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Techniques are useless without the right Strategy

Copyright by Matt Arroyo and Rob Kahn.

All rights reserved.

Table of Contents
Forward...........................................................................Page 3

Introduction......................................................................Page 4

Chapter 1 Three Ways To CreateThe Mistake...............Page 7

Chapter 2 Structure Of Training.....................................Page 16

Chapter 3 Position Specific Strategies...........................Page 21

Conclusion........................................................................Page 41

List of all Videos................................................................Page 42


Please note that we decided to film the videos in a No Gi

format. The strategies we discuss in this book work well in both Gi
and No Gi situations, but we feel work EXCEPTIONALLY well in No
gi. So we decided that showing theses strategies in No Gi would
add more value.

The videos in this book are not meant to be a detailed, step by

step instructional. They are video examples of the strategies that
we are teaching in the book. As a FREE bonus we included 3
Detailed Instructional videos on the Goofy Guard, Advanced Back
Attacks, and the Guillotine Choke. These 3 videos are also a
sneak peak of our instructional videos coming out in the near


The effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is undeniable. Jiu-Jitsu

has truly shaped mixed martial arts- competing without it would be
suicide. If you watch any MMA event, youre going to see the clear
influence of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While the number of successes
achieved by this sport are too many to name, we can begin our
study with the originator; Royce Gracie.
Royce Gracie comes from the family who invented
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The result of their ingenuity can be seen across
the globe as BJJ simply would not exist were it not for their
genius. Royce would be the first to tell you that he does not
possess the strength of a world class athlete. If Royce was trained
in any other art, I think it would be safe to say he would not have
won three out of the first four Ultimate Fighting Championships. It
was Royces mastery of his familys incredible martial art that
caused him to win three UFC titles, against bigger and stronger
opponents. If you think about the number of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
practitioners around the world compared to other martial arts, the
number is very small. However; when examining the fighting styles
of champion MMA fighters, BJJ is often a common thread.
If you look at the techniques of Jiu-Jitsu, youll notice that
Judo and Sambo share a lot of the same techniques. They
possess a similar Arm Bar and Triangle choke, among other
common moves.
With so many similar techniques, how is JiuJitsu different from Judo? The difference lies in the strategy.
Everything in Jiu-Jitsu is about the mistake creating or allowing

your opponent to make a mistake and then capitalizing on it. This

is the main reason why BJJ is so successful. To be successful in
most other martial arts requires a higher level of athleticism.
Although athleticism will always help, success in Jiu-Jitsu is
dictated by technique and the ability to play a physical chess i.e.
outthinking your opponent and your ability to cause your opponent
to make a mistake.

There are three primary ways of causing your opponent to make a



Wait for a mistake.


Trick your opponent into making a mistake.


Force the mistake.

I want to emphasize that Jiu Jitsu does not work when forcing
the TECHNIQUES. The techniques of Jiu Jitsu work best when
applied based on the MISTAKE of your opponent. That is the most
important difference, and will be explained throughout this book.
This book is unique because it is about the STRATEGY.
The amount of technique explained in this book is minimal.
Techniques are a dime a dozen. There are millions of opportunities

on the Internet, DVDs, and instructionals to find Jiu-Jitsu

techniques. Countless Jiu Jitsu instructors are putting their
techniques out for the world to see. To understand and learn the
techniques without having an understanding of the various
strategies is less than half the game. This book will be a
complement to any technique out there, whether you want to buy
Marcelo Garcias or Royce Gracies book. The strategic
explanation of how Jiu Jitsu works is more important than the
technique itself.
Lets get started with Chapter 1. Were going to discuss
three ways to create mistakes in Jiu Jitsu. They are TRICKING the
mistake, WAITING for the mistake and (our favorite), FORCING the
mistake. If we were to sum up the overall strategy in Jiu Jitsu, it
would be that we dont force techniques. We capitalize on

Three Ways to Create the Mistake

Wait For the Mistake

The first strategy is to wait for the mistake. This is the
most basic of all Jiu-Jitsu strategies. When going up against
somebody who doesnt know Jiu-Jitsu, its probably the safest,
simplest, and easiest one to use. The greatest evidence we can
point to is Royce Gracies dominance in the first three UFCs.
Royce knew that he was going up against opponents who didnt
have fundamental Jiu-Jitsu knowledge, and he knew that, given
enough time, they would all make certain mistakes that he could
capitalize on. Being the Jiu-Jitsu master that he is, he decided that
the best course of action would be to wait for the mistake.
Jiu-Jitsu is very counterintuitive. It is based on common
reactions that we KNOW our opponent will make, giving us a
distinct advantage to submit them even though they may be bigger,
stronger or faster. Mounting an opponent and him trying to lift his
arms to throw you off resulting in a very easy Arm Bar or your
opponent rolling to his stomach trying to stand up resulting in a very
easy Rear Naked Choke are examples of capitalizing on mistakes.
Jiu-Jitsu shines when going up against somebody who doesnt
know the art. Great examples of this can be seen in UFC 1-4 with
Royce Gracies astonishing dominance over bigger stronger
opponents. Click the video below to see an EXTREME example of
waiting for the mistake, lol.

Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Wait For The Mistake

Forcing the Mistake

Forcing the mistake usually comes into play when your
opponent is knowledgeable in submissions. Theyre not going to
make the simple and basic mistakes that you want them to make.
Forcing the mistake relies upon pain compliance or discomfort.
The two main techniques we use to accomplish this are the What
Time is It Grip and Shoulder Pressure. The What Time Is It Grip
is used primarily in the mount and side-mount position. You apply it
by cupping your opponents shoulder and using the blade of your
forearm to attack the back corner of his jaw bone. When applied
properly, it looks as though you are looking at your watch; hence
the name, What Time Is It Grip. When done right it is extremely
uncomfortable and causes your opponent to turn in the direction

you want him to turn. Forcing him to turn in a certain direction

causes him to expose one of his arms making it very easy to
attack. Shoulder Pressure is applied from mount, side mount, and
half guard. This technique is applied by reaching under your
opponents neck and aligning your shoulder with his neck/jaw area.
The pressure is then applied by pushing ACROSS your opponents
body (not down.) This causes extreme discomfort and in some
cases it is an actual blood choke. The benefit of using shoulder
pressure is similar to the What Time is It Grip in that it causes your
opponent to expose a mistake while he is trying to resist the
pressure of the move. An added benefit of Shoulder Pressure is
the incredible control you have over your opponent when properly
applied. It is almost impossible to escape underneath or on the
receiving end of well executed Shoulder Pressure. Shoulder
Pressure and the What Time Is It Grip are incredibly valuable tools
that anyone at any level can add to their game. Besides all of the
already mentioned benefits of both grips, an additional attribute is
that they change the dynamic of the position (mainly top mount and
top side mount.) Instead of planning an escape, your opponent is
now forced to deal with your pressure. Without these moves, most
people spend most of their time in a dominant position only working
to stay in a dominant position. When using these techniques, you
will spend less time and energy trying to keep your opponent from
escaping and more time formulating a submission. We realize that
this may be confusing so we added a video show you the grips.
After you watch the video, come back and read this paragraph

Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
What Time Is It Grip

Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Shoulder Pressure


Going against people with Jiu-Jitsu or grappling experience, there

is no other strategy that is more useful than forcing the mistake.
Again, we want to emphasize that its forcing the MISTAKE; not
forcing the TECHNIQUE. For example, when in the mounted
position, we do not pull our our opponents arm up to armbar him,
we use the What Time is It Grip to cause our opponent to put his
arm in the air on his own to relieve the pressure. What we are
talking about is creating a situation of discomfort. Its creating a
situation of pain compliance where he moves his arm for you. He
puts his arm in a bad position even though he knows he shouldnt.
He does it anyway because; at the moment, his priority is avoiding
the pressure, not avoiding the submission. We do not force
moves. We force mistakes.
The opponent might even know what were up to, but at
some point, his tolerance for pain and discomfort is going to
overwhelm his need to keep his elbow in the right spot. It will
overwhelm his need to keep his positioning the way it should be.
Everybody has their own breaking points. What we look to do with
pressure is find them.
One of the key points in using pressure is PATIENCE.
Without patience, pressure would not work as a strategy. The
better the person youre rolling with, the more likely he has a certain
tolerance for pressure. The more likely he has a tolerance for pain
and the more likely they have a better idea of the big picture. Even
though youre creating this pain, pressure, and uncomfortableness,
they might not succumb to it right away. One of the things we have
learned in our experience is that everybody has a pain threshold. It
might take five, ten, or even fifteen minutes to reach it, but

everybody has a threshold, and its your job to use PATIENCE and
PRESSURE to reach it.
In looking at this strategy of forcing a mistake, it can be
broken down to a formula. Its Pressure + Patience = Mistakes =
Submission. Your focus should be on creating pressure and
discomfort, not looking for submission holds. The submission
comes after the pressure. So when you get to a dominant position
mount, or side mount, your outlook is not to start looking around
for submission holds. You need to start looking for ways to create
pressure. Again, the two ways that are the most consistently
successful are Shoulder Pressure and the What Time Is It Grip. So
when you get to a dominant position, start applying pressure
immediately. Eventually this pressure will get to your opponent and
will cause your opponent to reach or flip the wrong way. We make
certain assumptions that a skilled opponent is not going to make
these mistakes without you creating pressure or discomfort. In
conclusion, everybody will eventually make a mistake if you put
enough pressure on them.
Trick the Mistake
This is a more advanced strategy for setting up the
submission in Jiu-Jitsu. This makes the assumption that your
opponent is an advanced player. He is someone who understands
the art of Jiu-Jitsu, the nature of submissions, and is not going to
easily walk into a submission hold.
Tricking a mistake entails multiple strategies. One of the
more popular ones is setting up one submission to get to the other
(i.e., Guillotine Choke from the Guard to get to the Triangle).

Another example is going for the mounted position Cross Choke.

When the person pushes off to defend the Cross Choke it leaves
him open for the arm bar. Its the same thing from the mounted
position when going for the Americana Lock, the person blocks the
Americana Lock, leaving himself open for the Armbar submission.
This one/two punch idea greatly enhances your chances of
submission and minimizes you telegraphing your attack.
The number of attack combinations is endless and can
take the shape of the personality of the person using them. Every
person will have certain combos in their arsenal that work better
than others based on their body type and style.
You always want to mask your movements and
submission holds with a series of faints and gestures, and not let
your opponent know what your true intensions are until the last
possible second. Telegraphing your move will give the experienced
opponent the advantage in stopping your submission attempts. In
this video we will show you a few examples of tricking the mistake.


Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Trick The Mistake

Setting Patterns and Breaking Them

When talking about some of the greatest boxers in the
world, the names Manny Paquiao and Floyd Maywether come to
mind. What makes them better at boxing then you and me? Do
they know more punches? The answer is NO. They are obviously
much faster, but the one thing they do better than all others is they
set patterns and break them. As an example, they will use the jab
or a certain combination over and over again until they have you
believing that the same combination is coming again. Once you
believe that the same combination is coming, you start to anticipate
with your defense. It is then that they find you open for a different
combination and they change the pattern on you. These are not

magic punches, its just better use of the punches and mastery of
combinations. The same could be said for Jiu Jitsu. We can set
patterns and get our opponent to believe certain techniques are
coming and get him to anticipate, then change the pattern or
technique and catch him out of position. This strategy is more
common in striking but certainly has plenty of use in Jiu Jitsu. To
illustrate this strategy, here is a video example using the Americana
shoulder lock.

Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Setting Patterns and Breaking Them


Structure of Training

Jiu Jitsu has always been analogized with chess. The

attributes of a great chess player are having high problem solving
ability, an ability to stay relaxed under pressure, and an ability to
think several moves ahead. The same can be said for a Jiu Jitsu
player. The first step is to RELAX RELAX RELAX! This allows you
to analyze the game of your opponent, save energy, and most
importantly, you can see the whole picture this way. Staying
relaxed should be a primary goal of rolling, especially in bad
positions. Its in bad positions where you need your wits about you
the most. Jiu jitsu is a very cerebral art. All the movements and
processes are complex and there is no way to anticipate or perform
them the way you need to if youre not relaxed. Another benefit of
staying relaxed is the IMMEDIATE improvement to your
endurance. Most people fatigue in a fight not because of poor
cardio condition, but instead its because their mind is not in a
relaxed state letting fear, anxiety, and stress get the best of them.
We can take Lance Armstrong and exhaust him in minutes rolling
on the mat, because he is not comfortable being there and his
nervous energy will get the best of him very quickly. There is
almost nothing we can think of that has more influence to your Jiu
Jitsu skill then your level of relaxation.
For the purposes of this discussion, were going to
break Jiu-Jitsu into offense and defense. Offense is much more
complicated, much less natural, much more detailed and much

