Drill of the day: Not Grip Fighting


Today’s drill is a lot more complex than it sounds: don’t grip fight. Grip fighting is huge. It can make or break a match because whoever gets the throw inevitably ends up with a very dominant position and is usually posed to immediately drop into a submission attempt. However, you’re not always going to be able to outfight your opponent’s grips.

There’s a concept in jujitsu that if someone has grips on you they can control your motion, but by the same link you can control theirs. If someone has a super strong grip on my sleeve they can pull on it to pull me forward, but I can also yank my arm back and unless they let go, they’ll go forward themselves. Because of this and a bit of knowledge about kuzushi, it’s possible to make any grip work with some practice from non-dominant grips. Let’s face it, when you’re rolling with Goliath you don’t get to break his grips and take your favorite set-up, you throw from what you’re given.

Here are a series of drills to meet this end:

Uchi-komi: Uke takes the most dominant grip they can think of. Tori will not break this grip, but will instead counter-grip and immediately set up a throw (uchi-komi style). Repeat.

Nage-komi: Uke takes the most dominant grip they can think of. Tori will not break this grip, but will instead counter-grip and immediately throw.

Yakusoku geiko: Uke takes the most dominant grip they can think of. Tori takes the first available grip. Both partners begin moving around. Tori can use the current grip or switch grips exactly once (without breaking uke’s grip) to set up their throw. Once Tori throws, roles are switched and the drill begins for the other person.

Randori (Collar and Elbow): Both partners take the first available grip. Neither partner should let go of this grip if able to maintain it. Try to throw without switching grips at all.

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