Using a BJJ Book

3 Easy Ways to Use a BJJ Book to Boost Training

Want 3 tips on how to use your BJJ book effectively for training? Maybe the book is just filled with awesome content and BJJ techniques. Well how do you decide on which BJJ techniques to focus on and implement?

In this video I give several tips on how to use a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu book effectively. I focus my attention on Jiu-jitsu University, as an example since it was requested by one of the viewers.

He said that he bought this particular BJJ book in order to help him develop his grappling abilities and is wondering on how to make the best use of it for training and his BJJ development.

The Basic BJJ Book Tips Are. . .

1. USE THE INFORMATION! Don’t let the books, dvd and videos you consume go to waste. Put into motion the things you’re absorbing. Remember, information is just information. Execution of this information is what matters.

2. Focus on problems you’re encountering during your Brazilian Jiujitsu training. Oftentimes when we have a deficiency in our game. We somehow seem to find ourself there constantly. So it’s very helpful to plug the holes in your game. Find areas to help you focus on those areas is a good idea.

3. Focus on positions where you’re already effective. This will allow you to easily slide new techniques into the mix. Often if you’re already good at a particular position. Adding another technique you see in a BJJ book won’t be a problem.

3. Augment the training your BJJ coach is already covering. So for instance if you’re covering Guard Passes. Find more options on Guard Passing in the book to go along with what you’re already doing. This will help you further develop those areas and stay on track with your coach in your gym.

I also share an idea on how you might use a BJJ journal along with a BJJ book to hold yourself accountable in regards to the techniques you’re trying to add to your game.

I hope the video is helpful!

Additional BJJ Book Posts

3 BJJ Books for Anyone

My Favorite BJJ Books 


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If you’d ever like to train with the team and I. Whether you are visiting or if you want to do Brazilian Jiujitsu in Louisville , KY. Click Here to check out my gym Derby City MMA in Louisville,KY.

older bjj coaches

Common Fear of an Older BJJ White Belt

When you’re an older BJJ practitioner on the mat. Often you have to do things a bit differently than your younger training partners. Like moving a bit slower. Now, does moving slower during BJJ training make you lazy? This is a worry that one of our friends has currently with his training.

He is a 40 year old 2 stripe white belt and is wanting to move towards a slower Brazilian Jiujitsu game. This is because he often putters out during the Bjj rolling session when he tries to match the pace of some of his training partners. The issue he is having though is that he feels like his coach will look at him as if he is lazy and not progressing.

He also shares that he feels like he is kind of hanging on to his younger self and that part of the reason he goes so fast during training is because he is still trying to be that younger person.

In this video (below) I talk about slowing down your BJJ game to adapt to being an older guy or woman in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. While this is directed towards an older BJJ White Belt in particular. The same tip could be used for anyone in BJJ who is trying to make their game more efficient.

An Older BJJ Practitioner and Being Slower Doesn’t mean Lazy

As I share in the video. Moving slower when you’re doing BJJ doesn’t mean you’re being lazy or not progressing. In many cases, it just means you’re attempting to become more efficient with your movements and making everything count. Rather than expending lots of energy unnecessarily with movements that don’t really get you anywhere.

So whether you’re an older BJJ practitioner who is in the thick of Brazilian Jiujitsu and is looking to adapt to a slower game or if you’re just looking to slow down your game a bit when you’re rolling. Hopefully the tips in this video are helpful to you!

Thanks for watching!

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leg locks in bjj

Are Leg Locks in BJJ More Dangerous Than Other Submissions?

Are Leg Locks in BJJ really that Dangerous? Some people avoid them like the plague citing that leg locks are so destructive that they shouldn’t almost not be practiced at all. As if they are some evil section of grappling that should be avoided at all costs.


But in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, as I think we all know, all submissions are dangerous and have the potential to alter someone’s life in a very profound way. I’ve met people who have had permanent caused by things like armbars or rear naked chokes (improperly applied), which many unanimously agree are “safe” submissions to use in BJJ training.

Rolling is a Serious Game

Because of this inherent danger in everything we do on the mats. I think it’s always important to remind ourselves of just how serious the game of Rolling can actually be. We have a blast and it’s so much fun. But when it comes time to finish our training partners in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. We have to be smart.

Accidents happen in BJJ and people get injured. It’s just how it is and there is no way around it completely. But one goal we should always keep close to home as a training partner is to do everything in our power to ensure our partners leave in the same shape they came in. So if they were healthy and uninjured walked into the gym. They should be that way walking out.