harder to learn. Because of this, when youre structuring your

training, you need to focus more attention on your offensive training
than your defense. Defense is more natural.
The most common structure of a Jiu Jitsu class starts with
a technique lesson followed by drilling and sparring. It is in the
sparring or rolling where structuring your training properly will
derive the most benefit.
When you walk into a boxing gym, youre typically not
thrown into the ring to spar with a pro. Most boxing trainers will
have you work on a heavy bag to develop your punches, speed,
power, timing etc. Then they move you to the focus mitts. Why?
Because the mitts are more interactive and mimic the back and
forth action of a boxing match. Only after hours and hours of mitt
and heavy bag training to develop your skills will a trainer put you in
the ring to spar.
In Jiu-Jitsu, one of our shortcomings is we dont have
heavy bags or focus mitts with which to train. The nature of JiuJitsu training doesnt allow this. So what we have for our heavy
bag is less experienced grapplers. This gives us the opportunity to
work out the minutia, the timing, and techniques of Jiu-Jitsu. You
can roll with all of the advanced grapplers you want, but to truly
succeed with your offense you need that Heavy Bag training with
less experienced grapplers. Becoming good at the Armbar,
Triangle, Oma Plata etc. takes thousands of repetitions. It is
impossible to get those repetitions by only rolling with the more
advanced guys in the room. Dont get us wrong. Rolling with more
advanced players is very important to developing your defense and


overall game,. BUTIto develop offense, there is nothing more

important than that heavy bag training.

Repetition of Moves
The most important barometer you can use for each and
every roll you have is not winning or losing, but it is the repetition of
moves. Repetition, repetition, repetition! ALWAYS judge success
by repetition. A very common trap that newer students fall into is to
judge success during a roll by not getting tapped by a more
advanced grappler. This is the recipe for stalling your improvement
in Jiu Jitsu. In order for the newer student not to get tapped, he
usually relies on slowing the match and limiting the transitions.
Getting better in the art quickly is dependent upon being in as many
transitions as possible. Focusing on not getting tapped is a very
hollow victory because it limits your transitions, repetitions, and
growth. Its better to get tapped 10 times while trying 25 different
techniques then to not get tapped at all because youve tried
Lets take two scenarios, with the same guy in each
scenario. In the first scenario, the guy worries about winning and
losing. He doesnt go for any moves, but he doesnt lose the
match. Lets say he has 200 matches like this. At the end of the
200th match, if you look at the amount submission holds he has
tried, its going to be minimal to zero because he focused most of
his training time worrying about always winning or not losing the


In scenario two, you have a guy who doesnt care much

about winning or losing, only about getting repetition of moves out.
In each match, maybe he gets caught 10 times, but he also gets at
least 10 attempts at various submission holds. In the 200-day
scenario that we talked about earlier, at the end of the 200 days, if
he had 10 attempts per day hed have 2,000 submission attempts.
Its very easy to see, based on these scenarios who would progress
the most. Clearly, the guy in scenario number two with 2,000
attempts sees the most progress in his training. Again, the most
important thing about structuring your training is your outlook as a
student. It should be about repetition, repetition, repetition. If
youre focusing on winning and losing, youre dooming yourself to
mediocrity. Leaving your ego at the door is a good mantra for new
Jiu Jitsu students.

Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses

Another thing to focus on in our training is assessing our
strengths and weaknesses. People get in the habit sometimes of
getting very good at one or two moves, and then continually
running and attacking those moves over and over again because
theyve had success with them, never really broadening out their
game. This is not a bad idea for a competition strategy but we are
talking about a training strategy. A key aspect for the Jiu-Jitsu
student is to assess your weaknesses, and then spend plenty of
training time on them. If you spend most of your time on top, your
top game will develop but your bottom game wont. A smart
grappler will focus a good chunk of his training time on working the
bottom game and bringing it up to balance with his top game.

