the three most important details ranked in order of importance

Being told two dozen details about a given move will not prove as useful to you under the pressure sparring or competition as the three most important details ranked in order of importance. Better to remember a few items of the most important information than forget two dozen items from a forgettable and unranked list. Remember this always when both teaching and learning

Consistently Winning the little battles usually means you’ll win the war

Consistently Winning the little battles usually means you’ll win the war: A Jiu jitsu match is a series of little battles leading to progressively better situations until a point is reached where the opponent does not want to or cannot continue - then the war is over. This simple fact should be reflected in your training. If you want to mimic match conditions seek to win all the little battles along the way - the initial hand fights, the transition to the ground and subsequent grip fights, the battle to off balance an opponent if you’re on bottom or nullify the legs if you’re on top. In a competitive match these battles will go back and forth - focus on winning bad many as you can and generally the final result will go your way. Most Jiu jitsu matches are won CUMULATIVELY. Onlookers only remember the RESULT, but in truth, most of the time it was taking the majority of all those little battles for grip, angle and position that determined the outcome before the finish. Fight in the light of this truth. Don’t get complacent over small battles - they all count toward the final result. Stay focused and be greedy - the more little battles you take the easier and quicker you win the overall war.

Grip with four appendages - not two

Grip with four appendages - not two: When people ask me about gripping skills in Jiu jitsu they almost invariably want to talk about grip STRENGTH. Even when they talk about this they invariably refer to strength of the HANDS. Never forget that from guard position you must learn to grip with both hands AND feet. It is crucial that you develop dexterity in your feet so that they can grip and pull and push just like your hands do. The great advantage of guard position is that it UNWEIGHTS YOUR FEET so that they can be used as two extra gripping limbs. You get to fight an opponent with four of your limbs - he only gets to fight with two. Look how uber talented Australian grappler Craig Jones expertly uses all four limbs simultaneously to grip up his opponent as he closes distance. Your hands are only half the story of gripping in Jiu jitsu - only when you use all four appendages in concert will you maximize your gripping potential

Big congratulations to Garry Tonon and Gordon

Big congratulations to Garry Tonon and Gordon for winning the Flograppling fan vote competition for most exciting match of the year (Garry Tonon) and submission of the year (Gordon Ryan). I’ve always believed that good Jiu jitsu is directed at control that leads to submission and that this style is always an exciting style to watch and learn. These two athletes do an amazing job of representing that philosophy. This is the third year in a row that Mr Tonon has won this award - an incredible achievement and testimony to his attacking style. Both athletes continuously hunt for submissions - just as you should. They have different means of getting there - one is movement based and the other is control based but the goal is the same. Congratulations Garry and Gordon!

The example of Georges St Pierre

The example of Georges St Pierre: I have had the honor of coaching many truly outstanding athletes of more than two decades. None surpassed the incredible achievements of Mr St Pierre. Everyone knows his achievements - far fewer know what it was like to train with him in the gym - yet a brief discussion of this could be very beneficial to your own progress. The first thing to note was that Mr St Pierre was fully capable of beating the crap out of any of us any time he felt like it, but he came in to the gym only to play our game of grappling rather than fighting. He knew that grappling expertise was an important part of fighting expertise and would not try to use any of his great advantages in standing grappling and striking (or even mention them) but instead play our submission game. He would almost always pull guard and start of positions of disadvantage to remove his advantages and work on his weaknesses. His only goal was improvement in the area we were best suited to help it. If he wanted to he could have simply disengaged and stalled to avoid our strengths. He never did. He went directly into our strengths and tried to improve his performance in those areas. He did the same thing in every boxing, Muay Thai and wrestling workout i ever saw him do. Every workout must have seemed a nightmare as it was him playing against the best people in the world in their strongest area, on their terms. If someone followed him around for a year and watched his workouts they might see him struggling the whole time - until it was fight night. Then they would see the result of all that work against specialists in their domain. Now it was time to put it all together in HIS domain - the cage - under MMA rules - and you all know how that went! DON’T FOCUS IN WINNING IN THE GYM - FOCUS ON IMPROVEMENT AND SKILL ACQUISITION - worry about WINNING when it counts - when you learn to divide those two concerns your progress will be astounding

It’s hard for an opponent to attack you from guard if you don’t allow his feet to make effective connections to your legs and arms

