Sparring

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...]

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...]

Podcast EP 34: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Principles with Rob Biernacki (plus Ninjas, Insane Martial Arts Instructors and Martial Arts Cults)

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu principles with Rob Biernacki

The latest episode of the Grapplearts Radio Podcast is out.  In it I talk with Rob Biernacki, a friend, BJJ black belt, and contributor to Grapplearts (see the videos and articles he's been involved with here). Rob is known for his analytical style of teaching BJJ.  He doesn't focus on being a 'technique collector, but rather specialises in sharing the underlying principles and concepts that … [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...]

A Mean Option When Your Opponent is Stalling in BJJ Sidemount

people on the bottom can often stall in sidemount

Have you ever trained BJJ with anyone who’s so desperate not to tap out that all they do is stall? Someone who’s whole ego is wrapped up in the idea that such-and-such brown belt hasn’t managed to submit them out recently? It’s one of the biggest traps the ego can lead someone into on the mats… Back in the day I trained with one of these guys who’s entire sense of jiu-jitsu self-worth was … [Read more...]

Does MMA Make You Stupid? Impact, Concussions and Brain Damage in Mixed Martial Arts

MMA Punch

MMA has been my guilty pleasure for a long time. On the one hand, I'm a huge fan. I've been watching the UFC since its inauguration in 1993, and have enjoyed fights in Pride FC, Shooto, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator, and many other organisations. I have good friends who are professional fighters, and have helped them prepare for their fights. And I have nothing but respect for the skill, … [Read more...]

How to Incorporate a New Technique into Your Arsenal

Stephan-Kesting

Incorporating a new move into your sparring and competition repertoire can be tricky. Too many people go and and try their nifty new technique on everybody right away, hoping that it will work at least some of the time. But this may not actually be the best way to do it. In fact, this scattershot method, and not having a concrete plan for rolling out new moves, can even be … [Read more...]

Question: My Mind Goes Blank During Sparring…

Mind going blank during training

------------------------------ QUESTION ------------------------------ Hi Stephan, First of all, I want to thank you for creating your instructional apps and having these frequent tips/newsletters.   They have really helped me to get started in BJJ.  Even though I have been signed up to receive your emails for a while now I have only just begun my training.   … [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...]

On Starting Sparring from the Knees…

A reader writes: Hi Stephan, I've been doing BJJ for about 6 months and am wondering if you have any advice about what to do when you're starting on the knees? I find that most wrestling-style takedowns are very difficult to do from the knees, especially because my opponents are really good at sprawling. … [Read more...]

What a Spider Guard Fail Teaches You About How to Train Any Technique!

Spider-standing-biceps

Today's tip comes was inspired from some training I did with a smaller grappler, let's call him 'Stu.' Stu wanted to learn some sweeps from the Spider Guard (an open guard position where you control both of your opponent's sleeves and have one or both feet on his biceps). … [Read more...]

A Girl’s Guide to Grappling What You Need to Know Before You Start Rolling

Liz-Posener

Although the sport and art of grappling is currently mostly a male activity, many female readers have commented on how important it is for women to learn to grapple (see Why Should Women Grapple?). In this article Liz Bader, an active mixed martial art competitor and instructor, explains what women should be aware of before they step onto the mat for the first time. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP7: Sarah Kaufman, Top Female MMA Fighter, Reveals All!

Sarah-Kaufman-MMA

Sarah Kaufman is one of the top fighters in women's MMA. And she is officially amazing! Here's an in-depth interview and podcast with Sarah. I grilled her pretty hard (I hate interviews where you don't actually learn anything about the fighter or about the way they train). But the information she gave out went way, way beyond what I was expecting.  She revealed: •    how a top level … [Read more...]