Get a grip!
More often than not every sweep, submission or scramble in jiujitsu begins with a frame or the all-important grip. When playing guard with your opponent or inside your opponent’s guard, it is of paramount importance to recognise where, when and why to go for grips and to assess the situation accordingly.
But firstly, what constitutes a good grip?
Strong grips are usually found on the joints of the opponent. Think wrists, inner knees, neck while always attempting to grab so much, yet not too much, Gi that you can form a fist. Of course there are a many number of grips but for the purpose of delivering efficiency of information in this blog, we will limit it to the most common and for a white belt the most natural.
The easiest way for white belts to understand the concept of grip fighting is to literally keep score. Say you have one lapel grip and one sleeve of your opponent gripped at the wrist.
Think of this as 2-0, on your end.
Another example of a 2-0 scenario could be gripping the inner knee on the pants to establish a guard pass as shown below.
Defensively, it is always important to negate and defend the establishment of your opponent’s grips before they become too entrenched and can manipulate your posture, positioning and/or ability to stay conscious. Breaking the grips is something we will cover in future posts, but for now focus on what your objective is and make grips in congruence with this to achieve the desired outcome.
Say you want to sweep your opponent, for starters you might not want them to post their hand on the mat to prevent the sweep, therefore, it would be beneficial to establish a grip on their wrist.
You want the armbar from guard?
Get your lapel grip to break their posture down and work your way to the limb you fancy with a grip on the wrist.
Lastly, your grips will have to be dynamic in nature and shift when the time calls. Your opponent will undoubtedly react to your grips and adaptive players will learn to alter their grips and the desired outcome should the opportunity arise.
So keep score of your grips, defend your opponent’s attempts, and grip appropriately for the situation always.