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The Strenuous Life Podcast with Stephan Kesting

This is the Stephan Kesting's Grapplearts Radio Podcast where we discuss BJJ, Grappling, MMA, and all manner of martial arts training.

Stephan runs, where he has published many hundreds of martial arts videos, articles and tutorials.

His free guide to learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, A Roadmap for BJJ, has been downloaded more than 10,000 times and has become a foundational text for the art. Click here to download that book for free as well.

Stephan has a lengthy career in martial arts, spanning more than 3 decades.  He has dedicated many years to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and you can find his accessible and practical expertise on all BJJ matters at

A black belt in multiple martial art systems, he brings a range of approaches to self defense, and a critical eye for what works in the street.

Stephan has been featured in Black Belt Magazine, Ultimate Grappling, Tapout Magazine and Ultimate Athlete.

He is also a frequent guest on martial arts related podcasts, including The Fightworks Podcast, Atlantic MMA, Combatives Corner, The Warrior’s Den, The Spartan Underground and many more.

Nov 21, 2022

BJJ black belt Elliott Bayev and I discuss the minimum knowledge set required to be a competent blue belt, including...

  • The 8 basic positions in jiu-jitsu
  • A 3 phase strategy for beating a bigger person 
  • The real purpose of the guard
  • The 2 types of submissions
  • The hierarchy of positions
  • How to stay safe in bad positions...and what to do next.
  • The importance of getting high up on your opponent’s body
  • How do throws and takedowns fit into training
  • Competition vs self defense tactics
  • How many techniques do you actually need
  • Why sparring against real resistance makes jiu-jitsu special
  • When to begin sparring in your progression
  • How long does it take to make bluebelt
  • And more!

Click here to get the Roadmap for BJJ, my free PDF breakdown of the basic positions and strategies in jiu-jitsu.

Elliott runs the Openmat school in Toronto Ontario and also the learning site. 

Check out Elliott's Spider Guard Masterclass, and/or his Self Defense Guard, and/or his 30 Second Fight Finishes instructionals. I've personally worked with him on all 3 of these products and I can say without hesitation that they are incredibly detailed and directly applicable to your training.

Stephan Kesting