Sep 11

Soul crushing shoulder pressure

Lemme tell you about the perils of soul crushing shoulder pressure.

Back when I was coming up, there was a black belt (and he’s still around) who was infamous for his ability to put people to sleep with shoulder pressure alone. And he wasn’t no big and brawny dude either. In fact, if you saw him on the streets, you’d probably wouldn’t think he was much of a threat.

But he had figured out how to exert maximum amounts of force on the chin with his shoulder.

‘Tis how he controlled and dominated bigger guys (including me).

When that shoulder drops on you in just the right way. It’s horrible. You can’t bridge. You can’t move. And sometimes, if they’re really good, the choke just starts creeping up on you.

It’s such a helpless feeling.

And yesterday, one of my students experienced its peril.

At the IBJJF Open in DC, he faced some stiff competition, and the guy passed him twice in the same exact way. He got to the head, latched on to the lat, and dropped the shoulder with vicious precision before long stepping to the pass.

When you run into that guy that has that pressure, it doesn’t matter how heavy he is either.

(Hell, there’s even some guys walking around at 125 that can make you feel like a mountain dropped on you.)

That pressure is definitely something that you can’t grin and bear.

Something has to be done about it.

Right away.

So next week, a new lesson will be added to the micro adjustments course that focuses entirely on what I do neutralize soul crushing shoulder pressure from many different situations.

There are some stupid simple answers to the problem.

Things that aren’t commonly taught because they’re not flashy. Nothing that would make you go oooh and ahhh (unless you’re a nerd about the game).

For now though, another lesson has been locked and loaded.

It’s a breakdown of the win conditions for executing the 50/50 ankle lock, and you can learn it now if you so wish.

Here’s the link:

Sep 04

Levels to this cross choke game

Following up from yesterday:

I’ve had the opportunity now to test out the double palm down cross choke, and it works. Yes, yes indeed, it does. In fact, it took almost no strength at all. Just wrist action and they were heading off towards lala land.

This changes a lot.

And that’s no exaggeration.

Being able to switch the configuration of the grip while still achieving the same outcome adds more unpredictability to the attack. And once you add an understanding the rules of head position to the mix, it’s like a unstoppable force almost.

And that’s especially true from the closed guard.

Feeding the first grip palm down not only makes posture control easier, but now you can actually attack with the choke from both angles as well. Before, that wasn’t an option. I had to feed the second grip palm up. That meant that my head had to be on the same side as my first grip.

But now, it doesn’t matter where my head is because the second grip can switch to fit the occasion.

Use it, and you will crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.

Now in the other news.

An update is currently being uploaded to the micro adjustment course. It’s the fifteenth lesson, and that’s an important number.

There will only be fifteen lessons in the course at any one time. From this point on, anytime I do an update, I’ll also delete the oldest lesson.

Just a heads up.


In this update is a ridiculously simple way to slaughter the elbow escape from mount. It’s something that frustrate people to the depths of their souls. And I’ve been using it for many years to keep the top position as I slowly slide in the ezekiel choke.

Check it out here:

Sep 03

The pressure grip that transformed into a choke

Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of Rafael Lovato matches.

And I noticed something curious.

When he gets to quarter mount, his very next step is to drive in a cross collar grip with the palm. He then uses his forearm to drive into the chin, making his opponents look away from his trapped leg.

That force often opens up the pass right into mount.

And that’s not all.

Once in mount, he does something completely unorthodox.

He goes for the cross choke, but it’s not any old normal one. He doesn’t switch his first grip at all, nor does he feed the second grip in with the palm up.

Instead, he loops around and slices his elbow down against the other side of his opponent’s neck (’tis a really good way to make sure that second grip is tight) and then grabs the back of the collar with his palm down.

That means that he executes the cross collar choke from mount with both palms down.

Now that might not seem that extraordinary to you.

But it is to me.

And I’ll tell you why.

One of the biggest challenges with getting basic attacks to work on seasoned opponents lies in how effectively you conceal the threat. If they see it coming a mile away, they will stop everything and slaughter it in its infancy without the slightest bit of remorse.

There one moment, gone the next.

Opportunity lost.

On the other hand though, changing the execution of the choke conceals the threat. And not only is that first grip powerful in the sense that it can be used to inflict discomfort and distraction but it’s also not an early sign of the cross choke threat.

Unless the opponents knows that you have many levels to your attack, they won’t see it coming.

And it’ll be too late to stop it.

Play with it and see if it works.

And for more little micro adjustments head here:

Aug 28

A quick peek at one of my stolen goods

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:

One of the principles I live by is that any and every thing that works on me on the mat is subject to outright and blatant theft, and I have absolutely no reservations about it either. If it works on me, I steal it.

And oh boy, have I looted some great stuff over the years.

In fact, one particular piece of loot comes to mind at the moment.

Back in my purple belt days, Tim Spriggs (a straight up beast passer) started to give me trouble in the room. Whenever we got to half guard, he would establish a high collar grip on the same side as his trapped leg, so if I was playing on my right side with his right leg trapped, his right hand would always grab my left side collar.

He used that grip to control the inside space, and it absolutely slaughtered most of my offense in its infancy.

It was a really frustrating time for me.

I tried all kinds of different ways to deal with it, and none of them worked at all. Hell, more than once, whole rolls went by with us just fighting in that position. The best I could do was prevent the pass.

All my offense was dead.

And you know what?

I stole that grip.

There’s no shame in my game either. It was robbery in broad daylight. Hell, I’m proud of it too.

Since then, that grip has served me well.

Pinning that far shoulder to the mat does more than prevent offense. It also opens up a ridiculous strong knee cut, and I’ve used it to run roughshod through half from the top countless times.

The key, though, is to make sure that you control their bottom arm. The wrist must be pinned to the mat or the elbow must be lifted off the ground. That kills their ability to rotate, making the pass stupid easy.

On the other side of the coin though, I now have several answers for it when people try it on me.

And at least one of them can be found in the higher institute of half gyard learning along with many other tips and tricks.

Find out more here:

Aug 27

How the young wolf staved off the old lion

Sometime ago, I invested some time in watching tape, and I found one match in particular interesting.

It was the latest in the Xande Ribeiro vs Felipe Pena mat battles, and it came down to a razor thin margin. In fact, no point were scored at all. But I was riveted because of the lessons in guard retention.

Case in point:

A few minutes in, Xande, the old lion, forced the half guard and immediately started to smash and pass but he ran smackdab into a wall.


It’s because Pena threw up a frame so hard that you could see the grimace on Xande’s face.

That frame started as just straight palm to the jaw and then transitioned to the cross collar with the thumb down. The forearm then became an immovable wall that Xande just couldn’t get through no matter what he did.

It’s such an incredible example of how one frame can make all the difference.

And I’ll tell you something that you must understand.

Knowing when and how to frame is absolutely essential for preventing and escaping from bad situations.

In fact, I emphasize that principle when it comes to side control escapes. The battle for effective frames is a micro battle that must be won, and I’ll show you how to do it when someone is crushing you in cross body.

Get your fill here: