Concepts

How to Make Your Chokes Tighter

BJJ Choke Mechanics

Psst, wanna tap out more people with chokes, including that super-tough guy with the giant neck? Success in choking is all about the details and getting the underlying mechanics correct. Yes, you can get chokes to work with bad technique - people do it all the time.  But it's difficult, wastes a lot of energy, and isn't very high percentage. But on the other hand as soon as you get the … [Read more...]

Base, Posture and Structure, the 3 Most Important Concepts in BJJ

Base, posture and structure - the 3 most critical bjj concepts

The idea that overall body alignment in BJJ can be broken down into 3 components (base, posture and structure) was introduced to me by Rob Biernacki. And I have found these 3 concepts to have hugely practical applications on the mat. There is power in definitions and distinctions because it allows you to clarify your thinking and problem solving processes. So let's take a look at base, … [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...]

How to Defend Strikes on the Ground

strike-defense-cover-and-technique-394x1024

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...]

A Spider Guard Triangle Choke Setup for No Gi

timthumb.php

A lot of people think that Spider Guard is only applicable to BJJ with the gi.  They're kinda right, but they're also mostly wrong. You see, it's more complicated than "no gi equals no Spider Guard..." First of all, if you get good at something as intricate and technical as Spider Guard then it develops your sensitivity, leg dexterity, coordination, strategic and tactical thinking like … [Read more...]

The Key to Dominating from the Spider Guard

timthumb.php

Today's video clip is about a rarely-discussed but absolutely essential aspect of the Spider Guard. It's the secret sauce of the Spider Guard. And it comes down to pressure... Pressure is one of those things that can be hard to see if you don't know what you're looking for. But there's no mistaking pressure when you feel it! … [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

Closed Guard

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...]

Just Say NO to Getting Swept in the Guard

Countering the Heel Grab

There's a strong argument to be made for knowing how to pass the guard both standing up AND kneeling down.  This keeps your opponent guessing and allows you to change your game up and avoid his strengths. What I'm going to give you today is a free sample of my Black Belt Grappling Concepts Course that'll show you how to shut down one of the most common problems you'll encounter when you're … [Read more...]

A Blackbelt’s Private Lesson With a Jiu-jitsu Master, by Mark Mullen

BJJ private lesson with Gordo

This is a very interesting field report by my first BJJ training partner (and now BJJ black belt) Mark Mullen, who just came back from a trip to Brazil - Stephan Kesting. I recently spent 2 months in Rio de Janeiro, shortly after graduating to black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. In addition to enjoying the beaches, acai and famous sights of Rio I was looking to get on the mat and learn some … [Read more...]

How to Defeat a Smaller Opponent

smaller opponent

Smaller opponents can become big nuisances, especially if they have legitimate skills. You would think that the very fact that you're bigger than your opponent means you should be able to go full-Conan on them every time... Mongol General: "Conan! What is best in life?" Conan: "To crush your enemies, see them driffen before you, and to hear the lamentation of their vimmen." … [Read more...]

Podcast EP10: The First-Ever Grapplearts Q & A Podcast!

Stephan-Kesting

Hey guys! Here's something different: in November of 2011 I answered questions from my newsletter readers (sign up for free here) on the first ever Grapplearts Q & A Podcast. Find out how how to taper for competition, what to do when you're getting crushed all the time, what to do when your wrestling coach wants you to stop doing BJJ, and how to remember all these bloody … [Read more...]

How To Stop Someone From Passing Your Guard

emily stripping grip

A reader writes: Hi Stephan, Thank you for the newsletters!  I started training BJJ and MMA about 5 months ago - it's been life changing for me.  Do you have any tips for keeping someone in your guard and not letting them pass? Sincerely, R.W. ======== My Answer ======== Hi R, First of all, congratulations for jumping into such a challenging and hugely rewarding sport.  Most of the … [Read more...]

How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent

Emily Kwok Triptych

Today is a very exciting day! For the past few months I've been working like crazy to get my new DVD series finished.  In these videos I'm collaborating with my friend, and former teammate, Emily Kwok. She's one of the best known competitive grapplers out there! For a lot of different reasons. … [Read more...]