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Mat Time Is Important But Real Progress in BJJ Comes From Something Deeper

“It’s not about the number of hours you practice, it’s about the number of hours your mind is present for the practice.” – Kobe Bryant The number one answer to most people’s question of “how do I get better at jiu-jitsu?” is to show up to train more. This is an undeniable fact. More mat […]

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I Hate Jiu-Jitsu, But I’ll Never Quit

It isn’t uncommon to go through periods of disliking jiu-jitsu if you train for any length of time. There will be times where the pressure of competing, of living up to your belt, or meeting your own personal standards makes jiu-jitsu feel like life or death every single night. There may be periods where you’re […]

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Emily Kwok Interviews Me About BJJ School Culture and More – Podcast Episode 154

This was a neat interview I did with Emily Kwok from Princeton BJJ and star of the first How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent series.

We focused on creating positive learning environments in BJJ, looking at the roles played by the students, the teachers, and instructional technology.

We also covered whether I would do anything different if I was starting my BJJ training all over again, competition vs training, and breaking through plateaus.  I hope you find this interesting!

You can listen to this interview (episode 154) of The Strenuous Life Podcast on iTunesStitcherSoundcloudGoogle Play and other podcasting platforms.

There’s also an embedded player at the bottom of this post if you just want to stream it through this site.

If you like what you hear then a rating or a review of the podcast would be super-crazy helpful!

Thanks

Stephan

The post Emily Kwok Interviews Me About BJJ School Culture and More – Podcast Episode 154 appeared first on Grapplearts.

How to Manage Fear and Adrenaline in Competition

My friend Shane Fazen has fought Muay Thai in Thailand, competed in boxing, and has even challenged himself in some MMA smokers.

In this conversation he and I talk about how to manage fear and adrenaline when you’re competing or in a fight.

Specific topics include

What happens to your body when you experience the  fight or flight reflex, How to use an adrenaline dump to your advantage, What you can expect in your few competitions, Why people get tired so quickly in competition, Exactly how to use visualisation and meditation to lower your heart rate and stay calm, Steps to actually fight the way you train, And more…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – stuff like this is incredibly important for self defense too! Your most important tool in a real life situation is your brain; you need to keep on thinking and evaluating, and not just have everything go black.

This is why doing a few competitions and getting used to dealing with fear and adrenaline in a relatively safe context is such a useful tool for getting you ready for self defense in the real world.

You can listen to my talk with Shane in the video below, or in podcast form (scroll down below the video for those links)…

Managing Fear and Adrenaline in Podcast Form

You can also listen to this as Episode 152 of my podcast, The Strenuous Life, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

Thanks for reading, watching and listening!

Stephan

Find out more about Shane Fazen at http://fighttips.com or on his youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/fighttips

The post How to Manage Fear and Adrenaline in Competition appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode 116 – To Pull Guard in BJJ Competition, or Not?

Should you pull guard in BJJ competition or fight doggedly for the takedown.  You’ll get some answers to this perennial question in my  conversation about pulling guard with BJJ black belt Rob Biernacki.

You can also listen to this as Episode 116 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

 

As always, a review or rating is always appreciated!

The post Podcast Episode 116 – To Pull Guard in BJJ Competition, or Not? appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode 82 – Chat with Rob Biernacki About Visiting Students Training for Free

In this episode I talk with BJJ black belt Rob Biernacki about gratitude and how that has shaped his visiting student program where people can train with him for free.  And, because it’s Rob and I, we go off on some major tangents including the weirdos who have hit us up on the internet, how to identify fake martial arts, and why it’s sometimes good to be the dumbest guy in the room.

Alternately, you can listen to this as Episode 82 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

As always, a subscription, rating, and review on whatever podcast platform you use is always super appreciated!

The post Podcast Episode 82 – Chat with Rob Biernacki About Visiting Students Training for Free appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode 74 – Analysis of Leglock Game with Rob Biernacki

An 80/20 analysis of the leglocking game based on high level no gi competition, leglock safety, how to learn BJJ efficiently, best practises when teaching jiu-jitsu, and a ton more with BJJ black belt Rob Biernacki, my co-author of The Modern Leglock Formula available now at Grapplearts.com/leglocks

You can listen to this as Episode 74 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

Have a listen, and a subscription, rating, and review on whatever podcast platform you use is always super appreciated!

