Injuries

3 Fixes for Sore Fingers in BJJ

BJJ Finger Pain Tips

So I got a question the other day from someone looking for advice about the pain and inflammation they have in their fingers from training BJJ. I sent them back a super-quick email response with 3 suggestions, but now want to elaborate on my suggestions in hopes that this info will be useful to someone else too... BJJ Finger Pain Solution 1 90% of the time BJJ finger pain is caused from … [Read more...]

BJJ Rib Injuries and How to Deal With Them

BJJ Rib Injuries

Let's talk about rib injuries in BJJ. This will probably only apply to a small percentage of people, but if you're one of those people then you might be about to get some important information. I'm being pretty general here and not differentiating between all the different ways you can bang up your ribcage: I'm including bruised ribs, broken ribs, damage to the sternum and damage at the … [Read more...]

Neck Harness Trials

Neck Harness quick video

A strong neck is essential for BJJ and grappling. Obviously a strong neck is simply harder to choke, but that’s not the end of the matter… A strong neck also helps you maintain good posture when standing and in the guard, and high level grapplers inevitably use the head as a fifth limb. (If you’ve ever had a skilled wrestler in your guard then you probably know what I’m talking about, … [Read more...]

Cauliflower Ear Prevention in BJJ

instagram-of-baby-stephan

Let's talk about how NOT to end up with cauliflower ear when you're doing BJJ. (You know what cauliflower ear is, right? It's when you end up with lumpy cancerous potato looking things on either side of your head.) Personally I am less than thrilled by the possibility of acquiring a giant lumps on either side of my head because I've always had large ears. Supposedly when my grandmother … [Read more...]

How to Train When You Have No Time

How to train when you have no time

Whether you're working a full time job, a parent with a couple of kids, or a student juggling a crazy class schedule, almost everyone is really busy these days. And if you're also trying to squeeze regular training into that busy schedule, well, things can end up in the ludicrous zone pretty quickly... I'm no exception: of course I'm running Grapplearts, training in BJJ and trying not to … [Read more...]

New Podcast: Impact, Concussions and Brain Damage in Mixed Martial Arts

Impact, concussions, MMA and the human brain

I've just released a brand new podcast on Grapplearts Radio called 'Does MMA Make You Stupid?' Now that might sound like a deliberately provocative title, but the topic of brain damage in combat sports is so important that I want to make sure this podcast reaches as many people as possible. This podcast grew from an article I wrote a few years ago about the current state of head impact and … [Read more...]

A Guide to Grappling Gear

Stephan-in-blue-gi

You're training in a sport that, at its core, consists of two human beings rolling around trying to submit one another. This all seems very simple, and you don't need a lot of gear to get started other than a mat (and maybe a gi). But In this article I am going to discuss a few additional items might make your time on the mats more enjoyable and productive. The MOST Important Training Gear of … [Read more...]

The Pros and Cons of Bridging Onto Your Head

Wrestler bridging onto head

Neck bridging is an exercise that supposedly strengthens the neck that is almost unique to the grappling arts. It is also controversial. Broadly speaking, there are two main ways of bridging: the backwards neck bridge (belly to the sky) or a forwards neck bridge (where you are belly-down to the mat). Most grapplers who bridge do both forward and backward bridging. First the pro of … [Read more...]

How to do the Armbar Without Crushing Your Balls

How to prevent your balls from getting crushed during the armbar

It's a question that I get from BJJ beginners all the time, "How do I do the armbar without crushing my balls in the process?" And it's a legitimate problem for people starting out their BJJ career.  In fact, it's a simple equation... Elbow + Groin = OUCH!! Now you could wear a cup, but most intermediate and advanced players don't do that unless they're training for MMA. Instead of … [Read more...]

A Hidden Danger When Martial Artists Get Injured…

Martial Arts Injuries: a Hidden Danger

If you're doing a 'real' martial art then it's going to involve some form of contact... And if you're doing any contact activity for long enough then, eventually, you're going to get injured. Now hopefully your injury won't be anything serious; maybe just a sprain, a bad bruise, or a tweak that will heal quickly. But in the worst case scenario - especially if it's a serious injury like an … [Read more...]

