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.

Podcast Episode 125: Reilly Bodycomb on Sambo, Leglocks, MMA, Jiu-Jitsu and No Gi Grappling

I loved doing this interview with Reilly Bodycomb. Reilly is a Russian sambo and leglock expert who has competed in a TON of different rulesets including BJJ, no gi submission grappling, MMA, Sambo, and wrestling.

He is the Pan-American Sport SAMBO Champion (2016), USA Sport SAMBO Champion (2016), Dutch Combat SAMBO Champion (2016), recently competed in Japan and is a BJJ black belt as well!

In our talk he shared stories about competing all over the world, and shared some major insights about how the rules you compete under totally influence the development of a sport.  My favourite part was when we were riffing about creating the ‘perfect’ grappling rule set.

I hope you  get as much out of it as much as I did.

If you enjoyed it then please share this podcast episode with at least one friend or training partner – that’s how this podcast grows and I really appreciate it!!

Here are some of the highlights

00:23 – Reilly Bodycomb intro 07:22 – History of Sambo and the Russian martial arts 13:53 – Competing around the world 15:48 – Rules of Combat Sambo 20:34 – Dealing with and competing under differing rulesets 28:35 – Reilly’s favourite throws for different sports 32:49 – Gym culture and training environments 37:23 – Leglocks in submission grappling 48:30 – The flying scissor takedown 53:38 – Competing in Japan 56:04 – Game design and the ‘perfect’ set of rules

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

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



P.S. Find out more about Reilly Bodycomb and his upcoming ankle lock instructional at https://www.rdojo.com

Combat Sport Videos and Links Referred to in this Podcast are Below! Example of Russian style wrestling from the Russian Nationals

How to do the Flying Scissors Takedown (and hopefully not injure your partner)

Daido Juku Karate Competition

» Continue Reading.

The post Podcast Episode 125: Reilly Bodycomb on Sambo, Leglocks, MMA, Jiu-Jitsu and No Gi Grappling appeared first on Grapplearts.

European Grappling Styles

So, we’ve finished the first leg of your around-the-world grappling tour and it’s been a blast (click here to read Asian Grappling Styles, the previous article).

In the previous part of the journey we started in Japan, where you got thrown flat on your back by judo champions and slapped around by sumo wrestlers. Then, in Korea, you did ssireum, which was kind of like sumo but in a pit full of sand. In China, you did a kind of grappling called shuai jiao and then you did Mongolian wrestling, complete with a little bird dance.

Then we went through Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and India before hitting Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, each of which had their own kind of wrestling. My favorite was India where they threw dirt at you. Turns out, that’s a way they bless their opponent. Go figure.

Finally, you tried Turkish oil wrestling which involved you putting on a special pair of leather shorts filled with oil and then, because you were so slippery, really muscular men jammed their fists into your pants to heft you into the air and slam you down on the grass.

It was all wildly entertaining for me as I accompanied you and tried the local cuisine. Did I do any grappling? No! I’m just coming along to journal your trip and needlessly rack up your travel expenses.

I’ll continue with that as we head from one side of Europe to the other….

Russian Sambo

You can’t do an around-the-world grappling tour without stopping in Russia to do some sambo, right? Of course not. Now, you just have to decide what kind of sambo you’d like to do because, as with the other countries, there are a few kinds. With sambo, it boils down to basically three kinds. All of them are really rough, though.

The first is a lot like judo, but with no chokes allowed and, instead, leg locks are totally ok. They like leg locks more than chokes because a choke only takes one guy out of a fight but a broken leg takes three people out: One with a broken leg and two more who have to carry him to the medic. Pretty awesome, eh? So, that’s called sport sambo. For that, people wear a jacket with cool shoulder-handles, plus shorts and leather-shoes that, really, everyone who grapples should wear to avoid toe-injuries but only these guys have » Continue Reading.

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How to Throw Defensive, Stiff-Arming, Bent-Over Opponents

A reader writes…

Question: Hi Stephan,

I’m looking for a way to incorporate some of judo take-downs into my BJJ game, but I’m having a lot of difficulty finding throws that work with the low center of gravity that is so central to the jiu-jitsu defence against throws.

The defensive bent-over posture makes it nearly impossible to get good access to their hips, or even their legs while grappling, and the front throws that seem to remain are mostly what I’d call sacrifice throws, which include the risk of leaving your opponent in a superior position.

The low center of gravity, and the willingness to go to ground make even these throws a high risk proposition for me to attempt on any but the newest jiu-jitsu grapplers.

Any suggestions for attacking this kind of defensive posture?

Thanks, Sam

Answer: Hi Sam,

That’s a totally valid question; a lot of people have that same problem.

In fact if you go to any BJJ tournament you’ll see a ton of bad judo: guys bent over at the waist, desperately stiffarming their opponents, mixed in with occasional feeble leg grabs.

This type of fighting is tiring, ineffective, and just plain isn’t good for the sport!

So let’s talk about some very effective attacks you can use against this sort of bent-over posture.  (Note that most of my suggestions today are coming from a gi-based BJJ point of view).

People bend over like this because they think it’ll keep them safe from getting thrown.

Standing like this lowers their center of gravity.  Their hips are further away, making it harder for you to use many of the classic judo throws.  Plus they’re trying to block your route to their legs, making it harder to successfully attack with single and double leg takedowns.

It’s a super-defensive game, which can be very frustrating if you’ve come there to fight!

Judo players, by contrast, train and compete in a much more upright posture.  But this is only because posture and gripping in Judo are enforced by an elaborate system of rules and penalties.

If you bend over and defensively stiffarm your opponents in Judo competition then you’ll quickly get dinged with a whole bunch of match-losing penalties.

But BJJ has far fewer rules about posture, gripping, and stiffarming…

And that’s why competitors who aren’t comfortable on their feet tend to instinctively adopt this stance.  They’re not going to be able to » Continue Reading.

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Week 4 – Reilly Bodycomb: 2011 Dutch Sambo Open Championships

Reilly Bodycomb will be competing in the upcoming Ultimate Absolute NYC 2 tournament. We will have more information regarding the tournament very soon, so stay tuned.