Seph Smith on Sambo, BJJ, and Performing Under Pressure

In this episode of The Strenuous Life Podcast I was thrilled to talk with the articulate and knowledgable Seph Smith.

Seph is a prolific competitor, was awarded his BJJ black belt by UFC fighter Ryan Hall, and has a black belt in Combat Sambo.

He has competed with and without the gi and in MMA as well.

We covered many topics including

How to train leglocks safely, Competing in Judo and Sambo, Opening his own school and how to be a good teacher, Making instructional products, Dealing with potentially career-ending injuries, Future evolution of BJJ How to have a well rounded game, How to perform well under pressure, And much more.

To listen to this conversation you could press play on the embedded audio player below, but then you might miss out on future episodes, wouldn’t you?

So the best thing to do is to subscribe to The Strenuous Life Podcast using the podcast player that you almost certainly already have on your phone!

(For example, if you have an iPhone then it’s the purple app with the antenna-like thing in it. Just click the Apple Podcasts link below and it should open up that app for you.)

Here are the links to find the podcast on various players (Seph’s episode is #159)…

Apple Podcasts (the purple app on your iPhone) Google Podcasts (the new google podcast app) Spotify (it’s free) StitcherSoundcloudGoogle Play 

Or you can listen here:

Finally, if you enjoyed this episode the single best thing you can do to help is to go and subscribe to the podcast right now.  I can’t tell you how much that moves the needle.

And if you’ve already done that then a rating and review of the podcast would be super-appreciated.  It may seem silly but it REALLY helps!

Thank you so much


More Seph Here

Check out Seph’s school, Upstream BJJ, in Richmond VA…

and/or click here to find out more about Seph’s BJJ mini-courses…

and/or follow Seph on Instagram at @sephwillkillyou


The post Seph Smith on Sambo, BJJ, and Performing Under Pressure appeared first on Grapplearts.

12 BJJ Black Belts Give Their Best Tips for Starting BJJ {Video and Podcast}

Today you’re going to get 12 BJJ black belts give their best tips, strategies and advice for people just starting out in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. White belts looking for help getting started and organising their training will really benefit from watching this.

Although there are a few themes the fascinating thing is how diverse the advice is.  There is no one path, no one BJJ tip to rule them all, so getting different opinions from different grapplers is an amazing thing!

If this video doesn’t fire you up and get you on the mat grappling then nothing will!

Watch the video below, or scroll down to find out who they are in advance and listen to this in audio-only podcast format!

Here are the 12 BJJ black belts featured in this video:

Stephan Kesting (0:00 to 1:14) grapplearts.com Bernardo Faria (1:14 to 2:25) bernardofaria.com Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins (2:25 to 5:22) justgipants.com Travis Stevens (5:22 to 6:04) fujisports.com/blog/travis-stevens/ Rob Biernacki (6:04 to 7:21) islandtopteam.com/ Pshemek Drabczynski (7:21 to 8:10) besthometrainer.com Ritchie Yip (8:10 to 9:22) infighting.ca Sean McHugh (9:22 to 10:20) alliancekelowna.com Elliott Bayev (10:20 to 12:09) openmat.ca Jason Manly (12:09 to 12:48) instagram.com/jasonmanly Michael Zenga (12:48 to 13:49) bjjfanatics.com Perry Bateson (13:49 to 14:56) nwjja.ca/ BJJ Positions & Techniques Checklist (free download here)

If you want this same information in audio form then go to your favourite podcasting platform, subscribe to ‘The Strenuous Life’ Podcast, and then look for episode 132. You can find it on most podcast platforms, including…

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/strenuous-life-podcast-stephan-kesting-grapplearts/id320705565?mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?authuser&u=0#/ps/I3qvbtkdb74xrpv6ozbzie2ca4e

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-993426357

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/stephan-kesting/grapplearts-radio-podcast

Alternately you can also listen to the advice on the embedded player below…

See you on the mat!

The post 12 BJJ Black Belts Give Their Best Tips for Starting BJJ {Video and Podcast} appeared first on Grapplearts.

“If I don’t know, I will not allow.”

“If I don’t know, I will not allow.”

That’s a quote and a guiding principle from Roberto Leitao, a high ranking Luta Livre and Judo practitioner, that was shared with me by my friend Ed Beneville who trained with him.

Regardless of whether it’s a grip, a setup, a guard position, or an angle, if you don’t fully understand what’s going on then do everything you can to prevent it. Once you allow a match to go into an unknown area then you’re in trouble.

A smart opponent will try steer the fight to an area in which he feels comfortable and you do not. Don’t let that happen.

Even if you don’t know exactly what technique he’s trying to use, don’t let him take the next step.

Block, thwart and deny his every attempt to move the fight into unknown territory.

So that’s the general idea, and depending on the situation it’s either the best or worst advice I’ve ever heard.

Now when is this good advice?

It really depends on the context…

If you’re in an important tournament match, or in a sparring match with someone way above your level, or a real fight (knock on wood that you won’t need to go there) then this is the perfect time to apply “If I don’t know, I will not allow.”

Let’s say he’s in your closed guard and going for some weird grip that you don’t recognise: fight, fight, fight to prevent that grip. Maybe it leads to a guard pass that you’ve never seen before, or maybe it leads to a crazy submission – the point is you don’t know where it’s going and now is NOT the time to find out.

If you don’t know you don’t allow.

This principle can be expanded a little bit to include overall strategies…

It’s the old saying, “fight a boxer, box a fighter” applied to jiu-jitsu. Don’t let him to fight in his comfort zone, and instead take him into your world if you can.

Lets say that your opponent is awesome at the spider guard, so DON’T just blithely let him get his grips and then try to fight him. Don’t even go there; change the game instead.  Maybe pull guard on him. Or sit back and play the leglock game so he panics, abandons the spider guard, and gives you the guard pass.

Conversely, maybe your opponent » Continue Reading.

The post “If I don’t know, I will not allow.” appeared first on Grapplearts.

BJJ / Grappling tips: escape the triangle choke from guard

How to escape the triangle choke from guard:

Moving upstream is a marketing term. It can easily be explained with the analogy of a river. If you walk past a river and spot a problem (pollution, stagnant water…etc.) you can either address the immediate problem or simply walk upstream trying to understand the origins of the situation at hand.
What does all this have to do with BJJ/grappling? Everything! Prevention is the best solution in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and by moving upstream we solve problems we didn’t even know we had.

Are you getting caught in triangles in the closed guard? Want to learn how to avoid that in the first place? Let’s move upstream step by step:

Don’t let your opponent close their guard around you, and earlier than that…
Don’t leave your arms one in and one out, and earlier than that…
Don’t let your opponent control your head and posture, and earlier than that…
Don’t let your opponent place their foot (feet) on your hip(s) in open guard, and earlier than that…
Don’t let your opponent control your sleeves
The way I see it, the deeper you get into the rabbit hole, the harder it will be to get out and the more likely that you will get caught. Your chances of you getting caught in a triangle are higher if you let them place their foot on your hip than if you use your knees and elbows to control their thighs (even if they manage to control your wrists) and they are higher still if they control your posture (from your head or collar).
The beauty of moving upstream is that if you don’t let them control your sleeves your will avoid triangles, omoplatas, armbars and most sweeps.

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Check for more resources on Amazon.com:

A Spider Guard Triangle Choke Setup for No Gi

A lot of people think that Spider Guard is only applicable to BJJ with the gi.  They’re kinda right, but they’re also mostly wrong. You see, it’s more complicated than “no gi equals no Spider Guard…” First of all, if you get good at something as intricate and technical as Spider Guard then it develops […]

The Key to Dominating from the Spider Guard

This video clip is about a rarely-discussed but absolutely essential aspect of the Spider Guard. And that aspect is pressure. Pressure is one of those things that can be hard to see if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But there’s no mistaking the feeling of it if you end up in the Spider […]

A Jedi Mind Trick for Passing Butterfly Guard

This butterfly guard pass doesn’t require athleticism, speed or killer grips; instead this guard pass is all about the timing. To have great timing you either need to have super-fast reflexes to react to your opponent, OR you have to ‘train’ your opponent to give you a certain energy so you can anticipate it and […]