Grips are Currency

The greatest currency in Jiu-Jitsu in my opinion are the use of grips, both offensively and defensively. No matter the position, standing or on the ground, there’s a value given to each and every grip that’s utilized by both participants. As practitioners we sometimes allow our opponents to gain grips without having to work for them or even addressing them once they occur.

There’s an importance that needs to be awarded to establishing and denying grips. While not in the same scope, would you willingly allow an opponent who’s on your level or better to secure a submission?

Of course not, it’s too dangerous and it puts you behind in the game so far that you may not be able to overcome the disadvantage.

Well, the same thing occurs when you allow someone to gain their desired grips. The hand fight at different stages in the game can establish sweeps, transitions, and submissions. It’s imperative that you are first in establishing your grips, then implementing the course of action thereafter.

Do no hesitate, you cannot be second.

Bellow I’ve illustrated a few scenarios of why I fight for certain grips and how I use them to my advantage.

Standing V. Standing

In the Standing V Standing scenario, I like to grip over top of both wrists and push them down. Depending on what happens, I’ll let go of one, then get a collar grip and move on for the takedown or guard pull of my choice. Before I decide to let go of one of the wrists for a collar, the double wrist grabs hinders my opponent’s ability to initiate a meaningful takedown. His inability to grab grips of his own allows me the time to transition to what I would like.

Sitting V. Standing

The double wrist grab is one of my favorite ways to initiate contact with my opponent when I’m seated and they’re standing. In NoGi specifically, one of the biggest hurdles from this position is the lack of body or posture control, for example the collar grip. An experienced opponent will often lean forward while standing, utilizing their hands and keeping their feet safely at a distance in order to pass your guard.

Please be aware, while utilizing this grip, some opponents will try to long step around your guard, landing almost in a knee on belly position.

Option A:

In option A the opponent will either step in to initiate a pass or you can implement the guard of your choice as a modified guard pull. In this specific scenario, I decided to go in for Half Guard and work from there.

Option B:

In Option B, my opponent refused to come in close enough for me to play guard and actually pulls away from me. In this scenario I can actually either come up to my feet and go for a takedown or push the two on one grip forward and go for this super annoying trip that I love. I have no idea what it’s called but it was something I picked up from watching Marcelo Garcia.

Sitting V. Kneeling

In this scenario my opponent reached in for a pant grip. Identifying the importance of the grip, I addressed it quickly then established my grip on the collar. This specific grip allows me to either maintain the current distance, create more of it with a push forward, or pull with a collar drag.

After the first grip, I followed it up with a lower leg grab and pushed forward in order to establish the top position.

Hand Fighting Principles

Published by David Figueroa-Martinez

I'm a Gracie Humaita Black Belt Instructor out of San Diego. I've been training Jiu-Jitsu since 2011 and started teaching in 2017.

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