Entries by Dion Mendel

Closed guard considered harmful

Closed guard is a powerful position for the guard player as it restricts the top person’s movement by immobilising their hips. A person skilled at closed guard will be seeking to off balance his opponent by breaking posture and cutting angles to threaten sweeps and submissions. A person unskilled at closed guard will be doing […]

Learning Conceptually

When I first started BJJ, I believed that BJJ was all about the tiny details. For two years, I made detailed notes about every class I attended. Pridefully, I thought the notes were pretty good. They read like a recipe for each technique “R hand cross grips opponent’s lapel with fingers in, knuckles resting on […]

Preventing injuries during wrestling

BJJ is a combat sport and injuries happen. One of my friends injured her knee in the 2009 Pan Pacific BJJ comp. It took a long time to heal and she had just started training again when she re-injured it during wrestling class. This got me thinking about all the injuries I’ve witnessed during my […]

Posture and lower back pain

During wrestling class today we were working basic lifts. My partner, 10 kgs heavier than me, was straining his lower back to lift me. We’re constantly told to lift with our legs not our backs, but what does this mean? One of the key detail we need to look at is pelvis rotation. An incorrectly […]

Finishing the armbar

“How do I finish the armbar?” This is a common question that beginning students ask. The typical response to this question is “Squeeze your knees together, point your opponent’s thumb away from your chest then raise your hips”. This is fine instruction for a raw beginner. Once the beginner starts to gain more experience, they […]

Our obsession with details

Small details can make all the difference in BJJ. For example, grabbing at the hand instead of the wrist can be the key detail that allows a successful armbar. Because of the huge effect of seemingly small details we can become obsessed, beginning a quest in search of perpetual refinement. The problem with this is […]

Self Defence for Women

There are obvious physical differences between men and women. Self defence courses often take a one-size-fits-all approach to self defence, creating courses that may work for men but will rarely work for women. This leads to horrible advice such as biting, eye gouging and kneeing the groin. This advice is horrible — not because of […]

Learn the Best Stuff First

The 80/20 principle is the observation that for many events, 80% of the results come from only 20% of the effort. This principle is used successfully in many industries, from business to engineering, to get the most result for the least effort. Without the luxury of limitless resources, we must use the resources we do […]