Training

The 10 Second Choke Fix (or How to Tap Out More People)

fixing the triangle choke

  How many times has a sparring partner told you "Man, I was SO close to tapping" after you'd been squeezing their neck like crazy in a desperate attempt to choke them, but then decided that it wasn't working and gave up on the submission? Frustrating, isn't it? Or have you ever held a choke for so long that you completely burn out your grips and have to fight the rest of the match … [Read more...]

The Training and Competition Strategies of Bernardo Faria

5-x-world-champion

  Bernardo Faria is a 5 x BJJ World Champion (and a good friend) so I was very excited to sit down with him and have an in-depth conversation about his competition, training and conditioning routine. The full transcript, audio and video are below on this page, but here's a quick preview of some of the things talked about: Exactly what a world champion's day to day training regimen … [Read more...]

How to Get Kicked Out of Your BJJ Club

How to get kicked out of your bjj club

by Jeff Meszaros So, you've been training at the same jiu-jitsu club for a while now and you've decided it's not for you. You've given it very careful consideration and concluded that it's time to move on to another club or quit altogether. But you don't want anyone to call you "a quitter" so instead of quitting, you've decided to take the high road and get kicked out. But how can you do … [Read more...]

Overtraining in the Martial Arts

Overtraining in the Martial Arts

How to Avoid Bringing Your Martial Arts Training to a Screeching Halt... Overtraining is a major problem for the serious martial artist, and especially for competitors who have to balance technical training sessions with sparring and additional conditioning, often in the course of a single day. All this hard training can result in the body breaking down faster than it can repair itself, which … [Read more...]

Grapplearts Radio Podcast Episode 40: Stephan Kesting and Ritchie Yip

  In the 40th episode of the Grapplearts Radio Podcast Ritchie and I start with a discussion of Darth Vader's lightsabre technique in Rogue One and then go deeply into the topic of paralysis by analysis in jiu-jitsu, teaching technique, the best way to train to get good fast, and many other fun topics. We finish up by talking about areas that we've focussed on in our own training this … [Read more...]

Who Should You Mostly Be Sparring With To Improve The Fastest?

What level of sparring partner should you spend the majority of your time going against?

Who should you spend most of your time on the mats training with and sparring against? One of my martial arts mentors, Dan Inosanto, said it best; "You make your fastest progress when you're sparring people just a little bit better or a little bit worse than you." This makes a lot of sense. Imagine you're a new blue belt and you' only ever train with high level brown belts and black … [Read more...]

Grapplearts Radio Podcast Episode 039: BJJ, Adversity, and Stopping Your Mind From Going Blank

Grapplearts BJJ Podcast

  I've just released the latest episode of the Grapplearts Radio Podcast!  In this episode I'm flying solo and addressing two main topics... How and why BJJ training helps prepare you for ANY adversity that you might encounter in life, and What to do when your mind goes completely blank when you're sparring, rolling or competing. To listen to this podcast you can... Click … [Read more...]

What Techniques Do You Need to Know for Your Blue Belt

What do you need to know to get your blue belt?

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a relatively disorganised and highly variable sport.  This is most evident when you start looking at belt promotion requirements.  The belts in BJJ go white, blue, purple, brown and black, with the first four belts typically having 4 stripes each and the black belt having 10 degrees. However the number of degrees in a black belt is getting way ahead of ourselves, … [Read more...]

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 Find the High Percentage BJJ Techniques You Can Rely On

high percentage guard retention

As a young martial artist I once debated whether a certain Kung Fu striking technique could actually work in a real fight. To prove my point I mentioned that a bouncer I knew had successfully used that technique on a drunk in the bar the other night The guy I was arguing with shut me down with a devastatingly simple rebuttal, “Yeah Stephan, that doesn't prove anything, because ANYTHING will … [Read more...]

Should You Compete in BJJ Tournaments?

Do you need to compete to get your BJJ black belt?

I often get asked whether competition is essential to BJJ, and if you need to have competed to get promoted to black belt. (If you prefer to watch or listen to me talk about this this topic then just scroll to the bottom of this blog post and look for the video called "Do you need to compete to get your black belt"). The quick answers are: no, you don't necessarily need to compete.  And no, … [Read more...]

The Secret to Getting Your Black Belt

Getting Your Black Belt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWcbLgxANFo Pssst, want to become a BJJ black belt? The 'secret' is simple: just don’t quit! Of course, the devil is in the details, which is why this article is more than two lines long... I want to start with the fact that almost everybody can eventually become a black belt, so if you just keep training hard then you’ll probably make it. One my … [Read more...]

How to Avoid BJJ Injuries (and Other Dumb Ways to Die)

How to Prevent BJJ Injuries

There’s a smartphone game out there called Dumb Ways to Die. Well, many BJJ guys are playing a similar game every time they step on the mats. It’s called Dumb Ways to Get Injured. To fight this trend here’s an important new article written by my friend (and training partner from long ago) Jeff Meszaros. In this article you get some of Jeff’s crazy stories about some of the dumbest things … [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...]

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...]

Pre-Workout Supplements for BJJ

Pre-workout Supplements for BJJ Image

Pre-workout supplements used to be mostly for weightlifters and bodybuilders.  But now more and more jiu-jitsu practitioners are taking them before BJJ class in order to train longer and harder. Do they work?  Sorta, kinda... Are they safe?  Not at all. Is there a better alternative?  Definitely! Let's look into pre-workout supplements, especially with regards to students of BJJ. In … [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...]

Don’t Overthink Jiu-Jitsu

armbar in progress

Back when I was a brown belt I rolled with a large, strong, aggressive and completely unskilled white belt. This white belt was absolutely determined to illustrate the size difference between us by using all his weight and all his strength at all times. You know the type... At one point he was in my guard with his forearm across my throat. Essentially he was giving me the classic trigger … [Read more...]

How to Come Up With New Jiu-Jitsu Techniques (and Succeed at Online Dating Too)

How-to-come-up-with-new-jiu-jitsu-techniques

The key to having great ideas is to have LOTS of ideas.  Dream them up, test them out, and discard the bad ideas quickly! Almost all the new variations of jiu-jitsu techniques you dream up will die a lonely death in the graveyard of stupid ideas. Most of your brilliant new ideas will be crap.  Most things you try out in life will fail... Expect this and learn to welcome it. Speed towards … [Read more...]

Taking Responsibility for Your Own BJJ Training

bjj competition

A Guest Article by Kaeli Sweigard When you choose your actions, you choose your consequences. I used to work with “at risk” youth, and this was something I constantly re-iterated to them. They would break into cars, and then complain about having to go to court. I wanted them to really grasp the fact that they could make a different decision, and they would get different results. I wanted them … [Read more...]