European Grappling Styles


by Jeff Meszaros So, we’ve finished the first leg of your around-the-world grappling tour and it’s been a blast (click here to read Asian Grappling Styles, the previous article). In the previous part of the journey we started in Japan, where you got thrown flat on your back by judo champions and slapped around by sumo wrestlers. Then, in Korea, you did ssireum, which was kind of like sumo but … [Read more...]

Asian Grappling Styles

Asian Grappling Styles

by Jeff Meszaros Do you like traveling? Of course you do! There’s the food, the music, the culture, the art, and if you’re a martial artist, you can bring along your mouthguard and try the local style of fighting, whatever it may be. Depending on the place, you might also need your shorts, pants, jacket, belt or jug of oil. Because each country has its own distinct style. Wouldn’t it be fun … [Read more...]

Will Grappling Dummy Drills Really Help Your BJJ?

Will Grappling Dummy Drills Help Your BJJ?

I often get emails from people wanting to know whether drilling with a grappling dummy will help their jiu-jitsu. Dummies are expensive items, and people want to make sure the investment will be worth it. The short answer is no. In my experience grappling dummies are almost always a waste of time, money, effort and space.  So don't bother. Find another way to train. At first the idea … [Read more...]

How to Throw Defensive, Stiff-Arming, Bent-Over Opponents

Judo throws vs defensive, bent over opponents

A reader writes... Question: Hi Stephan, I'm looking for a way to incorporate some of judo take-downs into my BJJ game, but I'm having a lot of difficulty finding throws that work with the low center of gravity that is so central to the jiu-jitsu defence against throws. The defensive bent-over posture makes it nearly impossible to get good access to their hips, or even their legs while … [Read more...]

How To Use Moves You Already Know to Do Advanced Techniques

From Advanced BJJ Fundamentals mobile app

We've just launched the latest Grapplearts BJJ instructional mobile app with my friend Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins. It's called Advanced BJJ Fundamentals. The name of this app isn't accidental, because it's all about using the fundamental building blocks of jiu-jitsu to make learning easier, to amplify the effectiveness and reliability of your techniques, and to build an advanced … [Read more...]

The 2 Easiest Takedowns for No Gi Submission Grappling and MMA

2 simplest no gi takedowns

Just because you didn't wrestle in High School or do 10 years of Judo doesn't mean that you always need to pull guard! In this 5 minute Youtube video Denis Kang and I riff about the the simplest, easiest takedowns for No Gi. Denis is a BJJ black belt and has fought in Japanese Pride, the UFC, and ADCC, so his credentials are impeccable. And me? I just like to find the easiest ways to do … [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...]

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


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...]

Podcast EP27: Roxanne Modafferi about MMA Training, Continuing to Improve, Tryouts for The Ultimate Fighter, and More


In this podcast episode I talk with Roxanne Modafferi, MMA fighter and TUF standout, about The differences between MMA training in Japan and the USA, Continuing to improve after 12 years in the sport, Training tweaks that finally snapped a 6 fight losing streak, What tryouts forThe Ultimate Fighter were really like, And much more... You can read, listen to, or download the interview … [Read more...]

Top 10 Throws and Takedowns for BJJ

Throws for BJJ

If you do BJJ or submission grappling then you should have some ways to get the fight to the ground.  Yes, pulling guard is an option in sport BJJ competition, but ultimately this is a martial art, which means we have to at least occasionally consider the self defense aspects of what we're doing. Are you going to pull guard in a streetfight?  Not bloody likely. In this Grapplearts article … [Read more...]

Judo for BJJ


An article by Mark Mullen Most students of Brazilian jiu-jitsu are aware that the origins of modern day BJJ came from Japanese judoka Mitsuyo Maeda who was one of the earliest of Jigoro Kano's members at the Kodokan. Since those early days, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has evolved significantly and now Olympic style judo and sport BJJ have diverged into their own sports. The rules governing IBJJF … [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...]

Takedowns for People Who Don’t Do Takedowns…


At it’s core BJJ is an incredibly effective way of fighting on the ground. But the sad truth is that grapplerts who haven’t trained in Judo or wrestling can often have a lot of problems getting the fight to the ground. In fact the only plan many BJJ practitioners have for getting a match to the ground is to pull guard, end of story. … [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...]

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...]

The Most Important Concept for No Gi Takedowns

BS11-standing belly armbar

Takedowns can seem difficult, tricky and confusing. Especially if you're not gifted with a surplus of fast-twitch muscle and innately awesome timing. But my friend and BJJ world champion Emily Kwok has a concept that makes the whole takedowns game a LOT easier. … [Read more...]

Sumo Wrestling: Practical Techniques for the Martial Artist

Sumo Wrestlers

Written by: Andrew Zerling Originally published in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts - Volume 21 Number 1 - 2012 All photos courtesy of Aikido Centers of New Jersey - Manasquan Dojo, except where noted. Abstract The study and appreciation of sumo wrestling, Japan’s ancient and popular martial art, is greatly overlooked in the West. This article focuses on sumo’s winning techniques, with … [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...]