3 Ways to Deal With Injuries in BJJ

BJJ Injuries

I'm not going to pretend that injuries don't suck.  They do. There have been many great athletic careers cut short by injury.  Many people who would otherwise have been great have had their dreams derailed when a bone went 'crack' or a ligament went 'snap' and then never quite recovered. The typical reaction of the BJJ addict when they get injured is, 'Oh no, now I can't train.' … [Read more...]

A Jedi Mind Trick for Passing Butterfly Guard

Passing the Guard

This butterfly guard pass doesn't require athleticism, speed or killer grips; instead this guard pass is all about the timing. To have great timing you either need to have super-fast reflexes to react to your opponent, OR you have to 'train' your opponent to give you a certain energy so you can anticipate it and have your response already waiting for him. … [Read more...]

Just Say NO to Getting Swept in the Guard

Countering the Heel Grab

There's a strong argument to be made for knowing how to pass the guard both standing up AND kneeling down.  This keeps your opponent guessing and allows you to change your game up and avoid his strengths. What I'm going to give you today is a free sample of my Black Belt Grappling Concepts Course that'll show you how to shut down one of the most common problems you'll encounter when you're … [Read more...]

A Blackbelt’s Private Lesson With a Jiu-jitsu Master, by Mark Mullen

BJJ private lesson with Gordo

This is a very interesting field report by my first BJJ training partner (and now BJJ black belt) Mark Mullen, who just came back from a trip to Brazil - Stephan Kesting. I recently spent 2 months in Rio de Janeiro, shortly after graduating to black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In addition to enjoying the beaches, acai and famous sights of Rio I was looking to get on the mat and learn some … [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...]

How to Incorporate a New Technique into Your Arsenal

Stephan-Kesting

Incorporating a new move into your sparring and competition repertoire can be tricky. Too many people go and and try their nifty new technique on everybody right away, hoping that it will work at least some of the time. But this may not actually be the best way to do it. In fact, this scattershot method, and not having a concrete plan for rolling out new moves, can even be … [Read more...]

Crowdsourcing Your BJJ

crowdsourced bjj 2

There's never been a better time to get better at BJJ. A sixteenth century samurai who wanted to improve his duelling skills had relatively limited options.  If he put up with enough hazing and character testing then, maybe, his sensei would eventually decide to teach him some good stuff. And hopefully he would have learned some things by watching, or participating in, the occasional sword … [Read more...]

A Cool X Guard Drill and Sweep

Clark Gracie doing an X guard Sweep

In recent years the X Guard has become one of the bread and butter positions in the open guard repertoire. It's an incredibly powerful position, both in gi and no gi grappling (click here for an intro to the X Guard). There are a ton of great techniques, sweeps, and drills that revolve around the X guard, but today I want to share a new drill with you that I recently learned from Clark Gracie … [Read more...]

What Should A Blue Belt Concentrate On In Training?

blue belt

by Mark Mullen A few weeks back I penned an article called "What Do Whitebelts Need To Learn In Their 1st Year of BJJ?". That prompted a few people to request a discussion of the next step in the BJJ journey: Bluebelt. If we think of the whitebelt as a time of fleshing out the skeleton of the positional hierarchy and learning the mechanics of basic techniques, I would sum up the Bluebelt as a … [Read more...]

The 3 Steps of Berimbolo

Berimbolo2

Sometimes the best way to really understand something is to teach it. When it comes to jiu-jitsu, breaking a technique down into steps (not too many, not too few) and finding the best way to convey the underlying principles often helps clarify things in your mind. I've been doing a lot of this with the berimbolo sweep recently. … [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...]

Home Drilling for BJJ Skill Development

Stephan Teaching a Group

I often get questions from BJJ and submission grappling practitioners about whether they can benefit from doing additional drills at home.  Often the people asking these questions are either extremely time-constrained and can't make it to the class as often as they would like.  Or they are just very serious students of the art and want to improve as fast as humanly possible. My answer is that … [Read more...]

The Android BJJ Apps Are Finally Here!

Android BJJ Apps

The next generation of instructional Android apps have finally arrived! As evidenced by the fact that I slept about 2 hours last night, and now I'm in front of my computer AGAIN, it's taken a TON of development and testing to get here... But today we're releasing the first Android app in the 'How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent' series with myself and black belt world champion Emily … [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...]

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

Rafael Lovato Jr Celebrating

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...]

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...]

3 Drills for Passing & Defending Butterfly Guard

butterfly guard drill

Drilling is critical to skill development in BJJ in general, which is why we talk about it so often in this blog (click here to see some past articles about drilling). Drilling and technique repetition become even more important if you're dealing with a position like the butterfly guard. This is because the butterfly guard can be a very fast-paced game with much less time to think about your … [Read more...]