Archive for March, 2012


I think when anyone starts out in Bjj they believe that there is only one way to properly learn techniques and execute them.  They come to class waiting to be told exactly what to do and for awhile this is the way they believe it is supposed to be.

Truth is that in the beginning amateurs coming into Bjj have to be told exactly what to do. Its not till you start to advance that the real creativity side of the art starts to come  out.  For along time I was of the mind that you had to preform every technique exactly they way your instructor showed you. If he put his arm at a certain angle then so should you, if his foot was in a certain spot on the mat then yours should be too.

It really wasn’t until I started training with my instructor Josh that my eyes were opened to how unique   techniques are for an individual.  I was having trouble with the rear naked choke and had asked Josh why the hell I was getting such a low percentage on the finish.  I knew I had the basics down pat so I understood that wasn’t the issue. I was spending so much time and energy squeezing the crap out of my opponents that even if I did get the tap my arms would be blown out for the rest on the night.

So Josh asked me to demonstrate the choke on another person in class so he could analyze what I might be doing wrong.  After I was done he looked at me and said ” Your arms are long, you have to grab higher on your shoulder than most people and you have try to shorten out the choke more.”   He went on to explain to me that I had to start finding ways the techniques fit my body type and style of jiu jitsu, that I knew the basics but that now I had to make the basics fit me.

That advice is probably in the top five pieces of advice I’ve ever received in Bjj. It didn’t just stop at techniques for me. It also carried over into ideas for my own training on and off the mat. I started using the balance ball in a completely different way than I’d even seen on youtube and training videos. I came up with unique sit ups based on Jiu jitsu moves I had witnessed before.

Once when we were working positional training from cross-sides I came up with a different version of controlling my opponent that worked so much better for me personally that I still use it to this day.  People I’ve trained with have asked what I did to hold them down and when I show them they inevitably say “Theres no way I could use that, I’d get thrown off!”    That is the point though, what works for me might not work for them and vise versa, but its up to them to come up with their own variation that does.

You have to learn the proper mechanics first before you start venturing off into the creativity part of Jiu Jitsu, but once you get to that point you start to get a deeper understanding of your style of Jiu Jitsu and how you approach a match. Marcelo Garcia’s X-Guard is a great example of this.  Marcelo was having trouble dealing with bigger and stronger opponents in his open guard. The X-Guard was a result of him trying to find a better open guard that he could manipulate his  opponents with that he normally couldn’t from a traditional open guard.

This element of Jiu Jitsu is the reason most of the top Bjj black belts will always say that Bjj is a continuing journey. Develop this creativity in your Bjj style and you will continue to grow in the art…




Here is a very technical match between two great black belts…The thing about Maia that makes him such an incredible Jiu Jitsu guy is his ability to seem like he’s in big trouble than use that bad momentum to his advantage…….


Keeping the moment going with chaining moves comes Emily Kwok with some great combos from cross-sides position.

Her knee catch from the fore arm attack is a fantastic variation that I’m definitely adding into my arsenal.  So many times I’ve lost the arm bar because of this type of escape attempt……


I don’t post a lot of MMA fights on here unless they have some excellent grappling involved, and that is exactly what this Tate vs Rousey fight is full of.

I know there are a lot of guys in the grappling world who balk at the idea they can learn something from a female grappler. I think the mindset there is that women grapplers or fighters for that matter, are weaker in their skills then men. I really can’t disagree more. I think women use a higher degree of technique then men because of being the so called “weaker gender.”

Ive learned a lot from watching female competitors like Rousey, Kyra Gracie, leticia Ribeirio, Michelle Nicolini and host of others whose techniques are at a higher level than most men. Plus you would be hard pressed to find a lot of men that could compete with these women.  Try calling Rousey the weaker sex to her face and see what happens…..LOL

Personally I don’t care if  your man, woman or alien, if  you have great technique then you have my full attention. So watch as Tate and Rousey give a great display of MMA and Grappling technique….



One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given in Bjj is what some call the ‘Theory of 3’s.”  Its a very simple concept that states that your rate of success in either attacks or defense go up when you chain a series of three moves together with one move leading your opponents reaction to set up the next.

The ultimate goal is to try to guide your opponent to the third move, be it a submission, reversal or escape, with very little effort on your part.  The lack of work from you comes from being so mentally far ahead of your opponent that moving into the third technique becomes more of a spring loaded trap than an act of muscling technique.

People want to go onto to argue that you should try to be ten moves ahead but I believe this is over kill.  Most of the top black belts in the world really ever use two or three moves from various positions that they have drilled so much that its almost impossible to stop them.   Trying to chain three moves together is a hell of a lot simpler and easier on the mind then to come up with a ten move combo. Plus the nature of a grappling match is too unpredictable to count on ten moves going exactly how you planned them.

This video shows one of the most used and successful three move attacks from the guard.  This is the one I still drill all the time and the first one I’ll teach to beginners to get them accustomed to chaining their moves together.  One rule I like to keep in mind when coming up with a chain of moves is the ease in which they flow together.  This submission combo is a great example of ease of flow between moves….


Once again Robson Moura shows us how its done with his version of the Omopalata/Triangle combo……..



Two fantastic black belts showing us how its done……..




This is the basic arm bar/triangle combo from the guard.  What makes this a little different than the basic set up is his use of the far  arm to make the angle to tighten the choke.   A lot of times I’ll lose the triangle because I’m too busy trying to force my legs into the position. Using the farm arm adds a lot of control and gives you a little more time to set up the triangle………



Sticking with this weeks theme of getting and escaping the triangle comes Robson Moura’s version of escaping the triangle.  I’ve been taught a lot of good escapes from the triangle over the years, but I have to say that this a fantastic version.

How Robson uses the legs is great because it alleviates a lot of the pressure on the neck and makes it impossible for your opponent to break your posture.  It goes without saying that the best way to get out of a triangle is to not get into one, but having this option will make you that much harder to submit.

Drill this escape, I know I’m going to…………..



This really should be ” Judo Match up’s of the day”  because of the amount of opponents that  Koga takes out in the 1989 Judo Worlds.  You also  get to watch Mike Swain go through his opponents and meet Koga in the finals which turns out to be a classic match.  This is truly Judo at its highest level……


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