Marcelo Garcia

10 Key Techniques and Tactics of Marcelo Garcia

The techniques and tactics of Marcelo Garcia

Marcelo Garcia is probably the most dominant jiu-jitsu athlete of the last 15 years. When he was competing he owned both the gi and the no gi divisions (4 x ADCC champion, 5 x Mundial World Champion).  As if that wasn't enough, his amazing performances in the absolute division against giants like Ricco Rodriguez have ensured his place in grappling history. It’s always a good idea to … [Read more...]

How To Find the High Percentage BJJ Techniques You Can Rely On

high percentage guard retention

As a young martial artist I once debated whether a certain Kung Fu striking technique could actually work in a real fight. To prove my point I mentioned that a bouncer I knew had successfully used that technique on a drunk in the bar the other night The guy I was arguing with shut me down with a devastatingly simple rebuttal, “Yeah Stephan, that doesn't prove anything, because ANYTHING will … [Read more...]

Napoleon and How To Be Ready for Anything in BJJ

Napoleon and how to prepare for anything in BJJ

Napoleon Bonaparte may have been a megalomaniac who left millions dead in his wake, but if you read about his battles and military campaigns there is no doubt that he was a strategic and tactical genius. (Well, maybe he wasn't a genius when he invaded Russia in 1812, but before that he was damn near unstoppable...) He fought over sixty battles in his lifetime, during which he was … [Read more...]

A Simple Tweak to Develop a Powerful Bridge in BJJ

A high, powerful BJJ Bridge

The bridge is one of the most important movements in all of BJJ. It is one of the three critical pin escape movements and can be used to escape almost every bad position. For example, the classic (and highly effective) 'Upa' mount escape would not exist without bridging your hips high up to ceiling before turning your body and getting out of the mount. And my favourite way of escaping … [Read more...]

Weak vs Strong Side of Rearmount; the Debate Continues

strong side of rearmount

It turns out that the rearmount is a controversial position. On the one hand it's widely acknowledged as a position of total domination. If you get to the rearmount then your opponent should be in deep trouble. In the last 10 years it's become widely accepted that the over-under arm position (aka the 'harness grip' and/or the 'lasso') is probably the most powerful way of controlling your … [Read more...]

The Reverse Armbar from Closed Guard

The Reverse Armbar from Closed Guard

I was a white belt when I first saw the reverse armbar from closed guard (also known as the 'arm crush', the 'razor lock, and the 'cutting armbar'). At first I was pretty skeptical. I had all kinds of reasons why it probably wouldn't work. And then I started running into more and more people who had been submitted by it... And then I started getting caught in it too... And then I … [Read more...]

Podcast EP28: How Bernardo Faria Won Double Gold at the BJJ Mundials

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In this in-depth interview I talk with Bernardo Faria, the 99kg BJJ fighter who recently took gold in not only his own weight class but also in the absolute division of the 2015 BJJ Mundials. Some of the highlights of my talk with Bernardo Faria included... His mindset going into big tournaments How he developed and refined his highly individual BJJ gameplan What he's learned training … [Read more...]

Should You Correct Your Weaknesses or Focus on Your Strengths?

BJJ private lesson with Gordo

This is an article by longtime Grapplearts contributor and BJJ Black Belt Mark Mullen. A question I always ask when I discuss jiu-jitsu with senior black belts is, "In developing your game is it better to develop your strengths, or to focus on weaknesses in order to correct them?"   The simplest form of this question is about developing your top game vs your bottom game in BJJ. … [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...]

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...]

Should I Do Extra Conditioning for BJJ?

Stephan Running

To condition or not to condition, that is the question… Whether ’tis smarter for your body to strain under barbells and long distance runs, or ignore all that stuff and just focus on getting more mat time. This is NOT an article about general fitness, or about achieving a goal in another sport. If you want to run a half-marathon for the challenge, the endorphins, or the sense of achievement … [Read more...]

The Omoplata vs the Marceloplata vs the Baratoplata

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Here's a 12 minute tutorial I just put out breaking down two really cool variations of the Omoplata armlock which is one of my all-time favourite techniques. The first variation is called the 'Marceloplata' - it's named after superstar grappler Marcelo Garcia who popularised this technique.  The Marceloplata is a great option to use when you've almost finalised a regular Omoplata but your … [Read more...]

3 Open Guard Options vs. Standing Opponents

Open Guard Sweeps No Gi

If you don't have a gameplan from the open guard then this position can quickly become a confusing and ineffective tangle of arms and legs . And open guard chaos gets much, much worse when you don't have a good grip on your opponent. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP15: Burton Richardson on Training and Performing under Pressure

Burton rolling with Chris Leben before a UFC event

Stephan's note: today I interview Burton Richardson who has spent decades researching the training methods that make martial arts techniques practical, reliable, and functional.  His approach is very applicable to street self defence, but is equally valid for anyone wanting to compete. You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways… Listen to the interview … [Read more...]

Ronda Rousey and the Power of Gameplans

UFC Belt

In case you were hiding under a rock, Ronda Rousey fought Liz Carmouche last night at UFC 157. She both validated her UFC Women's Bantamweight title, and made history by being in the first-ever women's match in the the UFC. And just in case you were under that aforementioned rock, despite a very spirited fight by Liz Carmouche, Ronda won the match with an armbar at 4:49 of the first round. … [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...]

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...]

How Marcelo Garcia Defeats Larger, Stronger Opponents

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There's nothing quite like watching a smaller, lighter, weaker person use their technique to defeat a bigger, heavier, stronger opponent. And  when it comes to tapping out bigger, stronger, heavier opponents there's nobody quite like Marcelo Garcia. … [Read more...]

Marcelo Garcia Chokes Me Out Repeatedly

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Marcelo Garcia is maybe the very best person in the world at attacking the turtle position. But before I tell you how I know this first hand, I should point out that as you get better you'll run into the turtle position more often.  … [Read more...]