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Getting to grips with grip fighting

Although position is the master key to submission and victory in grappling, grip control is certainly another important key on your jiu-jitsu key ring. The grip can negate position and the grants control over the body, be it yours or your opponents. Today I did a brief clinic on some methods for grip breaking.

In general two handed control is stronger than one handed control. Thus when we want to break the grip using two hands against their single grip should provide the greater strength needed to detach them from your kimono. In combination with the proper mechanics your ability to free yourself should increase. By optimizing your hand position you will also be able to move their arm, i.e. drag or wrap them, to improve your position and ability to attack.
Figure four to contralateral wrap
Your partner is controlling both lapels. Pistol grip their same side sleeve and bring your opposite hand underneath their wrist and grab our wrist, leaving your wrist beneath theirs. Now lift over your head, try to kink their wrist as you pull their hand perpendicularly away from the lapel, against where the fingers of their grip meet. Pull across your body and wrap their arm under your opposite axilla. From here you can:
  • Take their back
  • Arm bar (carefully) if they try to block you taking the back
  • Hip bump sweep if they pull their arm out

Figure four to ipsilateral wrap
Again in this scenario your partner is controlling both lapels. Pistol grip their opposite sleeve and reach underneath their arm with your same side to grab your wrist, again placing wrist to wrist. Pull up and over your head, again try to kink the wrist as you lift their hand perpendicularly from your lapel. Wrap the arm and release the pistol grip once it is securely wrapped. Grab their cross collar with the wrapped side. From here you can:
  • Cross collar choke
  • Same side arm bar
  • Same side bent arm bar (if they try to underhook deep)
  • Oma plata (if they reverse the arm)
Provoked response
Although generally reactively obtaining grips after your opponent has already gotten a hold of you yields to suboptimal leverage. That is, he who grabs first has the control, even if he who grabs second also gets grips. However, even if you have grips you are still vulnerable to submission attempts. For example, if your opponent has control of both lapels in your guard, look for the cross collar choke. Either
  1. this choke will work
  2. your opponent will create space, by straightening their arms, and you can go for the straight arm bar, or
  3. they block the choke and you can detach their grip by putting the same side hand under their wrist, get the cross sleeve pistol grip and lift their grip hand of the lapel
Using the legs
By using your legs to not only open the guard but to place leverage on the arms you can break grips.
Knee over
Slide your shin over their arm, placing the shin in the crook of their elbow and push, breaking the grip. Look for the triangle.
Knee inside
Slide your knee medially and then bring it laterally against the crook of the elbow, simultaneously push away. Either they let go or they become extended and more easy to control.

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