Shutting Down the Guard Pass

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It's called 'rolling' for a reason: if you're doing BJJ then you're going to be somersaulting all over the place.  And there are three types of rolls that you encounter all the time on the mats: The forward roll, The backwards roll The side roll In the video below BJJ world champion Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins shows how you can use the third movement - the side roll - to defend against … [Read more...]

The Easiest Way to Develop Fast Guard Sweeps

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Speed kills!  When it comes to blowing through your opponent's defenses there's nothing like being just a little bit faster than him.  That way you're always a step or two ahead, and he never has the chance to catch up. But how exactly do you do this? Well, have you ever heard of something called Hick's Law?  It's an idea that comes from academic research, and has been applied to areas as … [Read more...]

How to Not Get Slammed in Your Closed Guard or Triangle Choke

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Getting picked up and slammed when you've got your opponent in the closed guard is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you in grappling. It's definitely a legitimate technique for big and strong guys to use. And in MMA and self defense slamming an opponent is one of the best ways to open the guard, or to escape a tight triangle choke. Getting power-bombed and then and … [Read more...]

Rodolfo Vieira Pressure Guard Passing

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When it comes to passing the guard you basically have two options: pass with speed, or pass with pressure. Speed-based guard passes typically rely on creating some distance between you and your opponent, getting some kind of control on his feet or legs, and then blasting your way past your legs with some quickly manoeuvring. The 'Toreando' pass and its variations would be classic examples of … [Read more...]

How NOT to Get Triangle Choked While Passing the Guard

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The very first guard pass I learned was the stacking guard pass (also known as the smashing guard pass or sometimes the 'over under' pass). Initially I was doing this pass all wrong, and I can't even begin to count how many times I got triangle choked trying it. But eventually I learned a few tweaks that made it much harder for my opponents to apply the triangle choke, and now it's one of my … [Read more...]

How to Open a Stubborn Closed Guard

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Passing the guard and establishing a stable position is maybe the single hardest thing to do in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You can know a ton of guard passing techniques, but what if you're in the Closed Guard and can't start your pass because your opponent absolutely refuses to open up his legs.  He just keeps you in his guard with his ankles crossed and wears you down with his wickedly strong legs, … [Read more...]

High Percentage Omoplata Setup from Spider Guard

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The omoplata armlock is one of the heavy hitters in the jiu-jitsu arsenal. It's a very effective submission in its own right, but it also sets up many other submissions and can be used to sweep an opponent. Here's a 3 1/2 minute video breakdown of a high percentage omoplata entry from Spider Guard. … [Read more...]

Try This First When You’re in X Guard

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The X Guard is a hybrid open guard / half guard position, first popularized by Marcelo Garcia. There are a million sweeps, finishes, and follow-ups from the X Guard. Everything from kneebars and omoplatas, to fancy upside-down backwards flipping sweeps, to techniques that take you directly to rear mount. But I don't suggest starting with any of these techniques... … [Read more...]

Countering and Passing Reverse de la Riva Guard

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Regardless of whether you want to add this modern BJJ inverted spinning stuff to your own personal repertoire or not, you should still know how to counter this position. But even if you don't use the Reverse de la Riva Guard yourself, the chances are still good that you'll eventually run into someone who does. And when that happens hopefully you have an answer that allows you to counter the … [Read more...]

Some Tweaks for Tightening the Armbar from Closed Guard

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Chances are that the armbar from guard is one of the first techniques you ever learned in BJJ. In fact the closed guard armbar is one of those fundamental techniques that results in submissions every day at every BJJ school in the world (in fact it's the fifth most popular submission in a poll of 533 Grapplearts readers). But just because you learned it early in your career, and just because … [Read more...]

How to Transition from Half to Closed Guard

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The half guard is a sophisticated tool in the grappler's toolbox that can be used to defend, sweep your opponents, or submit them outright. But just because you've got a hammer doesn't make the whole world a nail. And that means that you can't rely on any one guard position as the be-all-and-end-all. Even if you're a half guard wizard you'll still end up facing opponents who know all your … [Read more...]

How to Do the Head and Arm Choke (aka ‘Kata Gatame’)

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The Head and Arm choke is a super-powerful submission that works with and without the gi, with and without strikes, in BJJ, Judo, Submission Grappling and Judo. It's ended a lot of matches and even put a few people to sleep. The Head and Arm choke comes from Judo (where it's known as Kata Gatame) and if you grapple then it's a technique that you need to know! … [Read more...]

How to Pass ‘Worm Guard’

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One of the big trends in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu recently has been the increasing sophistication of lapel-based guard control and sweeps. In this style of game the lapel gets fed around arms, behind the torso, and between the legs to make it difficult for your opponent to pass your guard and also much easier to sweep him. The most recent variation in this evolutionary trend is a position called … [Read more...]

Takedowns for People Who Don’t Do Takedowns…

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At it’s core BJJ is an incredibly effective way of fighting on the ground. But the sad truth is that grapplerts who haven’t trained in Judo or wrestling can often have a lot of problems getting the fight to the ground. In fact the only plan many BJJ practitioners have for getting a match to the ground is to pull guard, end of story. … [Read more...]

How To Do the Cartwheel Guard Pass

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The cartwheel guard pass is one of the most spectacular guard passes out there. But it's not as difficult to do as you might think. In the video below I show you an easy four step progression, including some drills you can do on your own, to incorporate this exciting move into your repertoire. … [Read more...]

The Two Highest Percentage Leglocks vs. de la Riva Guard

The Highest Percentage Leglocks to Use vs. de la Riva Guard

The de la Riva guard has exploded in popularity in recent years. Since it was popularised by Ricardo de la Riva there have always been sweeps and submission available from this position but the ascent of the berimbolo (a spinning-and-upside-down method of taking the back) has made it even more popular among the BJJ competition crowd. So even if you never ever plan to use this style guard … [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...]

Some Principles and Concepts for an Effective Closed Guard

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Too often people forget about the bread-and-butter strategies that have been effective for decades and get seduced by the latest shiny technique. Maybe there's not a better example of something that has stood the test of time like the closed guard. The closed guard has been controlling and submitting opponents with the gi, in no gi submission grappling, in MMA and self defense for a very … [Read more...]

Joao Miyao teaching the Ninja Armlock from Berimbolo

Joao Miyao teaching the Ninja Armlock from Berimbolo

Here's some seriously advanced stuff for you: renowned black belt competitor Joao Miyao breaking down the Ninja Armlock from Berimbolo. In the exclusive Grapplearts Field Reports Video Miyao uses his bread and butter move - the Berimbolo sweep - from the leg lasso position to spin into an unexpected and hard to defend armbar. … [Read more...]

Five Great Followups to a Failed Triangle Choke

Triangle Choke Combinations & Followups

The Triangle Choke is definitely another one of those Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu signature moves. It's a super-powerful submission and it is responsible for ending a LOT of BJJ, MMA and submission grappling matches. But the sad fact is that no submission works for everyone, or on every opponent all the time... For example, sometimes your legs can be too short to apply an effective triangle choke. … [Read more...]