Freestyle Judo – The Way Judo Ought To Be?

There is a growing contingent of Judoka who are dissatisfied with the direction the sport has been moving over the past few decades. They don’t like the elimination of leg grabs, and the growing list of disallowed techniques and behaviors that push competitors to gravitate to a very small set of techniques. They are concerned […]

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Setting Up and Finishing the Single Leg Takedown in BJJ with the Gi

The single leg takedown is one of the main moves in freestyle wrestling, but it becomes considerably harder to pull off when you put the gi on.

That’s because with the gi  your opponent usually just grabs your lapel and sleeve, stiff-arms away, and makes it hard to get at his legs. This can be very frustrating for people looking for single and double leg wrestling takedowns in BJJ.

Now judo players have an easier time dismantling this sort of defense since gripfighting is so integral to their sport.

Does that mean that you should learn Judo?  I started doing Judo when I was 11 and think it’s a beautiful art, but the sad truth is that most judo throws take a very long time and thousands of repetitions to develop.

Also many Judo throws don’t translate well to no gi and MMA type scenarios.

But if you want to stick with a wrestling approach then you absolutely CAN adapt the single leg to work with the gi!

The key is setting up your grips.

In a previous article I showed my own favourite gripping sequence in the gi.  It’s centered around first getting the ‘across the back’ grip and then using your opponent’s reactions to take him down (and the single leg takedown was one of those techniques covered).

But today we’re looking at another sequence to secure the single leg takedown in the gi.  The sequence consists of the following steps:

Open your opponent’s left lapel with your left hand and then back away Now insert your right hand low on his right lapel and slide it up as high as you can comfortably get Pull your opponent forward so that he steps his right leg forward and postures up and backwards Step forward and off balance him backwards by pushing his chest with your face/forehead Pick up his lead (right) leg, which should now be light, with your left hand and drive forward Keep his leg elevated, pull down on his lapel, and circle to your right to take him down

This sequence, taught by Rob Biernacki, is a lot easier to understand if you check out the video below.

Hope this helps!


More Easy Takedowns

A lot of people have asked me about throws and takedowns over the years so I’ve actually written about this topic numerous times on my blog.  If you’re » Continue Reading.

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PODCAST: Travis Stevens, Olympic silver medalist, on judo, jiu-jitsu and discipline

Listening to American Olympic judo silver medalist and BJJ black belt Travis Stevens will make you want to get up at 5 a.m. and train five times a day. He talks to us about goal-setting, work ethic, and determination — and recounts matches that are years in the past with an emotional resonance that suggests …

Continue reading “PODCAST: Travis Stevens, Olympic silver medalist, on judo, jiu-jitsu and discipline”

Podcast Episode 56 – Interview with Budo Jake Discussing Training Around the World, Advice to Newbies, and More…

This is a really good episode in which I talk to my friend, BJJ black belt, and world traveller Budo Jake. We cover a ton of topics including the evolution of Japanese ju-jutsu into BJJ, getting choked unconscious, the effectiveness of wrist locks in grappling, brain damage from striking, yoga and other recover methods, training at different academies, and advice for newbies.  Enjoy!

You can listen to this as Episode 56 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

Or you can listen to it in the embedded player below:

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Ronda Rousey Takedown Study: Judo in MMA

Ronda Rousey is an Elite Judoka Being the first woman from the US to ever medal at the Olympics is no small feat. Even as a pure judoka, her technique was very good.  The mechanics of her main throws are perfect with no errors and she was not a crude “leg grabber”/wrestler type of judo […]

The post Ronda Rousey Takedown Study: Judo in MMA appeared first on bjjscout.com.

Podcast Episode 124 – My Interview on the Cody Jitsu Show

This was a fun episode of my podcast (The Strenuous Life) because the tables got turned; instead of me doing the interview I got grilled by Cody from the Codyjitsu podcast.

We covered tons of stuff including my martial arts background, how I got my black belt, my favourite moves and techniques, specific strategies to train around injuries, the role of competition in training, and much more.

The best way to listen to this podcast is to go to your favourite podcasting platform, subscribe to ‘The Strenuous Life’ Podcast (*ahem* that’s my podcast) and then look for episode 124. 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

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

You can also listen to interview on the embedded player below…

Finally, if you like what you hear then why not go and give The Strenuous Life Podcast a rating or review on whatever platform you listen to it on. That kind of stuff is super appreciated, and it’s really helping

Follow Cody on Instagram: @AmericanGrapplingAcademy

Follow me on Instagram: @Stephan_Kesting

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1st Match Adrenaline Dump & Forearm Burnout: Why it Happens and How to Deal with it

 Credit image & photo: Pedja Milosavljevic / STARSPORT: Belgrade Open 2016 BJJ A competitor has just finished the first match of their day. It was a tough one that went the distance. Sweat on the brow, chest heaving and leaden forearms the competitor leaves the mat realizing they only have between five and ten minutes to […]

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Lapel Drag from Butterfly Guard and from Standing

The lapel drag (aka collar drag) is an incredibly important move from the butterfly guard.  It’s a legitimate sweep, but it’s also an amazing setup for many other attacks.

It’s also low risk and doesn’t require an elaborate grip to set it up.

