Heading to Texas with the @kasaigrappling crew for the big show in Dallas Texas this weekend! It’s going to be a great event! On Sunday @gordonlovesjiujitsu and I will teach a seminar @gracieonejiujitsu - it will be a fun weekend! Now it’s off into the big blue sky! See you in Texas

Movement and extension

Movement and extension: The two fundamental prerequisites of submission holds are to generate MOVEMENT and EXTENSION in your opponent. Stationary and tightly contracted (limbs pulled in tight) opponents are very difficult to submit. Given that relentlessly seeking submission is the basis of my approach to Jiu Jitsu, big part of what I coach is the ability generate movement and extension and then feed off the opportunities generated by this. This photo shows an interesting situation. Garry Tonon, a master of using his own movement to create movement and extension in an opponent, has used elevation from bottom position as the means of creating movement and extension in his opponent, Kim Terra. Mr Terra is a highly skilled athlete and immediately recognizes the danger of extension and skillfully keeps his legs in a contracted state despite the powerful elevation - mindful of the leg lock danger from Mr Tonon. However, note always that if the movement is there, the opponent can never keep ALL his limbs contracted or he will fall over and lose position, so Mr Terra must keep his upper body extended even as he tries hard to defend his lower body. This choice makes perfect sense given the great proficiency that Mr Tonon has in leg locks - but it simply meant that now Mr Tonon knew he had to switch to upper body attacks. That is exactly what he did - soon after this photo he successfully applied a stranglehold for the win. You must be mindful of creating movement and extension in your opponents as the precursor to your final goal of submission. You must be able to get your opponent moving and extended with equal facility from both top and bottom position. Only then will the submission holds you train so hard to perfect be available for you to use as your opponent offers them.

Variations in intensity - the wisdom of the hunter

Variations in intensity - the wisdom of the hunter: When it is time to attack an opponent with the submission holds you favor, make sure to VARY THE INTENSITY OF YOUR ATTACK PATTERNS. Sometimes it is good to attack with all you’ve got in combinations that put an opponent under severe pressure. Be aware however, that when you attack in this fashion, an opponent will immediately put up strong defensive shields and maintain them as long as he feels the danger. I often counsel students to relax their grips and attacks and make their opponents think the danger has passed. As soon as the defenses go down - new attacks break through much more easily. Consider predatory animals hunting prey - those species that inflict a poisonous bite, such as snakes, do not pursue their prey once the venom is injected. Pursuit will make the prey run as long as it can and create an exhausting chase. Instead, once the bite is made, it stops - the prey runs a short distance, seeing that it is not being pursued, sits down and rests - and dies in its place, allowing The predator to leisurely take its prey. So too with submission hunting in Jiu Jitsu. LEARN TO CREATE THE SENSE THAT YOU ARE NOT ACTIVELY PURSUING SUBMISSIONS - AND WATCH YOUR SUBMISSION RATE INCREASE AS YOUR OPPONENTS BECOME NEGLIGENT IN THEIR DEFENSE. Look at the relaxed, almost open grips of Nicky Ryan on the back as he creates a sense of safety that will open up another fast strangle when the opportunity arises.

You’ve got to start somewhere! I was going through some of my old relics from my early days in the USA and came across this gem. When I came to America in 1991 to enter the PhD program at Columbia I needed work to get some money together and worked as a bouncer for my first decade in New York. Early on in this adventure I became for a short time a body guard for a local money lender who went by the name “Fresh Money” - quite positively the greatest name of any person I ever worked for! He would hand out his card to all comers at local clubs as he networked. Being a man who carried cash for a living he was a target for attack and thus lived an interesting life to say the least. I always get a chuckle when I see his old business card and think back on the adventures I went through in those crazy early years

The back system - Default principle

The back system - Default principle: A central principle of attacking from the back is the default principle - WHEN BEHIND AN OPPONENT, YOU MUST CONSTANTLY THREATEN STRANGULATION SO THAT IF YOUR OPPONENTS DEFENSIVE HANDS AND CHIN SHOULD EVER FALTER OR FALL OUT OF POSITION - YOU WILL BY DEFAULT, TAKE THE STRANGLE IMMEDIATELY. Following this simple principle creates a lot of stress in your opponent. Often one can get so caught up in the constant hand fighting/arm trapping battle and the struggle to maintain overall position that we completely overlook an easy opening right there in front of us to simply slip into the stranglehold when the neck is exposed. Here, stand out junior squad member Frank Rosenthal shows a fine application of the default principle at a tournament in England that he competed in over the weekend. No need to trap arms when the neck is open - just go straight in for the kill!

