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...]

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...]

Podcast EP14: Keenan Cornelius on Training, BJJ Competition, MMA Goals and More

Keenan Cornelius using the Spider Guard to control his opponent from the bottom

Keenan Cornelius is a BJJ phenomenon. Known for his exciting guardwork and movement-oriented game, he won double gold medals in four of the biggest BJJ tournament in the world as a purple belt, which is a HUGE accomplishment. Here's my recent interview with Keenan … [Read more...]

How to Train BJJ, even with an Injured Arm (Drill)

Training BJJ with an injured arm

This article and video are about how to train and continue to make progress in BJJ when you're dealing with an arm injury. Now I hope that you go through your entire BJJ career without ever suffering a single injury. But this is a contact sport, and therefore you're probably going to get a little banged up from time to time. … [Read more...]

On Starting Sparring from the Knees…

A reader writes: Hi Stephan, I've been doing BJJ for about 6 months and am wondering if you have any advice about what to do when you're starting on the knees? I find that most wrestling-style takedowns are very difficult to do from the knees, especially because my opponents are really good at sprawling. … [Read more...]

How to Defeat a Smaller Opponent

smaller opponent

Smaller opponents can become big nuisances, especially if they have legitimate skills. You would think that the very fact that you're bigger than your opponent means you should be able to go full-Conan on them every time... Mongol General: "Conan! What is best in life?" Conan: "To crush your enemies, see them driffen before you, and to hear the lamentation of their vimmen." … [Read more...]

A Fancy-Pants Z Guard Pass that Never Worked Until…

How to Pass the Z Guard

There's this one impressive, fancy-pants guard pass that I've seen in competition many times. It makes everybody go 'oooh' and 'aaaah', but despite its dramatic nature it's undeniably effective and has won a LOT of matches at the highest levels of competition. I tried to imitate this technique, of course, but it was always a complete disaster. I never managed to figure out exactly what these … [Read more...]

BJJ Training Strategies

Breaking down the concept of gameplans

Having the right assortment of techniques is pretty darn important in BJJ. But having the right training strategies is even more important... By 'training strategies' I'm talking about the big picture. Like knowing which techniques to use, when to use them, and how to correctly train those techniques in the first place. … [Read more...]

Advanced Triangle Choke Details

Advanced Triangle Finish

Today's tip is about the details of the Triangle Choke, one of the very highest percentage submissions at every level of competition. Have you ever noticed how some people can catch EVERYBODY in their signature submission, again and again? Once they've got their setup position it's pretty much a done deal (this applies whether that signature submission is an armbar, a triangle choke, a kneebar, … [Read more...]

What a Spider Guard Fail Teaches You About How to Train Any Technique!

Spider-standing-biceps

Today's tip comes was inspired from some training I did with a smaller grappler, let's call him 'Stu.' Stu wanted to learn some sweeps from the Spider Guard (an open guard position where you control both of your opponent's sleeves and have one or both feet on his biceps). … [Read more...]

4 Mistakes That’ll KILL Your Half Guard…

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Whether you want to or not, you ARE going to end up in the half guard! Some people simply use the half guard as a last resort when their guard is being passed. Their opponent is blasting around their guard, so without even thinking about it they lash out with their legs and trap one of his legs between their own. … [Read more...]

An Easy Way to Make Your Closed Guard Hard to Pass

armbar-from-closed-guard

I was recently watching an out-of-print instructional DVD by a friend of mine and had one of those really great 'aha' moments. It was a tweak that I can use to make my closed guard  much, much harder to pass. And also much more powerful when it comes to setting up attacks and sweeps. … [Read more...]