Happy New Year from NYC!!

Happy New Year from NYC!! I wanted to wish you all the best for 2020 It has been an amazing year with the squad having the most successful performance in ADCC history and Gordon Ryan, Garry Tonon, Nicky Rod and Craig Jones releasing more instructional videos to show how their way of playing the game can become part of your training and push you towards the same game changing methods they employ so successfully on the big stage. We all have three duties in Jiu Jitsu - to make ourselves better, to make the people who train around us better and to make the sport itself better. I hope 2020 allows you to do just that! I hope you all have a crazy fun New Years Eve with lots of wild stories to tell on New Year’s Day and make 2020 your beat year of progress and growth in all the aspects of life that you care about Have fun and train hard!

He who controls the head...

He who controls the head...the human body is essentially a skull connected to a spine and everything else hangs off that. As such, if you control the head, you control the movement of the rest of the body. Now when someone puts on a gi, that lapel is functions like a noose around the neck and head - so if you control THAT, then you control the head. So one of the best skills you can develop are good lapel/collar grips. From open guard, these collar grips, in particular the CROSS COLLAR grip, are your single best means of getting quick and powerful control of the head in ways that make a real difference to your effectiveness on the mat. Learning to attain, maintain and exploit the great value of this grip is a BIG part of your open guard journey. Use it whenever you can to enter and control open guard.

If you can get an opponents hands to the floor whilst working from open guard - the attacks come easy

If you can get an opponents hands to the floor whilst working from open guard - the attacks come easy: One of the surest signs that the bottom guard player is in command when working against a top passer is when he can consistently snap the top players hands down to the mat as a result of breaking his balance. While this not does score in itself, it is a great set up to score either with sweeps or submissions. Consistently look to snap your opponents hands down to the mat when working from open guard and then launch your attacks in the time between his hands hitting the mat and the time he can recover back to his stance. Here I have chosen cross ashi garami as the attack from open guard, but in truth, when you can get hands to the mat, you can attack with pretty much whatever you want!

Filming the upcoming open guard video with BJJ Fanatics here in Boston!!

Filming the upcoming open guard video with BJJ Fanatics here in Boston!! Getting a solid five days of filming here in Boston for upcoming videos - it’s always a pleasure to come up to New England and work. It’s a beautiful train ride up and filming the videos is always a great way to get our approach bro the game out there to a wider audience. Always my belief was that knowledge translated into skill is the single most important determinant of the outcome of a match, more than strength, size, speed mental toughness etc (these other things are still very important but not as much as knowledge/skill). The videos are a great way to get that knowledge to a wider audience in a way that will give people insight into a rapidly changing game. Wishing you all the best from Boston!!

Get to your strangle!

When you master both upper body grips to maintain chest to back contact and lower body hooks to maintain hip to back contact, you can follow an opponent through hell and back to get to your strangle!

Break an opponents stance and balance

The single biggest determinant of your success or failure from open guard will be your ability to break an opponents stance and balance (Kuzushi). If you can do this at will, you will be highly successful from open guard. If you can’t, even the simplest moves will be a struggle to apply and often subject to strong counters from a skilled opponent. I would rather have five moves from open guard plus the ability to break an opponents stance and balance at will than to have a hundred moves without that ability. ANYONE CAN APPLY THE MOVES OF OPEN GUARD ON AN UNRESISTING TRAINING PARTNER, BUT ONLY AN ATHLETE WHO CAN BREAK AN OPPONENTS STANCE AND BALANCE CAN APPLY THEM ON A FULLY RESISTING OPPONENT IN A COMPETITIVE MATCH. Make the study of Kuzushi your biggest concern when working from open guard - if you can break a mans stance - you can break the man!

