History

European Grappling Styles

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by Jeff Meszaros So, we’ve finished the first leg of your around-the-world grappling tour and it’s been a blast (click here to read Asian Grappling Styles, the previous article). In the previous part of the journey we started in Japan, where you got thrown flat on your back by judo champions and slapped around by sumo wrestlers. Then, in Korea, you did ssireum, which was kind of like sumo but … [Read more...]

Asian Grappling Styles

Asian Grappling Styles

by Jeff Meszaros Do you like traveling? Of course you do! There’s the food, the music, the culture, the art, and if you’re a martial artist, you can bring along your mouthguard and try the local style of fighting, whatever it may be. Depending on the place, you might also need your shorts, pants, jacket, belt or jug of oil. Because each country has its own distinct style. Wouldn’t it be fun … [Read more...]

Brothers Who Have Changed BJJ

Gracie and Machado Brothers - A BJJ Family

by Jeff Meszaros Everyone who trains in martial arts has heard about the Gracies. They're probably the most famous family in the history of martial arts and it's no surprise. They have a huge family tree with many branches of brothers, half-brothers, sisters, uncles and cousins. And, with just a few exceptions, they've all played a role in the evolution of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But did you know … [Read more...]

47 Favourite Martial Arts and Inspiration Quotes

Martial Arts Quotes

I love pithy quotes: in just a few short words they can encapsulate an entire strategy, philosophy, or approach to life.  That's why more than 10 years ago I published a short article with some of my favourite grappling and martial arts quotes. Well, I've come across a lot more great quotes in the last decade! I typically share the new quotations I discover on my Twitter and/or Instagram … [Read more...]

BJJ – Born in Japan, Evolved in Brazil!

BJJ: Born in japan, evolved in brazil shirt

This new BJJ shirt was designed by Mark Mullen, one of my very first jiu-jitsu training partners and occasional contributor to the Grapplearts blog. Obviously being a BJJ black belt he's a skilled grappler and instructor, but what a lot of people don't know is that he also does a lot of graphic design.  So when he came up with this image of a charging Japanese dragon I thought it would make a … [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...]

Podcast EP29: Skepticism and the Martial Arts

Skepticism-and-the Martial-Arts

Skepticism is your best defense against the lies, hoaxes and magical thinking that are so rampant in the traditional martial arts. Join us on this Grapplearts Radio interview where I talk with Jeff Westfall about chi, the evolution of kata, insane martial arts teachers, Indonesian Silat counters to BJJ submissions, the chimpanzee brain, the fight or flight reflex, signs that you might have … [Read more...]

Does MMA Make You Stupid? Impact, Concussions and Brain Damage in Mixed Martial Arts

MMA Punch

MMA has been my guilty pleasure for a long time. On the one hand, I'm a huge fan. I've been watching the UFC since its inauguration in 1993, and have enjoyed fights in Pride FC, Shooto, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and many other organisations. I have good friends who are professional fighters, and have helped them prepare for their fights. And I have nothing but respect for the skill, … [Read more...]

Podcast EP23: Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins on BJJ Training, Competition, Transitions and Evolution

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I've got a super cool, super informative interview for you today! This is the first time in Grapplearts history that I’ve interviewed a person for a second time.  But boy, did my friend, BJJ black belt, and fierce competitor Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins ever deliver! (click here for the first interview). (Brandon and I originally worked together to create the highly acclaimed instructional … [Read more...]

A Sakuraba Highlight Video Worth Watching

Kazushi Sakuraba

I came across the video below and thought it was a poignant tribute to the arc of Sakuraba's career in Pride. It combines Sakuraba's beautiful grappling with the extreme violence of Japanese Pride, along with a melancholy undertone that reminded me of the movie 'The Wrestler' starring Mickey Rourke from a few years ago. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP21: The Evolution of BJJ (Plus Some Crazy Stories) with Scott Nelson

Stephan-in-blue-gi

We've just released the latest episode of the Grapplearts Radio Podcast! This time I talk to Scott Nelson from On The Mat.  Scott is a North American jiu-jitsu pioneer who was one of the very first guys to travel to Brazil to train in the motherland of the art. He was also one of the first guys to run a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu website (I remember visiting it back in the dial-up modem … [Read more...]

Self Defense, Competition, and Performing In High Pressure Situations

cloverleaf from Kajukenbo Crest 2

Performance under pressure is always tricky.  In fact a lot of martial arts practitioners worry about whether they'd actually be able to execute their skills in super-stressful situations. Of course competing at a tournament or performing at belt tests can be stressful.  But the scariest high pressure situation of all is a self defence scenario where you and/or your family is being … [Read more...]

Podcast EP19: Clark Gracie on Training, Competing, and Growing up Gracie

clark gracie mural

This is a great interview with 2013 Pan Am BJJ Champion Clark Gracie.  He shares a ton of cool info. 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 … [Read more...]

Fascism, the USSR, Iran, Afghanistan, El Salvador and Vampires.

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Most of the time I restrain myself and keep the discussion in this blog focused on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Grappling, and MMA. But sometimes I just have to go outside the reservation... Like many people, I'm a huge fan of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History show. No matter what I'm involved in, whenever one of those exquisitely crafted podcasts comes out I drop everything and immerse myself in … [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Grapple in a Streetfight

5 reasons to grapple in a streetfight

A lot of self proclaimed self defence experts will emphatically and categorically tell you to "never, ever go to the ground in a streetfight."  But no single strategy works in every situation, and anyone telling you to always do something, or never do something, is automatically wrong. The truth is that you may well be forced to use your grappling skills in a self defense context. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP18: John Perretti, MMA Matchmaker

John Perretti

I recently talked to John Perretti, the former matchmaker for both the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Extreme Fighting Championship. In our fifty minute interview John and I discussed the early days of the sport, how he found and selected fighters, brain trauma in the combat sports, his disdain for the current state of the UFC, and much more. So if you're a fan of early MMA there's a … [Read more...]

Podcast EP11: Draculino talks about the Evolution of BJJ

Draculino talking about BJJ

Recently I managed to catch up with Vinicius 'Draculino' Magalhães and pick his brain about the ongoing evolution of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Draculino started training in Rio in the 1980's, back in the days when many of the big names in BJJ were just young kids with blue and purple belts around their waists. Plus he's trained many great competitors in the sport, as well as having personally … [Read more...]

Submission Grappling vs. Classical Ju-jutsu; when cultures and concepts collide

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Introduction There are many similarities between the sport of Submission Grappling and the classical Japanese Ju-jutsu systems. Both arts emphasize grappling over striking. Both arts recognize the importance and efficiency of ground-fighting. … [Read more...]