Podcast Episode 156 with Survivorman Les Stroud

This conversation with Survivorman Les Stroud  might be one of my favourite Strenuous Life Podcast episodes ever!

Les Stroud has produced many survival-themed shows for The Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, The Outdoor Life Network, and YTV.  In these shows he usually goes out into very challenging wilderness situations and tries to survive using only the materials at hand and minimal equipment.

He’s done this again and again in places like the Rocky Mountains, Kalahari Desert, Amazon Jungle, Arctic Tundra, Australian Outback, and many other wild and remote locations.

Dealing with hunger, thirst, heat, cold, animals and terrible conditions would be difficult enough for most people.  But unlike other survival experts (who go out there with their own film crews and helicopter back to plush hotels for the night) Les does all the filming himself and actually stays out there.

So it’s gritty, difficult and very, very real.

He’s also a talented musician who has found some incredibly innovative ways to combine cinematography, storytelling and music to create compelling narratives.

Les Stroud  combines his incredible skills with great mental toughness to exemplify the strenuous life!

In this 46 minute episode Les and I talked adventure, survival skills, navigating in the wilderness, the closest he’s come to death while filming, work-life balance, music and more.

I hope you enjoy listening to his episode as much as I did recording it for you!

How to Listen to this Episode with Les Stroud

This conversation with Les Stroud was episode 156 of my show, which is called ‘The Strenuous Life Podcast’.

You can subscribe to the podcast on your phone, tablet or computer by using your favourite podcasting app and/or going to the appropriate feed below:

iTunes StitcherSoundcloudGoogle Play 

Alternately you can listen to episode 156 on the embedded audio player right here…

Or you can watch the same conversation in the embedded video below (direct link the Youtube video here)…

How to Help Create More Podcast Episodes

I really want to avoid having ads on the podcast!  And you probably don’t want to hear me singing the praises of mattress companies, web design services, or microfibre underwear either.

To keep it ad free I’ve created an option where you can support this podcast through Patreon.com. For the price of a cup of coffee you can help us create more podcasts, ask questions for our Q&A epidodes, » Continue Reading.

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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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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!


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

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Standing Guillotine Choke Escapes

Standing guillotine chokes are really tough to escape, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get out!

I recently met up with my friend Ando Mierzwa, and we shot something on the topic of guillotine prevention and escape for his martial arts oriented Youtube channel.

It’s a video in 3 parts…

The first part of the video is about guillotine prevention.  

It’s always easier to prevent a submission in the first place than it is to defend it once it’s applied, and this choke is no different. And to prevent the guillotine you need to have good posture.  You want to have your head upright and be looking at your opponent.  If your head is down and you’re looking at the floor then it’s child’s play for your opponent to slap on the guillotine (or snap you down, or apply the front headlock, or just kick you in the face)!

The second part is about escaping the guillotine as it’s being applied and before it’s fully locked on.

The key here is awareness.  As you feel your opponent looping his arm around your neck you want to look up, up, up. Literally arch your neck backwards and point your face to the sky.

If you do the right timing here then you actually get a clear route to your opponent’s back – it’s a lot like doing the ‘duck under’ in wrestling.  You’ve taken a potentially devastating situation and turned it around in your favour.

The third part is about survival once the guillotine is fully locked on.

I’m not gonna lie…  A fully applied guillotine choke is a terrible thing.

If he’s skilled with this attack then you’re probably going to tap out. But you want to rage, rage against the dying of the light, so try to defend it and maybe you’ll get out.

The initial defense in this part of the video is the classic BJJ arm-over-the-shoulder position, but you might not be familiar with the next part, which is a counter-guillotine takedown which works extremely well.

Don’t miss the outtake at the end; we were rehearsing the opening and I screwed up and managed to chip a tooth pretty good on the concrete pool deck where we were filming.

Oh, the things I do for the love of jiu-jitsu!


P.S. Click here to download my free PDF checklist to the positions and » Continue Reading.

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Advanced Omoplata Finish

Jiu-jitsu is so cool! As you might know, the omoplata armlock is one of my very favorite techniques. But even after 10 years of studying this position, I’m still learning new stuff about it…

Today I want to share a variation of the omoplata that I learned this summer working with Brandon Mullins. Of course this finish works great on larger people, but even though I’m 6’2′ and 215 lbs I’m gonna ‘hijack’ it and use it in my own game as well.

