Three and a Half Techniques to Escape from a Tight Closed Guard Overhook

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Just the other day I shared four counters to a pesky deep cross-collar grip from closed guard. Well, the cross-collar grip isn't the only way your opponent might try to destroy your posture... There's another posture-breaking grip that can be just as bad, and unlike the cross-collar this one can be used in BJJ, MMA and submission grappling.  Gi and no gi.   … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Cross Lapel Grip from Closed Guard

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Your opponent sneaking his hand deep on your lapel is always a bad situation. Once he has this grip on you from his closed guard he can use it to break your posture forward, which kills your ability to pass the guard and is very tiring to fight against... ...or he can use it to attack you with cross-collar chokes (which have ended a LOT of matches)... ...or he uses your frantic reactions … [Read more...]

Rodolfo Vieira Pressure Guard Passing

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When it comes to passing the guard you basically have two options: pass with speed, or pass with pressure. Speed-based guard passes typically rely on creating some distance between you and your opponent, getting some kind of control on his feet or legs, and then blasting your way past your legs with some quickly manoeuvring. The 'Toreando' pass and its variations would be classic examples of … [Read more...]

How NOT to Get Triangle Choked While Passing the Guard

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The very first guard pass I learned was the stacking guard pass (also known as the smashing guard pass or sometimes the 'over under' pass). Initially I was doing this pass all wrong, and I can't even begin to count how many times I got triangle choked trying it. But eventually I learned a few tweaks that made it much harder for my opponents to apply the triangle choke, and now it's one of my … [Read more...]

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

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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

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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

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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...]