Jul 13

Three adjustments that changed my game forever

Let’s chat about ah ha moments.

They’re those times when something just clicks for you. At that moment, it all makes all sense. And they’re sneaky too. Sometimes someone will show you something that makes you smack your head and wonder about why you didn’t think of it first or perhaps you’ll just stumble on a insight out of nowhere.

I’ve had many of those experiences.

But in an effort not to toot my horn (this time at least), I’ll just focus on what I’ve learned from others.

Let’s go…

1. Creating leg torque

Back when yours truly was a not so wee little white belt, I had an opportunity to train with Fred Ramie while he was visiting from out of town. At the time, he was a brown belt, and even back then, I was a disciple of the half, so I played it against him.

It didn’t go well.

I couldn’t do anything to him.

Oh, I tried. Yes, indeed, I tried. But it was no go.

Afterward though, I asked him for advice on what I could have done better in that situation, and he showed me the leg torque.

It blew my mind.

I’ve never forgotten.

And over time, my understanding on the principles and applications of that small adjustments has continually expanded, and it all started with that one moment.

2. Popping the collar

Nowadays, I’m almost anal about popping the collar on the back when going for the bow and arrow choke or any of its variations. It’s such a small thing but it makes a massive difference when it comes to maintaining a strong grip, getting under the chin, and finishing the choke clean.

I first learned that from Roberto Torralbas.

And the first time I used it, I was like wooooow. It’s just amazing the difference it made. All my chokes just went to a whole ‘nother level in an instant once I started incorporating it into my game.

3. Kicking the leg out

In the early days, I would often run into situations where I would get on the back and then the guy would lift his hips up and drive back to stack me there. Then we would enter this strange contest of wills.

I couldn’t attack.

He couldn’t escape.

And I had no answer for it at all. But then my coach, Mike Moses, showed me how I could hook one leg and kick out to instantly destroy the structure of that position.

It had to be done on the same side as the primary choke though. Otherwise, it would aid in their escape rather than setting the stage for their doom.

That’s been in my game ever since.


I think about these things sometimes because this art is fundamentally about learning. Every time, you step on the mat, there’s an opportunity to learn something new and there’s someone that knows something that you don’t.

Those are realities that I appreciate.

And if you’re ever on a mat with me, feel free to pick my brain. I have no problem with helping you expand your game as much as possible.

Case in point:

All my courses are different than traditional instructionals.

I didn’t tape any of them all at once and none of them are static. I often go back and add or replace lessons, whenever I feel that an improvement can be made.

The reason behind that is because nothing remains the same. The game is always changing, and you have to embrace the chaos in order to take it far.

And on that note, I just added new lesson to my side control escape course. It breaks down how to escape with crucial details for reversing the position even when your opponent is hellbent on smashing you into the mat with the force of ages.

Learn more here: