BJJ / Judo Grip Fighting: A few tips from Olympians
Working thru our BJJ curriculum last night at the Labs in the advanced class (blue belt and above), we were looking into half guard postures, pressures and passes.
It became very clear that unless a lot of attention was given to dominating the grip fighting (negating, stripping grips, gaining own advantageous grips...etc.), success in passing the half guard* was far from guaranteed.
The main grips we looked at breaking were:
1. Sleeve / wrist grip
Everyone knows the route to breaking grips is targeting the gap between the thumb and the other fingers. When it comes to releasing wrist grips, I learnt a combination of maneuvers from karate and also from watching professor Roy Harris DVDs and iPhone apps:
a, wrist rotation
b, fix-and-rip (put an obstacle in the way)
2. Lapel grip
Here's something Judo Olympian Sophie Cox showed me: Once both your hands are free, you can line up the fleshy part of your cross side hand (right vs right) against the fleshy part of their gripping hand. Using a wrist wrenching/locking motion you weaken the grip until your other hand can either rip it away or at least fix it while you rip yourself away from it.
Here's a quick video that demonstrates what I mean:
The most important part of grip fighting is what you do with the hand once you've broken its grip. If you don't move it out of the way and away from you, there's nothing stopping your opponent from re-gripping you. One valuable lesson I learnt from Royler Gracie black belt Mr Eddie Kone was to stuff the arm towards the opponent's body and move towards their back. The nice bonus you get out of that is that it blocks them from getting a good grip with the other hand too.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list of grip breaks but it's, surprisingly, more than most BJJ schools teach.
ZHOO ZHITSU IS FOR EVERYONE!
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi
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