This 3:22 omoplata video provides powerful answers to a couple of common omoplata problems.

Like what to do if a bigger, stronger opponent rolls forward to escape from your omoplata, and how to finish the omoplata if you end up ‘stuck’ on the bottom with your opponent resting his weight on you.

It’s really cool, check it out

P.S. If you’re interested in more from BJJ black belt world champion Brandon Mullins please make sure to check out the two instructionals I did with him available on this site, including

How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent Series 2, and Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu with Brandon Mullins

Both sets are available on DVD, as online streaming instructionals, and as a series of apps for Android and iOS devices!


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My Secret Method To Get An Advantage

In previous newsletters we’ve discussed what a grappling arms race is, and how in that situation you can use video self analysis to get an advantage over your training partners.

Today I want to briefly touch on one of MY secret weapons in the everlasting arms race in the dojo. That method is focused partner training.

Here is what I do. Suppose I consistently run into the same problem with a certain individual – perhaps he’s catching me with the same submission all the time, or he’s always countering my sweeping techniques, or whatever.

As we’re sparring I’ll try to make note of the problem – I might even put myself into the exact problem position on purpose, just so I can see exactly what my opponent is doing to make my life difficult.

Then I call up a different training partner, and we meet behind closed doors with the windows blacked out and the room swept for listening devices.

I show that partner the situation that is frustrating me, and we look at it from all angles and brainstorm for solutions.

Going back to the problem in this calm and controlled environment usually results in us soon having an answer to the original dilemma. The next step is to take it back to the original partner and see if it actually works in reality.

Here’s a video in which I talk about this process.  You can also see two examples of exactly how this methodology is used in practise…

The first example is how my friend and training partner figured out how to break apart my 411 leglock position defense (the nerve!)…

The second example is how I figured out a good counter to the triangle-legs-and-crossface kneebar escape!

Check it out:

Many of the sequences I teach in my instructionals were developed exactly like this.

First I had an initial attack that worked for a while…

Then my opponents figured out how to counter those attacks. And then I used focussed partner training to discover and refine the recounters to those counters.

As we leave this topic I want to emphasize once again that this arms race is a mutually beneficial process. After I use my new super-duper recounter one or two times in class, I then share it with my sparring partners. That way the cycle goes on and we both continue to grow.

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Training BJJ As You Age – Video and Podcast

If you’re doing any kind of martial art – be it BJJ, MMA, Kickboxing, Taekwondo or whatever – then your game needs to evolve every decade.  This is because of the age-related changes  in your body.

I got this from the legendary Dan Inosanto who started training at age 11 and is still practising martial arts in his 80’s.

You can listen to this rant on episode 147 of my podcast.  This podcast is called “The Strenuous Life Podcast” and you can find it on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Play.

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

Or you can watch the same rant about modifying your martial arts training as you age in the embedded video below from my Self Defense Tutorials Youtube channel!

If you’re more than 40 years old and training BJJ then make sure to check out the articles I’ve written just for you on this blog and tagged with the ‘older grapplers’ tag! Or just click here to see all those articles listed.

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Five Triangle Chokes You Should Know

This video and article was inspired after a run of triangle chokes in MMA in 2010, including those used by Fabricio Werdum against Fedor Emelianenko, Chris Lytle against Matt Brown, and Brock Lesnar against Shane Carwin.

But the term ‘triangle choke’ can be used for several different submissions, and this can be confusing to the novice or intermediate-level grappler. So to make sense of the five major types of triangles check out my latest Youtube video.  I’ve put some really good stuff in here!

The triangle chokes shown include

The forward triangle, definitely the most common triangle choke in BJJ, also known as “mae-sankaku-jime” in Judo The rear triangle which you usually set up from rear mount, also known as “ushiro-sankaku-jime” in Judo The side triangle (“yoko-sankaku-jime” in Judo), used more in Judo than in BJJ because it’s such an effective attack against the turtle position, but I really like applying it from an armbar position. The upside down triangle which I was first shown by Erik Paulson.  If it has a name in Judo I am unaware of it! The arm triangle (“kata gatame” in Judo) in which you use your arms and not your legs to close the loop around your opponent’s head and arm.

To view the same Triangle Chokes video on YouTube, click here.

Article updated May 19, 2018

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