For Beginners

Four de la Riva Guard Grips You Need to Know

basic de la riva leg position

  The de la Riva guard is very powerful and effective form of guard, often used in modern BJJ.  It can be an intimidatingly complex position though, with a large number of grips, variations, sweeps, attacks and other techniques available for you to use. The point of today's article is to simplify the de la Riva guard for you.  The way we're going to do that is by breaking it down on the … [Read more...]

How to Break a Tight Sleeve Grip on Your Gi

how-to-break-any-sleeve-grip

The single best thing you can do to stop your opponent from dominating you in grappling is to get rid of his grips on you. But against someone with strong hands and a powerful grip this can be tough to do. That's why I want to share a super-powerful way to break a sleeve grip with you.  It's illegal in Judo but still totally allowed in BJJ. I've seen small women use … [Read more...]

How to Get Kicked Out of Your BJJ Club

How to get kicked out of your bjj club

by Jeff Meszaros So, you've been training at the same jiu-jitsu club for a while now and you've decided it's not for you. You've given it very careful consideration and concluded that it's time to move on to another club or quit altogether. But you don't want anyone to call you "a quitter" so instead of quitting, you've decided to take the high road and get kicked out. But how can you do … [Read more...]

A Simple Drill to Shut Down Your Opponent’s Guard Pass

Drill for Guard Pass Prevention

  I don't usually have to spend a lot of time sitting around and dreaming up new crazy techniques to put onto my Youtube channel... Typically all I have to do is look back at the last couple of training sessions I've done and something obvious to talk about pops right out at me. In the case of today's video, I was working with a friend who was having trouble with his guard getting … [Read more...]

What To Do When Your Mind Goes Blank While Sparring or Competing

What to do when your mind goes blank

  Lots of grapplers run into the problem of their mind going blank when they're sparring or competing. In a class setting they might be able to bang out repetitions of techniques, demonstrate combos, and flow with the go like nobody's business, but as soon as they hit the mats to actually roll, well, all of a sudden they have absolutely no idea about what they should be doing. This … [Read more...]

How To Find the High Percentage BJJ Techniques You Can Rely On

high percentage guard retention

As a young martial artist I once debated whether a certain Kung Fu striking technique could actually work in a real fight. To prove my point I mentioned that a bouncer I knew had successfully used that technique on a drunk in the bar the other night The guy I was arguing with shut me down with a devastatingly simple rebuttal, “Yeah Stephan, that doesn't prove anything, because ANYTHING will … [Read more...]

Should You Compete in BJJ Tournaments?

Do you need to compete to get your BJJ black belt?

I often get asked whether competition is essential to BJJ, and if you need to have competed to get promoted to black belt. (If you prefer to watch or listen to me talk about this this topic then just scroll to the bottom of this blog post and look for the video called "Do you need to compete to get your black belt"). The quick answers are: no, you don't necessarily need to compete.  And no, … [Read more...]

How to do the Armbar Without Crushing Your Balls

How to prevent your balls from getting crushed during the armbar

It's a question that I get from BJJ beginners all the time, "How do I do the armbar without crushing my balls in the process?" And it's a legitimate problem for people starting out their BJJ career.  In fact, it's a simple equation... Elbow + Groin = OUCH!! Now you could wear a cup, but most intermediate and advanced players don't do that unless they're training for MMA. Instead of … [Read more...]

Base, Posture and Structure, the 3 Most Important Concepts in BJJ

Base, posture and structure - the 3 most critical bjj concepts

The idea that overall body alignment in BJJ can be broken down into 3 components (base, posture and structure) was introduced to me by Rob Biernacki. And I have found these 3 concepts to have hugely practical applications on the mat. There is power in definitions and distinctions because it allows you to clarify your thinking and problem solving processes. So let's take a look at base, … [Read more...]

Butterfly Guard: Get Up, Sit Up, Get Up Off Your Back!

How to sit up and get off your back in butterfly guard

The Butterfly Guard is a very powerful sweeping position where you sit on your butt, leaning slightly forward, with both of your feet inside your opponent's legs (click here for a quick intro to the butterfly guard on Grapplearts.com). However you do NOT want to be flat on your back when you're playing butterfly guard. When you're lying back like that you almost all the power behind your … [Read more...]