Set Artificial Limitations

Another way to improve your game in structuring your
training is to set artificial limitations on your rolls. In other words, if
youre rolling with a less experienced grappler, a good way for you
to get a positive training experience out it is to limit yourself to only
a certain move from every position. For example, you can only go
for an Arm Bar or a Triangle from any position. Another way to set
artificial limitations is to go for techniques on your weak side.
Whatever your weak side is, thats the only way youre allowed to
go. Another limitation is to control the intensity and aggressiveness
of each roll. One roll can be extremely aggressive and offensive;
the next roll, no aggressive behavior whatsoever, only trying to
counter your opponent. This very specific training will allow you to
flush out weaknesses and sharpen your strengths.
Although more time should be spent on offensive, we dont
want to neglect defense specific training. The most useful tool to
accomplish this is to put yourself in bad positions. This will allow
you not only to practice the defensive techniques, but also allow
you the ability to stay calm in bad situations. For example, the only
way a student can be comfortable on the bottom of a position like
side mount or mount is to practice being there for many hours. This
amount of time is necessary for a student to develop the ability not
to panic so that they can escape using technique, timing, and


Chapter 3
Position Specific Strategies

All the main positions in Jiu Jitsu have strategies very specific
to them. The main positions top and bottom are: Mount, Side
mount, Back mount, Half guard, and Guard. We are now going to
highlight our PROVEN strategies that have worked successfully in
grappling and MMA competition.

Top Guard (guard passing)

First and foremost is posture. Posture by itself can
minimize your chances of being submitted. Making a mistake in
bad posture can guarantee a submission against you. Making a
mistake in good posture will minimize the chances of that mistake
costing you a submission. Also for MMA purposes of striking, its
clearly advantageous to be postured up in the guard because it
allows you to start raining punches down with more power because
of the additional space created.


Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Posture in the Guard

One of the common things that top and bottom guard

share is that typically the person who initiates it is at a
disadvantage. Initiating from the top generally assumes a guard
pass. Initiating from the bottom assumes an attempt at a
submission hold or sweep. Both positions are more successful as
a counter position. Dont get the wrong idea and think that the
person who goes first is always going to lose. Thats certainly not
the case. But all things being equal, the person who goes second
has an advantage over the person who goes first in a guard
passing situation.


Again, this is not a universal rule. This is not absolute.

Think more along the lines of how plenty of people go to Las Vegas
and win money, but typically, the house wins most of the time. So
now that you have the choice would you rather be the house or the
First, start off with good posture. Next, entice the person
on the bottom to initiate first with either a sweep or submission.
Fundamentally, the guard is a countering tool. When you force
your opponent to initiate, you create a situation that is much easier
to pass the guard because your opponent is being aggressive and
attacking and not focusing on defending the guard pass.
In situations where you are waiting for your opponent to
initiate, but he is not complying, a good way to ensure that your
opponent initiates first is to bait a submission hold i.e.. Armbar,
Shoulder Lock, or Triangle. This is not the easiest topic to write
about, so we will show in this video the three best ways to bait a
submission to create a very easy and uncontested guard pass.


Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Bait the Submission 3 Ways

Bottom Guard
There are many different types of guard i.e. Butterfly,
Open, Spider, 50/50, Goofy Guard etc, but no matter what the type
of guard, the strategies are all the same. The most effective way to
use the guard is as a countering tool. I want my opponent to initiate
either the pass, or to try to strike me to open up submission and
sweeping opportunities. We are not saying that you cant initiate
first in the guard and be successful. But it does lower your chances
and open up easier opportunities for your opponent to pass your
guard. As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of
guards, but a good rule of thumb is if your legs are not closed in the

full guard, at least one of your feet if not both feet should be on your
opponents hips at all times. This foot on hip position will allow
you to create space at any given moment and make passing the
open guard VERY difficult.
One of the most tried and true strategies of setting up
submissions is using the foot on hip position to defend the guard
and frustrate your opponent while he tries to pass you. Eventually
when frustration builds up enough it causes mistakes (such as bad
posture) which we can now take advantage of to submit or sweep.
If your feet are not on the hips in the open guard you have no ability
to control distance and severely limit your chances of stopping your
opponent from passing your guard. As a bonus we will show you a
video of how the foot on hips works to control distance and also
show you the best drill in the world on how to develop your foot on
hip open guard.


Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Open Guard Drill

Mount Position (Top)

The mount position is considered one of, if not the MOST
dominant positions in Jiu-Jitsu. This position is dominant because, I
can submit you but you cant submit me. I can strike you but you
cannot strike me.
Also, this is a position where you can really start putting
pressure on your opponent. You can create a sense of panic and a
sense of urgency by applying pressure. As explained in chapter 2
Pressure in a Jiu Jitsu context always begins with head pressure.
The assumption going into this strategy is that my opponent knows
Jiu-Jitsu, and knows what mistakes not to make.


When you have the mount, your opponent, left to his own
devices, will not stick his arm up in the air so you can arm bar him.
He will not roll to his stomach so you can rear naked choke him.
Again, were talking about a skilled opponent here. But that same
skilled opponent, when given the right stimulus (i.e., the what time
is it grip or the shoulder pressure) it is not If they will make a
mistake, but when. How long it will take depends on their pain
Every opponent has a pain or pressure threshold where he
will knowingly put his arm or neck in harms way in exchange for
releasing some of the pressure you are inflicting. At that moment in
time, your opponent is broken and hes given up the mistake that
youve been waiting for.
For this strategy to work, you need to truly believe in it and
use pressure and patience as your friends to break your opponents
will. The only variable, again, is time. Every opponent has a
threshold. Constant pressure and patience will yield the results
youre looking for and create the mistakes you were waiting on.
(Refer back to the "What Time Is It" video to see this mount

Top Side Mount

Top side mount, in terms of strategy, is fairly identical to
the top mounted position. Again, it is a dominant position. Instead
of being straddled over my opponents torso, I am lying on top of
him perpendicular. To properly control your opponent in side
mount you must either shut down the movement of their hips or

control their head. There will be times, usually just after passing
the guard, where you will NEED to control the hips first, but once
established in the position, using head control is far easier and
efficient. In comparison to the mount there are more submissions
available in the side mount position. Where the side mount lacks is
in its ability to allow you to deliver devastating strikes because you
have to stay tight to control the position. Much like the mounted
position the ideal strategy is to use pressure to create a mistake
and then to capitalize on that mistake to submit or advance your
position. Remember, there are so many techniques available to
you in the side mount but you will not have the opportunity to
use them if you do not control your opponent with head
pressure. (Refer back to the "Shoulder Pressure" video to see this
side mount strategy.)
Top Half Guard
Again, its going to sound like a very common
theme with the top positions, but what Im looking to do is secure
head pressure first. I dont like to think of passing the half guard as
getting my leg out from between my opponents legs. I like to think
of it as creating so much pressure that my opponent is forced to
release my leg. This is done almost exclusively with the shoulder
pressure. We dont use the what time is it grip very much from
here. Its all about shoulder pressure, and being consistent with the
shoulder pressure.
The only thing you need is pressure and patience. If I get
put in a half guard, I look to secure my pressure, I look to lock them

down with my shoulder and I look to push across their face to turn
them away from me. This does many things. One, it keeps them
from using the half guard position to sweep me. Again, it creates a
sense of discomfort, a sense of pain, and even a sense of choke (a
true blood choke.) No matter how strong you are, no matter what
type of pain tolerance you have, no matter what your resistance is,
this position will start to wear on you. Eventually, youre going to
turn enough where I slide right into the mounted position.
We can spend all day going through different techniques to
passing the half guard, but we feel that this is the best strategy.
Locking down pressure, letting pressure do the work, and then
advance your position. One thing to keep in mind is that pressure
and patience are always your friends on top.
Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Shoulder Pressure From Half Guard


