consume/download/watch this awesome and informative interview several different ways... You can watch the Youtube video below You can download the mp3 file by right clicking here and selecting 'Save … [Read more...]

4 Magic Phrases to Help You Learn BJJ Faster

Teaching a class

In my early days of martial arts training I ran into quite a few teachers who were so full of themselves that students asking questions was almost unheard of. At first I thought that this was normal. I thought that maybe things would change after I'd paid my dues for 10 or 20 years... And then I started training in JKD under Makoto Kabayama. … [Read more...]

The Three Ways to Escape ANY Submission…

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Jiu-jitsu has hundreds of submissions including chokes, cranks, armlocks, wristlocks, kneebars, footlocks, crushes, and many other ways to make people tap out. But if you're caught in a submission - any submission - there are only three ways to get out.  This relates to the timing of the defense: before, during or after. Let's go through them, one by one... … [Read more...]

How to Experience Flow for the First Time in BJJ

Butterfly guard sweep

Advanced BJJ players often talk about 'flow' - the ability to effortlessly adapt to changing situations and flow around resistance you might run into.  But flow isn't a state that you suddenly arrive at in BJJ. Instead, as you progress in the art, you start getting little glimpses of it, hints of how things might hook together, and brief moments when things work out effortlessly. Of course, … [Read more...]

The Easiest Move in Jiu-Jitsu

Double Biceps Spider Guard

This is the easiest move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It's a move that you can learn today and use tomorrow (especially if you've been drilling your triangle choke details that we covered in another recent blog post). Hint: it's from the Double Biceps Spider Guard. Check out the video below - Elliott reminds me of a trapdoor spider exploding out of it's lair when he slams it on. Then give the … [Read more...]

The Key to Dominating from the Spider Guard

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Today's video clip is about a rarely-discussed but absolutely essential aspect of the Spider Guard. It's the secret sauce of the Spider Guard. And it comes down to pressure... Pressure is one of those things that can be hard to see if you don't know what you're looking for. But there's no mistaking pressure when you feel 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...]

Don’t Panic, This is Normal!

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I often hear from people distraught about some area of their jiu-jitsu lagging behind. It might be their sweeps from the closed guard, their submissions from side mount, their escapes from rear mount, or their butterfly guard passes, but in that that one specific area they’re just not as good at as they should be. Here's the thing though: there will ALWAYS be areas where you are lagging … [Read more...]

Should You Correct Your Weaknesses or Focus on Your Strengths?

BJJ private lesson with Gordo

This is an article by longtime Grapplearts contributor and BJJ Black Belt Mark Mullen. A question I always ask when I discuss jiu-jitsu with senior black belts is, "In developing your game is it better to develop your strengths, or to focus on weaknesses in order to correct them?"   The simplest form of this question is about developing your top game vs your bottom game in BJJ. … [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...]

ARCHIVE The FREE Roadmap for BJJ App!

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Here's something brand new that I've been working on for a whole year.  It's available right now and I think you're really going to like it!! How would you like a top-to-bottom game plan for the closed guard position? What about a complete roadmap for the Open Guard? And while we’re at it, would a game plan for the modern Half Guard help you out? … [Read more...]

BJJ Seminar Disaster!

Stephan teaching BJJ

I once attended a seminar taught by a big name in BJJ (don’t ask me who - my lips are sealed!). It was in a medium-sized town, but for whatever reason, attendance was terrible.  There were only about 8 people there, myself included. And it didn't take very long to figure out that that at least six of the eight attendees were brand new beginners.  We’re talking about … [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...]

Why Talent is Way Overrated

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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...]