Neck Harness Trials

Neck Harness quick video

A strong neck is essential for BJJ and grappling. Obviously a strong neck is simply harder to choke, but that’s not the end of the matter… A strong neck also helps you maintain good posture when standing and in the guard, and high level grapplers inevitably use the head as a fifth limb. (If you’ve ever had a skilled wrestler in your guard then you probably know what I’m talking about, … [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...]

10 Key Techniques and Tactics of Marcelo Garcia

The techniques and tactics of Marcelo Garcia

Marcelo Garcia is probably the most dominant jiu-jitsu athlete of the last 15 years. When he was competing he owned both the gi and the no gi divisions (4 x ADCC champion, 5 x Mundial World Champion).  As if that wasn't enough, his amazing performances in the absolute division against giants like Ricco Rodriguez have ensured his place in grappling history. It’s always a good idea to … [Read more...]

A Strategy for Getting 15 Points in a BJJ Tournament Fast

BJJ tournament point system

The ultimate goal of BJJ competition is to tap your opponent out, not to win by points.  That being said, the point system is still a very important part of the game and you have to understand how to use it! Here's why... First of all, the point system in BJJ tournaments generally reflects what would work in a real fight. For example, its better to be on top than on bottom in a fight, … [Read more...]

Cauliflower Ear Prevention in BJJ

instagram-of-baby-stephan

Let's talk about how NOT to end up with cauliflower ear when you're doing BJJ. (You know what cauliflower ear is, right? It's when you end up with lumpy cancerous potato looking things on either side of your head.) Personally I am less than thrilled by the possibility of acquiring a giant lumps on either side of my head because I've always had large ears. Supposedly when my grandmother … [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 Pass Mission Control in the Rubber Guard and Lockdown Half Guard

How to pass rubber guard and the lockdown

The popular no gi grappling system 10th planet jiu-jitsu has many unique positions and strategies. Their closed rubber guard system, which emphasises and requires quite a bit of flexibility, starts with a position called 'Mission Control'. In Mission Control you get one foot on your opponent's hip and hook your leg behind his neck to keep his posture broken.  From here there are numerous … [Read more...]

Guard Pass Prevention in BJJ

Guard Pass Prevention Techniques and Concepts

Maintaining your guard and defending the guard pass are incredibly critical skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is the guard that allows a smaller opponent to control and defeat a bigger attacker.  And the guard allows you survive when you're on the bottom - if you're underneath your opponent in any other position then basically you're losing. Preventing the guard pass doesn't necessarily … [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...]

BJJ Competition Mindset Tips

Tips for competition mindset

Here's a video that I shot with Rob Biernacki and one of his visiting students in response to a question I'd received from an email newsletter subscriber about competing at your very best in BJJ tournaments. You can watch the video below or scroll down to see the main points that we covered... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0HTOI9qKkk I get a lot of questions asking for tips, tricks and … [Read more...]

Leg Lasso Spider Guard Pass

How to pass leg lasso spider guard with Rob Biernacki

If you've ever been caught in the leg lasso position by someone with a good spider guard then you'll know exactly how a fly feels when it gets caught in the web of a big, old, nasty spider... Basically, in a correctly executed leg lasso spider guard you're in deep trouble! Your arms are both trapped so you won't be able to make effective grips.  Because of the tremendous leverage of the … [Read more...]

BREAKING NEWS: Rare German Jiu-Jitsu Footage Discovered, Changes Martial Arts Forever

german jiu-jitsu

In the extensive Grapplearts video vaults I recently discovered rare archival footage of an incredibly deadly martial art that I had somehow missed... This savage system of self defense is called 'German Jiu-Jitsu' and as the GermanJiujitsu.com website so clearly and succinctly states, it is clearly clearly much better than all other kinds of jiu-jitsu. Watch the video below and tell me if … [Read more...]

Movements and Transitions from Knee on Belly

Knee on Belly Movements and Transitions

When I first learned the knee on belly position I was told that you should use it for two reasons... Get two points in a tournment, and/or Put so much weight on your opponent and making him so uncomfortable that he would open up his defences and give you the chance to armbar or choke him. Now points and pressure are still totally valid uses of the knee mount.  For example, I think using … [Read more...]

A Simple Tweak to Develop a Powerful Bridge in BJJ

A high, powerful BJJ Bridge

The bridge is one of the most important movements in all of BJJ. It is one of the three critical pin escape movements and can be used to escape almost every bad position. For example, the classic (and highly effective) 'Upa' mount escape would not exist without bridging your hips high up to ceiling before turning your body and getting out of the mount. And my favourite way of escaping … [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...]

How to do the Armbar Without Crushing Your Balls

How to prevent your balls from getting crushed during the armbar

It's a question that I get from BJJ beginners all the time, "How do I do the armbar without crushing my balls in the process?" And it's a legitimate problem for people starting out their BJJ career.  In fact, it's a simple equation... Elbow + Groin = OUCH!! Now you could wear a cup, but most intermediate and advanced players don't do that unless they're training for MMA. Instead of … [Read more...]

A 4 x World Champion Teaches the Omoplata from Closed Guard

omoplata from the closed guard by Bernardo Faria

In this video my friend (and 4 x world champion) Bernardo Faria takes you through the old school omoplata armlock from the closed guard. I have seen Bernardo tap out everybody, from white belt to black belt, using ONLY the omoplata armlock at one of his seminars. It was incredible.  So needless to say he's really bloody good with the omoplata and a great person to study for this attack! As … [Read more...]

A Hidden Danger When Martial Artists Get Injured…

Martial Arts Injuries: a Hidden Danger

If you're doing a 'real' martial art then it's going to involve some form of contact... And if you're doing any contact activity for long enough then, eventually, you're going to get injured. Now hopefully your injury won't be anything serious; maybe just a sprain, a bad bruise, or a tweak that will heal quickly. But in the worst case scenario - especially if it's a serious injury like an … [Read more...]

A Powerful Choke from Knee on Belly

knee on belly choke

Knee on belly (also known as Kneemount) is a super-dominant position in jiu-jitsu. If you're using this position correctly then you're driving down into your opponent with all your weight, making it hard for him to breathe, and forcing him to give you openings for submissions (click here to read 3 Ways to Get a Really Heavy Kneemount on Grapplearts). Most typically the guy on the bottom of … [Read more...]

How to Make Your Chokes Tighter

BJJ Choke Mechanics

Psst, wanna tap out more people with chokes, including that super-tough guy with the giant neck? Success in choking is all about the details and getting the underlying mechanics correct. Yes, you can get chokes to work with bad technique - people do it all the time.  But it's difficult, wastes a lot of energy, and isn't very high percentage. But on the other hand as soon as you get the … [Read more...]