The post Podcast Episode 74 – Analysis of Leglock Game with Rob Biernacki appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode #72 – Interview with Chad Skands on Managing Chaos

Longtime bouncer Chad Skands talks about managing multiple attacker scenarios, continuing to think and use your brain in a critical situation, the right way to deescalate situations, and why ripping someone’s throat out Roadhouse-style is frowned upon in the security industry.

Have a watch below:

Alternately, you can listen to this as Episode 72 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

The post Podcast Episode #72 – Interview with Chad Skands on Managing Chaos appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode # 67 – The No Gi Competition Landscape with Matt Kwan

This is a great conversation I had with no gi competitor Matt Kwan in which we covered everything from domination of leglocks in the modern no gi grappling environment, to the influence of rule sets in determining the expression of a martial art, to balancing training with the rest of life life.  Give it a listen – I think you’ll like it!

 

You can also listen to this as episode 67 of the Strenuous Life podcast, available on  iTunesStitcherSoundcloud and Google Play.

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

Follow Matt on Instagram @bjj_mattk or visit his school site http://www.www.onguardfc.com

The post Podcast Episode # 67 – The No Gi Competition Landscape with Matt Kwan appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode #81 – Post Deathmarch Chat with Eva Schubert

In this episode Eva Schubert and I discuss our semi-annual 30 horizontal mile and 3 vertical mile ‘Deathmarch’ through the British Columbia mountains on the ‘Kneeknacker Route’ and why four was just not our magic number this time…

You can listen to this as Episode 81 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

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

The post Podcast Episode #81 – Post Deathmarch Chat with Eva Schubert appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode 83 – World’s Fastest Firefighter Jamie McGarva

I really like this episode because we got the chance to go DEEP into the training routine of the world’s fastest firefighter, Jamie McGarva.  Jamie has held numerous titles for the Firefighter Combat Challenge both in the team and individual category, including breaking the world record twice in two days. Even now he continues to push himself harder in a single workout than most normal human beings do in a month.  Hope you like this and come away inspired for your next training session!

You can listen to this as Episode 83 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

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

The post Podcast Episode 83 – World’s Fastest Firefighter Jamie McGarva appeared first on Grapplearts.

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!)

 

The post Podcast Episode 85 – Ritchie Yip Discusses Transitioning from Gi to No Gi appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode 94 – Coach Rodney King on Survival in South Africa

WARNING: This episode contains graphic descriptions of violence and is definitely not suitable for children.

In this episode I talk with boxing and BJJ coach Rodney King about the epidemic of violence in modern day South Africa, how training helps you prepare for confrontations, and how dangerous a ‘romantic’ notion of fighting is.

Some of the topics we covered include:

00:17 – Who is Rodney King? 01:16 – Growing up in South Africa 08:47 – Bouncing at nightclubs 13:57 – Johannesburg today 26:42 – Some reasons for the South African crime epidemic 33:10 – How much does training help? 40:09 – Prevalence of techniques 46:52 – Self defence and conflict de-escalation 54:21 – Training vs real life 64:03 – Ventures outside martial arts

You can listen to this as Episode 94 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

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

The post Podcast Episode 94 – Coach Rodney King on Survival in South Africa appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode 96 – Mike Zenga on Lessons Learned

In this episode BJJ and Judo black belt Mike Zenga shares some of the lessons, commonalities, and differences he’s seen from working one-on-one with 19 BJJ, Judo and ADCC world champions.  Do they all train the same way?  Eat healthy food or junk?  Drill, spar or do lots of conditioning?  Listen and find out!

In addition we also talk about CTE and brain damage in the combat sports, MMA, boxing and grappling betting tips, the toughest guy that Mike has ever rolled with, the differences in BJJ training between Brazil and North America, whether the USA can ever catch up in BJJ, and Mike’s secret plan for building a future world champion!

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did – it was a lot of fun with lots of great information.

