Why Talent is Way Overrated

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So I'm touring Casa Loma recently, the famous castle in downtown Toronto and the largest private residence ever constructed in Canada. Just the usual touristic wandering of the halls, climbing the turrets, and exploring the never-ending parade of lavishly decorated rooms. All of a sudden I heard something beautiful drifting through the marble and hardwood hallways. … [Read more...]

3 Ways to Deal With Injuries in BJJ

BJJ Injuries

I'm not going to pretend that injuries don't suck.  They do. There have been many great athletic careers cut short by injury.  Many people who would otherwise have been great have had their dreams derailed when a bone went 'crack' or a ligament went 'snap' and then never quite recovered. The typical reaction of the BJJ addict when they get injured is, 'Oh no, now I can't train.' … [Read more...]

How to Build Self Confidence in BJJ

Stephan-in-BJJ-Gi

Today I want to share the single best piece of advice I ever got from sport psychology. Let's set this up by supposing that you have an ambitious goal, like getting your BJJ brown belt, or winning a medal in a major competition… To achieve that goal you’ve obviously got to do lots of drilling, sparring, conditioning, etc. All these things get your body into shape and ready for action. But … [Read more...]

Self Defense, Competition, and Performing In High Pressure Situations

cloverleaf from Kajukenbo Crest 2

Performance under pressure is always tricky.  In fact a lot of martial arts practitioners worry about whether they'd actually be able to execute their skills in super-stressful situations. Of course competing at a tournament or performing at belt tests can be stressful.  But the scariest high pressure situation of all is a self defence scenario where you and/or your family is being … [Read more...]

The Real Secret to Mastering a Skill

Upper Norish Creek

New Year's eve is just around the corner, making this the traditional time for drawing up plans, making resolutions, and setting your goals for the upcoming year. "This year I'm gonna do this… I'm gonna stop doing that…" Goal setting is super important and I'm all for it. I hope that you have your goals for the year clearly written out and displayed in a prominent place. But the problem is … [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 EP17: Rafael Lovato Jr. on Training and Competing in BJJ

Rafael Lovato Jr Celebrating

This is a great interview with BJJ competition legend Rafael Lovato Jr.  You can listen to, read, or download this interview in several different ways… Play the audio-only Youtube video at the bottom of this list, and/or Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file to your computer, and/or Subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (RECOMMENDED, because … [Read more...]

BJJ Lessons from a Sushi Master

Yoshikazu Ono

I just watched a really cool documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi (available on Netflix, iTunes, etc.).  This 2011 film paints a fascinating portrait of Jiro Ono, an 85 year old master chef who's been making sushi for 75 years. Jiro - the protagonist - is a single-minded perfectionist workaholic who hates national holidays because they keep him away from his obsession,  which is working on … [Read more...]

Podcast EP14: Keenan Cornelius on Training, BJJ Competition, MMA Goals and More

Keenan Cornelius using the Spider Guard to control his opponent from the bottom

Keenan Cornelius is a BJJ phenomenon. Known for his exciting guardwork and movement-oriented game, he won double gold medals in four of the biggest BJJ tournament in the world as a purple belt, which is a HUGE accomplishment. Here's my recent interview with Keenan … [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...]

20,000 lbs of snow and the true meaning of self defense…

cabin in the snow

This is a rather rambling post; in the words of Mark Twain, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead." First, and most importantly, I really hope that you had a great Christmas (or alternate celebration of your choice).  And that you got to spend time with friends, family and loved ones. Next, congratulations on surviving the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse!  … [Read more...]

What Champion Bodybuilder Kai Greene Can Teach You About BJJ

Kai Greene

An old training partner sent me a short email yesterday. Here's what it said: "I know you have a paucity of spare time - but this video of pro bodybuilder Kai Greene is GREAT!  His plain speaking talk about self discipline and mastering fundamentals to achieve excellence is probably the best I have heard. I think you will enjoy this." … [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...]

Podcast EP12: BJJ Competition and Training Strategies with Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins

Brandon vs Stephan

In this interview 2 x World No Gi Champion Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins shares his best competition and training advice.  The questions come from my newsletter readership, who I polled to see if they had any questions for Brandon, especially about training, competing or holding their own against bigger opponents. Boy, did they ever! We then sifted and sorted hundreds of emails to pick out the … [Read more...]

The Secret Subversive Power of BJJ

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by Valerie Worthington, Emily Kwok, and Lola Newsom Groundswell Grappling Concepts We have a hypothesis about some women who grapple. We may be projecting, but our wholly unscientific data collection and analysis supports it. Namely, Brazilian jiu jitsu affords women who are looking for such things a mechanism for subversion. … [Read more...]

Podcast EP09: Ryan Hall Interview and Transcript

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Stephan's note: This is the transcript of an interview I did with noted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, über-competitor and teacher Ryan Hall.    You can either read the interview below or listen/download the audio by doing one of the following: Use the player at the bottom of this list, and/or Right click on this link and select ‘save as’ to download this mp3 file … [Read more...]