Podcast Episode 85 – Ritchie Yip Discusses Transitioning from Gi to No Gi

No gi grappling is very popular these days, and a lot of people find making the transition from training with the gi to training without it tricky and difficult.  In this episode Ritchie Yip and I go over some tricks and tips to make this an easier transition and to give you a fighting chance when you can’t grip cloth to control your opponent.

You can listen to this as Episode 85 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

If you get a chance, check out Ritchie’s InFighting page also!

(A subscription, rating, and review on whatever podcast platform you use is always super appreciated!)


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Podcast Episode 76 – Mayweather v. McGregor

In this mini-episode I talk Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor with Ritchie Yip, and we both come to the same conclusion about betting on this fight. Listen to this episode before you put money down on Conor McGregor.

You can listen to this as episode 76 of the Strenuous Life podcast, available on  iTunesStitcherSoundcloud and Google Play.

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

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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!

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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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2 Favorite Knee on Belly Escapes

Being on the bottom of knee on belly (aka ‘knee mount’) is a terrible thing!

You can’t move… Your arms and neck are vulnerable to submissions… And the pressure that an opponent puts on your belly makes it hard to breath.

So you have to have a good knee on belly escape you can rely on!

To get you started with that, in my 6:06 Youtube video called ‘2 Favorite Escapes from Knee Mount you’re going to get not just one but two good escapes that work all the time!

First I’ll show you the major dangers of being caught on the bottom of knee on belly plus what NOT to do (unless you want to be instantly submitted)…

Next, you’ll get one of my simple, bread and butter knee on belly escapes that I use all the time…

And then my friend and training partner Ritchie Yip shares a fancier-looking escape that not only gets you out of knee on belly, but puts you on top as well. I can vouch for this second technique because despite being lighter than me Ritchie has caught me in it a few times and it sucked!

And finally, if you liked this video then please also check out my Youtube channel.  There’s TON of jiu-jitsu related material on that channel (almost 500 videos the last time I counted) and I’m putting out new stuff all the time.  Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the new material!

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Grapplearts Radio Podcast Episode 40: Stephan Kesting and Ritchie Yip


In the 40th episode of the Grapplearts Radio Podcast Ritchie and I start with a discussion of Darth Vader’s lightsabre technique in Rogue One and then go deeply into the topic of paralysis by analysis in jiu-jitsu, teaching technique, the best way to train to get good fast, and many other fun topics.

We finish up by talking about areas that we’ve focussed on in our own training this last year and what’s on the menu for next year!

To listen to this podcast you can…

Click here to subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (or Google Play, or Stitcher) Directly download the episode as an mp3 file here Click play on the Youtube video below


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Upcoming Facebook Live Q&A

The Next Grapplearts Facebook Live Broadcast is on Saturday November 19th, at 12 noon EST (9 am PST)

What is Facebook Live?  Facebook live is when you get live streaming video on Facebook.  It usually shows up on your feed if you’re on at just the right time, but it also shows up on the page that’s broadcasting the video.  In this case it’ll be on the Grapplearts Facebook page.

What will we cover? This coming Saturday we’ll be having a live BJJ Q&A, answering questions from the viewers of the live broadcast.

Who’s going to be there? A) I’ll be there, answering questions live! B) my friend and training partner BJJ black belt Ritchie Yip will be helping me out and answering questions too, and C) as many of the Grapplearts readership as we can fit into the broadcast will also be there!

Where can I see this?  It’ll be broadcast live on the Grapplearts Facebook page (go there now and click ‘Like’ so that the broadcast will show up on your Facebook stream)

How can I get reminder when it starts (and future broadcasts too): Life gets busy and we can all can all use reminders.  Here’s how to get a reminder about 30 minutes before we go live…

Enter your best email address in the box below and hit the ‘submit’ button If that’s successful then you should be taken to the Grapplearts Facebook page; click ‘Like’ on that page 30 minutes before the next broadcast I’ll shoot you an email notification that we’re about to go live Go back to the Grapplearts page (or click on the link in the email) and look for the live broadcast at the top of the feed on that page.

Notify Me of Stephan’s Facebook Live Broadcasts


I hope to see you there; this should be fun and I’m really looking forward to it!

Stephan Kesting


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A Big Guard Passing Tip Learned from Boxing

Today I’m going to share a tip which – if you actually use it – should make your guard passes twice as effective as they are right now.

I learned this a long time ago from my friend and training partner Ritchie Yip.

One day we were sparring, and unlike our previous sparring session he was absolutely demolishing my guard.  It was as if I had butter legs and he was wielding a red-hot samurai sword; basically he was ignoring my guard and just walking past my legs.

It was terrible.

After the sparring session I asked him what the hell he’d been doing that made his guard passing so effective.

“That’s easy,” he laughed, “I just applied kickboxing principles to my jiu-jitsu.”

“Say what?” says I.

“Yeah,” he replied.  “I realised that I never, ever throw a punch in boxing without preceeding it with some kind of feint, fake, footwork or body movement.  I always set up a punch or a combination so it’s harder for my opponent to see it coming.  And then I realised that the exact same thing applies to jiu-jitsu!”

And when I thought about that sparring session afterwards I realised Ritchie had never gone for a guard pass directly.  Every guard pass attempt had been preceeded with some sort of fake or movement.

There isn’t one specific fake you should use to do this – the whole point is to be unpredictable.

This misdirection can be as simple as a small step in the wrong direction.  A twitch of the body.  The hands pretending to set up a different guard pass.  Dropping your weight for second.  Wrapping your arm around his ankle like you’re about to try an Achilles lock.

Almost anything will work, so long as it disguises your real intent.

If you’re going pass the butterfly guard by stepping forward, then preceed it by taking a small step backwards… or fake the cartwheel guard pass and then go into your guard pass… or reach down and pretend that you want to lift his feet off the ground.

If you’ve got the crossface against the deep half guard then before sprawling back maybe reach down and touch his leg with your free hand as if you’re thinking about going for a leglock… or back away a little bit as if you’re afraid to engage his head… or twist your body a few inches one way or the other…

If you want to » Continue Reading.

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A Surprising Kimura Setup from Kesa Gatame

I don’t know what exactly went wrong with the settings on the camera the night we filmed this.  The colour in this video is far from perfect: things are weirdly washed out and at the same time it looks like I’ve got a horrible sunburn. But it really doesn’t matter, because the teaching is really […]

BJJ Beginner Tips Interview and Podcast

In this Grapplearts interview I talk to BJJ Black Belt Ritchie Yip, focusing on tips that BJJ beginners need to know.  But sometimes the conversation goes a little off track! You can follow/consume/download/watch this awesome and informative interview several different ways… You can watch the Youtube video below You can download the mp3 file by […]

A Dirty Boxing Breakdown

This is a video from the archives that I shot with my friend and training partner at Infighting MMA in downtown Vancouver. Infighting has since moved into a much nicer, larger facility, but the information in this video is still 100% valid. It’s all about the ‘dirty boxing’ techniques that are technically illegal in boxing […]

Why You (and Everyone Else) Should Train BJJ

My friend Ritchie Yip really nails it in this video. Ultimately it’s not about winning tournaments, triangle choking a mugger in an alley, or being king of the dojo. It’s about developing the strength, the fortitude and – dare I say it – character that will serve you for the rest of your whole life […]