The 5 Steps to Training A New Technique

Most of the videos I post online are from my main Youtube channel which focusses quite heavily on BJJ, no gi jiu-jitsu, MMA and other forms of grappling.

But what a lot of people don’t know is that I also have a second youtube channel called ‘Self Defense Tutorials‘ which – as the title might imply – focuses more on self defense and martial arts training.

Here is one of the videos from that second channel talking about the 5 levels of training you need to make a technique functional and something you can rely on in a real situation.

Ultimately it doesn’t matter if that technique is a triangle choke, a throw, a right cross or a double stick striking combo; the same 5 levels of training are required again and again.

Understanding and implementing these 5 different ways of training will definitely speed up the learning process regardless of whether your goal is to get your BJJ black belt, fight in an MMA match, or just walk the streets with increased confidence.

Check out the video below…

I wrote a more in depth article about these 5 levels on selfdefensetutorials.com called How to Make Sure Your Martial Art Will Work on the Street.

You should check out that article if you want more details, but if you just want a quick reference, here are the steps for internalising a martial arts technique and making it functional.

THE 5 LEVELS OF TRAINING A NEW MARTIAL ARTS TECHNIQUE Solo Training Partner Training with Low Resistance Partner Training with Higher Resistance Contested Situational Sparring with a Partner Partner Sparring with Many Different Techniques

It’s all explained in the video above, with lots of examples from different martial arts!

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MMA Weight Cutting with UFC Fighter Alan Belcher (And More)


I just released a new interview with UFC star Alan Belcher who has had some of the most exciting, edge-of-your-seat fights in the UFC.

In our chat Alan shares lessons learned from 26 MMA fights including…

The details of cutting major amounts of weight before an MMA fight His mindset while fighting Rousimar Palhares, one of the dirtiest and scariest fighter in MMA Lifting weights as physical therapy to hold his body together Exactly how he structured his UFC training camps and when you should be doing your heaviest training before a competition Tricks to use and mistakes to avoid when cutting weight Preventing overtraining by modulating the intensity and volume of your training sessions How dieting and cardio prevented him from actually training correctly How he prepared specifically to face a leglock expert in the UFC The crazy treatments he did to repair his detached retina And really quite a  bit more!

To listen to or watch this interview you have a couple of different options!  You can either

Click here to subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (or Google Play, or Stitcher) – the Alan Belcher episode is number 63! Or you can click play on the Youtube video below

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Eye Gouging, Hair Pulling, and Theodore Roosevelt with Historian Daniele Bolelli


This is definitely one of my very favourite Grapplearts Radio Podcast episodes to date.

In it I talk with historian and martial artist Daniele Bolelli. When Daniele isn’t training MMA or giving lectures to students he’s busy creating episodes of his own podcast, History on Fire, which you should totally check out.

Our chat went all over the place, including from the rules (or lack thereof) in frontier rough and tumble wrestling, how Theodore Roosevelt lost sight in an eye sparring in the White House, the games Lakota Sioux children played to make them incredible warriors later on in life, and much more.

Oh, and after recording the podcast we went into Daniele’s incredible backyard and filmed a couple of MMA techniques which you can watch at the bottom of this page.

I hope you’ll enjoy this episode as much as I did, and still do!

To listen to this podcast you can…

BEST OPTION: Click here to subscribe to the Grapplearts Podcast in iTunes (or Google Play, or Stitcher).  Today’s interview is Episode 053. Directly download the episode as an mp3 file here Or click play on the Youtube video below

A Few More Daniele Bolelli Videos…

As I mentioned, not only is Daniele a historian, but he’s also very serious about his MMA training.  Here are a couple of videos we shot right after the podcast…

First, from my new Self Defense Tutorials Youtube channel (which you should subscribe to, by the way) here’s Daniele defending Aikido as a combat sport… sort of.  Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean…

And in this video Savannah ‘The Savage Buddha’ Em jumps in to help Daniele demonstrate the elbow spear and how it sets up a devastating KO blow to the vagus nerve in the neck.

P.S. Sign up for my free BJJ Newsletter to be notified when other great podcasts are uploaded.  Click here to find out more.

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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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9 Rules for BJJ Self Defense

I recently worked with a female friend to teach her a little bit about jiu-jitsu for self defense. Obviously I believe that jiu-jitsu is super important for self defense in general, but when it comes to women who want to defend themselves, well, it’s completely indispensable.  We can argue all day about what percentage of […]

Adam Singer on Modern MMA Training and Competition

Stephan: I’m here today with my friend, Adam Singer, who runs The HardCore Gym in Athens, Georgia.  He is probably best known for being Forrest Griffin’s MMA coach during the formative years of Forrest’s career. He’s also a jiu-jitsu black belt and has trained tons of fighters. I’m really looking forward to picking his brain about […]

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 […]