It’s hard for an opponent to attack you from guard if you don’t allow his feet to make effective connections to your legs and arms: Effective attacks in Jiu jitsu are predicated upon effective grips that form connection between you and an opponent. You can use that connection to control and attack. If you can’t grip and connect - you can’t attack. Now guard position has two major forms of grip. The first is the more obvious one - your hands to your opponents body. The second is your FEET to your opponents body (usually the legs). Your feet do almost as much grilling as your hands in Jiu jitsu. When passing, if you can shut down your opponents ability to grip you with his feet, then you will have gone a long way towards shutting down his offense, and with his offense shut down, now you can focus on the fun stuff - passing his guard - without the distraction of being attacked as you try to pass. Seek to control his feet and prevent them making effective connections to your legs - your passing game will thank you

Undermining athleticism

Undermining athleticism: One of the central features of Jiu jitsu is the constant drive to UNDERMINE WHATEVER ATHLETIC POTENTIAL YOUR OPPONENT HAS. The human body is constructed in such a way that for every athletic task it is capable of performing, there is an optimal stance or bodily disposition that facilitates that task. Your goal in Jiu jitsu is to interfere with that as much as possible in order to reduce an opponent to a klutzy, tied up and useless, unathletic specimen waiting to be submitted. There are many ways to do this depending upon the situation you are in. When it comes to leg locking, arguably the most controlling means of shackling an opponent up in a manner that severely undermines his athleticism is to lace his ankles whilst holding him in cross ashi garami. That immediately prevents an opponent standing up, coming forward or scooting back and also makes turning difficult. ONCE YOU CONTROL MOVEMENT - YOU CONTROL THE GAME. Research how to restrain people and undermine their athleticism in your favorite finishing holds and watch your finishes skyrocket

Looking back at yourself

Looking back at yourself: As much as I encourage students to focus on their future goals and skill development, an important part of that future focus is to periodically look back upon yourself to check for signs of progress. It can be quite a shocking experience to look back at old video of yourself in training. You can learn a lot by looking at old footage and COACHING YOUR OLD SELF. You will of course see a thousand mistakes - you know so much more now than you did then. This simple exercise will reinforce many lessons you learned and crystallize them in a memorable way to help you recall and emphasize them for future training and development. Here, a teenage Gordon Ryan goes through early leg lock training - rough and untutored compared with his current self - but the basic outlines are there. You can see potential and directions for the future. Learn to see the same potential in yourself - take a look back sometimes to help you steer the way forward


I am very happy to announce the release today of the third and final instructional video of the FEET TO FLOOR series. This series focuses on the standing game of Jiu Jitsu in gi. This third volume focuses on aspects of the Jiu jitsu game that are of particular importance to the unique rules and demands of Jiu jitsu and which are either absent or downplayed in most grappling arts. Skills such as standing submission entries (pull to submission rather than pull to guard), a new approach to guard pulling where is it used to aggressively score rather than passively used to avoid being scored upon. How to counter guard pulls and pass in response to an opponent pulling guard. Takedown counters that put you in position to score on the ground. Remember that takedowns are only part of the standing game - there are other skills that can get better outcomes with much less risk and which can be learned very quickly - skills that can give you an effective standing game for Jiu jitsu in a short time. Check it out if you’re interested

There’s a lot more to the standing game of Jiu jitsu than takedowns

There’s a lot more to the standing game of Jiu jitsu than takedowns: When most people think of standing skills in Jiu jitsu they understandably think automatically in terms of takedowns. However, there are many other skills of great importance. Let’s consider takedown defense for example. In Jiu jitsu a successful takedown scores two points. A strong counter to takedown that exposes an opponents back and enables you to secure rear mount will score double that - four points. So clearly takedown defense is a potentially very profitable skill that gets widely overlooked in Jiu jitsu. Let’s look at pulling guard. This is typically seen as a defeatist strategy which intent is to prevent an opponent scoring on you (usually because you believe he has superior takedown skills to you). What if we changed our thinking a little and instead of passively pulling guard, we pulled directly to a SWEEP from guard? Pulling directly to a guard sweep is no more difficult than pulling guard. Now you can use guard pulling as a MEANS TO SCORE rather than a way to avoid being scored on. Interestingly you will score the same amount (two points) as you would have scored with a takedown. What if an opponent pulls guard on you? Most people just see this as an invitation to play the ground game. What if you saw it as an opportunity to score a quick guard passing off the pull? Now your up three points (more than a takedown) and putting your opponent under real pressure from the start. What about instead of pulling guard you pulled directly to a submission hold? An arm lock, leg lock or strangle? Then the whole damn match would be over! You can see that there are many very potentially lucrative standing skills that get far less attention than they ought to. Perhaps you can among the first to develop these and make them a feature of your game and reap the benefits!