Bottom Mount
The bottom mount is certainly an inferior position. Again,
like every position, one of the things you have to ask yourself in the
bottom mount is, is it beneficial for me to go first or second? In the
bottom mount, its always better for you to go second. You dont
really have the cards in your hand when youre on the bottom of the
mounted position. The guy on top is holding all the good cards. All
things being equal: size, strength and other physical attributes, if
you try to be aggressive about getting out of the mount, if you try to
bump your hips, turn, or force the elbow escape, youre probably
going to walk your way into a submission hold.
There are two stages of somebody mounting you that you
need to be concerned about. They are the Holding Mode and
Attack Mode. Holding Mode is when somebody gets mounted on
you then tries to hold you down. He has no intention of submitting
you and is content to stay on top and neutralize any escape
attempts. Attack Mode is obviously when your opponent is less
concerned with holding position and starts to open up with
submission attempts.
If youre on the bottom and start fighting hard to get out,
the person on top is never going to leave the Holding Mode stage of
the mount. Hes going to do everything he can to hold the position
and not really ever try to submit you. Remember, he has a lot of
advantages in the mount position and one of them is that if he
decides to do nothing but hold, it will be almost impossible to get
out. Even an opponent of lesser experience can be extremely hard
to get out of the mount if his only intention is to hold the position.


Attempting to escape at this time will also gas you out while your
opponent is resting in their holding mode.
The key to escaping the mount is to put your opponent in
Attack Mode. When he opens up with his attacks he is also going
to create more space and give you your best chance to escape the
position. It is a risk, but a necessary one if you want to be able to
consistently escape the mount. A further benefit of this strategy is
that it allows you more practice at feeling the transitions and thus
increasing your Jiu Jitsu awareness. Maybe when you first start
employing this strategy you will get submitted often, but it is one of
those situations where you need to go two steps back to jump five
steps forward. Being passive and letting your opponent start
attack mode is far from something that feels natural. What feels
natural is to fight to get out of there but that will consistently keep
your opponent in Hold Mode and thus make it VERY hard to
escape. Sometimes you have to take big risks to get big rewards.
So, remember during training, fight the urge to go ballistic when you
get mounted and relax. Sit back and watch your opponent switch
modes and watch what he is trying to set up and sure enough, in
time, you will start to see easy opportunities to escape that you
would never get by being aggressive and going first.
When we talk about opportunities for escape, were really
talking about two specific escapes. They are the Upa and Elbow
Escape. The Upa is the basic bridge and roll. We are looking to
trap our opponents arm and leg on the same side and roll them
over into their guard. This technique is far less useful then the
Elbow Escape. The Elbow Escape is the only escape that
consistently works against high level grapplers. It involves

shrimping your hips backwards to put your opponent inside of your

guard. Although you stay on the bottom, you are in a vastly better
position than being mounted.

Bottom Side Mount

Much like the mount, I find that when youre on the bottom
side mount the most important part of the strategy is to never go
first. If you start exploding trying to escape, the person on top will
go into a hold mode, stall the position out, hold you down so you
wear yourself out and eventually take advantage of the position.
The smartest strategy from the bottom is to get into a proper
position. Make sure your hands are in the proper place with the far
side under-hook and have your other elbow glued to your nearside.
If you can not get the far side under hook then the only other
position your under hook arm should be in is underneath your
opponents chin. Then you must wait for your opponent to get out of
that holding mode and into submission mode thus creating more
space for you to escape.
(Far side under hook is the ideal position)


(If you cant get the under hook then place your forearm under your opponents throat. Notice
how his inside elbow is underneath the opponent.)

(His right elbow is glued to his hip and his left arm is in the under hook position)

Any opponent, no matter their skill level or how long theyve

been training, when they release you and try to submit you, they
always create space for you to escape out the back door or on the
inside with the elbow escape. In Jiu-Jitsu a lot of positions have a
limitless number of techniques. The guard position, for example,
has a limitless number of techniques and we could spend all night
talking about them, but when we get to the bottom side mount there

really are only two techniques for you to escape; the Elbow Escape
and the Upa with the under-hook. The key variable is WHEN you
use it, that is going to be the deciding factor on whether you escape
or not. If you are too aggressive and try to force the escape from
the bottom, more often then not, youre going to fail. However; if
youre bigger and stronger than the person youre fighting,
sometimes you can force the escape. The problem comes when
the person youre fighting is bigger, stronger, and more skilled than
you. You will need to wait for your opportunity. You need to get
your arms into position and relax. Then, wait for that moment in
time when he stops holding and start trying to submit you, because
at that time he opens a nice space giving you an opportunity to
elbow escape or sneak out the back door.