You can listen to this as Episode 96 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

The post Podcast Episode 96 – Mike Zenga on Lessons Learned appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode 105 – Interview With Matt Thornton

Matt Thornton is the founder of Straight Blast Gym, the organisation that produced Conor McGregor.  He’s also a skeptic with many harsh words for traditional martial arts and traditional training methods.  Don’t listen if you’re easily offended! 00:51 – Matt’s martial arts background 10:26 – The concept of “Aliveness” 20:41 – The “I” method of teaching and training martial arts 26:14 – John Kavanagh and Conor McGregor 32:37 – Where did fantasy martial arts come from? 42:55 – The evolution of martial arts 65:54 – False positives and negatives 73:26 – Skepticism

 

You can listen to this as Episode 105 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

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

The post Podcast Episode 105 – Interview With Matt Thornton appeared first on Grapplearts.

Podcast Episode 113 – A Close Call, and Avoiding Injuries!

The other day I almost tore a partner’s ACL off the bone, which would have required him to have surgery and many months of rehabilitation.

What happened exactly?

I was more experienced and a bit bigger than my training partner that day and we were doing some no gi sparring.

Because of the experience discrepancy I was hyper-focusing on a couple of very specific positions, namely Ashi Garami and the 411.

(This is a form of Targeted Sparring which is a great tool to use when you’re going against less experienced training partners – by limiting myself to only a couple positions and one submission it makes the match more even and better training for both of us.)

So we’re rolling, carefully and respectfully… I’ve tapped my training partner out a few times with heel hooks, all applied in slow motion…  He’s beginning to defend the leglocks more intelligently and I’m having to work a little harder to get them…

Everything is going the way it’s supposed to.

Then it almost ended very badly.

I had the Ashi Garami firmly in place, and was just finishing the dig part of the heel hook (where you get your wrist under his heel in preparation for finishing the lock).

And 99% of the time when I’m sparring that’s as far as I’ll go – no need to actually apply the heel hook.  At that point my partner typically knows he’s caught and will tap out.

But this new training partner didn’t know when to quit.  He tried to escape by spinning.

And, to make matters MUCH worse, he spun the wrong way!

Spinning or rotating can be part of an effective heel hook defense, BUT NOT WHEN YOU GO IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!!

Instead of relieving the pressure, spinning into the dig amplifies the power of the submission exponentially!

If I had remained still, not moving, his wrong-way-spin would have slammed his heel into my forearm.

He would have full power heel hooked himself, which can tear all sorts of ligaments in the knee, the foot and the ankle.

Fortunately I saw what was about to happen and completely released my grips without a second to spare.

The submission evaporated, he spun safely and ‘escaped.’

Then I sat him down and we had a good little chat about the dangers of spinning out of leglock if you don’t know which way to spin.

Now I’m » Continue Reading.

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Podcast Episode 112 – Live Q&A with Stephan Kesting

Today’s episode comes from a Q&A session I did on Instagram live (@stephan_kesting) and gave the answers to a ton of BJJ and training topics including…

05:00 – When I started training BJJ 06:56 – Is BJJ ever going to make it into the Olympics 08:04 – Advice for remote learners without access to a school 12:33 – Teaching seminars? 13:19 – Grappling and submissions when there’s a weapon involved 17:51 – Grapplearts leglock videos 19:01 – The leglock positional hierarchy 20:39 – Dealing with cauliflower ear 23:28 – What does my training look like? 24:51 – How powerful is the ankle lock, and what’s the best leglock? 27:35 – Big man game vs small man jiu-jitsu 29:34 – Is it Ok to train at multiple schools? 31:38 – Is catch wrestling any good and do I use it? 33:39 – Custom rash gaurds 34:02 – What makes someone’s game world class? 37:38 – Tips for facing larger opponents 39:55 – Strategies for people with bad knees 41:23 – Neck strengthening exercises 43:47 – Mapping out a training schedule

Hope you enjoy this and also make sure to follow me on Instagram where I’m @stephan_kesting

You can listen to this as Episode 112 of The Strenuous Life podcast, available on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud or Google Play.

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

The post Podcast Episode 112 – Live Q&A with Stephan Kesting appeared first on Grapplearts.