Hitting the Omoplata from the Butterfly Guard

butterfly guard to omoplata

Many people use the butterfly guard only as a sweeping position. But that's a mistake because you can also hit powerful submissions from the butterfly guard. In fact attacking with sweeps sets up submissions, and attacking with submissions sets up sweeps.  Attacking with both from any guard position makes your game so much more effective; why would you want to limit yourself to only one or the … [Read more...]

Don’t Overthink Jiu-Jitsu

armbar in progress

Back when I was a brown belt I rolled with a large, strong, aggressive and completely unskilled white belt. This white belt was absolutely determined to illustrate the size difference between us by using all his weight and all his strength at all times. You know the type... At one point he was in my guard with his forearm across my throat. Essentially he was giving me the classic trigger … [Read more...]

How to Stop the Double Underhooks Guard Pass

How to stop the double underhooks guard pass

The double underhooks guard pass is one of the low passes you see most in high level competition. It's favored by big, strong dudes who love to smash people. Once they get your hips hoisted up and your body bent in half you feel pretty vulnerable. At that point they can pass your guard, take your back, move to the crucifix, or any number of horrible, nasty finishes. So you've GOT to have an … [Read more...]

The 16 Most Important Techniques for the BJJ Beginner

16 BJJ Beginner Techniques

What's the most common problem (aside from getting caught under side control) facing the BJJ beginner? It's probably feeling overwhelmed by the staggering number of techniques that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu contains! There are a thousand variations of sweeps and locks and chokes and pins and escapes and guard passes.  It's enough to make your head spin! So where then do you start?  Which … [Read more...]

A Better Armbar?

Another armbar using both hands, this time in MMA

The armbar, as it is usually taught, involves using BOTH of your hands or arms to control ONE of your opponent's arms. This two-on-one control can be used when trying to break through your opponent's defenses, as in the photo below: The two-on-one arm control is usually retained right until your opponent taps out to the finalized armbar, as in the following photo: Now this regular … [Read more...]

A High Percentage Triangle Choke from Half Guard

half guard triangle choke - arm moved across

In this new video my friend, BJJ black belt and world champion Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins shows how to set up and finish his favourite submission from the half guard. As you watch it pay attention not only to the details of the movement, but it's really the underlying pattern of bridging and shrimping that powers the whole technique. Breaking a technique down into its fundamental components … [Read more...]

How to Stop the Leg Shuck Pass

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The leg shuck pass has become a very popular, very powerful way to pass the guard. This pass is applied from the feet against many types of open guard. It involves an angle change, hipping in, and pushing your opponent's leg out of position. If all goes well then you end up in a very good position on your opponent's side. You should definitely be familiar with the leg shuck, especially if … [Read more...]

Does the Spider Guard Translate At All to No Gi?

No gi Spider Guard

TONS of top BJJ practioners use the spider guard as their primary form of guard from the bottom. This position has won many BJJ tournaments, from local competitions to the Mundials. And although you'd think that these champions would be completely lost in no gi submission grappling competitions like ADCC that's usually just not the case.  Even though there aren't any sleeves or collars to hold … [Read more...]

The 2 Easiest Takedowns for No Gi Submission Grappling and MMA

2 simplest no gi takedowns

Just because you didn't wrestle in High School or do 10 years of Judo doesn't mean that you always need to pull guard! In this 5 minute Youtube video Denis Kang and I riff about the the simplest, easiest takedowns for No Gi. Denis is a BJJ black belt and has fought in Japanese Pride, the UFC, and ADCC, so his credentials are impeccable. And me? I just like to find the easiest ways to do … [Read more...]

Your Open Guard Options vs. Standing Opponents

Two types of guard vs standing opponents

If you end up on the bottom with your opponent standing up and detached from you then be prepared for a very frantic and dangerous scramble.  Unhindered by your grips and hooks he can deploy his favourite Open Guard passes on you without having to feel endangered by your own attacks. And if he's an athletic guy then the situation is even worse.  He'll be able to use his speed and explosiveness … [Read more...]

4 Takedowns from the Rear Bearhug

rear bearhug takedowns

You can get to the rear standing bearhug from a lot of different scenarios.   An arm drag or duck under from wrestling on the feet, for example.   Or you could end up here starting from the ground if your opponent tries to get back to his feet from the ground the way many wrestlers like to do. Many BJJ people are far more comfortable on the ground than on their feet, and thus get a little bit … [Read more...]

Bernardo Faria’s guard pass: the over-under

Bernardo Faria over-under guard pass

In Judo there is the concept of 'Tokui Waza', which means your "favorite" or "best" technique. This is the technique, or techniques, which you are most comfortable with and use when the chips are down. In Bernardo Faria's case, his Tokui Waza has to be the over-under guard pass. This pressure-based technique has resulted in a boatload of gold medals for Bernardo, most recently a gold in both … [Read more...]

The Simplest Mount Escape for MMA and BJJ?

BJJ-MMA-Mount-Escape

In BJJ the Mount is one of the very worst positions you can be in.  And if punches are flying in either an MMA or a self defense context then things are much, much worse. The truth is that if you find yourself mounted in a fight then you screwed up a long time ago.  Your opponent is either more lucky or more skillful than you. That being said, if you have good mount escape techniques it IS … [Read more...]

Top 10 Throws and Takedowns for BJJ

Throws for BJJ

If you do BJJ or submission grappling then you should have some ways to get the fight to the ground.  Yes, pulling guard is an option in sport BJJ competition, but ultimately this is a martial art, which means we have to at least occasionally consider the self defense aspects of what we're doing. Are you going to pull guard in a streetfight?  Not bloody likely. In this Grapplearts article … [Read more...]

Flying Armbar Guard Pull

flying armbar guard pull

Some people will tell you never, ever to pull guard. "Fight from the top," they tell you... In general that's good advice, but what if you run into someone with vastly superior takedown skills? Or someone who is good at defending takedowns and determined to fight a completely defensive battle? It's good to have some takedowns in your arsenal. But it's also good to have some other ways to get … [Read more...]

How to Pass the Leg Lasso in Spider Guard

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Passing the guard of a good Spider Guard player is one of the most difficult, most frustrating aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And one of the very worst variations of Spider Guard to deal with is the 'Leg Lasso.'  This is when your opponent wraps his leg around your arm and buries his foot under your armpit. (If you can't visualise the Leg Lasso from this description then watch the video - … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Toreando Guard Pass

lapel drag counter to toreando 1

So there you are, on your back and fighting your opponent with your legs.  Maybe you're using the Spider Guard, the Butterfly Guard, or any other variation of Open Guard, but regardless, both you and he are jockeying for grips and position. You’re trying to set up your guard sweeps and submissions, and he’s trying to pass your guard. Then - disaster! Your opponent grips both your pant … [Read more...]

A Surprising Kimura Setup from Kesa Gatame

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I don't know what exactly went wrong with the settings on the camera the night we filmed this.  The colour in this video is far from perfect: things are weirdly washed out and at the same time it looks like I've got a horrible sunburn. But it really doesn't matter, because the teaching is really solid. In this video, under the guise of teaching a fancy and surprising setup for the Kimura, my … [Read more...]

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...]

What are the Collar-Sleeve, Collar-Spider and Reverse de la Riva Positions?

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Today we're going to talk about the fourth brand new instructional app in the Spider Guard Masterclass series, and cover a few new positions in the process.  And in the process we're going to talk about some very powerful open guard positions... The app is called Spider Guard Masterclass Volume 4: Next Level Spider Guard, Part 2, and it focuses on three powerful variations of Spider … [Read more...]