Jul 09

How to make people fear your submissions more

As you progress in rank, you start running into what I like to call ego hunters.

They’re like those young kids in the wild wild west, who were always on the hunt for opportunities to make a name for themselves. At night, they would go to bed with dreams of taking out a big name in a O.K. Corral like shootout, and in the day, they would brag about no one was a quickest draw than they were.

And it’s the same on the mat.

They want the bragging rights of taking out an upper belt, and you can just sense the hunger on them. But if you’re savvy, you have nothing to fear from their submissions.

And you know why?

It’s because, often, they haven’t realized that the first attack is usually not the best attack.

Case in point:

One of the best ways that I set up the armbar from the top of mount is by first going for the cross choke. They see the attack coming a mile away, and they pull out all the stops to kill it in its infancy.

I like that.

In fact, that’s exactly what I want. In that moment, I make them complicit in their own demise, by using their defense as the setup for my secondary (and real) attack.

And let me tell you somethin’:

The more tricky you incorporate into your sequences of offense, the more fear you will inspire.

Nowadays, I have a few people that will stop every thing and attempt to disengage when I get certain grips (because they know the danger that awaits them).

But even then, they create more opportunities for me.

And the same thing will happen for you if you approach the submission game in a systematic fashion.

People will start to fear your attacks.

‘Nuff said.

On to the bid-niz:

In addition to tricking opponents into giving you the reactions you want, you can also lock them into situations that compromise their ability and allow you slowly smother them with submission after submission until their succumb to the onslaught.

To learn some of that strategy, go here:

Jul 08

Holy frames, Batman!

I was caught unprepared once…I swore that would never happen again. – Batman

You know…

When you step away from the whole rat race of trying to learn as many techniques as possible, you start to realize that there are a few principles that have broad applications in a wide variety of situations.

Case in point:

In almost every situation, the first step to effortlessly escaping a bad position is setting an effective frame. The best example of that can be found in bottom side control. If I don’t establish that inside frame against the hip, I can forget about escaping. Without that frame, my opponents will just run me down every time I bridge or shrimp.

There would be no way to stop them from closing the distance.

And such a path only leads to frustration.

It’s far better to prepare for escape by first establishing effective frames, but there are more than one way to do it. I’ll count a few of the uncommon ways, but first imagine that you’re being straight up smashed in side control, and it’s a HEAVY dude too, who has no qualms about grinding you into the dust. Your right arm is near his hip, and your left is on the outside near his head (that will be important making sense of how I break down the frame options).

Here’s a few things you can do with the left arm:

  • Bicep check em against their collar bone. (This is one of the tricks I use when I need to create more space so that I can establish a hip frame. That left arm – or right depending on which arm is on the outside – reaching for the belt as you bridge and turn towards your opponents.)
  • Roll up in their armpit. (When that shoulder pressure is dropping on you with the force of the ages, it can really save your gluteus assimus. It’s a variation on the overhook. I would explain it but it’s tricksy. You’d have to see it.)
  • Frame against their neck. (Ahh. The tried and true iffen you can get it.)
  • Grip their collar. (Sometimes, I like to establish a thumb in grip on the collar. It becomes a stiff arm, and it works ridiculously well as a frame for creating space in more than one direction.)
  • Attack the structure of their head. (Oh boy, I use this often. It’s all about using your bicep to roll their head towards the mat as your bridge. It damages the structure of their position in a truly elegant fashion too.)

That may or may not make sense to you. It really depends on how much you already know.

The core principles and tactics behind escape all broken down in video in a certain place though.

More information can be found here:


Jul 02

Hold up, son, my head ain’t that easy to control

An old training partner of mine stopped by the other day, and we rolled for a long time.

On two separate instances (that I recall) I found myself in the back step half, and I was on the bottom.


So he was playing the position well. He had the deep lat grip. His hips were shifted in the right way, and his shoulder was dropping down with all the force he could muster too. It’s a common situation where guards just get straight up obliterated.