Gordon Ryan taking on the big men

Gordon Ryan taking on the big men: Next weekend in Dallas Texas, Gordon Ryan will step back on to the big stage in Dallas Texas at @kasaigrappling championships to take on the very powerful and distinguished Ultra heavyweight João Gabriel Rocha - ADCC silver medalist and long time rival of the great Marcus Buchecha Almeida. Mr Rocha will have a forty pound weight advantage - he is a very impressive performer on the competition circuit - he went a grueling twenty five minutes with Buchecha in his last big outing at ACB and lost a close decision. This will be a very tough test indeed and creates a classic contest between the smaller grappler with strong submission skills versus the bigger grappler with excellent positional skills. As Always, Mr Ryan has been training hard in preparation - looking forward to another Kasai show - they are doing a fantastic job of being the best athletes in the sport together in an exciting format and display. We are looking forward to this clash of styles against such a great opponent!

Triangles - Once it’s on - it’s on!! When I coach triangle strangles, I strongly emphasize the two stage approach of first locking a TRAP TRIANGLE (locking your ankles around your opponents head and arm rather like a closed guard) and then adjusting from there to the FIGURE FOUR TRIANGLE that actually strangles your opponent. This creates a very distinctive pattern of ENTRY AND CONTROL followed by ADJUSTMENT AND STRANGULATION. This two stage approach is, I believe, the most high percentage method of practicing and employing triangles in competitive situations. It does mean however, that there is a time lag between the trap triangle and the figure four - once you lock that initial triangle you can fully expect your opponent to go into maximum overdrive escape sequences that can take you on a wild ride that takes you anywhere from off the floor, through three hundred and sixty degree rotations to slams to powerful twisting shrugs. YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO MAKE YOUR ADJUSTMENTS DURING WILD RESISTANCE AND STAY THE COURSE UNTIL THE STRANGLE IS SET. Here, Nicky Ryan follows an opponent through powerful defensive movements to get his triangle submission in the US ADCC trials. Observe the single minded focus as he manipulates his opponents arm during a chaotic time, all whilst progressing further towards his goal. Try to map out your responses to the main directions your opponent can engage in once the trap triangle is locked. What would you do if you were lifted? Spun left? Right? This will help you in sparring as things happen very quickly so the faster your response kick in, the better.

The mount

The mount: One of the most cherished positional pins of Jiu Jitsu is doubtless the mounted position. It is a formidable platform for entering submission holds and even more formidable when striking is permitted. It (along with the rear mount) is the zenith of the Jiu Jitsu positional hierarchy. As such, there is a natural tendency among beginners to see the mount as a place to get to and STAY. This thinking is understandable as it it considered by most as the king of positions. However, I always coach my students to value transitions BETWEEN pins as more valuable in a submission grappling context than the pins themselves. MOVEMENT and EXTENSION are the essential prerequisites of submissions. If you get to a pin and remain static, submissions will be difficult. Try moving around from pin to pin - don’t see the mount as a pinnacle from which you cannot move for fear of lowering your value. See it as a good pin among other options and learn to transition in and out of it as the quest for movement and extension demand. You will soon find that submissions start opening for you a lot more frequently than when you get mounted and just try to stay there come what may. Here, Gordon Ryan uses a loose chest over chest positional strategy to encourage movement which he will follow to open up submissions

Developing a devastating triangle

Developing a devastating triangle: Nothing pleases me more in the training room that the sight of a student latching on to a tough opponent and exhibiting genuine and well directed control over him until he can incrementally convert it into a submission. When it comes to triangle work - the mindset I want you all working on is that of THE TWO STAGE APPROACH. Don’t see the triangle as a single move, but rather as a move with two distinct phases. It begins with the TRAP TRIANGLE. This is the act of trapping your opponents head and one arm inside your legs and locking your ankles. At this stage (for front triangles from bottom position - the most common triangle scenario) you will be square in front of your opponent. Then when you have sufficiently controlled the situation, move on to the second phase, THE FIGURE FOUR TRIANGLE. This is where you switch from square to perpendicular angle while controlling posture and cinch a tight stranglehold. DON’T TRY TO BEGIN WITH A STRANGLEHOLD - begin with head control and only when that is assured do you move on to the strangle. Breaking your triangle attacks up into two distinct phases is the single biggest key to developing it into a devastating weapon with which you can dominate the mats. Here, Nicky Ryan, a young master of the triangle, latches on to a controlling trap triangle. Already he is planning the transition to phase two as his hand reaches to pull himself to a perpendicular angle and the strangle finish.

Linking systems

Linking systems: You all know the basic insight behind my coaching philosophy - BJJ is a systems based approach to unarmed combat. Classical BJJ is a 2-6 step system depending upon the circumstances of the fight (the simplest and easiest rendition to understand is the four step version I outlined on the Joe Rogan podcast). My approach is to refine this by adding SUBSYSTEMS within that overall system to increase athlete performance in high value domains and lower learning times. Best of all is when athletes learn to link those subsystems together to create devastating attack sequences that are very difficult to stop. Here, talented junior squad member Frank Rosenthal links back, triangle and Kimura systems in a beautiful display to take a fine submission win over the weekend. This is how I want you thinking about your technique- rapid but controlled application of movements you know so well that the application looks as natural as breathing. Stopping even one well practiced submission system is difficult - stopping all six in unison is EXTREMELY difficult.