When there are ten thousand possibilities the smart thing is to focus on a few good one

When there are ten thousand possibilities the smart thing is to focus on a few good one: One of the great problems of open guard is that there are a vast number of possible guards you can employ, each with many grip variations and myriad different moves that are possible from each. You can rapidly get to a situation where the sheer number of options makes you LESS effective rather than more effective in sparring and competition. WHEN OPTIONS MULTIPLY, RESPONSE TIME TENDS TO INCREASE. This is not a good thing in combat sports. Accordingly it is wise to focus on a few things that you do very well rather than attempt to learn many things you perform in a mediocre fashion just because there is not sufficient time to master them all. The obvious question is - well then, which ones should i focus on? Part of the answer will be determined by your body type, part by your personality, but save some consideration for observation of high level competition and see WHICH MOVES OFTEN AND REPEATEDLY SCORE SUCCESSFULLY FOR A WIDE ARRAY OF BODY TYPES, WEIGHT CATEGORIES, BELT LEVELS, AGES AND RULE SETS. These are usually the ones you want to focus upon. Better to be extremely good at two such moves than average a twenty moves that rarely figure successfully in competition. Let the evidence of competition have a say in the direction of your training and you will soon have a focus upon a few proven techniques that really make a difference in your performance.

Technical skill, tempo and movement quality

Technical skill, tempo and movement quality are far more important considerations than size when choosing training partners - we would all rather train with 100kg athlete who moves well than a 60kg klutz. Refine your movement and you will never have a hard time finding training partners.

Controlling the Action/reaction reflex is the single most artful aspect of Jiu Jitsu

Controlling the Action/reaction reflex is the single most artful aspect of Jiu Jitsu: It is not difficult to perform most of the moves of Jiu Jitsu in an unresisting drilling partner. It is much more difficult to apply them in a competitive sparring session against an opponent. As the skill level of the opponent rises so to does the degree of difficulty of applying moves. What will make the make the difference is your ability to get past his knowledge and ability to anticipate your moves and counter them. This is where Jiu Jitsu becomes truly artful. You want him to move a certain way and he knows that and so resists strongly. The only way for you to win is to use his defensive reactions in your favor. This is a lifetime study, but a great way to start this project is the simple rule of opposites so often mentioned by the old masters. IF YOU WANT AN OPPONENT TO MOVE AWAY FROM YOU - BEGIN BY PULLING HIM TOWARDS YOU. IF YOU WANT AN OPPONENT TO MOVE TOWARDS YOU, BEGIN MY PUSHING HIM AWAY FROM YOU. As your opponent resists the initial force, take him is the same direction as his resistance - which of course is where you really wanted him to go all along. Here, I want to knock a standing opponent backwards with a sweep from open guard. I begin with a pull on his arm courtesy of a two on one grip. He digs his heels into the mat and resists - NOW is the time to knock him backwards. Most of the impetus backwards actually comes from my opponents resistance to the initial pull. I just have to complete what he has started. Learn to think this way in all of your Jiu Jitsu and you will defeat people through artistry and skill rather than strength and power.

Better to have the floor on your back than an opponent on your back

Better to have the floor on your back than an opponent on your back: The worst situation in a grappling match is to have an opponent on your back. From there he has many of the most high percentage submissions in the sport available to use join you whilst you have only a few very low percentage submissions to fire back with. He has a powerful and robust position that is very difficult to escape from when well applied. Thus we must do our best to avoid back exposure as much as possible. When it does happen that your back is exposed to a dangerous opponent, the safest general strategy it to GET YOUR UPPER BACK TO THE FLOOR. The logic is simple - if the FLOOR is on your back, then there won’t be space for an OPPONENT to be on your back. Accordingly most of the back escapes of Jiu Jitsu favor the strategy of upper back to the floor - this is the one that minimizes back exposure to an opponent. There are other strategies. You can stand up, threaten kimura etc etc and these can definitely work, but they do result in a degree of back exposure such that if they DON’T work, they can get you in deep trouble. So when you feel the danger of back exposure - try getting your upper back to the floor as a first reaction