The Secret to Getting Your Black Belt

Getting Your Black Belt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWcbLgxANFo Pssst, want to become a BJJ black belt? The 'secret' is simple: just don’t quit! Of course, the devil is in the details, which is why this article is more than two lines long... I want to start with the fact that almost everybody can eventually become a black belt, so if you just keep training hard then you’ll probably make it. One my … [Read more...]

How to Train BJJ with an Injured Neck

How to train BJJ with a sore neck

Necks are delicate things.  Seven small stacked cervical vertebrae protecting all the nerves in your spinal cord and held together with a multitude of flimsy ligaments and muscles. Yet in BJJ we stress the neck continuously.  We attack it with chokes, crucifixes, and cranks.  We stack our opponents, turn their heads with crossfaces, and scissor his head with our legs.  We also use our head and … [Read more...]

3 Lessons Learned from BJJ Injuries

BJJ and Martial Arts Injuries

One of the secrets of BJJ is to get good before you get too banged up with injuries to be good. To help you avoid crippling injury I shot a 15 minute video talking about some of the most important lessons I've learned dealing with injuries. Some of these injuries could have stopped my BJJ career dead in its tracks, or left me in constant pain for the rest of my life, or necessitated some … [Read more...]

A Storm in the Mountains and Risk in BJJ

risk and reward in the outdoors and bjj

Today we're going to talk about assessing risk and reward in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but first let me tell you a story about what happened up on a mountain recently... Risk vs Reward in the Outdoors I arrived at the Black Mountain trailhead in the Mount Cypress area a few hours before dark, intending to squeeze in a 90 minute trail run to Eagle Bluffs and back.  In my pack was a light fleece coat, … [Read more...]

How to Avoid BJJ Injuries (and Other Dumb Ways to Die)

How to Prevent BJJ Injuries

There’s a smartphone game out there called Dumb Ways to Die. Well, many BJJ guys are playing a similar game every time they step on the mats. It’s called Dumb Ways to Get Injured. To fight this trend here’s an important new article written by my friend (and training partner from long ago) Jeff Meszaros. In this article you get some of Jeff’s crazy stories about some of the dumbest things … [Read more...]

How to do the Heel Hook (and How to Train it Safely)

How to do the heel hook

The heel hook is one of the most devastating leglocks you can apply! Instead of attacking the big muscles of the leg (like the quads, hamstrings, or glutes) the heel hook targets the small ligaments of the knee and the ankle. This means that you can really screw up someone's leg if you apply it in anger. The heel hook is banned in most clubs and illegal in almost all gi tournaments.  But … [Read more...]

Pre-planning the Tap and Climbing Everest…

How climbing Mount Everest applies to BJJ

We'll get to the Mount Everest part later, but first let me tell you a story about the other day when I was sparring with a black belt training partner... My partner was using the spider guard, a position he's spent quite a bit of time developing in the last year.  I got sloppy for a second and he slammed on a triangle choke from the double biceps spider guard position (using a variation of … [Read more...]

Finger Pain in BJJ and What to Do About It

Hand and finger pain in BJJ

"My Fingers Hurt..." I get a lot of emails, tweets and messages from BJJ practitioners about fingers hurting all the time. For example, I asked a question about BJJ hand pain on Twitter got a ton of responses (click here to see them on Twitter), including a disconcerting number of white belts who had this problem. So it's a real problem, and not only for people who've been doing the sport a … [Read more...]

When Should an MMA Fighter Retire?

When should a fighter retire from MMA?

Quitting MMA One of the hardest decisions a fighter ever has to make is when to hang up the gloves and retire from the MMA game. In many sports professional athletes are usually forced into retirement by orthopaedic issues. A knee just can’t take the pounding anymore… A problem shoulder just keeps on getting worse… As the the mileage takes its toll and the injuries add up, athletic … [Read more...]

Podcast EP30: BJJ Q&A – Popular Reader Questions Answered

BJJ Podcast

I recently did the second-ever Grapplearts Radio Q&A format podcast.  In it I answered questions from my newsletter readers. In this particular podcast we cover many topics, including How to come back to BJJ training after an injury... and not lose your mind while you're rehabbing... Options for transitioning out of Z guard (and half guard in general) to open guard How to improve … [Read more...]