How to Defend and Escape the Kimura from Side Control

Defending the Kimura

Defending and escaping the Kimura when you're on the bottom of side control is always difficult.  There are several different reason for this... First of all, the figure four grip used in the Kimura is very powerful control.  It's a natural handle that your opponent can use to manipulate your entire body, both in gi or no gi. And once your opponent has secured this grip it's a real pain to get … [Read more...]

My 2 Best Triangle Choke Escapes

Triangle Armbar 4

I hope you enjoyed yesterday's tip about escaping the armbar from guard. Today I want to continue exploring how to get out of submissions and share my two best triangle choke escapes with you. I've experimented with lots of different triangle escapes. Unfortunately I've found that many commonly-taught techniques … [Read more...]

How to Defend and Escape the Armbar from Guard

Armbar from Closed Guard Defense

If you've been grappling for any length of time then you know that anytime you're in the closed guard you've got to watch out for the armbar from guard. It's one of the most common and highest percentage submissions in all of BJJ, submission grappling and MMA. So if we're going to be running into a technique like the armbar from guard this frequently then we HAVE to have some good answers for … [Read more...]

How to Salvage a Failed Butterfly Guard Sweep

Buttefly Guard Sweeps

The 'basic' butterfly guard sweep is one of the most strongest sweeps in grappling. That's why it shows up again and again at the highest levels of competition.  It's powerful, reliable, and works for a wide range of body types.  It works with and without the gi, on bigger people, smaller people, wrestlers, and judoka. This combination of power and versatility makes the butterfly guard sweep … [Read more...]

Hidden Techniques for Maintaining Rear Mount

rear mount legwork

When people teach the rear mount they often show you how to get your hooks in to achieve the rear mount, and then they teach you a couple of submissions from the back. Their idealized flowchart has two steps: Get your hooks in, Submit your opponent. Oh, if only life were so simple! … [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...]

Ambush Armbar from Modified Scarf Hold

armbar from modified scarf hold

I might not be 100% correct with the actual wording, but I'll always remember this fantastic quote from Karate legend Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace which I read in Black Belt magazine many years ago.  It went something like this: "There's always going to be someone bigger, stronger or faster than you, but there never has to be anyone sneakier than you!" … [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 set up and apply the head and arm choke


Here's a clip of Emily Kwok teaching something really cool - how to set up the head and arm choke (also known as 'kata gatame') from mount, and then how to ratchet it on so tightly that your opponent has no choice but to tap out, no matter how big he is. … [Read more...]

The Single Leg X Guard – A Surprising Way to Pull Guard…

Pulling single leg x guard

Should you pull guard in competition?  And if you decide to pull guard, then how do you do it correctly? In a certain sense, I am uniquely unqualified to answer these questions... You see, much of my BJJ comes from 8th degree black belt Marcus Soares, and Marcus is very much from the old-school Carlson Gracie way of doing things. … [Read more...]

The Jab-Cross of Open Guard Sweeps

Open Guard Sweep

Let's talk about two of my favorite sweeps from the open guard.  These are high percentage techniques that are used again and again at every level, by novice whitebelts and world-class blackbelts. When learning a new position I think it's important to learn the high percentage stuff right away.   … [Read more...]

A Fancy-Pants Z Guard Pass that Never Worked Until…

How to Pass the Z Guard

There's this one impressive, fancy-pants guard pass that I've seen in competition many times. It makes everybody go 'oooh' and 'aaaah', but despite its dramatic nature it's undeniably effective and has won a LOT of matches at the highest levels of competition. I tried to imitate this technique, of course, but it was always a complete disaster. I never managed to figure out exactly what these … [Read more...]

Best Takedown vs. Larger Opponents?

favorite takedown vs big guy 1

Every grappler needs to have a basic understanding of takedowns.  You don't want to be so uni-dimensional that you have no idea how to take somebody down. But the problem is that not every takedown you learn from Judo or wrestling will work on someone a lot bigger and stronger than you. … [Read more...]

Stabilizing and Attacking Larger Opponents from Sidemount

Attacking from the Sidemount

Many battles are lost by not sufficiently stabilizing sidemount, and/or choosing the wrong attacks to use from that otherwise dominant position. Let's say that you've done everything right and cut through the guard of a bigger stronger opponent. … [Read more...]

Advanced Triangle Choke Details

Advanced Triangle Finish

Today's tip is about the details of the Triangle Choke, one of the very highest percentage submissions at every level of competition. Have you ever noticed how some people can catch EVERYBODY in their signature submission, again and again? Once they've got their setup position it's pretty much a done deal (this applies whether that signature submission is an armbar, a triangle choke, a kneebar, … [Read more...]

Defending Stupid Big Guy Attacks (and the Honor of Jiu-Jitsu)

Defending a big guy attack

It's amazing what some big guys will do when they get frustrated. In fact, sometimes they'll try stuff so stupid that it'll take you completely by surprise! Now, many BJJ instructors never bother to teach you what to do against these 'stupid attacks.' … [Read more...]