Does the Spider Guard Translate At All to No Gi?

No gi Spider Guard

TONS of top BJJ practioners use the spider guard as their primary form of guard from the bottom. This position has won many BJJ tournaments, from local competitions to the Mundials. And although you'd think that these champions would be completely lost in no gi submission grappling competitions like ADCC that's usually just not the case.  Even though there aren't any sleeves or collars to hold … [Read more...]

11 Short MMA Conditioning Workouts by Chuck Liddell’s Coach John Hackleman

John Hackleman on MMA workouts

John Hackleman is a friend of Grapplearts and a very successful MMA coach.  He runs The Pit Gym and guided Chuck Liddell to UFC Lightweight Champion status and has coached many other MMA fighters. As an MMA trainer he is keenly aware of the importance of conditioning for fighters, but also for 'regular' people training martial arts for self defense. Hackleman is also a very direct … [Read more...]

The 2 Easiest Takedowns for No Gi Submission Grappling and MMA

2 simplest no gi takedowns

Just because you didn't wrestle in High School or do 10 years of Judo doesn't mean that you always need to pull guard! In this 5 minute Youtube video Denis Kang and I riff about the the simplest, easiest takedowns for No Gi. Denis is a BJJ black belt and has fought in Japanese Pride, the UFC, and ADCC, so his credentials are impeccable. And me? I just like to find the easiest ways to do … [Read more...]

4 Takedowns from the Rear Bearhug

rear bearhug takedowns

You can get to the rear standing bearhug from a lot of different scenarios.   An arm drag or duck under from wrestling on the feet, for example.   Or you could end up here starting from the ground if your opponent tries to get back to his feet from the ground the way many wrestlers like to do. Many BJJ people are far more comfortable on the ground than on their feet, and thus get a little bit … [Read more...]

Bernardo Faria’s guard pass: the over-under

Bernardo Faria over-under guard pass

In Judo there is the concept of 'Tokui Waza', which means your "favorite" or "best" technique. This is the technique, or techniques, which you are most comfortable with and use when the chips are down. In Bernardo Faria's case, his Tokui Waza has to be the over-under guard pass. This pressure-based technique has resulted in a boatload of gold medals for Bernardo, most recently a gold in both … [Read more...]

The Simplest Mount Escape for MMA and BJJ?


In BJJ the Mount is one of the very worst positions you can be in.  And if punches are flying in either an MMA or a self defense context then things are much, much worse. The truth is that if you find yourself mounted in a fight then you screwed up a long time ago.  Your opponent is either more lucky or more skillful than you. That being said, if you have good mount escape techniques it IS … [Read more...]

Top 10 Throws and Takedowns for BJJ

Throws for BJJ

If you do BJJ or submission grappling then you should have some ways to get the fight to the ground.  Yes, pulling guard is an option in sport BJJ competition, but ultimately this is a martial art, which means we have to at least occasionally consider the self defense aspects of what we're doing. Are you going to pull guard in a streetfight?  Not bloody likely. In this Grapplearts article … [Read more...]

Flying Armbar Guard Pull

flying armbar guard pull

Some people will tell you never, ever to pull guard. "Fight from the top," they tell you... In general that's good advice, but what if you run into someone with vastly superior takedown skills? Or someone who is good at defending takedowns and determined to fight a completely defensive battle? It's good to have some takedowns in your arsenal. But it's also good to have some other ways to get … [Read more...]

How to Pass the Leg Lasso in Spider Guard


Passing the guard of a good Spider Guard player is one of the most difficult, most frustrating aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And one of the very worst variations of Spider Guard to deal with is the 'Leg Lasso.'  This is when your opponent wraps his leg around your arm and buries his foot under your armpit. (If you can't visualise the Leg Lasso from this description then watch the video - … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Toreando Guard Pass

lapel drag counter to toreando 1

So there you are, on your back and fighting your opponent with your legs.  Maybe you're using the Spider Guard, the Butterfly Guard, or any other variation of Open Guard, but regardless, both you and he are jockeying for grips and position. You’re trying to set up your guard sweeps and submissions, and he’s trying to pass your guard. Then - disaster! Your opponent grips both your pant … [Read more...]

