Lift your jiu jitsu game with the best BJJ podcasts around
There are now several great BJJ and grappling-specific podcasts available for free. Some are hosted by well known personalities and instructors like Nicolas Gregoriades or Stephen Kesting, and others are hosted by pro-athletes and enthusiasts like Daniel Strauss and the guys at FloGrappling.
Regardless of who hosts them, many of these podcasts include interviews with jiu jitsu greats, rising stars and everyone in between. This gives you a great range of perspectives and ideas about jiu jitsu to incorporate into your own journey.
We’ve decided to include in this list only podcasts which are active and regularly releasing new episodes. If we’ve missed a good podcast, let us know.
The best BJJ podcasts for 2020
- The Raspberry Ape
- The Grappling Central Podcast
- The Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood podcast
- The Strenuous Life Podcast
- The Chewjitsu Podcast
- A Fistful of Collars
- Grappler Union Podcast
- The Matburn Podcast
- BJJ Mental Models
- Bonus: The Joe Rogan Experience
The Raspberry Ape
The Raspberry Ape podcast is an interview-style podcast hosted by Daniel Strauss, a black belt under Roger Gracie. Daniel is an avid competitor with numerous championships and high level matches in his career, and he’s also a strongman.
Most episodes are in-person interviews, which are always better conversations compared to skype/phone interviews, and Daniel injects his own personality into the conversation too. Episodes cover a great depth of topics relating to each guest but are also flowing and conversational.
Good episodes to start with:
- Episode 38 – Sebastian Brosche. Sebastian is the founder of Yoga for BJJ, a website and app which gives you different yoga programs for different body parts. As you can imagine, the episode explores how yoga can benefit you when doing BJJ. Sebastian also talks about how yoga helped him heal a back injury, how you should approach yoga when you train BJJ, nutrition, sleep and even breathwork.
- Episode 71 – Braulio Estima. Braulio is one of the greatest BJJ competitors of all time, so this episode focuses a lot on his history and road to becoming a champion. It also includes his thoughts on drilling vs rolling, the evolution of his game style, mindset, visualisation, injuries and the mental comedown after an important competition.
- Episode 69 – Lachlan Giles. Lachlan Giles is one of Australia’s great BJJ coaches and competitors. This episode is a great conversation about his thoughts on leg lock popularity over the past few years, different competition rulesets, BJJ fads, BJJ in Australia, specifics training, gradings and more. Lachlan is also a qualified physiotherapist so the conversation also delves into injuries in BJJ.
- Episode 74 – John Will. John Will is one of the original “dirty dozen”, the first 12 non-Brazilians to earn a blackbelt. He has a rich history in jiu jitsu, and this episode includes great stories about Chuck Norris, the Machado’s and the Gracie’s during the early decades of Brazilian jiu jitsu. It also explores John’s thoughts about teaching jiu jitsu and much more.
Listen to The Raspberry Ape on:
The Grappling Central Podcast
The Grappling Central Podcast is an excellent interview-style podcast hosted by brown belt Ryan Ford. Ryan is an attentive host with great questions and great guests. The best thing about Grappling Central is that there’s no filler – from start to finish each episode is packed with questions and answers. There’s also a great segment in the middle of each episode called “The Pummel” where Ryan asks quick fire questions about BJJ and other interesting topics too.
Guests on Grappling Central include Craig Jones, Gordon Ryan, Kurt Osiander, Steve Maxwell, Amanda Leve, Demian Maia and much more.
There are both free and paid episodes are on offer, with over 700 hours of past episodes available if you become a Patreon member for $5 per month. The guests on these episodes read like a who’s-who of BJJ: Royce Gracie, Andre Galvao, Rigan Machado, Relson Gracie, Dean Lister, Ricardo Liborio, Matt Sera and many more.
Good free episodes to start with:
- Episode 353 – Gordon Ryan. Gordon Ryan is always an interesting guest on any BJJ/MMA podcast or show. In this episode Gordon talks about how he got into BJJ, how he trains, techniques vs concepts, balancing ego as an elite athlete, leg locks and the common issues he notices, and how to get BJJ into the mainstream.
- Episode 342 – Craig Jones returns! Craig Jones is an entertaining and down-to-earth guest (and a fellow Aussie). In this episode he and Ryan talk about his beginnings, lessons from wrestling, Craig’s thoughts about gi vs no-gi and his most important matches.