I’m odd though.

It actually doesn’t bother me that much. In fact, I treat it just like any other half guard position.


It’s because I understand the true focus of the micro battle in that position. And just like a beaten record, it’s all about head position. Specifically, I want my head to drop down below his shoulder, and it’s almost like magic.

Once you create that separation, the structure of the top guy’s position just shatters. Passing ain’t so easy anymore. And often, there’s a moment when it seems like the other guy is a fish out of water.

He doesn’t know what to do.

…And that’s when you strike.


I recall delving into this scenario in the institute of higher half gyard learning, and it will soon be a larger focus once the third revision spreads to Phase Two.

Find out more here:

Jun 22

7 tips for ensuring that you stay stuck on bottom

You know…

If you want to struggle helplessly to escape side control and mount, there are a few things you can do to ensure it.

  1. While under side control, bridge straight up instead of over your shoulder. It’s an INCREDIBLE workout, and your opponent will enjoy letting their weight drop back down on you with the force of ages too.
  2. On that note as well, keep your feet close when you bridge. That way, you’ll have absolutely no base while elevated, so it will be easy for opponents to just smash you right back down.
  3. Don’t bother establishing any frames. Who needs such things anyway. It’s not like your opponent will do everything they can to take away any space you create or anything.
  4. Don’t connect your elbows to your sides. Instead, leave your arms dangling out in space. Consider it bait. Your opponent may latch onto them and attempt submissions, and oh boy, that’ll be loads of fun.
  5. While under mount, wrap your arms around your opponent’s waist and hold on for dear life. That’ll show em who’s boss.
  6. And on that note as well, you can also just roll away and give your back. Oh, someone told you that you should only rotate your lower body to initiate escapes??? Psh. LIES.
  7. Reach up and push on your opponent’s chest. Yeah, bench press em. It’s the absolute best way to escape. Take my word for it.


That’s the kind of advice I would give to my enemies.

It’s a shame though.

I still see people doing some of these things on the mat. It’s like they don’t know any better. Or maybe they just can’t break old habits easily.

Who knows.

But I do know this.

If you find yourself doing any of these things while trying to escape, it’s time for some drastic changes. You’re doing nothing more than ensuring your own demise.

And you know what?

When it comes to escaping side control, my disciples have no such problems.

They’ve learned simple tactics and principles for creating effective frames and creating space to ensure their escape.

This is where you can join them:

Jun 05

A conceptual framework for understanding how to pass

Lately, I’ve been giving much thought to passing.

And some improvement to my overall understanding of how passes work has occurred as a result.

For example:

I now categorize guards into two primary types.

In one, control centers around entanglement of the limbs and/or body. Examples at the basic level would be closed and half guard. But there are even a few open guards that can fall into that category like the lasso or even the worm.

On the other hand though, the guards that falls into the other category are built around tension. It’s a constant push and pull that creates in an almost invisible control of distance and space.

Now why does that matter?


I’ll give you an example.

This week, in one of my class agendas, I’ve been focused on breaking down how to pass the De La Riva guard, with a focus on principles first, of course.

And DLR is a tension guard in almost all of its common forms. It’s composed of three pulling grips and a push grip. And the the thing that I always focus attention on is that fragile link in the chain (the foot on the thigh).

Once that foot loses contact with the body, all tension is destroyed in an instant. The structure of the position breaks and many passes become possible. Hell, I’ve even been showing a stupid simple method of forcing the knee cut there.

And it’s not like a ninja trick or anything.

It’s just simple principle.

If you understand how control is being established and maintained, you can attack the weak links of that control and improve your ability to dominate.

Get this though.

The example I gave above just scratches the surface.

It can be taken much further. In fact, I’m quite motivated, so it might just be one of my next projects.

In the meantime though, feel free to check out a visual demonstration of how tension can be broken in DLR.

Learning happens here: