Podcast EP23: Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins on BJJ Training, Competition, Transitions and Evolution

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I've got a super cool, super informative interview for you today! This is the first time in Grapplearts history that I’ve interviewed a person for a second time.  But boy, did my friend, BJJ black belt, and fierce competitor Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins ever deliver! (click here for the first interview). (Brandon and I originally worked together to create the highly acclaimed instructional … [Read more...]

The Danger of All-Or-Nothing Thinking…

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In life it's funny what ends up making a lasting impression on you. An offhand comment can stick with you for years and years, and have an effect way beyond anything the original person intended. There's a phrase like that that pops up in my mind often when I'm thinking about BJJ.  But it originated in a very different place. In fact this comment got stuck in my brain more than 20 years ago … [Read more...]

Judo for BJJ

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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...]

The Answer is Out There!

Stephan Teaching a Jiu-Jitsu seminar

Let's say that you want to add a new technique - any technique - to your game. With new techniques there's always a ton of trial and error, struggle and effort, discouragement and tough times before it starts working reliably for you. But here's the thing: no matter what area of jiu-jitsu or submission grappling you're working on, I guarantee you that there's someone out there who has … [Read more...]

Why You (and Everyone Else) Should Train BJJ

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My friend Ritchie Yip really nails it in this video. Ultimately it's not about winning tournaments, triangle choking a mugger in an alley, or being king of the dojo. It's about developing the strength, the fortitude and - dare I say it - character that will serve you for the rest of your whole life in any field of endeavour. … [Read more...]

How to Build Self Confidence in BJJ

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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...]

How to Train with Beginners so that Nobody Gets Hurt and You Both Get Better

Stephan teaching BJJ

The most dangerous situation in BJJ is training with an absolute novice. I'm serious!  Someone who has never trained before is often unpredictable, jerky, and just doesn't know the rules of the game yet. All that thrashing around, lack of control, as well as potential ego issues means that there's a pretty high likelihood of something going wrong. Either that dude planting an elbow in your … [Read more...]

Should I Do Extra Conditioning for BJJ?

Stephan Running

To condition or not to condition, that is the question… Whether ’tis smarter for your body to strain under barbells and long distance runs, or ignore all that stuff and just focus on getting more mat time. This is NOT an article about general fitness, or about achieving a goal in another sport. If you want to run a half-marathon for the challenge, the endorphins, or the sense of achievement … [Read more...]

How to Incorporate a New Technique into Your Arsenal

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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...]

Self Defense, Competition, and Performing In High Pressure Situations

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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...]

Crowdsourcing Your BJJ

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There's never been a better time to get better at BJJ. A sixteenth century samurai who wanted to improve his duelling skills had relatively limited options.  If he put up with enough hazing and character testing then, maybe, his sensei would eventually decide to teach him some good stuff. And hopefully he would have learned some things by watching, or participating in, the occasional sword … [Read more...]

New to Jiu Jitsu? You’ll need a lot of this…

Laurie Berenson BJJ Sparring

The following guest post is written by Laurie Berenson. She comes to BJJ from a background of training in Muay Thai. I really like her attitude so I invited her to put pen to paper and share her perspective with us. She is currently studying under black belts William Stevens and Casey Van Brookhoven at Stevens Martial Arts in New Jersey, USA. When Stephan Kesting asked if I’d consider … [Read more...]

A Cool X Guard Drill and Sweep

Clark Gracie doing an X guard Sweep

In recent years the X Guard has become one of the bread and butter positions in the open guard repertoire. It's an incredibly powerful position, both in gi and no gi grappling (click here for an intro to the X Guard). There are a ton of great techniques, sweeps, and drills that revolve around the X guard, but today I want to share a new drill with you that I recently learned from Clark Gracie … [Read more...]

What Should A Blue Belt Concentrate On In Training?

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by Mark Mullen A few weeks back I penned an article called "What Do Whitebelts Need To Learn In Their 1st Year of BJJ?". That prompted a few people to request a discussion of the next step in the BJJ journey: Bluebelt. If we think of the whitebelt as a time of fleshing out the skeleton of the positional hierarchy and learning the mechanics of basic techniques, I would sum up the Bluebelt as a … [Read more...]

Question: My Mind Goes Blank During Sparring…

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------------------------------ 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...]