Guard Sweeps

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...]

Butterfly Guard Sweep Counter

Butterfly Sweep Counter

The Butterfly Sweep is one of those fundamental moves that you see everywhere. In every dojo and at every major tournament there's someone who specialises in the Butterfly Guard. And every Butterfly Guard specialist uses the basic Butterfly Sweep as one of their bread and butter moves. This sweep just plain works.  It can be used in gi or no gi.  It can be used against small, fast people or … [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...]

How to do the Reverse Butterfly Sweep

How to do the reverse butterfly sweep

I talk a lot about the butterfly guard around here; it's one of my very favourite guard positions.  It's powerful, it's mobile, and it's fun. There's no doubt that the workhorse of the butterfly guard is the 'basic' butterfly sweep.  It's a tool that newcomers to jiu-jitsu can learn quickly, but is still being used by the top BJJ competitors on the planet. Now there's a move called the … [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...]

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...]

The de la Riva Guard

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By Don Whitefield and Stephan Kesting We asked BJJ legend Ricardo de la Riva to show us the Five Most Imporant Techniques from the 'de la Riva Guard! Here's what he showed us, and we'll go through each one of them! The Basic de la Riva Sweep The Reverse de la Riva Sweep The Entangled Leg Sweep The Back Trip Sweep The Cross Knee Guard Pass Counter Ricardo de la Riva is a slight … [Read more...]

How to Take the Back from X Guard

How to take the back from X Guard

It's almost impossible to use the Butterfly Guard without also using the X Guard... When you attack with the Butterfly Guard your opponent is going to be doing his absolute best to shut you down. For example, that means that he'll be posting hands and feet all over the place to stop you from sweeping him. When he posts his hands or otherwise gets them out of position it opens up … [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...]

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...]

Spider Guard Masterclass is Now Live

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After almost 6 months of planning, filming and editing Spider Guard Masterclass is now ready for release! I'm biased of course, but I think that this is an absolutely amazing project. It's an A to Z reference guide for the Spider Guard, which is arguably the most dominant form of open guard in modern BJJ. Checking out this instructional is also risk free: if you don't absolutely love it, … [Read more...]

A Fast and Simple Butterfly Guard Sweep

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Jiu-jitsu doesn't always need to be complicated. In fact, sometimes the best solution is also the simplest, most direct solution. Consider a situation where your opponent is in your guard but is refusing to engage you in any meaningful way. Maybe he's ahead on points and is trying to coast for the rest of the match, or maybe he just wants the satisfaction of being able to say that you didn't … [Read more...]

The Easiest Way to Develop Fast Guard Sweeps

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Speed kills!  When it comes to blowing through your opponent's defenses there's nothing like being just a little bit faster than him.  That way you're always a step or two ahead, and he never has the chance to catch up. But how exactly do you do this? Well, have you ever heard of something called Hick's Law?  It's an idea that comes from academic research, and has been applied to areas as … [Read more...]

Try This First When You’re in X Guard

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The X Guard is a hybrid open guard / half guard position, first popularized by Marcelo Garcia. There are a million sweeps, finishes, and follow-ups from the X Guard. Everything from kneebars and omoplatas, to fancy upside-down backwards flipping sweeps, to techniques that take you directly to rear mount. But I don't suggest starting with any of these techniques... … [Read more...]

Joao Miyao teaching the Ninja Armlock from Berimbolo

Joao Miyao teaching the Ninja Armlock from Berimbolo

Here's some seriously advanced stuff for you: renowned black belt competitor Joao Miyao breaking down the Ninja Armlock from Berimbolo. In the exclusive Grapplearts Field Reports Video Miyao uses his bread and butter move - the Berimbolo sweep - from the leg lasso position to spin into an unexpected and hard to defend armbar. … [Read more...]

A Cool X Guard Drill and Sweep

Clark Gracie doing an X guard Sweep

In recent years the X Guard has become one of the bread and butter positions in the open guard repertoire. It's an incredibly powerful position, both in gi and no gi grappling (click here for an intro to the X Guard). There are a ton of great techniques, sweeps, and drills that revolve around the X guard, but today I want to share a new drill with you that I recently learned from Clark Gracie … [Read more...]

The 3 Steps of Berimbolo

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Sometimes the best way to really understand something is to teach it. When it comes to jiu-jitsu, breaking a technique down into steps (not too many, not too few) and finding the best way to convey the underlying principles often helps clarify things in your mind. I've been doing a lot of this with the berimbolo sweep recently. … [Read more...]