BJJ Tips: Approaching Your Opponent

The correct approach is very important in any activity, BJJ / grappling is no exception. I learned a long time ago that early mistakes can quickly escalate, snowball and totally throw you off your course. I still remember Mr Robinson my high-school maths teacher shaking his head as I discover that the reason my answer at the bottom of page 3 was way wrong was a simple mistake I made at the top of page 1.

In BJJ / grappling, the first time I heard someone talk of the approach was on a Saulo Ribiero DVD. I was a newly graded BJJ blue belt and up to that point, I never really thought about it. To my simple, inexperienced eyes you just started from the handshake and just somehow went on with the roll, either pulling guard or working the pass. It took Mr Ribiero's well honed attention to the intricate details of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to open my eyes.

Saulo Ribiero masterfully teaching grip fighting on Jiu Jitsu Revolution 2

By the way, by approach I don't mean grips or grip fighting. It's even earlier than that. Just before or immediately after you shake hands with someone, you shape and turn your body and stance in a way that blocks your opponent's advantageous grips. If you are starting from standing for example, you stagger your feet to prevent an easy double leg takedown, you bend your knees and stay mobile, protect your leading arm and collar and keep your back hand active.

This isn't an extensive list by all means but it's a start. This is your BJJ platform from which you tip the scales in your advantage. Anything you do from here, while it may or may not work 100% successfully, will at least be built on a solid BJJ / Grappling foundation.

How do you approach the roll?

Ps. One of the best articles I’ve read about the approach in Stand-up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is this one by my friend Glyn Powditch. Glyn is an awesome brown belt in both Jiu Jitsu and Judo and he taught me 90% of my stand-up strategies, approach and grip fighting.

----Did You Like This Article?--- Click here to add The Part Time Grappler to your Favourites / Bookmarks


Georgette said...

Oh Liam, that Powditch article was good. Wish it were longer though!

We cover this subject in our competition class, with regard to strategy of gi control and arm placement during the approach, but not as focused an emphasis on which arm you go for first. What do you think about reaching lead arm for the collar first, as opposed to arm control? What order of grips do you go for?


The Part Time Grappler said...

Thanks Georgette. When I square up with someone (standing or ground) the closest thing to me is usually their limbs, not their collar.

To get to their collar, I usually use my back hand to grab their hand (or foot if I'm up passing their guard) that's nearest me and maneouver it outa the way. From there I work in to the collar.

Hmm. Maybe I should make a video

A.D. McClish said...

Oooh! Make the video!! :) This is one area where I am severely stunted. I don't know very much about stance and grips and all of that. Thanks for the article too!

The Part Time Grappler said...

Stunted? Well we can't be having that. I made a quick vid last night but unfortunately it was made after the session so the camera kept getting all steamy :o)

Georgette said...

Liam you rock :) thanks!

The Part Time Grappler said...

Why thank you G! So sweet. I rock!