Napoleon and How To Be Ready for Anything in BJJ

Napoleon and how to prepare for anything in BJJ

Napoleon Bonaparte may have been a megalomaniac who left millions dead in his wake, but if you read about his battles and military campaigns there is no doubt that he was a strategic and tactical genius. (Well, maybe he wasn't a genius when he invaded Russia in 1812, but before that he was damn near unstoppable...) He fought over sixty battles in his lifetime, during which he was … [Read more...]

BJJ Q&A Podcast with Rob Biernacki

Grapplearts BJJ Q&A Podcast with Rob Biernacki

There's a new Grapplearts Radio podcast out!! I recently brought Rob Biernacki - a BJJ black belt and the creator of the highly reviewed BJJ Formula apps -  back into the studio for his second appearance on the Grapplearts Radio Podcast... We mostly did a Q&A format in which we answered reader questions about everything from passing the guard to organising your training, but we also went … [Read more...]

Movements and Transitions from Knee on Belly

Knee on Belly Movements and Transitions

When I first learned the knee on belly position I was told that you should use it for two reasons... Get two points in a tournment, and/or Put so much weight on your opponent and making him so uncomfortable that he would open up his defences and give you the chance to armbar or choke him. Now points and pressure are still totally valid uses of the knee mount.  For example, I think using … [Read more...]

A Simple Tweak to Develop a Powerful Bridge in BJJ

A high, powerful BJJ Bridge

The bridge is one of the most important movements in all of BJJ. It is one of the three critical pin escape movements and can be used to escape almost every bad position. For example, the classic (and highly effective) 'Upa' mount escape would not exist without bridging your hips high up to ceiling before turning your body and getting out of the mount. And my favourite way of escaping … [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...]

The Core Concepts of BJJ

The Core Concepts of BJJ

Rob Biernacki and I have previously released three BJJ instructional apps (Back Attacks Formula, Top and Guard Passing Formula, and Guard and Bottom Game Formula) which have been very well received in the BJJ community. (Judging from the number of 5 star reviews in the app stores they've helped a lot of people kick ass and take names on the mats.) The big news is that the final app in the … [Read more...]

Are my legs too short to apply the triangle choke?

Triangle with Short Legs

The first time I ever saw the triangle choke in action was in 1994, during the last match of UFC 4. Royce Gracie had just squared off against Dan Severn, a seemingly unstoppable wrestler with a huge weight advantage.  I remember thinking, 'There's just no possible way that Royce is gonna win this one.' The fight went to the ground quickly, and after 15 minutes of getting manhandled Royce … [Read more...]

Here’s Why Your Guard Attacks Don’t Work

why most guard attacks fail

When you first learn an sweep or a submission from the guard you usually learn the steps in a 1, 2, 3 manner. "First grab the sleeve and lapel like this... Then open your legs and escape your hips... Now put your foot on the hip and pull him forward...." And so on Then you go ahead, learn all the steps, and get your repetitions in.  You do all the prep work. But then, when you try to … [Read more...]

Passing the Guard like Leandro Lo

Leandro Lo Guard Passing

If you’re passing the guard then the very first thing you need to worry about is avoiding getting swept or submitted.  After all, it’s pretty hard to use your killer guard passing techniques if your opponent hits a sweep on you and takes you to the bottom right away… That’s why in our recent instructional on passing the guard the first thing Rob Biernacki and I teach is how NOT to get swept or … [Read more...]

New Instructional App: BJJ Guard Passing and Top Game Formula!

BJJ Top Game and Guard Passing Formula

Hey, I've just released the latest Grapplearts instructional. It's called The BJJ Guard Passing and Top Game Formula (or 'Top Game Formula' for short).  And it's available for Apple, Android and Kindle devices. And during the new release period it's half price (regular price $19.99 USD, this week only $9.99). Guard passing is without a doubt the most complex task in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. … [Read more...]

How to Avoid BJJ Injuries (and Other Dumb Ways to Die)

How to Prevent BJJ Injuries

There’s a smartphone game out there called Dumb Ways to Die. Well, many BJJ guys are playing a similar game every time they step on the mats. It’s called Dumb Ways to Get Injured. To fight this trend here’s an important new article written by my friend (and training partner from long ago) Jeff Meszaros. In this article you get some of Jeff’s crazy stories about some of the dumbest things … [Read more...]

How to do the Heel Hook (and How to Train it Safely)

How to do the heel hook

The heel hook is one of the most devastating leglocks you can apply! Instead of attacking the big muscles of the leg (like the quads, hamstrings, or glutes) the heel hook targets the small ligaments of the knee and the ankle. This means that you can really screw up someone's leg if you apply it in anger. The heel hook is banned in most clubs and illegal in almost all gi tournaments.  But … [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...]

Will Grappling Dummy Drills Really Help Your BJJ?

Will Grappling Dummy Drills Help Your BJJ?

I often get emails from people wanting to know whether drilling with a grappling dummy will help their jiu-jitsu. Dummies are expensive items, and people want to make sure the investment will be worth it. The short answer is no. In my experience grappling dummies are almost always a waste of time, money, effort and space.  So don't bother. Find another way to train. At first the idea … [Read more...]

Pre-Workout Supplements for BJJ

Pre-workout Supplements for BJJ Image

Pre-workout supplements used to be mostly for weightlifters and bodybuilders.  But now more and more jiu-jitsu practitioners are taking them before BJJ class in order to train longer and harder. Do they work?  Sorta, kinda... Are they safe?  Not at all. Is there a better alternative?  Definitely! Let's look into pre-workout supplements, especially with regards to students of BJJ. In … [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...]

Dealing with Big, Strong Wrestlers in Your Guard

Teaching a class

I got the following question on Twitter where I hang out as @stephankesting. I think it's a question worth exploring because a lot of people find dealing with strong, large and aggressive wrestlers very difficult. Question: Hi Stephan, I’ve been training BJJ for a few years now, but I get frustrated when I roll with one particular bigger, stronger whitebelt coming from a wrestling … [Read more...]

A Big Guard Passing Tip Learned from Boxing

Passing the Guard

Today I'm going to share a tip which - if you actually use it - should make your guard passes twice as effective as they are right now. I learned this a long time ago from my friend and training partner Ritchie Yip. One day we were sparring, and unlike our previous sparring session he was absolutely demolishing my guard.  It was as if I had butter legs and he was wielding a red-hot samurai … [Read more...]

Non-Stop de la Riva Guard Instructional App Now Available!

Non-Stop de la Riva Guard Gameplan

We've just put out a brand new app that could add an entirely new aspect to your guard game! It's the 'Non-Stop de la Riva Guard' instructional app by Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins and myself.  And it's available for iOS, Android and Kindle devices. The focus of this app is on giving you a simple and easy-to deploy system for the de la Riva guard.  A gameplan that DOESN'T require you to be … [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...]