The Two-Month BJJ Survival Blues

Why BJJ beginners have such a hard time for a few months...

It's very common for new grapplers to become discouraged at about the 2 or 3 month mark. In the beginning this person sort of expected to get his ass kicked, but now (after a few months of classes) he is still STILL getting his ass kicked. His grappling game largely consists of lying there pinned while frantically defending submission attempts. This style of purely defensive and purely … [Read more...]

Podcast EP32: BJJ and Self Defense, with Jeff Rockwell and Stephan Kesting

jeff-rockwell-bjj-interview

Direct from Isla Mujeres, Mexico, here's my latest podcast interview.  In it BJJ black belt Jeff Rockwell and I discuss: How certain techniques are 'discovered' again and again What are 'the basics' and why you need one tool for every range Self defense vs competition jiu-jitsu When butt flopping in a self defense situation is the RIGHT thing to do Hair grab defenses for women The … [Read more...]

The BJJ Self Defense Experiment

Other submissions that were used in the BJJ Self Defense Experiment

Have you ever wondered if your BJJ would stand up in a self defense situation against an opponent determined to clean your clock with his fists? By the end of this article I'm hoping you'll have a much better idea of what to focus on to sharpen your BJJ skills for self defense purposes... The self defense implications of grappling are important to me (click here to see my other posts on the … [Read more...]

Five Tricks to Tighten Up Your Sidemount

how to tighten up sidemount

There's nothing worse than weathering the storm in someone's guard, passing their guard by fighting your way past their legs, finally getting to sidemount, making one tiny mistake and then - boom - you're back in their guard. It's tiring, demoralising, and leaves you open to getting swept or tapped out. No!  After doing all that work you want to stay in sidemount, make them pay for giving … [Read more...]

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...]

A Mean Option When Your Opponent is Stalling in BJJ Sidemount

people on the bottom can often stall in sidemount

Have you ever trained BJJ with anyone who’s so desperate not to tap out that all they do is stall? Someone who’s whole ego is wrapped up in the idea that such-and-such brown belt hasn’t managed to submit them out recently? It’s one of the biggest traps the ego can lead someone into on the mats… Back in the day I trained with one of these guys who’s entire sense of jiu-jitsu self-worth was … [Read more...]

How to Defend Strikes on the Ground

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You're walking down the street, someone bumps you, words are exchanged, you get pushed to the ground, and now some big gorilla is trying to knock your teeth down your throat.  No matter how focused you are on the sportive aspects of grappling you've still GOTTA know how to defend strikes on the ground!!! It doesn't matter if your goal is casual recreation or if you wanna be the next UFC … [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...]

How To Use Moves You Already Know to Do Advanced Techniques

From Advanced BJJ Fundamentals mobile app

We've just launched the latest Grapplearts BJJ instructional mobile app with my friend Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins. It's called Advanced BJJ Fundamentals. The name of this app isn't accidental, because it's all about using the fundamental building blocks of jiu-jitsu to make learning easier, to amplify the effectiveness and reliability of your techniques, and to build an advanced … [Read more...]

Podcast EP30: BJJ Q&A – Popular Reader Questions Answered

BJJ Podcast

I recently did the second-ever Grapplearts Radio Q&A format podcast.  In it I answered questions from my newsletter readers. In this particular podcast we cover many topics, including How to come back to BJJ training after an injury... and not lose your mind while you're rehabbing... Options for transitioning out of Z guard (and half guard in general) to open guard How to improve … [Read more...]

5 IBJJF Competition Mistakes You Don’t Have to Make

competing-in-IBJJF-BJJ-competition

by Guest Author Joanna Trindade I'm a BJJ blue belt, and although I've competed in local tournaments before I recently had the opportunity to step it up a notch.  The plan was to compete at my first IBJJF tournament at the 2015 Chicago Summer Open. My teammate, coach and I drove the 1.5 hours from Milwaukee to Chicago at 6:30 in the morning. I wasn’t nervous for most of the drive except for … [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...]

Dealing with Competition Nerves in BJJ

How to deal with nerves in bjj competition

Many people want to compete in BJJ but become absolute nervous wrecks in the days and weeks before the competition.  They get unhappy, stressed out and sometimes even get physically sick before a big tournament. A bit of stress is fine - it's fuel for the engine - but too much isn't good.  If you can't even breathe as you shake hands with your opponent then you're probably not going to function … [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...]

Podcast EP28: How Bernardo Faria Won Double Gold at the BJJ Mundials

bernardo-faria-BJJ-Competition

In this in-depth interview I talk with Bernardo Faria, the 99kg BJJ fighter who recently took gold in not only his own weight class but also in the absolute division of the 2015 BJJ Mundials. Some of the highlights of my talk with Bernardo Faria included... His mindset going into big tournaments How he developed and refined his highly individual BJJ gameplan What he's learned training … [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...]

Powerful Options and Variations for the Berimbolo

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The Berimbolo is an incredibly powerful technique in modern BJJ. It's both a way of finalising a sweep and completely bypassing your opponent's guard with a single technique. Imagine not only being able to easily sweep your opponent from your open guard, but NOT having to fight your way past his guard.  Instead you directly teleport to a dominant, match-ending position such as mount or rear … [Read more...]