Brothers Who Have Changed BJJ

Gracie and Machado Brothers - A BJJ Family

by Jeff Meszaros Everyone who trains in martial arts has heard about the Gracies. They're probably the most famous family in the history of martial arts and it's no surprise. They have a huge family tree with many branches of brothers, half-brothers, sisters, uncles and cousins. And, with just a few exceptions, they've all played a role in the evolution of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But did you know … [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...]

Who’s Who in EBI 6?


by Jeff Meszaros Brazilian jiu jitsu has always been an art for creative people who like to experiment and find newways to reach their goals, whether it's new ways to make an opponent tap, or brand new events to promote the sport. And Eddie Bravo is certainly one creative guy. Known for his innovative system of 10th Planet jiu-jitsu, he has branched out again to start his own tournament. His … [Read more...]

The Reverse Armbar from Closed Guard

The Reverse Armbar from Closed Guard

I was a white belt when I first saw the reverse armbar from closed guard (also known as the 'arm crush', the 'razor lock, and the 'cutting armbar'). At first I was pretty skeptical. I had all kinds of reasons why it probably wouldn't work. And then I started running into more and more people who had been submitted by it... And then I started getting caught in it too... And then I … [Read more...]

17 IBJJF BJJ Competition Rules to Remember

Defending the triangle at an IBJJF BJJ Competition

by Jeff Meszaros There are a lot of things to consider when you sign up to compete in a tournament. You need to make weight, you need to be physically fit enough to win, and you need to have fairly sharp technique. At least, sharper than everyone else. That’s the idea, anyway. But you also have to understand the rules. Otherwise, you may get penalized or even disqualified for doing something … [Read more...]

What’s the Right Stance for MMA?

Stances and Footwork in MMA

In MMA you see fighters using a variety of stances.  Some crouch, some stand upright, some look like wrestlers, others look like kick boxers.  And sometimes you see stances straight out of Karate, Capoeira, and Kung Fu... Given all these options how can fighters choose what'll work best for them?  Or, in simple terms, what's the best stance for MMA? Of course the answer is never so simple. … [Read more...]

How To Do the Bow and Arrow Choke

Emily bow and arrow choke

The Bow and Arrow Choke is one of the top ten most successful submissions in BJJ. And when you get to the upper ranks - purple, brown and black - where people really know how to prevent and counter many of the 'easy' submissions - the Bow and Arrow is one of the top three submissions in BJJ competition. My point is that if you do BJJ you've gotta know how to do the Bow and Arrow Choke! In … [Read more...]

Can You Cross Your Ankles in Back Mount?

When is it OK to cross your ankles in back mount?

"Never cross your ankles when you're in back mount!" This rule is often taught as gospel to BJJ beginners. Truly, it's not a bad rule of thumb to start with.  But there are exceptions to every rule, and that's what this article is all about... The back mount is one of the very best positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  From the back you can submit your opponent with some very powerful … [Read more...]

47 Favourite Martial Arts and Inspiration Quotes

Martial Arts Quotes

I love pithy quotes: in just a few short words they can encapsulate an entire strategy, philosophy, or approach to life.  That's why more than 10 years ago I published a short article with some of my favourite grappling and martial arts quotes. Well, I've come across a lot more great quotes in the last decade! I typically share the new quotations I discover on my Twitter and/or Instagram … [Read more...]

Podcast EP 34: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Principles with Rob Biernacki (plus Ninjas, Insane Martial Arts Instructors and Martial Arts Cults)

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu principles with Rob Biernacki

The latest episode of the Grapplearts Radio Podcast is out.  In it I talk with Rob Biernacki, a friend, BJJ black belt, and contributor to Grapplearts (see the videos and articles he's been involved with here). Rob is known for his analytical style of teaching BJJ.  He doesn't focus on being a 'technique collector, but rather specialises in sharing the underlying principles and concepts that … [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...]

How to do the Reverse Butterfly Sweep

How to do the reverse butterfly sweep

I talk a lot about the butterfly guard around here; it's one of my very favourite guard positions.  It's powerful, it's mobile, and it's fun. There's no doubt that the workhorse of the butterfly guard is the 'basic' butterfly sweep.  It's a tool that newcomers to jiu-jitsu can learn quickly, but is still being used by the top BJJ competitors on the planet. Now there's a move called the … [Read more...]

Finger Pain in BJJ and What to Do About It

Hand and finger pain in BJJ

"My Fingers Hurt..." I get a lot of emails, tweets and messages from BJJ practitioners about fingers hurting all the time. For example, I asked a question about BJJ hand pain on Twitter got a ton of responses (click here to see them on Twitter), including a disconcerting number of white belts who had this problem. So it's a real problem, and not only for people who've been doing the sport a … [Read more...]

A Trick to Set Up the Grips You Need to Pass Your Opponent’s Guard

Guard Passing Grips

One of the keys to passing the guard effectively and efficiently is controlling the grip battle. But a quality opponent always be trying to block your grips.  Not only that: he wants to attack you with sweeps and submissions so at the same time he'll be trying to ensnare you with his own set of grips. As a result, when you're passing the guard you'll often end up in a pseudo-symmetrical … [Read more...]