- Episode 356 – Demian Maia. This episode goes through Demian’s start in BJJ, his more well known matches, who he thinks the best gi and no gi grapplers are and tips for taking and keeping the back.
- Episode 357 – Bernardo Faria. Bernardo Faria is one of the co-founders of the hugely popular BJJ Fanatics instructional video website. He’s also a very successful competitor, known for his half guard attacks and over under passing. In this episode Bernardo talks about finding the right game style for your body type, the power of specialisation, the progression of Bernardo’s game, over under passing and half guard, the importance of taking your time in a match, plus the story of BJJ Fanatics.
Listen to Grappling Central on:
The Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood Podcast / Liberation Mentor Podcast
The Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood Podcast, now rebranded to the Liberation Mentor Podcast, is hosted by Nic Gregoriades. Nic is a Roger Gracie blackbelt, author, well known BJJ personality and previous podcast host on London Real.
As touched on above, as part of the rebrand this podcast will now be a broader-themed podcast about helping listeners find freedom, passion and connections in life.
Regardless of if you’re interested in the new direction of the podcast, there’s still almost 70 BJJ episodes to listen to. Each episode includes an interview with a new guest from the BJJ world, such as top level competitors and high level blackbelts like Roger Gracie, Henry Akins, Robert Drysdale, Roy Dean and much more.
Nic brings his own unique interview style to each episode and tends to delve into not only the physical side of BJJ but also the spiritual and intellectual.
Good episodes to start with:
- Episode 25 – Kit Dale. Nic and Kit have a great relationship and co-hosted the excellent Beyond Technique series of instructional videos. In this episode they have a great debate about drilling versus concepts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They also talk about Kit’s start in BJJ and his incredibly fast journey to black belt, his thoughts about the way BJJ is currently taught in many schools, why he thinks the 80/20 rule is his competitive strength and how he uses conceptual teaching.
- Episode 12 – Roger Gracie. Roger Gracie is known as one of the best gi grapplers of all time, and this episode is a great exploration of his life in BJJ and his thought process in the sport. It also touches on his legendary fight with Buchecha in 2017, his training regime leading up to competition, living with the Gracie name and his hardest fights.
- Episode 28 – Henry Akins. Henry Akins is a Rickson Gracie 4th degree black belt and teacher. In this episode he talks about his journey through jiu jitsu with Rickson and how he dealt with the pain of his son Rockson’s death. He also tells some good stories about Rickson and his sparring matches with greats such as Fabio Gurgel and Saulo Ribeiro. The episode also touches on teaching jiu jitsu and what separates average teachers from great ones.
- Episode 31 – Oliver Geddes. Oliver is a Roger Gracie blackbelt who has had over 1000 competitive matches! This conversation is an interesting look into what it’s like to compete so many times, and also delves into Oliver’s approach to jiu jitsu, how he treats competitions now, and how he’s made a career out of BJJ. Other topics include how he increased his weight and approached weight training while training jiu jitsu regularly.
Listen to The Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood Podcast / Liberation Mentor Podcast:
The Strenuous Life Podcast
Many of us know The Strenuous Life Podcast host Stephen Kesting from his large library of YouTube videos covering most aspects of jiu jitsu. He also has one of the best free ebooks for those beginning BJJ and wanting to make sense of the major positions.
His podcast is broader than just BJJ and includes guests from a number of related areas. There are also shorter episodes covering single topics too.
Stephen is a great host and asks interesting and useful questions, and each episode is practical and includes entertaining side notes. Some of his older episodes sound like they’re phone call recordings but are still packed full of useful information.
Good episodes to start with:
- Episode 33 – Leglocks with Eddie ‘Wolverine’ Cummings. This is a great exploration of the topic of leg locks and Eddie’s general style of jiu jitsu.
- Episode 2 – Everything to know about competing in BJJ. This episode is a deep discussion about the mental and physical elements of competition, and is a great episode for beginners thinking of competing for the first time.
- Episode 191 – Strength Training and BJJ with Daniel Strauss, AKA The Raspberry Ape! This episode is with Daniel Strauss, the host of the excellent Raspberry Ape podcast. It delves into his BJJ journey and jiu jitsu style, as well as his thoughts about strength training for BJJ.
Listen to The Strenuous Life Podcast on:
The Chewjitsu Podcast
The Chewjitsu Podcast is hosted by Nick “Chewy” Albin and one of his students Eugene. The podcast has a range of different episodes including shorter episodes covering one specific topic, longer episodes diving deeper into a single topic and also interviews. Overall the podcast (and the excellent Chewjitsu YouTube channel) cover topics in a simple but effective way, with plenty of great content for beginners.