Bottom Half Guard

Half guard is a tweener position. Its not guard and its not side
mount. In a submission grappling context, a lot of people actually
enjoy the bottom half guard because of the various sweeping
opportunities. But in MMA or self defense, half guard should be
used as a position of last resort to stop your opponent from
establishing side mount. Playing in the half guard too long will
eventually get you pounded because you dont have the ability to
control the distance. If youre on bottom and have no ability to
control distance, youre going to get hurt.
The most important strategy in the bottom half guard is
understanding WHEN the position is turning from full guard to half
guard. When this happens, you must make sure you are on your

side and get the far side under hook. Without these two
components in place your opponent will probably pass and
establish side mount. When we say being on your side in bottom
half guard we really mean being almost face down having our
shoulders 45 degrees to the floor. This will prevent your opponent
from flattening you out and passing and give you your best
opportunity to sweep or return to guard. Look at the pictures below
illustrating what we mean by being on your side and having the far
side under hook.
(Notice how the bottom guy has the under hook on the same side of the leg he is trapping.
This is the far side under hook.)

(Notice how he is on his side almost 45 degrees towards the floor belly down.)


Due to the fact that the bottom half guard strategy is simple,
we decided to include our favorite half technique system we call the
GOOFY GUARD as a Free Bonus. Enjoy!

Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.

Back Position (Offense)

When youre on the back position, the key strategy is to
lock in the seatbelt grip (one arm over your opponents shoulder and
the other under their opposite armpit connecting your hands at their
chest) and hooks and wait for the person to panic and try to
escape. The one who wins in the back position is typically the

person who goes second. If youre on your opponents back and

have your hooks and seatbelt locked in, you need to be patient.
Your opponent will first protect his neck. After being passive long
enough, your opponent will go from protecting his neck to reaching
down to clear your hooks. While one or more hands start reaching
down, it will leave his neck unprotected and much easier to sink in
the choke.

(Seatbelt Grip)

(Hooks: Feet inside of thighs)


You would not think that this is the best strategy while being in
such a dominant position. Naturally you would think that getting
aggressive and going for the finish as soon as possible would be
the right strategy. While it is counterintuitive to be in the back
position with your seatbelt locked doing nothing but waiting for the
person to reach down for the hooks, it is a very consistently
successful strategy.
If you would like to see a great example of someone who
consistently uses this strategy then watch some of Marcelo Garcia's

Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Back Position Offense


Escaping the Back

There are many techniques we can use to escape the
back position. None of them are very effective if you have the
wrong strategy. One of the biggest strategic questions you should
ask yourself is if you should go first or second. As mentioned
before, escaping the back is definitely a position where it is better to
go second. If someone is on your back with a seatbelt grip (one
arm over your opponents shoulder and the other under his opposite
armpit connecting your hands at their chest) its next to impossible
to escape; therefore, theres no reason to even try. If your
opponent is not skilled enough to use the seatbelt grip, the back
position is very simple to escape from. Assuming your opponent
has the seatbelt grip, the key is to stay relaxed and keep focused
on that seatbelt grip. While the seatbelt is locked you dont have
to worry about him submitting or choking you, BUT you also cant
escape. Your opponent needs to release their seatbelt grip to
attack a submission. At this moment is your ideal time to start your
escape. Although this is a book about strategy, in the
accompanying video we are going to show our favorite technique to
escape the back along with the strategy we just described.


Click the Play button or the link on the bottom to view the video.
Escaping the Back


If your strategy is right then many techniques will work, but
if your strategy is wrong it doesnt matter what technique you try, it
will probably fail. Jiu Jitsu isnt just about learning a collection of
techniques. Jiu Jitsu is equal parts STRATEGY, TECHNIQUE,
and STRUCTURING YOUR TRAINING properly. Focusing on only
one of these parts while neglecting the others is a recipe for failure.
You need to think not just about what technique you use but why
you are using it and what is the best way you can become proficient
with it. This book is a helpful guide to understand the strategic
aspects of Jiu Jitsu along with how to structure your training to be
as efficient as possible in a world where not everyone can focus all
their time on training. Life, jobs, family etc. all have a way of cutting
into the amount of time you would like to train. If you are not
focusing on the strategies and training structure in this book, you
are wasting valuable training time. Best of luck in your training and
we will see you on the mat!!



To view any of the videos please go to the following links