Top 3 Armbar Mistakes in BJJ

Top 3 Armbar Errors in BJJ

The basic armbar is one of those bread-and-butter submission techniques in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. You just can't do BJJ without it, so it's SUPER important to understand this submission inside out! But I see people make the same silly errors for the armbar all the time. That's why I shot a quick and dirty video showing the three most common mistakes for the armbar (plus how to fix … [Read more...]

The 4 Most Common Errors For The ‘Upa’ Mount Escape

Mistakes made while trying the Upa Mount Escape

The 'Upa' (or 'Bridge and Roll') is probably the very first mount escape that a beginner ever learns. It's taught as part of the basic curriculum for a very simple reason: it works! You see this escape in MMA, submission grappling, and BJJ competition with the gi. I've used it as a white belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt and black belt. Contrary to what some people will tell you is … [Read more...]

Fitness On One Hour of Working Out Per Week…

Working out when time is limited

A reader recently asked an interesting question... Hi Stephan, I'm super-busy with my job and my kids.  In a good week I only get to go to BJJ class once, maybe twice, so I want to add some conditioning to the mix.  If I only have one additional hour per week to devote to physical fitness what would you suggest? Thanks, Jim  I feel his pain!  Everybody's busy these days, and … [Read more...]

BJJ – Born in Japan, Evolved in Brazil!

BJJ: Born in japan, evolved in brazil shirt

This new BJJ shirt was designed by Mark Mullen, one of my very first jiu-jitsu training partners and occasional contributor to the Grapplearts blog. Obviously being a BJJ black belt he's a skilled grappler and instructor, but what a lot of people don't know is that he also does a lot of graphic design.  So when he came up with this image of a charging Japanese dragon I thought it would make a … [Read more...]

How to Escape Kesa Gatame and the Headlock

How to escape Kesa gatame and the headlock

Kesa Gatame is one of the most under-utilized positions in BJJ. People in jiu-jitsu tend to ignore this position but generations of judo players and wrestlers have proved that Kesa Gatame IS a powerful and effective way to pin someone. And - even worse for someone caught in it - Kesa Gatame is also a great entry into some very effective armlocks, leglocks, neck cranks and diaphragm … [Read more...]

Blocking Headbutts in the Guard

Blocking headbutts from the bjj guard

As I've said many times before, BJJ is a fantastic sport and fitness activity but at it's core IT'S A MARTIAL ART. And that means you have to keep an eye on how this stuff would work in a real fight. Someone recently asked me what you can do to prevent getting knocked out if someone on top of you is trying to headbutt you into oblivion. Good question.  It's an important topic: before they … [Read more...]

Podcast EP33: Leglocks with Eddie ‘Wolverine’ Cummings

Leglocks with Eddie Cummings

In this episode of Grapplearts Radio I quiz Eddie Cummings - one of the very best leglock artists active on the competition scene today - about every detail of his leglock game, including : Why the heel hook is one of the most efficient submissions for self defense How to train leglocks safely How a world class grappling competitor spends his days Dead ends and rabbit holes that … [Read more...]

Leg Action in Rear Mount – How to Put the Squeeze on Your Opponent

Full rear mount with harness on upper body and proper leg action

The rear mount is one of the very best positions you can get in BJJ. In rear mount you're behind your opponent and can attack him with chokes and armlocks (not to mention strikes in an MMA or self defense context).  And there's pretty much bugger all that he can do to you... But it can be a lot of work to get here.  You have to pass his guard, induce him to turn, secure your grips, get your … [Read more...]

BJJ Instructional Apps for Amazon Kindle and Fire Tablets

Grapplearts BJJ Apps

Wow, that was a LOT of work: we just updated our entire fleet of BJJ instructional apps for Amazon Kindles and Fire Tablets. I shouldn't complain: if you're going to play in the instructional app space then you just have to accept that you're going to be spending a lot of time and money updating apps on a regular basis so they keep on working as the various platforms evolve. Click here if … [Read more...]

Dealing with Big, Strong Wrestlers in Your Guard

Teaching a class

I got the following question on Twitter where I hang out as @stephankesting. I think it's a question worth exploring because a lot of people find dealing with strong, large and aggressive wrestlers very difficult. Question: Hi Stephan, I’ve been training BJJ for a few years now, but I get frustrated when I roll with one particular bigger, stronger whitebelt coming from a wrestling … [Read more...]

How To Do The Lapel-Based Brabo Choke in the Gi

Brabo choke inside the half guard with the lapel of your opponent

From our very first day on the mat we're taught to pass the guard before attacking with a submission. Pass... Establish position... And only then try to submit! So when a technique like the gi-based Brabo choke comes along it seems very counterinintuitive. Because in it you stay in his half guard, you don't try to pass, and you still attack with a choke. Every rule - including the primacy … [Read more...]