Podcast EP26: Perspectives on BJJ Drilling – An Interview with SBG’s Steve Whittier


Steve Whittier from SBG East Coast is a cool guy. He manages to combine both thoughtful analyses and controversial opinions into one eloquent package. In this interview we talked about lots of different BJJ and MMA related topics, but the main emphasis and recurring theme was functional drilling and the efficacy of different types of BJJ training methods but we also covered self defense vs. … [Read more...]

How To Do the Twister the Easiest Way


The Twister is a flashy and hellishly effective submission made famous by Eddie Bravo. It's now illegal in IBJJF competition, but it shows up sometimes in submission grappling and you're even starting to see it in MMA! If you catch your training partners in it - carefully and gently of course - then you get major bragging rights and some instant 'mat cred.' … [Read more...]

How to React Without Thinking


What Bruce Lee and Malcolm Gladwell Taught Me About Mushin (or the Art of No-Mind and Executing the Perfect Technique), Bruce Lee and Malcom Gladwell agree with Mark Mullen.  Sometimes things just happen too quickly to use conscious thought. Sometimes you just need to forget about thought and simply react to the situation. … [Read more...]

What’s the Best Conditioning for BJJ?


I often get asked about the best kind of conditioning for BJJ and MMA. People want to know what’s better: running vs swimming, circuit training vs powerlifting, crossfit vs bodybuilding, sprints vs extended cardio, kettlebells vs dumbbells, bodyweight exercises vs barbells.. Having done quite a bit of strength and conditioning over the last 20 years I actually do have some definite opinions … [Read more...]

How to Not Get Slammed in Your Closed Guard or Triangle Choke


Getting picked up and slammed when you've got your opponent in the closed guard is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you in grappling. It's definitely a legitimate technique for big and strong guys to use. And in MMA and self defense slamming an opponent is one of the best ways to open the guard, or to escape a tight triangle choke. Getting power-bombed and then and … [Read more...]

Podcast EP22: Adam Singer on Modern MMA Training and Competition


Stephan: I’m here today with my friend, Adam Singer, who runs The HardCore Gym in Athens, Georgia.  He is probably best known for being Forrest Griffin’s MMA coach during the formative years of Forrest’s career. He’s also a jiu-jitsu black belt and has trained tons of fighters. I’m really looking forward to picking his brain about MMA and jiu-jitsu and the relationship between these things. … [Read more...]

How to Do the Head and Arm Choke (aka ‘Kata Gatame’)


The Head and Arm choke is a super-powerful submission that works with and without the gi, with and without strikes, in BJJ, Judo, Submission Grappling and Judo. It's ended a lot of matches and even put a few people to sleep. The Head and Arm choke comes from Judo (where it's known as Kata Gatame) and if you grapple then it's a technique that you need to know! … [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...]

The Most Dangerous Throw in Judo & BJJ

Kani Basami - the most dangerous judo and bjj throw

There's a good reason that the extremely effective throw Kani Basami has been banned in all Judo and most BJJ competitions: it's super dangerous! Kani Basami has inflicted severe lower body injuries in dojos and competitions all over the world. I myself used it extensively until I was sparring with a wrestler, misjudged the distances, and landed on his ankle severely twisting it. He was out … [Read more...]

The Most Distinctive MMA Fighter

Imanari Leglock

Man, nobody else fights like Masakazu Imanari. Such a distinctive (and scary) style… Imanari is a man on a mission: if there's a leg in the room somewhere then he's going to find it and tear it off. Every moment of every fight he's looking to wrap up that leg: it doesn't matter if you're punching, kicking, clinching or on the ground. Even the former UFC fighter (and infamous heel hooker) … [Read more...]

How to Defeat The Judo-Style Rolling Armbar

Travis Stevens and Jimmy Pedro on Defeating Ronda Rousey's Armbar

Love her or hate her, Ronda Rousey is an armbar machine.  At UFC 168 she defeated Meisha Tate with her eighth armbar in eight MMA fights.  This armbar streak is an amazing achievement, and a lot of people (including a lot of people who don't actually train) have been asking me how to counter this attack. I was thinking about doing this but it turns out that someone beat me to it. … [Read more...]

3 Ways to Close the Distance in a Streetfight

bridging the gap in a streetfight

BJJ is a great fitness activity and a wonderful sport. But at it's core Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is still a martial art. The word 'martial' is defined as "being related to fighting or war". And that means you have to be ready throw down should the s**t hit the fan out there in the cold, cruel world. Sometimes in a street confrontation you should run away, sometimes you should look for improvised … [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...]

More On Concussions in MMA

Ground and Pound in MMA

Last week I published my contentious, 'Does MMA Make You Stupid' article. Since then there have been a few more developments on the concussion controversy, so I figured it was worth sharing the updates so as to keep you in the loop. UPDATE 1: STEPHAN KESTING ON THE NHB NEWS PODCAST Over the weekend I was contacted by Eddie Goldman, the Godfather of MMA, from the NHB News website and podcast. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP16: Interview with Philip Gelinas

Philip Gelinas

This is an interview with one of my most influential teachers - 9th degree Kajukenbo Karate black belt Philip Gelinas.  Philip is also a high-ranking instructor in several different Filipino martial art systems, a BJJ brown belt, an instructor in Combat Submission Wrestling, and was recently inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame. Topics include the evolution of Georges St Pierre, the … [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...]

Get Your Action Photo Featured on Grapplearts


Over the years a lot of readers have had their photos of grappling action appear on the Grapplearts Featured Photo page.  Some photos were taken by professional photographers, but the majority were taken by amateurs, sometimes even just snapped on on iPhone at the local tournament or open mat. People love these photos, which is why we've recently been cross-posting them on the Grapplearts … [Read more...]