Jun 22

7 tips for ensuring that you stay stuck on bottom

You know…

If you want to struggle helplessly to escape side control and mount, there are a few things you can do to ensure it.

I. While under side control, bridge straight up instead of over your shoulder. It’s an INCREDIBLE workout, and your opponent will enjoy letting their weight drop back down on you with the force of ages too.

II. On that note as well, keep your feet close when you bridge. That way, you’ll have absolutely no base while elevated, so it will be easy for opponents to just smash you right back down.

III. Don’t bother establishing any frames. Who needs such things anyway. It’s not like your opponent will do everything they can to take away any space you create or anything.

IV. Don’t connect your elbows to your sides. Instead, leave your arms dangling out in space. Consider it bait. Your opponent may latch onto them and attempt submissions, and oh boy, that’ll be loads of fun.

V. While under mount, wrap your arms around your opponent’s waist and hold on for dear life. That’ll show em who’s boss.

VI. And on that note as well, you can also just roll away and give your back. Oh, someone told you that you should only rotate your lower body to initiate escapes??? Psh. LIES.

VII. Reach up and push on your opponent’s chest. Yeah, bench press em. It’s the absolute best way to escape. Take my word for it.


That’s the kind of advice I would give to my enemies.

It’s a shame though.

I still see people doing some of these things on the mat. It’s like they don’t know any better. Or maybe they just can’t break old habits easily.

Who knows.

But I do know this.

If you find yourself doing any of these things while trying to escape, it’s time for some drastic changes. You’re doing nothing more than ensuring your own demise.

And you know what?

When it comes to escaping side control, my disciples have no such problems.

They’ve learned simple tactics and principles for creating effective frames and creating space to ensure their escape.

This is where you can join them:

Jun 05

A conceptual framework for understanding how to pass

Lately, I’ve been giving much thought to passing.

And some improvement to my overall understanding of how passes work has occurred as a result.

For example:

I now categorize guards into two primary types.

In one, control centers around entanglement of the limbs and/or body. Examples at the basic level would be closed and half guard. But there are even a few open guards that can fall into that category like the lasso or even the worm.

On the other hand though, the guards that falls into the other category are built around tension. It’s a constant push and pull that creates in an almost invisible control of distance and space.

Now why does that matter?


I’ll give you an example.

This week, in one of my class agendas, I’ve been focused on breaking down how to pass the De La Riva guard, with a focus on principles first, of course.

And DLR is a tension guard in almost all of its common forms. It’s composed of three pulling grips and a push grip. And the the thing that I always focus attention on is that fragile link in the chain (the foot on the thigh).

Once that foot loses contact with the body, all tension is destroyed in an instant. The structure of the position breaks and many passes become possible. Hell, I’ve even been showing a stupid simple method of forcing the knee cut there.

And it’s not like a ninja trick or anything.

It’s just simple principle.

If you understand how control is being established and maintained, you can attack the weak links of that control and improve your ability to dominate.

Get this though.

The example I gave above just scratches the surface.

It can be taken much further. In fact, I’m quite motivated, so it might just be one of my next projects.

In the meantime though, feel free to check out a visual demonstration of how tension can be broken in DLR.

Learning happens here:

May 03

The sleeve drag deceives and destroys all

Oh boy, let’s talk about the sleeve drag.

It’s one of many grips that I like to use in the closed guard, and I call it that instead of other names that others use because I always want to remind myself of the primary intent behind using it.

Once I establish it, I must always threaten to drag the arm. That nagging sense of worry¬†has to invade my adversary’s mind at all times because that threat will lead to more offensive opportunities.

Case in point:

In the video above, I demonstrate an offensive sequence that I’m experimenting with. It’s predicated on the idea that the guy is going to resist the drag, but in the process, some space will be created between their elbow and their rib. In that moment, the transition to the reverse grip is made, and now they’ve found themselves in an even worst scenario.

But it all starts with the grip.

And that cross sleeve and elbow grip is powerful.

In fact, yesterday, I was training with one of my students. And he knows that I’m experimenting with connecting the sleeve drag to the reverse kimura so he tried like all hell to stop it from happening. He tried to strip the grip. Not even close. Then tried to dig his elbow in tight. And that’s where he gave me some trouble. I couldn’t set up the reverse kimura… so I just dragged him and took his back.

It’s a rock and a hard place.

I’ll take what you give me.

And that’s the power that grip gives you. If you understand it, there are many paths of offense that can be taken, and it is deceptively strong (if done right).

Don’t take my word for it though.

Play with it.

And if you want to learn another powerful for the closed guard, go here:

Apr 19

Solid side control Isnever static

I’m in the process of developing several defensive sequences for escaping side control.

Frankly, I’ve gotten tired of seeing so many people struggle helplessly, and the reason behind that is that most often escapes are taught only for the most ideal of circumstances. The most flagrant example is when the person on top is just holding the position on their knees (that’s not true side control).

Not only are you more likely to feel shoulder pressure from hell but also their hips are going to be low, the space is going to be small, and you’re going to feel almost all of their weight.

It’s entirely different situation than most people experience when they drill escapes.

Then on top of that, they aren’t going to be static.

They will move.

As you desperately try to escape, they will adjust their position to maintain control and make you suffer all the more. But escape is still possible. Every adjustment comes with an opportunity. It just has to be seen and taken advantage of.

And that’s where my attention is focused at the moment.

Above, you’ll also get the opportunity to see a small bit of what’s currently in the lab, and soon, very soon, it will all be added to the side control ghosting course.

Here’s where you can find out more about it:

Apr 17

One of the drills I like best for improving the armbar from closed guard

This is one of my absolute favorite drills for closed guard. It isolates and focuses on the leg work that most commonly contributes to issues executing the armbar.

Nowadays, I include it often in classes I teach, and it has had profound effect.

All the time, I notice students getting better and better at hitting armbar just because of this drill.

It’s fascinating.

Apr 07

Two simple improvements to the knee cut pass

The other day, a student asked me about a problem he’s been having often during rolls.

Over and over again, he gets to one of the very best positions for finishing the knee cut pass (deep underhook and head tight against the ear on the other side), but yet (get this) he goes noooowhere. His opponents lock up his leg like a death vise.

And it’s been bothering him…. ALOT.

Frankly, it’s a common problem. And it stems from focusing too much on using the knee to cut through the guard. The name of the pass definitely doesn’t help in that regard either.

Where they go wrong is that they don’t realize how hip dominant the pass truly is.

There must be a connection between your hip and your opponent’s body, and THAT is what gives you the most leverage for making the pass finish as smooth as silk.

It’s one of the biggest misconceptions about the knee cut.

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