The episodes are relaxed and conversational in nature, and the interview episode feature thoughtful questions. Most episodes also include many listener questions and answers too.
Good episodes to start with:
- Episode 43 – Become the grappler you hate. There’s always a training partner in BJJ that you “hate” to roll with, not because you don’t like them but because their BJJ style is your kryptonite. This episode is all about harnessing losses in BJJ to motivate you to grow. There’s also a large number of listener questions and answers in this episode covering topics as diverse as considerations for belt promotions, the primary areas a white belt should focus on and how often to train weights.
- Episode 47 – Preparing for your first BJJ tournament. This is a great episode for beginners who are thinking of competing. Eugene and Chewy cover how to prepare for your first competition, how to ensure you won’t back out of a competition, rules around equipment and clothing, preparing for the unexpected, and much more about the philosophy behind competition and how to prepare for your match on the day.
- Episode 40 – Richie “Boogeyman” Martinez. Richie Martinez is a jiu jitsu practitioner and competitor who earned his black belt in only three years. He’s part of Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system, and has his own school in San Diego. In this episode Chewy and Eugene chat to Richie about how he got his black belt so fast, the role of individuality in BJJ, how his breakdancing career has impacted his BJJ and what he thinks is important for high level jiu jitsu.
Listen to The Chewjitsu Podcast on:
A Fistful of Collars
A Fistful of Collars is the official FloGrappling podcast, and covers the latest competition and grappling news as well as longer interviews with well known grapplers.
It’s a great way to stay up to date with the latest goings on in the world of jiu jitsu, and would be amazing it had more regular episodes.
Good episodes to start with:
- Any post-competition episode. These are great episodes which keep you up-to-date with the results of the biggest competitions throughout the year and keep you aware of the newest up-and-coming grapplers.
- Keenan Cornelius mega interview. Keenan is always an entertaining personality in the jiu jitsu world, and this episode is no exception. He talks through his thoughts on how gi and no gi are diverging in high level competition, how BJJ is evolving, his thoughts on MMA, and a deep dive into the origins and uses of the worm guard. Keenan also talks about his thoughts on referee bias in competition, the problems with regular BJJ training and much more.
- Special guest Rafael Lovato Jr. BJJ often goes hand-in-hand with MMA and Rafael Lovato Jr is a great embodiment of this. Lovato Jr is not only a high level BJJ competitor and black belt who was the second American to win the IBJJF World Championship, but also an MMA fighter in Bellator. This conversation was recorded in April 2019 before his scheduled fight against Gegard Mousasi and covers his preparations for the fight. It also delves into his reflections on training and competing in his mid-30s, mobility, his thoughts on how well BJJ translates into MMA, and the adaptations one must make to their BJJ game when transitioning into MMA.
Listen to A Fistful of Collars on:
Grappler Union Podcast
Grappler Union is a podcast focusing on BJJ in the Midwest of the USA. It’s hosted by Javier Palomo and Anthony Zito and is mostly an interview-style podcast. Javier and Anthony are both experienced grapplers and ask great questions. Some of the episodes cross into casual non-BJJ banter at times, but it’s still an interesting podcast with lots of great guests, not only in BJJ but also MMA.
- Episode 119 – Carlson Gracie Jr. Carlson Gracie Junior is one of the pioneers of BJJ and the son of the legendary Carlson Gracie Sr. He’s an accomplished competitor and instructor, and his thoughts on the sport are honest and refreshing. This episode is a candid chat with Carlson, touching on his early history in BJJ, BJJ’s self-defence roots and the modern move towards sports. Carlson also talks about rifts within the Gracie family and his thoughts on the modern state of BJJ. Finally the episode also covers Carlson’s teaching methodology, thoughts on how to introduce beginners to jiu jitsu and even social media and BJJ.
- Episode 106 – Omar Ocasio & Manny Vazquez. This episode covers plenty of topics given that Omar is a 10th planet black belt and instructor and founder of the Midwest Finishers sub-only tournament, and Manny is a purple belt and Belator fighter. Topics include the origin of the Midwest Finishers tournament, the importance of competing as a teacher and regularly rolling with students, takedowns and wrestling in BJJ, thoughts on points vs submissions in BJJ competitions and more.
