This article and video are about how to train and continue to make progress in BJJ when you're dealing with a shoulder, elbow or wrist injury. Now I hope that you go through your entire BJJ career without ever suffering a single injury. And you should do everything you can to avoid injuries! But this is a contact sport, and therefore you're probably going to get a little banged up from time … [Read more...]
Skill vs Athleticism in BJJ, with Rob Biernacki & Stephan Kesting
Rob Biernacki is back on The Strenuous Life Podcast to discuss the relative importance of technical skill vs physical athleticism in BJJ... Skill vs Athleticism in BJJ (Video Version) Here is the video of my conversation with Rob (click here to watch it on Youtube)... 00:20 - Can you succeed with just technique in Jiu-jitsu? 04:41 - Is Jiu-jitsu for everybody? 08:59 - Skill vs … [Read more...]
Breaking Through BJJ Sticking Points
Every significant journey will have its hiccups, its difficulties, and its frustrations. BJJ is no different: it's a potentially lifelong journey with many, many opportunities for getting super-frustrated when you hit a sticking point. These sticking points can take any number of forms. Maybe your guard passing stops working... Or maybe you haven't submitted anyone good in ages... … [Read more...]
Passing and Smashing Inverted Guard, by Fabio Gurgel
Passing the guard of an extremely flexible player can be really annoying. You get close to passing and they simply flip upside down, put their feet on the floor, and taunt you from their strange inverted guard position. Some gumby players go even further and develop an entire attacking game from this inverted guard, sometimes also known as the tornado guard. It may look strange but it … [Read more...]
Does Pressure Passing Work for Small Guys?
"Does pressure passing work for small guys, or is it just for the big, heavy guys at they gym?" I'm getting this question a lot now that I've released The Pressure Passing System instructional with 4 x world champion Fabio Gurgel. And it's a good question! First things first, let's define what we're talking about... The Styles of Guard Passing Fundamentally there are two styles of guard … [Read more...]
Fighting in the Octagon and the Battle Within with Eliot Marshall
Eliot Marshall is BJJ black belt and a former professional mixed MMA fighter who also appeared in Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter show. He now helps run Easton Training Centers and the Elevation Fight Team. In today's episode of my podcast (The Strenuous Life Podcast) we talk about how to run a successful BJJ school, the financial incentive structures in MMA fight teams, the physical and … [Read more...]
Training BJJ As You Age – Video and Podcast
If you're doing any kind of martial art - be it BJJ, MMA, Kickboxing, Taekwondo or whatever - then your game needs to evolve every decade. This is because of the age-related changes in your body. I got this from the legendary Dan Inosanto who started training at age 11 and is still practising martial arts in his 80's. To hear this podcast episode in full, you have a couple of options. The … [Read more...]
Kneel Or Stand to Pass the Guard?
I once drilled technique with a big, strong rock climber who had a grip from hell and tenacious isometric strength. I noticed how much he liked controlling my gi, breaking my posture and attacking with collar chokes. Since I knew we were going to spar soon I formulated a simple sparring strategy: I told myself that as soon as I ended up in his guard I would stand up and not go back down onto my … [Read more...]
How Vinny Magalhães Survived Fabrício Werdum’s Armbar to Win ADCC
In the heaviest weight class of the 2011 ADCC submission fighting championships there was a fascinating matchup between accomplished grappler and MMA fighter Vinny Magalhães and the two time ADCC champion, Fabrício Werdum. After an initial exchange on the feet Vinny caught Fabrício in an omoplata sweep and got ahead on points. Fabrício escapes, they get back to the feet, there's another … [Read more...]
Should You Stretch Before Jiu-Jitsu Training?
Some experts tell you that you should only stretch after a workout when your muscles are tired and your body warmed up. Static stretching before a workout, they insist, can actually lead to more injuries not less. And there is some evidence from the running world to prove this... This is the exact opposite approach used in most traditional martial arts classes, where the instructor makes … [Read more...]
Getting in Shape for a BJJ Tournament, FAST!
So I got this letter from a reader asking about how to get into shape for a BJJ tournament as fast as possible... --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi Stephan, I've just read your article on Tapering and Peaking for MMA and BJJ Competition and found it to be very informative and I have a question that relates to the topic. I have a grappling … [Read more...]
Are my legs too short to apply the triangle choke?
The first time I ever saw the triangle choke in action was in 1994, during the last match of UFC 4. Royce Gracie had just squared off against Dan Severn, a seemingly unstoppable wrestler with a huge weight advantage. I remember thinking, 'There's just no possible way that Royce is gonna win this one.' The fight went to the ground quickly, and after 15 minutes of getting manhandled Royce … [Read more...]
Should You Correct Your Weaknesses or Focus on Your Strengths?
This is an article by longtime Grapplearts contributor and BJJ Black Belt Mark Mullen. A question I always ask when I discuss jiu-jitsu with senior black belts is, "In developing your game is it better to develop your strengths, or to focus on weaknesses in order to correct them?" The simplest form of this question is about developing your top game vs your bottom game in BJJ. … [Read more...]
The Difference Between the Brabo Choke and the Anaconda Choke… Plus Tips for Both
I recently received the following question about the Brabo and Anaconda chokes from a reader of the Grapplearts Newsletter: Hi Stephan, I've been training in BJJ for about a year. In no gi training I really like chokes, but I still get confused sometimes: what is the difference between the Anaconda Choke and the Brabo Choke? I get my hand positioning all messed up every time I try either … [Read more...]
Triangle Chokes for People with Short Legs
The triangle choke is one of the signature submissions of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Just about everyone takes a stab at perfecting it during their grappling career. But you can run into problems with the triangle choke if your legs are short. Just like the reader below... Q: Hi Stephan, I've been having problems with the triangle choke. I have rather thick, maybe even short, legs and I just … [Read more...]
How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent
Today is a very exciting day! For the past few months I've been working like crazy to get my new DVD series finished. In these videos I'm collaborating with my friend, and former teammate, Emily Kwok. She's one of the best known competitive grapplers out there! For a lot of different reasons. … [Read more...]
The Six BJJ Supplements That Really Work
When it comes to supplements, most people either take nothing at all or far too many! And most serious grapplers go through a phase of taking tons of supplements in hopes of boosting their jiu-jitsu game. … [Read more...]
Podcast EP3: Erik Paulson; an MMA Master Coach Shares His Secrets
Erik Paulson is an MMA Master Coach. He's trained tons of fighters competing at the highest levels of Mixed Martial Arts. And he held the Shooto light-heavyweight title in Japan for 5 years. He's also my friend and a mentor. Click Play Below to Listen to My Conversation with Erik Paulson... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx7gT-EXohM Recently I asked my newsletter readers if there was … [Read more...]
Confessions of a Reformed ‘Unco’
I got some good feedback on the last post (Advice for a Frustrated, Clumsy and Uncoordinated Grappler) and want to share a couple of tidbits with you today. Here's what one anonymous Australian BJJ student in his thirties had to say … [Read more...]
Sensitivity Training for Grappling
Physical attributes are really important for Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission grappling (a point further discussed in this article about physical attributes and BJJ). Being able to feel your opponent's intent and react to it even before he moves (like when he's trying to bridge his way out of your mount) requires sensitivity. … [Read more...]