Aversion to Leg Locks in BJJ

Many people have a certain aversion to Leg Locks in BJJ. I know that during my first few years of BJJ. A lot of coaches at this time talked about the techniques as if they were evil and just bad! It reminded me of the Dark Arts of Harry Potter or something.

But overtime they’ve become more and more prominent in BJJ and because of this more and more people are practicing them as part of their Brazilian Jiujitsu. I believe their prominence was caused by the gaping hole that was created by the lack of people in Brazilian Jiujitsu actually focusing on the lower body submissions.

I personally had to let go of the consistent idea that I had about leg locks in BJJ. That idea was mainly that they were too dangerous.

I’ve actually found through years of coaching that with proper knowledge they’re just about as safe as anything else. In fact, inside our gym over the last 3 years I’ve seen less injuries related to Leg Locks since we started practicing them on a weekly basis.

People are more sensitive to them now, they know how to escape and they know how to apply them with control. They know when to tap and how to adjust their body through the technique.

I know you may not agree. But I hope you at least consider the way you think about Leg Locks. Are they you’re own thoughts based on your own experiences, or are they the beliefs of another person?

Because through my experience as a BJJ Black Belt and Coach. Whether we are talking about an Armbar, Kimura or a Heel Hook in BJJ. . . they are all dangerous.


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Effective Kimura bigger people

Effective BJJ Kimura Finish (Even Works on Big People)

One of my favorite submissions in Brazilian JiuJitsu is the Kimura. It’s a versatile BJJ submission that can be done from both bottom or top and a number of different Brazilian Jiu-jitsu positions. It can be used as a standalone BJJ submission or as a setup to other attacks and positions. And there are so many variations of the technique itself.

The Best Body Type For The Kimura

Just as a quick side note. From my experience in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. The Kimura seems to favor people with shorter stronger arms. Which is a physical quality I have. I’ve seen tall people use it. But it isn’t common.


In this video I take a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu question from Jeffrey from Twitter who inquired about tips on finishing the Kimura against someone who is pushing against his hip which prevents him from stepping over. I didn’t have a video of it but I assumed he’s trying this from side control.

Tips On This Effective Kimura

In this video I show one of my favorite Kimura finishes to use in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I do it in BJJ competitions and rolling in the gym. I bypass the stepping over the head part completely in lieu of just going around to North South to execute the technique.

What I like about this particular finish is that even if the person is grabbing their belt, or if you just can’t get their arm away from their body. You can still finish it. Just based on the way you twist the arm and attack the shoulder. Also, the way I am pulling on the arm usually does well to break the grip if there is one.

Just be careful with it, because they catch comes fast on this one. <====== Seriously, be careful with Kimuras. They’re incredibly dangerous if executed too fast!

So if  you’re looking for another variation of the Kimura in BJJ. Give this one a try. If you do, I hope it works for you!


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Why You Shouldn’t Teach BJJ to Yourself (When You’re New)

What is the most efficient way to train BJJ? Is training yourself Brazilian Jiu-jitsu an effective way to learn the martial art? Should you teach BJJ to yourself?

In this video I touch on this subject.

Our friend Nate on Youtube sent a message saying that he wants to maximize his time and save money by training with his friend in a basement first before he eventually joins his local 10th Planet BJJ gym.

He’s doing this to sort of bypass the White Belt phase of his training and prepare for his Blue Belt. So he plans to do this by using his friend to teach BJJ to each other.

Why Is Smart Not To Teach BJJ To Yourself

As I share in the video I think this is a bad idea for your BJJ growth. Primarily because I’ve done it.

When I started training Brazilian Jiujitsu.  I started like Nate is thinking about and piecing together moves in my basement with my friends. This was the way I began my Brazilian Jiujitsu experience.

We did this for about a year.

I found a BJJ gym in Louisville where I would eventually train. And when I did eventually step into an actual BJJ program led by an expert. I realized I wasted so much time training myself! I learned more in that 1 day of training than I did in the year of trying to teach BJJ to myself.

In any form of Martial Arts. It’s always a more effective means to growth to learn from someone who has been there before.

If you’re contemplating joining a BJJ gym or training yourself. I hope the video is helpful to you!


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How I Setup Takedowns in BJJ

When you’re going for takedowns in BJJ. What are you looking for? How do you decide which BJJ takedown to use?

Do you have a systematic approach to takedowns? Do you focus on looking for certain grips or adjustments from your opponent, or do you just lock up and cross your fingers that something will happen?