- Episode 111 – Vlad Koulikov. While this episode eventually becomes quite a casual chat between the hosts and Vlad, it starts as a great exploration of how sambo, judo and BJJ can fit together. Vlad is a judo black belt, BJJ black belt and sambo Master of Sport. The episode delves into his thoughts on fusion-based grappling, teaching in BJJ and how sambo can be an effective takedown system for jiu jitsu.
Listen to Grappling Union on:
The BJJBrick podcast is an interview and conversation podcast with friendly hosts Byron, Gary and Joe. The interviews are where this podcast shines, with some insightful questions and great guests including some of the biggest names in the sport right now.
There’s also a variety of extra content in each episode, including breakdowns of recent articles relating to BJJ and sports psychology, reader questions, and general thoughts that the hosts have about BJJ.
Good episodes to start with:
- Episode 221 – Learning Jiu Jitsu with Kit Dale. Kit Dale is an interesting personality in the BJJ world, and this episode explores his philosophy about BJJ training including the debate between concepts and techniques. It also explores how Kit thinks BJJ should be taught, his thoughts on competition and much more.
- Episode 298 – Finding your way in Jiu Jitsu with Emily Kwok. This episode with Emily Kwok is particularly great for females getting serious with BJJ, but is also great for males interested in BJJ from a female perspective. Emily also delves into kids starting BJJ, how to pick a good gym if you’re a female, training while pregnant, the value of competition, and making a business out of BJJ.
- Episode 217 – Australia’s rising grappling star Craig Jones. Craig Jones is a larrikin and champion grappler from Australia. This episode is an excellent deep dive into Craig’s z-guard game style and evolution. He also talks about what it takes to be a world-class BJJ competitor, how to train for different competitions and how you should train BJJ if you only have a small amount of time each week.
Listen to BJJBrick on:
The Matburn Podcast
The Matburn Podcast is a podcast co-hosted by Keenan Cornelius and Josh Hinger, two black belts with a laundry list of prestigious achievements in the BJJ competition scene. The podcast is conversational, raw and funny, and tackles many topics other BJJ personalities won’t. The podcast is a mix of “solo” episodes with Keenan and Josh, and guest episodes with some big names in BJJ and MMA including Israel Adesanya, Andre Galvao and Lachlan Giles.
Episodes to listen to first:
- Lachlan and Livia Giles. This episode was recorded soon after Lachlan’s amazing performance at ADCC where he submitted three heavier opponents to get a bronze medal. The episode talks about his now famous heel hook technique, how he improves his jiu jitsu, and also touches on topics like rulesets, the Australian BJJ scene and Lachlan and Keenan’s thoughts about teaching BJJ.
- Israel Adesanya. In this interview between Josh and current UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya the two have a wide-ranging conversation about life as a UFC Champion. They talk about cars, gym theft, Israel’s coach Eugene Bareman, his preparation for his MMA fights, his lifestyle and perspective now, and mental preparation for MMA and BJJ.
Listen to it on:
BJJ Mental Models
BJJ Mental Models is a podcast by Steve and Matt Kwan, two black belt brothers from Canada. The podcast delves heavily into the concepts underpinning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and each lengthy episode usually running over an hour dives into a core concept such as alignment, guard passing, mindset and more. There are also other episodes which explore less conceptual topics like the history of the Gracie family, ruleset differences between competitions and even content aimed at helping our instructors.
Great episodes to start with:
Listen to it on:
Bonus podcast: The Joe Rogan Experience
I’ve mentioned the Joe Rogan Experience so many times on this blog that I could fairly be accused of being a fanboy, but his podcast has a lot of value for grapplers. Joe himself is a black belt under Jean Jacques Machado, and has many guests on the show who train in BJJ.
These include masters like Rickson Gracie, current and past MMA champions, visionaries like John Danaher and Eddie Bravo, and even comedians who now regularly train such as Russell Brand, Russell Peters and Joey Diaz.
Few episodes revolve solely around BJJ (I’ve listed these below), but many more involve broader topics which have tangents into BJJ/MMA depending on the guests.
Episodes to start with / guests that train:
- MMA Episode 73 – Jean Jacques Machado
- Episode 628 – Gary Tonon and Eddie Bravo
- MMA Episode 11 – John Danaher
- Episode 524 – Rickson Gracie and Eddie Bravo
- MMA Episode 45 – Raphael Lovato Jr and Justin Wren
Listen/watch The Joe Rogan Experience on:
Did we miss a good BJJ podcast? Let us know below. There are also some great self-help podcasts to listsen you which you can find in our guide.