Priit Mihkelson – The Mother of All Stack Passes

Priit Mihkelson is a black belt from Estonia who trained under SBG found Matt Thornton, and a member of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Globetrotters. I just found out about him last week when a friend that I train with sent me one of his videos. Since then I’ve traveled down the rabbit hole with Mihkelson’s material. His approach to jiu jitsu is very scientific, and from the videos I’ve seen he challenges some of the conventions that we’ve come to know in jiu jitsu.

The video below is a perfect example of challenging conventions. The guard break that he shows is essentially a stack pass. He says that we should sit in guard with “active toes” rather than flat feet (I think he’s calling flat feet “seal feet” in the video). His contention is that we should be on our toes, and pressuring down towards our partner so that we can react to things better. He’s not against posturing back, or standing up, but says we should also explore posturing into our opponent when we’re stuck in closed guard.

I’ve tried this pass a couple of times at class this week, I was able to put some pressure on my partners that they weren’t expecting, but I couldn’t quite get the legs to open to pass the closed guard. I’ve since re-watched this video and noticed that I didn’t have the correct angle. I took better notes, and will give this a try in the next class.

He’s also got a few videos for sale at BJJ Fanatics, which I’m looking forward to getting as some point. This one in particular I’m interested in:

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Book Excerpt – The Art of War – Peace

From Sun Tzu, The Art of War, submitted without comment:

15. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time and general stagnation.

16. Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.

17. Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.

18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.

19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.

20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.

21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.

22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful and the good general full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.

How To Never Get Your BJJ Guard Passed by Xande Ribeiro

Bernardo Faria just released this video with Xande Ribeiro on guard retention. Ribeiro hasn’t had his guard passed in competition since 2005. That’s 14 years of matches without a single guard pass from his opponents. Amazing.

He talks a little about how he uses his frames to get into a “geometrical position” that allows him to extend pressure into his opponent. He calls this the “Diamond Concept”. I have to study this more, but it seems that there are two factors at play. One is always connecting your elbows and your knees to create frames. The second is to extend yourself away from your opponent using those frames so you can recompose guard.

In this video Faria mentions that there is a video coming out by Ribeiro and it sounds like it’s going to be released at BJJ Fanatics. I’m looking forward to seeing that. My wife bought me Saulo Ribeiro’s book a while back, and it’s got great information. I’m sure Xande’s video will be the same.

Eddie Bravo: Rubber Guard to Mount Walkthrough

I’ve been playing with the rubber guard lately. I like how it frees your hands up when you’re using a closed guard. Seems to make it easier to get submissions going that way. And having one of your legs in the high guard makes slipping into triangles and omoplatas really smooth if you can get them.

This video has some great details. Eddie Bravo walks through a few of the control points of the rubber guard like the “double bag”.

Gordon Ryan Guard Pass Study

I’ve been on a Gordon Ryan kick lately. Specifically his guard passing. I’m trying to get my guard passing sharpened up (sometimes it feels non-existent), so I’ve been studying a lot of guard passing on YouTube. I found this great list of videos analyzing Gordon Ryan’s guard passing.

What’s particularly interesting to me is that to pass in the style of Gordon Ryan, you put your hands on the mat, distributing your weight to your hands while your legs and hips float freely, allowing you to pummel your legs around your opponents.

I’ve always that you should stay heavy on your opponents legs when passing, but this style of passing is opposite of that. I guess in practice the style of passing will change depending on how you want to pass, and what your opponent throws at you. It’s nice to have options.

Click here if you want to goto the full list of videos for the Gordon Ryan Guard Pass Study. 

BJJ Heroes has a great analysis of Gordon Ryan’s grappling style. This is a good read: Analyzing Greatness: The Versatile Game Of Gordon Ryan

BJJ Match Study: Marcelo Garcia vs Xande Ribeiro

I’m a huge fan of breakdown videos. I really appreciate it when someone is able to watch a jiu jitsu match, see the details of what is going on, and actually takes the time to make a video explaining it all and sharing it. One of my favorite YouTube channels for this is DPS Breakdowns, but I just stumbled across this video from Ayrshire Grappler and I’m really enjoying it.

The video below goes into great detail explaining this match between two jiu jitsu legends, Marcelo Garcia and Xande Ribeiro. I’m still in the stage of learning where I feel like I’m only catching a small fraction of what actually goes in a high level black belt match. These match studies are extremely helpful to me when doing analysis of competition footage.

Perusing their channel it looks like there are a ton of great breakdown videos to watch. Really great work here. Looks like it’s time to binge watch some jiu jitsu….

The Top Funniest Jiu Jitsu Sites

If you’ve been in jiu jitsu for any length of time whatsoever, you’ve probably seen your fair share of funny jiu jitsu sites. The colossal amount of jiu jitsu memes proves that the jiu jitsu community as a whole likes to have fun. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen any, here are a few of my favorites:

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you-shall-not-pass

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There are no shortage of Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and Instagram personalities creating and sharing memes.

But there are also plenty of funny jiu jitsu YouTube channels, and social media pages that create quality, funny videos.

Here are some of the funniest:

Continue reading “The Top Funniest Jiu Jitsu Sites”

Bernardo Faria: Pressure Passing

This video showed up on my YouTube timeline today, it’s Bernardo Faria talking about pressure passing. Some good stuff in this video. He demonstrates how to angle your body so that more of your weight is on your opponents body. For example, using  your shoulder to pin your opponent to the ground when passing can be more effective if you angle your body in such a way that more of the weight is going into that shoulder.

This can be generalized to say that when attempting a pressure pass, if you can focus your weight into a small point on your body and apply that point to your opponent then you will generate more pressure. Pedro Vianna talks about applying pressure in this manner to large muscles. He says that if you can focus pressure in the middle of a large muscle then that becomes like a pressure point, making things very uncomfortable for your opponent.

Check out the video to hear Fari discuss pressure passing. It’s a short video, but has some great info.

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Striking vs Grappling for Self Defense

Chewy from Chewjitsu recently published a video titled “Friend Said BJJ Is Useless for a Street Fight (Boxing is Realistic)”, and that got me thinking about writing this blog post comparing striking vs grappling.

Prior to starting jiu jitsu, I studied several martial arts. I got involved in a few TMA’s (traditional martial arts) that I won’t name here. Those styles essentially amounted to nothing more than choreographed movements that had zero effectiveness (we’ve all been there right?). I took some boxing, I wrestled a little in high school, and did some MMA training.

I also had some street fights (nothing too serious thankfully), as well as some friendly fights with my buddies just to have fun and goof around.

I feel pretty confident in saying that if you’ve never been punched in the face before, it is a shocking experience. If you are training any type of martial art, but have never really been punched by someone trying to take your  head off, then you’d be pretty surprised at how it feels.

Continue reading “Striking vs Grappling for Self Defense”