When you have dangerous submission holds - even the ones that don’t fully work will have an impact on your opponent

When you have dangerous submission holds - even the ones that don’t fully work will have an impact on your opponent: A big part of how your opponent behaves towards you in a match is how DANGEROUS he perceives you to be. If he doesn’t see you as dangerous at all, he will do whatever he wants with no fear of consequences. However, if you have sharp submissions he will recognize that if he ever lets you go too far on a lock, the match is over. As a result, he will be much more circumspect in his approach to the match. If lock on a tight submission hold on a opponent that takes him within a hairbreadth of tapping but he just manages to slip out - I guarantee you the next time he approaches it will be in a cautious manner. It is important that you be able to carry a threat into a match that your opponent recognizes and respects - this will funnel his actions in other directions and allow you to control the direction of the ensuing action. In this way the THREAT of submissions is almost as important in match outcomes as the their actual successful APPLICATION. Here, Garry Tonon puts the powerful Rousimar Palhares under great pressure with a very strong heel hook attack - it was very close - but not completed - but it had a significant impact on the match as it meant Mr Tonon could initiate all the subsequent leg attacks for the rest of the match and force Mr Palhares in other directions (mostly takedowns). Don’t be discouraged by submissions that almost worked but didn’t - THEY WILL STILL HAVE AN EFFECT IN YOUR FAVOR THAT YOU CAN EXPLOIT ON THE PATH TO VICTORY

Know what you want

Know what you want - Train your mind to see opportunities where it is possible - act decisively. At first people will say you are just lucky. When things keep going in your favor, they will say you are somehow gifted - but in truth, you are simply someone who knows what they want and can see when it’s available.

Passing guard as a route to the back

Passing guard as a route to the back: When you first begin the study of Jiu jitsu you learn to pass the guard into top pins, usually side pins but sometimes directly to mount. As you go against better and better opponents you will soon find that they employ many methods of guard retention that make passing very difficult. It can be a very frustrating thing to run into the many roadblocks that good opponents can create to your favorite passes. Understand however, that many of these methods of guard retention are intended to stop passes into top pins, but in doing so they very often create momentary BACK EXPOSURE. You must have your mind programmed to jump on this new opportunity immediately - it won’t be there for long. Every sequences of guard passing versus guard retention is essentially a PROLONGED SCRAMBLE and as such, the back is one of the best targets. Program your mind to hunt for the back in these scrambles just as much as you do for the side pin and you will double your chances of a score against tough guards

Your opponent has two legs - make sure you are capable of attacking both

Your opponent has two legs - make sure you are capable of attacking both: Its natural in Jiu jitsu to favor one side for attacks. Most of us have a better rear strangle on one side than the other, most of us have a preferred side for the guillotine. In the case of the legs, they are so close together and it’s so common that an opponent can slip free from your ashi garami that you would be doing yourself a disservice if you could only attack one side well. Take the time to develop strong attacks on both of your opponents legs, because very often as you attack one leg and a good opponent escapes, his other leg will be ready to be attacked. The good news is that because your opponents legs are very close together, it takes very little movement skill to transfer form one to the other. Thus Learning to attack the legs on both sides is not so difficult to learn.

When behind an opponent - create a constant threat of strangulation - everything else you feeds off this

When behind an opponent - create a constant threat of strangulation - everything else you feeds off this: The back is the ultimate position in no gi grappling (and you could also argue that the same is true in gi Jiu jitsu and fighting). However, like any position, it has its limitations and getting the position does not guarantee victory against tough opponents. It is very important then, that you create a constant and unrelenting threat of strangulation from the back so that your opponent MUST address it or perish. If you ever see your opponent getting forgetful and raising his chin - go! Snake your wrist under the chin and finish him! If he is disciplined with his chin position, use his defensive chin and hands against him with arm traps and mandible strangles that make defense very difficult indeed.

The incredible value of variations of shoulder rolls for technical development in Jiu jitsu

The incredible value of variations of shoulder rolls for technical development in Jiu jitsu: Here is a fundamental truth that must become ingrained in your thinking about Jiu-Jitsu: For every MOVE in Jiu jitsu there is a MOVEMENT that underlies it and which makes it possible for you to perform it. If you can’t perform that underlying movement well, it is exceedingly unlikely that you will perform the move itself well. Of all the various body movements that help prepare you for Jiu jitsu performance, I out a particularly high value on the many variations of ROLLS. Shoulder rolls, granby rolls, forward rolls etc etc. The movement and postures of rolling will greatly aid your development in guard retention, escapes, inversion into lower body and upper body attacks, keeping you safe when caught by a high amplitude takedown etc. Nothjng else does such a great job of making your body move in the manner associated with high level Jiu jitsu athletes. Time spent before and after class just playing around with shoulder roll variations from your back, butt, knees, all fours and standing is time very well spent. As your fluidity increases so will your Jiu jitsu performance. Here, Garry Tonon uses his exceptional rolling fluidity to escape - later in the same match he would use the same movement to roll into a fine leg lock and take a sensational victory.

