May 19

Your lapel is my weapon, I will use it as I wish

Beyond honing your execution of technique to the highest level possible, you must also develop a deep understanding of strategy.

In any situation, your opponent has ideal responses from their point of view.

You have to expect them to choose their best course of action. And if you pay attention, you’ll be able to not only recognize how they’ll respond but also punish them for doing the right thing.

Then as you expand your understanding of their counters and how to destroy them, your skill will also make massive leaps forward. And just from me to you, this way of exploring the art is just FUN.

I’m going back through all the techniques I know with that intent in mind. And I’m going to share some of the sequences with you, starting with this one from closed guard.

Closed Guard Lapel Offensive Series

The first fight in closed guard is always breaking posture. That MUST be done before you can open up the vast majority of your attacks.

That’s why you’ll see one method of doing that when they’re framing against your hips in the video. But I encourage you to expand your tools in that area and learn how to use your hips to assist you.

That small thing will do a lot to make your closed guard more dangerous.

Now in this sequence, the goal is to create a funnel where each attack pulls them deeper into the depths of danger. It starts with getting the lapel out, and then things progress from that point.

You’ll also notice that the individual tools are basic. It’s a triangle choke, cross choke, armbar and brabo choke. And those aren’t even the limit of what you can do.

Be creative.

Play with it.

And if you have success with it, let me know. I want to hear about your success.

May 03

Take a little Demara and add a bit of lapel to get devastation

Nowadays, closed guard isn’t given all that much fanfare. That isn’t because the position is obsolete. It’s still LETHAL.

It’s just a question of your investment. If you put time into the position, you’ll get results from it.

And I’m going to give you some more tools to play with. The three attacks you’ll learn in this article is the start of an incredibly strong attack system.

Closed Guard Challenges

First though, understand that closed guard isn’t an easy position to master.

It requires all kinds of small adjustments and angles. The basic attacks are easy to defend. And many people switch their focus to easier positions before they truly start to have success.

Thus, one of two things are necessary: High level refinement of technique or trickery.

Focusing on closed guard, though, until you have success has a significant advantage. It will teach how you smash through resistance. And it will give you a special kind of confidence.

The Demara Closed Guard Attack System

I learned this system from Rachel Demara, so I always like to give her credit for it.

One of my best memories watching it in action was years ago at Worlds. Rachel was a blue belt back then, and one after another, her opponents all fell to this system.

They saw her use it.

It didn’t matter.

They knew it was coming.

It didn’t matter.

Their coaches gave them advice on countering it.

It still didn’t matter.

It was a thing of beauty. And I’ve never forgotten it for that reason.

The only difference in how she does it and how I do it is that she doesn’t use the lapel. Instead, she reaches around the back of the head and grabs the cross side collar similar to a bow and arrow grip.

Also these three attacks are not the full system. They are a great place to start, though. Work on them and let me know if you have success.

Apr 25

One limb to conquer them all and more

Within Jiu-jitsu, one-to-many relationships exist.

They’re specific concepts, movements, and grips that can be applied in more than one situation. And when you start to recognize them, it speeds up your learning process.

Today, I’m going to share three techniques that came from three different sources, but they all have a unifying element.

The grip and how it’s used is absolutely the same.

Limb Control

The concept behind the effectiveness of the techniques is that you’re isolating the arm and exerting pressure on the shoulder. The pressure is enough to limit mobility, and you use it to encourage your opponent to move as you wish.

It’s very similar to a kimura.

The difference, other than the specifics of the grip, is that the submission cannot be finished because there is a clear path out of it. That path leads exactly where you want them to go though.

It’s a trap.

Apr 20

A small adjustment to an old fan favorite

The push pull triangle was the one of the first attacks I ever learned from closed guard. It’s simple, and it works.

That’s what makes it great.

But no matter what the technique, or how simple it may seem, there is room for improvement. Small adjustments can made to improve the technique and make it work better.

And I’m going to give you some little tips on how you can improve this particular entry to the triangle.

Push Pull Angle Adjustment

There are two fundamental objectives when it comes to attacking with the standard triangle from guard:

  1. One arm must be inside of your legs while the other is outside.
  2. You must break posture and maintain that control.

Our focus when doing the push pull entry is to accomplish those two objectives in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

And that can be accomplished with a small adjustment of angle.

Instead of pushing and pulling the arms straight back and forth, cross the arms. That seems super simple, and it is. But it will will do two things for you immediately:

  1. It’ll make it easier to get your legs over one arm.
  2. And It’ll help you control posture since it forces your opponent to bend forward more.

Shoulder Ride

Beyond the angle, there is also a specific movement that you must develop for the push pull triangle.

You have to be able to elevate your hips to the sky.

In your mind, imagine that you’re crocodile treading the water. Your stomach is growling, and just above the water’s edge a bird is gliding low through the air.

It’s not going to come to you.

You have to go to it, and to do that you must shoot out of the water, clamp down and then drag it back into the water’s depths.

Your legs are just like the jaws of a crocodile and your hips are the head. You MUST elevate, and using your opponent’s body to help you elevate will make the task easier and more efficient.


Apr 11

Growth minded competitors can’t be stopped

A grand challenge lies before me, and there is one person more than anyone else who will decide whether I succeed or not. At birth, we shared the same name. And even now, there is no one that I know better because that person is none other than ME.

From the point forward, I will take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY both for the effort I put forth and for the results I receive.

Any time the slightest desire to make an excuse or blame someone else enters my mind, I will kill the thought in its infancy. It’s unworthy of me, and I will not tolerate it because it is nothing more than a hindrance.

Only by focusing on what I can control will I pave the way for my success.

And that starts long before I ever step on the mat and see my opponent standing before me. It starts today, with the decision to start where I am, use what I have, and do what I can to improve every day even if it’s only 1% or less.

It is not the day I compete that is the most important; it is all the days that precede it. The results of the tournament will just be a reflection of what I have done in preparation. And on that day, I MUST be absolutely sure that I have done everything in my power to prepare myself for the challenge that lies before me.

If I have that certainty, all that remains is what I must focus on when I compete.

  1. Regardless of how many people are in my division, I will see only the match in front of me. Nothing else matters because that is the match that I control.
  2. Every minute, every second, and every moment, I demand of myself full attention on my task. For the full duration of the match, I will drive forward, impose my will, and give not an inch. My effort MUST be worthy of my own respect.
  3. I will be COACHABLE. Whenever possible, I will adjust tactics to align with the cues of my coach, while never allowing my mind to be distracted from the work that must be done. And once the dust has settled, regardless of the result, I will listen not only about what I have done well but also about what I must improve.

Once the tournament has ended, I will go back to the lab and improve on at least one thing. And for that purpose, I must tape all of my matches if it’s at all possible. And when I watch myself in action, I must do so without judgment.

My only task is to take note specific situations where I surprised myself and specific situations where I can improve.

And overall, my focus must always remain on improvement above all else. It is for that reason that I challenge myself. And the possibility that I may fail is something I embrace because it means that I am stretching myself and forcing myself to grow.

That’s what it means to be a GROWTH MINDED COMPETITOR.