My Process for Takedowns in BJJ

In this video I give a little insight into what I’m looking for personally on my feet when I’m going for takedowns. Mainly I talk about how I determine the BJJ takedown I plan to use.

You’ll see, that just like any other position. I observe which grips i can secure and which grips my opponent gives me. From there I choose the best take down for the situation.

But most importantly, there’s a process to it! Just like any other position.

Often times. I see that most people don’t have a smart approach to takedowns in BJJ. They just lock up and move around until someone screws up. But yet on the ground they know exactly where they are going.

Likewise I try to give you some ideas on what you could look for when you’re on the feet in Brazilian Jiujitsu. So when you think about your takedowns. Think about the moves and positions and see if you have a process to everything.

You’ll have to excuse me a bit as I was super hyper in this video. And I’m kind of all over the place. This isn’t that unusual.

Hopefully these ideas will help you with your own Brazilian Jiu-jitsu takedowns. Whether its for training or competition.



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How To Be Aggressive from Full Guard As A BJJ White Belt

Some people are naturally aggressive, while others seem to lack this innate quality.

Our friend Megan who is a BJJ White Belt  says she lacks aggression. In particular she says she lacks being aggressive from her Full Guard and is unable to pull the trigger when she is rolling in her Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gym. And this is a vicious spiral. Because she lacks aggression due to the fact that her guard just gets passed and she gets passed because she is unable to be offensive.

This is a common situation I’ve seen as a Brazilian Jiujitsu coach.

Some White Belts have too much aggression while others don’t seem to have any at all. Personally I was one of the White Belts that had way too much.

Being Technically Aggressive In BJJ

In this video I discuss some of the strategies I used to build aggression off my back. Because as a Wrestler who got into BJJ second. Being aggressive off my back didn’t come naturally in my BJJ training.

On the subject of BJJ aggression I also want to stress that if you don’t naturally have aggression. It’s ok. Many people are overly aggressive because of  negative factors. Things like ignorance to the positions and fear of losing can cause this.

My goal for anyone wanting to develop more aggression would be to do so based on their technical abilities. Rather than blind aggression. Being aggressive in BJJ is great but doing so without the technique to back it up will lead to a road block eventually.

Anyways, I hope this video helps out any of you trying to be more aggressive in BJJ.


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What is a “Dick Move” in BJJ Training?

What is a ” dick move ” in BJJ? Where is the dividing line between using a perfectly acceptable Brazilian Jiu-jitsu technique and doing something that makes you a jerk, possibly injures someone, or just makes people not want to roll with you?

Before I dive into any more information. Let me say that if you are in question about whether or not you’re using a “dick move” or being a jerk in BJJ. . You probably are.

In the video I share, what I feel, are the 2 biggest determining factors.

Dick Move in BJJ Video 

Those 2 things being. . .

1. The origin of the technique within. What sort of place did this technique come from in you? What kind of emotions fueled it?

2. The intent or objective of this BJJ technique or move. What is the point and what are you trying to achieve?

There are some techniques that are inherently not cool to use. But for the most part. I believe if you are coming from a cool, collected place mentally when you’re rolling. You’ll be less likely to do something someone would consider a “dick” move.


When Used A Dick Move

From my own experience. I did dick moves all the time as a younger practitioner because I was afraid to lose, or because I would get frustrated.

And as I share in the video. You can take a BJJ technique or adjustment that is perfectly fine and change it into something negative just by the mental state in which it was executed.

I go into more detail in the video, plus I talk about the absolute most important thing to consider when you’re rolling in BJJ.

This is especially good for BJJ White Belts who are learning the ropes and trying to figure out what is ok and what’s not.

I hope the video helps!

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Grip Fighting Changed My BJJ Game

Mash the person who taught my more grip fighting

Mash in the center

BJJ has a funny way of bringing people into your life that sometimes change your game in ways you never anticipated. I had one such situation in 2011. I had the pleasure of meeting a person who would become a friend and great training partner.

Mash, which is short for Mashashi Takahashi, was a Purple Belt in BJJ and a Black Belt in Judo. He also competed in Judo in college back in Japan. He was visiting Louisville for about a year and while he was here he became a fixture in the gym.

We trained together, competed together and partied together. He was hilarious in the last respect.


Grip Fighting is the Nuts and Bolts

One of the things that stuck out about his stand up style compared to mine (and most of the gyms) which had more of a wrestling / BJJ element to it. Was the hand fighting for grips. This led to me having him teach Judo classes with an emphasis on the grip fighting techniques he used. These classes had a profound effect on me and sent me on a road of being kind of obsessed with grip fighting at times.