The path to powerful arm bars is through the head and shoulders

The path to powerful arm bars is through the head and shoulders: Ostensibly the juji gatame arm bar is an attack on the ELBOW. After all, that’s what will actually break if the opponent refuses to submit. However, your ability to control a tough resisting opponent long enough and well enough to get to that breaking point is mostly bound up with your ability to dominate his HEAD AND SHOULDERS. In the use of arm bars from bottom position in particular, you must be able to take your opponents head into an unnatural position that thoroughly undermines his ability to stack his weight into you and blunt your attack. Use the crossface leg - the one that goes over the head - to curl back in such a way that his head is taken completely out of alignment. This makes effective resistance very difficult indeed. As is so often the case in Jiu jitsu, you have to win several preliminary battles in order to win the major battle. In this case, the head before the elbow.

My instructional video Arm bar

My instructional video Arm bar: Enter the System (Juji gatame) is featured on BJJ Fanatics daily deal - 50% off! If you’re looking to become a serious arm hunter and looking for a method that enables you to control and defeat the toughest, most resistant opponents while also offering a perfect secondary entry into leg locks - check it out!

Learn to get comfortable in inverted positions on your shoulders and double the number of submission entries you can attempt

Learn to get comfortable in inverted positions on your shoulders and double the number of submission entries you can attempt: When we first start jiu jitsu we all learn the fundamental attacks from bottom guard positions with our head far away from our opponent and our hips closer to the opponent than your head. That is sensible because Jiu jitsu evolved as a fighting style and in a fight it’s generally wise (especially at beginner level) to keep your head as far away from an opponents fists and elbows as possible. This does rather limit your submission entries however. In a sport context where strikes are not an issue, inversion under your opponents upper body with your head closer to your opponent than your hips suddenly opens up a vast new set of submission entries from unexpected angles. Because your legs are unweighted in these scenarios, they move quickly and easily into attacks. Here, Nicky Ryan inverts Unser brother Gordon to enter into triangles, arm bars, omoplatas. He could also easily go downstairs into leg locks. Learning to get comfortable in these inverted positions is a big part of your development in the bottom submissions game. Time spent getting yourself to relax and breath freely in positions like this will make you able to spin like a top under a tough opponent and whip your legs into attacks that can turn a match around in a second.

5:30am another night done

5:30am another night done: Here is an old photo taken at the end of a long night working nightclub security back in the 1990’s. Like most bouncers I worked at a few clubs that provided steady gigs for a period of time, along with numerous others where I would do freelance work replacing someone who couldn’t make it, got hurt or recently left. You can tell this was at one of the more action packed venues by the short hair (always better for fighting) and football jersey (excellent for fighting - totally rip proof, bare forearms to facilitate strangles and prevent people gripping sleeve cuffs and interfering with strikes, easy to wash out booze and blood), ultra baggy pants with robust leather belt for mobility while staying firmly in place and preventing someone pulling your shirt over your head in a melee and blinding you - low riding pants are never a good idea in a full out brawl - it’s hard enough to fight other people without having to fight your own pants at the same time! Next to me is a tall bar stool - if a fight went to knives I would immediately smash the stool into the floor and now it provides two long and strong sticks - an excellent improvised counter to knives which saved me on several notable occasions. I’m waiting for the promoter of the event to finish counting his cash - he used to make a lot it from his cut of Moët champagne sales at the bar. As such he was an obvious mark leaving the club with the money - I would escort him to his ride back to Brownsville Brooklyn and then I was done - I would walk home and spoil myself with a big old cheeseburger with lettuce and tomatoes at a local 24 hour diner - sometimes the patrons of the club that I had been fighting earlier in the night would also be there and usually it would be straightened out but sometimes we would fight again Then I would get some sleep and get ready to go and teach Philosophy at Columbia University- sometimes with cuts, bruises or black eyes from the night before Crazy times in my early days in America, but it was these early experiences that created my first interest and experience of Jiu jitsu and had a huge impact on how I perceived the value of the art.