A Surprising Kimura Setup from Kesa Gatame


I don't know what exactly went wrong with the settings on the camera the night we filmed this.  The colour in this video is far from perfect: things are weirdly washed out and at the same time it looks like I've got a horrible sunburn. But it really doesn't matter, because the teaching is really solid. In this video, under the guise of teaching a fancy and surprising setup for the Kimura, my … [Read more...]

My Favourite Spider Guard Variation and Triangle Choke Setup


The Spider Guard is a very diverse position.  Normally you start with the Double Feet on Biceps variation, but after that there are a TON of variations (including the Leg Lasso, de la Spider, Reverse de la Spider, Spider X, Collar-Spider, and Collar-Sleeve variations). Of all these Spider Guard Variations the Collar-Spider is probably my very favourite. We'll go into more detail about it in … [Read more...]

Spinning Triangle Choke from Leg Lasso Spider Guard

timthumb (3)

The first time I saw this triangle choke setup was about 15 years ago when I was still working as a field biologist. At the time I was on a contract 3,000 miles away from home, and living out of a motel. To stay in shape I went for runs and lifted weights on alternate days, but once a week I would drive for 2 hours each way (4 hours in the car total) to go to the nearest BJJ school. Training … [Read more...]

Powerful Options and Variations for the Berimbolo

timthumb (4)

The Berimbolo is an incredibly powerful technique in modern BJJ. It's both a way of finalising a sweep and completely bypassing your opponent's guard with a single technique. Imagine not only being able to easily sweep your opponent from your open guard, but NOT having to fight your way past his guard.  Instead you directly teleport to a dominant, match-ending position such as mount or rear … [Read more...]

A Spider Guard Triangle Choke Setup for No Gi


A lot of people think that Spider Guard is only applicable to BJJ with the gi.  They're kinda right, but they're also mostly wrong. You see, it's more complicated than "no gi equals no Spider Guard..." First of all, if you get good at something as intricate and technical as Spider Guard then it develops your sensitivity, leg dexterity, coordination, strategic and tactical thinking like … [Read more...]

How To Do the Twister the Easiest Way


The Twister is a flashy and hellishly effective submission made famous by Eddie Bravo. It's now illegal in IBJJF competition, but it shows up sometimes in submission grappling and you're even starting to see it in MMA! If you catch your training partners in it - carefully and gently of course - then you get major bragging rights and some instant 'mat cred.' … [Read more...]

Kimura Armlock Grips Explained!


The Kimura, much like any other technique, is usually taught as a series of steps. First do this...  Then move your hand here... Then adjust your body this way... Then finish by doing this other thing. It can be a lot to remember, but it's always easier to remember all the steps and adjustments if you understand WHY you're doing them. When I first learned about the Kimura armlock attack … [Read more...]

A Sneaky Rolling Judo Choke!


In BJJ it's often what you don't see coming that kills you. Which is why it's important to have a couple of surprise attacks in your arsenal. Today's video is from the Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu instructional set that I did with BJJ world champion Brandon Mullins. It's a rolling entry from Judo that takes you directly into one of the most powerful chokes in the entire jiu-jitsu repertoire: the Bow and … [Read more...]

World Championship Guard Passing with Leandro Lo


In BJJ it's what you don't know that hurts you. If you get caught in a position that you don't have an answer to, that you don't understand, then life on the mat just got exponentially more difficult. This problem is most pronounced for the guard. It can be really difficult to keep up with the changing technology. One year it's the X Guard, taking the world by storm, then it's the 50/50 guard, … [Read more...]

A Powerful Surprise Choke Attack from Sidemount


This is one of my very favourite attacks from Sidemount. It works in a BJJ context (i.e. with the gi), in submission grappling, and even in MMA. It's a very powerful attack, but the best thing about is that if it doesn't work then you don't typically lose position. You stay on top and can easily switch to a followup attack. … [Read more...]