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 NOT Clog Up Your Phone with My Instructional Apps

Grapplearts Android and Apple apps

This week we've been releasing a series of apps featuring BJJ black belt Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins at a rate of one per day. (A lot of the apps have also been getting the coveted four and five star ratings in both Google Play and iTunes, which is awesome. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to rate them!!) But not everyone's happy… … [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...]

How to Maintain Good Posture in Butterfly Guard

Butterfly Guard Posture

Posture in the butterfly guard is incredibly important.  With the butterfly guard (as with any guard position) good posture is the key to defending the guard pass, attacking with submissions, and/or sweeping your opponent. But maintaining good posture is easier said than done, … [Read more...]

My Favorite One-Two Sweeping Combo from X Guard

Far Leg Buckle Sweep from X Guard

Today I'm going to share two of my favourite (and very powerful) X guard sweeps with you. Plus I'll show you how put them together so that it looks like you have amazing timing without actually having to increase your reaction speed one iota. Let's first talk about what makes two techniques work well together in general. … [Read more...]

Roadmap for BJJ Package Now Available Again!

Roadmap-Gold-Package

A few years ago I released the Roadmap for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructional package. This is a multi-component product that focuses on the strategies, tactics, techniques and training methods of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It's basically a quick start guide for how to get good on the ground as fast as possible. … [Read more...]

Hidden Techniques for Maintaining Rear Mount

rear mount legwork

When people teach the rear mount they often show you how to get your hooks in to achieve the rear mount, and then they teach you a couple of submissions from the back. Their idealized flowchart has two steps: Get your hooks in, Submit your opponent. Oh, if only life were so simple! … [Read more...]

No Gi Guard Passing Strategies vs. Bigger People

No Gi Guard Passing Strategies

Passing the guard in a technical manner during no gi training can often be very frustrating, especially for people coming from a gi-based background.  To the uninitiated it just seems that things move too fast... That there aren't any good handles to control your opponent... … [Read more...]

How to Set Up the X Guard

Butterfly Guard to X Guard

I love the X Guard.  It's such a high-percentage position. First of all, it can be applied from a huge number of open guard and half guard situations.  If you've ever watched an X Guard specialist you'll know that he needs just a tiny bit of room to insert those hooks and - BOOM - he's slithered into the X Guard. And once an opponent is caught in the X Guard he's going down!  In fact, by the … [Read more...]

Ambush Armbar from Modified Scarf Hold

armbar from modified scarf hold

I might not be 100% correct with the actual wording, but I'll always remember this fantastic quote from Karate legend Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace which I read in Black Belt magazine many years ago.  It went something like this: "There's always going to be someone bigger, stronger or faster than you, but there never has to be anyone sneakier than you!" … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Backstep Guard Pass

countering the backstep guard pass

BJJ and submission grappling are in a continual state of evolution.  New techniques, tactics and strategies emerge, or are rediscovered, or are brought into the art all the time. The backstep guard pass is one such modern technique.  You won't see this guard pass in old-school BJJ … [Read more...]

How to Pass Deep Half Guard

how to pass deep half guard

In the last 5 years the Deep Half Guard position has taken the BJJ and submission grappling world by storm.  And every serious grappler now needs to know how to neutralize and pass the Deep Half Guard. This position is a variation of the half guard.  If someone manages to get settled into this position underneath you then they're right under your center of gravity, can compromise your balance, … [Read more...]

How to set up and apply the head and arm choke

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Here's a clip of Emily Kwok teaching something really cool - how to set up the head and arm choke (also known as 'kata gatame') from mount, and then how to ratchet it on so tightly that your opponent has no choice but to tap out, no matter how big he is. … [Read more...]

The Single Leg X Guard – A Surprising Way to Pull Guard…

Pulling single leg x guard

Should you pull guard in competition?  And if you decide to pull guard, then how do you do it correctly? In a certain sense, I am uniquely unqualified to answer these questions... You see, much of my BJJ comes from 8th degree black belt Marcus Soares, and Marcus is very much from the old-school Carlson Gracie way of doing things. … [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...]

Two Drills on Video to Improve your Guard Sweeps

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Many of the most powerful guard sweeps rely on your hips being underneath your opponent's center of gravity. This makes him very unstable - think of the difference between 1.    standing on the floor beside one of those stability balls, and 2.    trying to stand on top of that same stability ball. … [Read more...]