BJJ / Grappling tips: How to take the back when the opponent turtles

The best position in grappling by the best grappler

For me, the most important position in jiujitsu, nogi submission grappling, mixed martial arts and even self defense* is the back position. It is the ultimate hierarchical position where you can cause damage (as little or as much as you want) and the opponent can't necessarily harm you. By extension, I feel that transitions that put you on someone's back are the most important transitions. I am always looking to get the back position: From the standing phase, closed guard, open guard, half guard, mount, side and, relevant to today's post, when the opponent turtles up.

BJJ / Judo Tips: Olympic Grip Fighting With Travis Stevens and Jimmy Pedro.

Which judo throws are best suited for a BJJ player? I see this question asked over and over and while the rules of engagement of the two arts and sports dictate certain limitations, I strongly believe that the best return-on-investment comes not necessarily from training throws, but rather grips. A superior grip artist will have a huge advantage in both jiujitsu and judo over a superior thrower, if that makes sense. This is not something I stand by alone. In a recent interview on the Grappling Central Podcast, Judo and Jiujitsu black belt, Multiple Olympian and Olympic silver medalist Mr Travis Stevens highlighted the importance of having a well-rounded judo game, centered around superior gripping and standing-to-ground transitions.

Luckily, there are some goos resources out there to help you improve your gripping strategie such as "Grip Like a World Champion" by Mr Steven's judo coach, a legend in competitive judo himself, Mr Jimmy Pedro.

Grip Like a World Champion

At it's simplest, grips fighting should enable you to stay safe from the opponent's throws while facilitating your own balance breaks and entries for throws. Here, I've included three videos which link together into a beautiful sequence that takes you from initial contact to dominance to throw. The first is by Travis Stevens himself:

Further, Travis' coach Jimmy Pedro talks to a personal hero of mine, Mr Saulo Ribeiro at the University of Jiujitsu about the Ko uchi gari:

Now that you have an understanding of how to bridge the gap, investigate how to use that advantage to dominate your opponent. Here's one such example, but the onus is on you to flesh out your own gripping game.



Check for more resources on

Efficient Judo Interview: Neno Avelov & Peter Yeo

I was introduced to the gentle way of Judo back when I lived in Manchester by a fantastic coach. Her name is Sophie Cox. Sophie is a great and very pedagogic teacher with a ton of patience and an iron will. I feel very privileged that I got my start with her (all the way to my 2nd Kyu (Blue Belt)) but more importantly that I can call her a friend.

Since moving to London, the little time I still have for judo has been spent mainly at The Tokei Martial Arts Centre (with a session here or there down at the Budokwai). The reason I ended up at Tokei is, without a shadow of a doubt, the people and the vibe. Two of the coaches and players there that really exemplify this vibe are Mr Neno Avelov and Mr Peter Yeo so when I discovered they're working on an online judo project, I thought I'd put together a quick interview to shed some light on what it is they're hoping to achieve with it.

Interview with Mr Neno Avelov & Mr Peter Yeo:

BJJ / Grappling Tips: More from the Knee On Belly Position

Learn the secrets of the Knee on Belly position from a true master of the position:
Master Mauricio Gomes on GALLERR

I recently wrote an article about the Knee on Belly position where I talked about some drills to stay on top and launch your attacks. I've had a ton of messages from that particular article that I decided to add a few more attacks to the repertoire. In particular, I'd like to offer a couple of suggestions to help deal with resistance to our attacks.

To start off, I will share this really nice way to remove the arm the opponent may use to block our choke, by Mr Robson Moura

BJJ: Reaching the black belt

I recently, on Sunday the 26th of Novemebr 2017, received my black belt in Gracie Jiujitsu from my teacher, Mr Eddie Kone and his panel of black belts.

Myself, Mr Shaun Escoffery, Mr Eddie Kone, Mr Shukie Lok and Mr James Gregory

The 5 hour long test consisted of:
  1. Teaching 4 mini-privates to a group of 3-5 students
  2. Performing every technique from GM Helio Gracie's book "The Master Text".
  3. Defending ourselves against random attacks in the centre of a "Self Defence Circle"
  4. Defending ourselves against random attacks from an attacker surprising from behind

Why Learn Jiujitsu?

Why Learn Jiujitsu indeed? 

I started practicing martial arts back in the mid-90s. I started with, believe it or not, Kung Fu which was taught by a man who came to our high-school and taught us every Wednesday after school.d I felt invincible. I learnt very little of combative use, but even then I recognised that what I was learning was healthy and logical. Putting a lot of emphasis on body weight distribution and correct alignment gave me a great frame of learning which I then used to deconstruct and learn many martial arts over the years. Soon after leaving high-school and joining university I started WTF - Taekwondo and soon thereafter I fell in love with Karate and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Fast forward to today, many lessons, belts, seminars and competitions later, I am just as in love with the martial arts as I was back then. In fact, I'd say that love affair has now blossomed into an incurable infatuation. I no longer see problems and differences between the styles of martial arts. I only see similarities and opportunities for growth.

With that in mind I thought I'd share a few reasons here why I feel my main art, Gracie Jiujitsu, would form the perfect compliment to any other martial art, be it my first loves of Kung Fu, Taekwondo or indeed Okinawan and Japanese Karate or my more recent focus on Kodokan Judo. I hope it encourages you to venture outside the confines of your own limitations and try jiujitsu or, indeed if you are already a jiujitsu practitioner, try another one of the above mentioned arts to compliment your jiujitsu practice,

12 reasons why Jiujitsu is the perfect compliment to any martial art