Self Defense

7 Reasons Martial Artists Should Do Cardio

Bruce Lee - the ultimate martial artist - doing cardio

Today I want to share 7 reasons that all martial artists should do some form of cardio. This article actually started on a great run up my favourite local mountain. During that run, while dodging roots, rocks and puddles, I also spent a lot of time thinking about the direct martial arts benefits people get after they start working on their cardio. After the run, while cooling down and … [Read more...]

A Triangle Choke Escape that Requires Almost No Training…

silat triangle choke escape

Years ago I came back from an Indonesian Silat training camp led by Dan Inosanto. I showed up at BJJ class the next day and was telling a few guys about how much I had enjoyed the training. One guy with a slightly smartass tone asked me, "How would a Silat guy escape from my triangle choke then?" It turns out that there IS a very effective, super high percentage Silat escape to the … [Read more...]

Blocking Headbutts in the Guard

Blocking headbutts from the bjj guard

As I've said many times before, BJJ is a fantastic sport and fitness activity but at it's core IT'S A MARTIAL ART. And that means you have to keep an eye on how this stuff would work in a real fight. Someone recently asked me what you can do to prevent getting knocked out if someone on top of you is trying to headbutt you into oblivion. Good question.  It's an important topic: before they … [Read more...]

Leg Action in Rear Mount – How to Put the Squeeze on Your Opponent

Full rear mount with harness on upper body and proper leg action

The rear mount is one of the very best positions you can get in BJJ. In rear mount you're behind your opponent and can attack him with chokes and armlocks (not to mention strikes in an MMA or self defense context).  And there's pretty much bugger all that he can do to you... But it can be a lot of work to get here.  You have to pass his guard, induce him to turn, secure your grips, get your … [Read more...]

Don’t Build Your BJJ Game on White Belt Techniques.

Whitebelt BJJ techniques

Certain BJJ techniques are 'white belt' moves.  Which means they might be effective against white belts (and sometimes blue belts) but then stop working once you move up to opponents of a higher skill level. Basically you can pull off just about anything on a newbie.  They make rookie mistakes because they're, well, rookies.  Whitebelts don't instinctively know how to move to prevent, defend or … [Read more...]

Podcast EP32: BJJ and Self Defense, with Jeff Rockwell and Stephan Kesting

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Direct from Isla Mujeres, Mexico, here's my latest podcast interview.  In it BJJ black belt Jeff Rockwell and I discuss: How certain techniques are 'discovered' again and again What are 'the basics' and why you need one tool for every range Self defense vs competition jiu-jitsu When butt flopping in a self defense situation is the RIGHT thing to do Hair grab defenses for women The … [Read more...]

The BJJ Self Defense Experiment

Other submissions that were used in the BJJ Self Defense Experiment

Have you ever wondered if your BJJ would stand up in a self defense situation against an opponent determined to clean your clock with his fists? By the end of this article I'm hoping you'll have a much better idea of what to focus on to sharpen your BJJ skills for self defense purposes... The self defense implications of grappling are important to me (click here to see my other posts on the … [Read more...]

How to Defend Strikes on the Ground

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You're walking down the street, someone bumps you, words are exchanged, you get pushed to the ground, and now some big gorilla is trying to knock your teeth down your throat.  No matter how focused you are on the sportive aspects of grappling you've still GOTTA know how to defend strikes on the ground!!! It doesn't matter if your goal is casual recreation or if you wanna be the next UFC … [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...]

4 Takedowns from the Rear Bearhug

rear bearhug takedowns

You can get to the rear standing bearhug from a lot of different scenarios.   An arm drag or duck under from wrestling on the feet, for example.   Or you could end up here starting from the ground if your opponent tries to get back to his feet from the ground the way many wrestlers like to do. Many BJJ people are far more comfortable on the ground than on their feet, and thus get a little bit … [Read more...]

Top Secret Sentry Removal Technique

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If you're new to the martial arts then you might not get the humour of this, but believe me, there are many jackasses out there with their own versions of this information. The difference is that their tongues aren't firmly planted in the side of their cheeks. Anyway, this particular technique was far too deadly to put into Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu - putting such information into the wrong hands … [Read more...]

9 Rules for BJJ Self Defense

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I recently worked with a female friend to teach her a little bit about jiu-jitsu for self defense. Obviously I believe that jiu-jitsu is super important for self defense in general, but when it comes to women who want to defend themselves, well, it's completely indispensable.  We can argue all day about what percentage of real fights end up on the ground (like the Gracies I believe it's very … [Read more...]

Podcast EP24: How to Build a BJJ Gameplan

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Here's a really cool video interview I did with my friend, BJJ blackbelt, renowned coach, and fierce competitor Elliott Bayev. This interview is special because we break down the steps of building a BJJ gameplan.  We go right from the basic BJJ self defense gameplan, and build up to the intricate strategies used by world class competitors. There are tons of immediately useful takeaways … [Read more...]

The Two Biggest Benefits of Training Martial Arts

Passing the Guard

Funny story... I was passing through the downtown core of a major North American city a few years ago. I had 40 minutes to kill, so I went for a walk and quickly came across a martial arts club I had heard about but never set foot in.   So into the club I went, to check it out and introduce myself. I was immediately struck by two contrasting impressions... The first thing I noticed were … [Read more...]

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

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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...]

BJJ Self Defense Part 5: Defending the Low Tech (and Deadly) Headlock!

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One of single biggest errors you can make when you're practising a martial art is to assume that everybody else practices that same martial art. Let me explain that... Boxers spend 99.9% of their time learning how to fight other boxers. Wrestlers train to attack with, and defend against, wrestling techniques. … [Read more...]

BJJ Self Defense Part 4: The Technical Standup

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Today we're going to look at and learn about one of the most fundamental movements in all of BJJ. It's the "technical standup," and make sure that you're doing it correctly. The technical standup is used ALL the time in BJJ, submission grappling and MMA. This exact move can get you out of trouble in scrambles, prevent guard passes, and finish sweeps for you, but first and foremost the … [Read more...]

BJJ Self Defense Part 3: The Street Guard

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If you've been reading my emails and training in grappling then, by this point, you're going to be quite familiar with the guard. In some ways it's the iconic BJJ position. But do you know WHY it's such an integral part of BJJ? Why do we focus on this position so much? And why would we ever want to be lying on our backs on the pavement in a streetfight? … [Read more...]

BJJ Self Defense Part 2: Escaping the Mount

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The first time I ever saw the Mount position was during a schoolyard fight in grade one. One kid pushed the other kid to the ground, climbed on top, sat on his chest in the classic bully position, and then absolutely dominated the fight. He punched and slapped and taunted the other kid who was completely unable to do anything about it until the fight was broken up by the teachers. The kid on … [Read more...]

BJJ Self Defense Part 1: Proximity, Panic and Claustrophobia

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This might be a bit controversial but BJJ IS A MARTIAL ART! That means it's a fighting method, used for stopping (and possibly hurting) people who are intent on doing you serious harm. Sure, it's also a fantastic sport, a fitness method, and a way to challenge yourself. I enjoy it for all those aspects too. But being able to take care of business in the street comes first. … [Read more...]