In this Youtube video Rob Biernacki shows some of the black belt details that’ll make this sweep MUCH more effective, even against skilled, larger opponents!

The technique above was a lapel drag performed from the butterfly guard against a kneeling opponent. But you can also do the same move from the feet as a takedown.

This technique is functionally illegal in Judo, but in BJJ it’s a high percentage and fairly safe way get a match to the ground. In the video below my friend Ritchie Yip shows you how to do it.

Whether you’re using the lapel drag on the ground or on the feet you always have to be prepared to follow up with other techniques.

In the first video at the top of this page you saw Rob Biernacki connect the lapel drag sweep with the single leg takedown from wrestling.

This is a very powerful combination, and I’m not the only person who thinks so!  Here are a couple of multiple time BJJ world champions showing you their own particular approach for this takedown combo…

Here’s Cobrinha, 6 time world champion, showing you how he likes to do the collar drag to single leg

And here’s my friend Bernardo Faria, 4 time world champion and 3 time Pan American champion, with his variation of the same move:

So there you have it – a powerful, low risk sweep and takedown that doesn’t require a ton of coordination… What are you waiting for?  Get out there and start drilling it!!!

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How a Judo Olympian Takes the Back

Travis Stevens is a 3 time Judo Olympian, an Olympic silver medalist, and a BJJ black belt.

So he’s deadly on his feet but is also really slick on the ground. In fact his ground attacks were a huge part of his very successful run at the 2016 Olympics.

He shared 3 really cool ways to take the back while passing the guard with me, and I was fortunate enough to get it on video for you.

All these methods are linked together by the same concept he learned from John Danaher, namely “If I can see your back then I can take your back”

Here’s his video about taking the back on Youtube.

Check it out – this is really good stuff!

P.S.  I also did a really interesting podcast episode with Travis – click here for more information on how to listen to that!

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Defense vs the Over-Under Guard Pass

The ‘over-under’ pass is a pressure-based technique for passing the guard which is used quite successfully in high level competition.  In part it’s a great pass because you don’t have to be particularly fast or nimble to pull it off.

When you’re on the bottom and defending this pass, however, life can really suck…

Not only is it an effective pass, but it’s a tiring one to defend.  You’re bearing all of your opponent’s weight, and he can gradually grind you down.  Your legs get tired, it gets hard to breathe, and your reactions get slower.

So if you spend any time on the bottom then you have to have a way to counter this pass!

I asked three time Olympian, Judo silver medalist, and BJJ black belt Travis Stevens how he defends this pass, and he ended up showing me a really cool defense using an unorthodox triangle choke technique (it’s a variation of the yoko-sangaku choke, the side triangle, which is often used by judoka to attack the turtle position).

I’ve had the pleasure of having this yoko-sangaku submission applied to me, and the pressure is horrendous!  But in the way Travis does it makes it even worse!

Here’s the video of Travis Stevens doing this exact over-under guard pass defense to me and breaking down how to do it.  Check it out!

If it helps you remember this move then here are the simplified steps as I broke them down for a post on my @stephan_kesting instagram feed.

As you can see, it’s critical to sneak your feet into the correct position, then push to create a bit of room and swing your top leg into the sangaku (triangle) position.  Once you’ve got your legs in position it’s all about manoeuvring your body to be able to generate maximum pressure and submission power!

A quick summary of how to defend against the over-under pass and counter with a triangle choke by @judosilencer Travis Stevens #grappling #nogi #sangaku #sangamujime #guardpasscounter #bjjtechnique #judotechnique #newaza #grapplingtechnique #grapplearts

A post shared by Stephan Kesting (@stephan_kesting) on Oct » Continue Reading.

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New podcast with Travis Stevens, 3 x Judo Olympian, Olympic Silver Medalist, and BJJ Black Belt

In this episode of the Strenuous Life Podcast I go deep with 3 x Judo Olympian and BJJ black belt Travis Stevens.

We go DEEP into his training regimen, including

Why he does 5 or 6 workouts a day What the strength benchmarks are for effective judo Why mental fatigue is often just as much a limiting factor as physical fatigue How he uses his groundwork skills to force his opponents to make critical errors The critical importance of gripfighting The differences between his BJJ and Judo training And much more.

It’s an amazing episode that I’m sure you’ll find very interesting.

You can listen to this podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, or Stitcher.

Or if you don’t use any podcast players (and you should) then you can listen to it here by clicking on the player below.

P.S. It would be hugely appreciated if you were to subscribe to and give this podcast a rating if you find it useful. That sort of support is really helping us produce more episodes!

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The Oldest Judo Competitor in The World: Who is Jerry Vessichio?

Jerry Vessichio is the seven-fingered, ninety-two year old, oldest competitor of judo in the United States. In the video below he lands a sweet strip on another senior judo competitor, who was 83 years of age at the time of the clip. “He was no match for me, really,” he tells me. “I am the […]

Judo’s Life Changing Benefits for Mental Health

Judo has been around since 1882 and the benefits of this art shine brightly. Throughout time, judokas (one who practices judo) have been known for having incredible athletic attributes, like strength, balance, and flexibility. Mentally, a judoka has enhanced self-confidence, the courage to face their fears, and incredible mental fortitude. Many have stood in front […]

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