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...]

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...]

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...]