The Secret to Getting Your Black Belt

Getting Your Black Belt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWcbLgxANFo Pssst, want to become a BJJ black belt? The 'secret' is simple: just don’t quit! Of course, the devil is in the details, which is why this article is more than two lines long... I want to start with the fact that almost everybody can eventually become a black belt, so if you just keep training hard then you’ll probably make it. One my … [Read more...]

How to Train BJJ with an Injured Neck

How to train BJJ with a sore neck

Necks are delicate things.  Seven small stacked cervical vertebrae protecting all the nerves in your spinal cord and held together with a multitude of flimsy ligaments and muscles. Yet in BJJ we stress the neck continuously.  We attack it with chokes, crucifixes, and cranks.  We stack our opponents, turn their heads with crossfaces, and scissor his head with our legs.  We also use our head and … [Read more...]

37 Powerful BJJ Submissions for Grapplers

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Have you ever wondered what the most popular and powerful BJJ submissions in BJJ are?  Here's our list of the top 37 submissions taught in BJJ academies all over the world. WARNING: not all of these techniques are legal in IBJJF competition, or allowed at all schools.  But it's still better to be familiar with these illegal techniques just in case someone tries to use them on you. And many of … [Read more...]

Three BJJ Guard Posture Mistakes That’ll Get You KILLED on the Mats

BJJ Posture mistake 3: hand on ground

Using the Power of Posture and Positioning to Prevent Problems (Note to the reader: this lesson #5 from of the Beginning BJJ Course. To receive the other lessons by email please sign up for the free email-based course) Whenever I've got someone in my guard I watch them very carefully for mistakes. If they make a mistake (and if I can capitalize on it quickly) then - boom - they're gonna get … [Read more...]

Pre-planning the Tap and Climbing Everest…

How climbing Mount Everest applies to BJJ

We'll get to the Mount Everest part later, but first let me tell you a story about the other day when I was sparring with a black belt training partner... My partner was using the spider guard, a position he's spent quite a bit of time developing in the last year.  I got sloppy for a second and he slammed on a triangle choke from the double biceps spider guard position (using a variation of … [Read more...]

17 IBJJF BJJ Competition Rules to Remember

Defending the triangle at an IBJJF BJJ Competition

by Jeff Meszaros There are a lot of things to consider when you sign up to compete in a tournament. You need to make weight, you need to be physically fit enough to win, and you need to have fairly sharp technique. At least, sharper than everyone else. That’s the idea, anyway. But you also have to understand the rules. Otherwise, you may get penalized or even disqualified for doing something … [Read more...]

Can You Cross Your Ankles in Back Mount?

When is it OK to cross your ankles in back mount?

"Never cross your ankles when you're in back mount!" This rule is often taught as gospel to BJJ beginners. Truly, it's not a bad rule of thumb to start with.  But there are exceptions to every rule, and that's what this article is all about... The back mount is one of the very best positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  From the back you can submit your opponent with some very powerful … [Read more...]

Finger Pain in BJJ and What to Do About It

Hand and finger pain in BJJ

"My Fingers Hurt..." I get a lot of emails, tweets and messages from BJJ practitioners about fingers hurting all the time. For example, I asked a question about BJJ hand pain on Twitter got a ton of responses (click here to see them on Twitter), including a disconcerting number of white belts who had this problem. So it's a real problem, and not only for people who've been doing the sport a … [Read more...]

Top 3 Armbar Mistakes in BJJ

Top 3 Armbar Errors in BJJ

The basic armbar is one of those bread-and-butter submission techniques in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. You just can't do BJJ without it, so it's SUPER important to understand this submission inside out! But I see people make the same silly errors for the armbar all the time. That's why I shot a quick and dirty video showing the three most common mistakes for the armbar (plus how to fix … [Read more...]

The 4 Most Common Errors For The ‘Upa’ Mount Escape

Mistakes made while trying the Upa Mount Escape

The 'Upa' (or 'Bridge and Roll') is probably the very first mount escape that a beginner ever learns. It's taught as part of the basic curriculum for a very simple reason: it works! You see this escape in MMA, submission grappling, and BJJ competition with the gi. I've used it as a white belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and black belt. Contrary to what some people will tell you is … [Read more...]