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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

A Closed Guard Pass Direct From Brazil

Gordo Closed Guard Pass

I’m in the middle of trying something new at Grapplearts.com… The lion’s share of the BJJ videos in the article and technique section of this site have been produced by yours truly (Stephan Kesting). But recently one of my very first BJJ training partners also wanted to contribute some cool footage to the video vault. … [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...]

What Do White Belts Need to Learn in Their 1st Year of BJJ?

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by guest author Mark Mullen I'm currently in Rio de Janeiro doing a little training in BJJ. While here I have met a number of white belts at the Connection Rio BJJ hostel. Sitting around the pool or over acai after training, inevitably the topic of conversation turns to BJJ and the struggles of the white belts trying to find their way in the art suave. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP17: Rafael Lovato Jr. on Training and Competing in BJJ

Rafael Lovato Jr Celebrating

This is a great interview with BJJ competition legend Rafael Lovato Jr.  You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways… Play the audio-only Youtube video at the bottom of this list, and/or Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file to your computer, and/or Subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (RECOMMENDED, because … [Read more...]

3 Drills for Passing & Defending Butterfly Guard

butterfly guard drill

Drilling is critical to skill development in BJJ in general, which is why we talk about it so often in this blog (click here to see some past articles about drilling). Drilling and technique repetition become even more important if you're dealing with a position like the butterfly guard. This is because the butterfly guard can be a very fast-paced game with much less time to think about your … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Stupidest Closed Guard Break Ever – The Elbow Grind on the Inner Thighs

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Grinding away on your inner thighs is the favourite (and often only) closed guard breaking strategy of meathead grapplers everywhere. I don't know who originally came up with this bush league, Dim Mak wanna be, pressure point bull**** strategy, but for some reason you run into 'grinders' at almost every club. Like most pain compliance techniques the elbow grind is something that works … [Read more...]

How to Train BJJ, even with an Injured Arm (Drill)

Training BJJ with an injured arm

This article and video are about how to train and continue to make progress in BJJ when you're dealing with an arm injury. Now I hope that you go through your entire BJJ career without ever suffering a single injury. But this is a contact sport, and therefore you're probably going to get a little banged up from time to time. … [Read more...]

How to Stop Your Opponent from Turtling During Your Guard Pass

Turtle Position

I was recently asked the following question: "Hi Stephan, My biggest problem on the mats right now is people turtling and going to their to knees when I'm about to pass their guard. Once they're in turtle they either roll back to guard or stand up and all the hard work I did to pass their guard is for nothing. … [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 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

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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...]