I know it’s a weird thing to obsess over. Especially with all the cool stuff in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu like submissions. I mean it’s not sexy and doesn’t make you go OOOOOooo. . . . ahhhhhh. But dominating grips and being able to dominate the BJJ grip fighting is huge.

When you think about it. Grip fighting in BJJ is a core element to everything! And yet many times it goes overlooked or just isn’t focused on much. Even though a technique begins with “grab this and grab that.”

I compared to a car. When you look at a car. You notice the color of the paint. The styling of the panels. The way the lights look. All that stuff. But you probably don’t even think about all the nuts and bolts that hold the thing together. Grips are the nuts and bolts to your BJJ game.


They Couldn’t Get Grips on my Students

This grip fighting focus spilled over into my BJJ competition game almost immediately. And as I started to fight more aggressively for grips in my Jiu-jitsu matches. My wins, and more importantly the way I won, shot up. And when I’m talking about BJJ grip fighting. I’m not just talking about the feet and doing takedowns. I’m also talking about the ground. Even submissions start with grips first.

This whole grip fighting focus came to head about a year later.

I realized I was competing against a Judo Black Belt in a BJJ competition. And I was dominating the grips. I was even able to score a throw! Which I’m not going to lie, I was pretty happy about.

He was better at throwing than I was. But I had dominated grips.

Soon after this. I was coaching my guys at a local tournament. We had so many people on the mats that I was rushing around like crazy. Then all of a sudden I felt it. My stomach start to almost cramp up. I had forgotten to use the bathroom for several hours. I rushed to the bathroom to get rid of the water I had been holding.While I was using the restroom. I overheard some people from another team talking in the locker room which was attached to the bathroom. Their conversation went something like this.

BJJ Player 1: Did you go against anyone from Derby City?

BJJ Player 2: Yeah. . . they’re so rough!

BJJ Player 1: Yeah! And I couldn’t get any grips on them!

When I heard this. I must have been grinning ear to ear. Probably inappropriate for a bathroom setting.

This is honestly why I created the Get A Grip video series. To help educate beginners on the importance and the how tos of grip fighting. Because if you can keep the grips your opponent needs off. Then they will be unable to use the techniques they want.

And I’ve seen first hand, both through myself and my students, how much of a difference being more focused on grips can make in someones BJJ game. And I can say 100% that focusing more on grip fighting changed my game fundamentally.

If you’re not already focused on Bjj grip fighting. Then you should be. If you’re a beginner and you’d like to shorten the learning curve for your grip fighting Bjj abilities.

Check out the Get a Grip series I created.


grip fighting series




Sadly, Mash (although he wanted to stay) had to leave the gym. But he’s still one of our team. And always will be! He even sports our patches. It always makes me happy that when people train here they enjoy the coaching and the experience enough to want to be a part of it even when they leave.



Mash sporting Derby City patches at his home gym in Japan!

Half Guard BJJ

2 Half Guard BJJ Drills For Positional Control

One of the most important aspects of the Half Guard is control of the underhook and space. Whether you’re on top or bottom. Having control of the Underhook gives you such a stronger position to attack from.

There are ways around the underhook, But if you are able to secure it, why not do it?

This video was taken during one of our No Gi BJJ classes. We did a series of Half Guard BJJ drills.

The 2 shown in this video were focused solely around regaining or countering the Underhook and to build better movement for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

I like these Half Guard BJJ drills because they help develop technique for positioning in BJJ and give both top and bottom, something to work on. Instead of just one person going while the other sits idle.

This helps keep both parties focused and moving. When we do drills like this I prefer to set a timer rather than shoot for a particular rep count.

One reason is because people move at different speeds. Second is because oftentimes people move quickly to achieve the rep count they were given and then ease up after that’s accomplished. Even if there is more time to drill.

The first drill is a Half Guard Pummeling drill. This drill was inspired by the stand up pummeling drill used in Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. But just from the Half Guard.

The second drill which starts at 1:35 of the video is a Hip Switch to a Reverse Half Guard position. In the video we go to Quarter Mount since this was the position we planned to set up our passes from that day. But there are an innumerable amount of attacks you can use in Brazilian Jiu jitsu from that position.

So if you’re a Half Guard BJJ player or have trouble giving up the Underhook when your rolling or competing in Brazilian Jiujitsu. Watch the video, try the drills and hopefully they’ll help you improve!

As always, thanks for watching!

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