Concepts: Utilizing Jiu-Jitsu Grips to Up Your Game on the Mats

3 min read
Learn 5 key concepts for Jiu-Jitsu grip fighting and how to be a standout in your grappling gym

Concepts: Utilizing Jiu-Jitsu Grips to Up Your Game on the Mats

Learn 5 key concepts for Jiu-Jitsu grip fighting and how to be a standout in your grappling gym

Location: Sherwood Park, Alberta

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Photo by: Anett Meszaros

Ultimately, the end goal of any grappling roll, match, or self-defense situation is to control your opponent, establish a dominant position, and then submit them. Ideally, utilizing a position before submission approach. And it all starts with good grips.

Not just any grips, but grips that enable you to control you opponent toward your desired position and ultimately your go to submission for his or her type of jiu-jitsu game, example bottom guard player or top player, and body size. 

How does it feel when you train with someone who utilizes grips exceptionally well? 

Personally, I find it highly frustrating…..

Your movement is limited.

You are probably a step or two behind positionally. 

You may not even be able to make your own grips when they have a good Gi grip or collar grip.

When their grip is in the proper position, and you can’t break it, you feel trapped.

So how do you become the practitioner everyone feels trapped with? Well let’s start with these 5 timeless Jiu-Jitsu grip concepts that you will use from white to black belt. 

  • Focus on placing grips correctly: When you place a grip, it should be strategic. Sure, sometimes you need to grab anything you can, but that’s not ideal. The majority of techniques have a correct position to place your hand. And effectively adjusting how you grip the Gi in that specific position can make the technique far more effective than someone who tries to make up for it with strength.
  • Learn how to break Jiu-Jitsu grips efficiently: No matter your skill level, someone will out-grip you. Strength will only do so much. Similar to placing grips correctly, breaking them should be strategic and purposeful as well. Know which grips to break first and understand the timing and mechanics of which way to apply force to your opponent’s hand.
  • Increase your Jiu-Jitsu grip strength: There are many ways to increase your grip strength. Any workout or activity that burns out your hands and forearms realistically works. But utilizing jiu-jitsu specific workouts will help the most. You can even buy tools specifically for the sport, such as JitsGrips.
  • Protect your hands: Inevitably, you will injure your hands and fingers if you train long enough. The majority of legitimate practitioners have all broken fingers and hurt their hands at some point. You can’t avoid it. But do your best to limit the damage. Avoid placing your hand in bad positions, be aware of the mat, and don’t let your fingers get trapped in a Gi. And if you need/want to, tape them.
  • Practice: Spending time before or after your normal training with a partner just hand fighting can further develop your hand speed, positioning of your grips, and strength. Especially if you can train with a higher belt or someone who on average has a better grip game than you… iron sharpens iron. 

Even though we use our whole bodies to control opponents, grips are the starting point. It’s usually the first point of contact and can make the difference between being a step ahead or behind your opponent. And if you choose to add a grip strengthening regimen to your training schedule it will pay dividends throughout your Jiu-Jitsu Journey…. Understand how they work and don’t waste opportunities or give them away.

Protect your hands and strengthen your grips. If you plan on training for a long time, then they can become an extremely valuable part of your game, or they can hinder you from reaching that next level. So, know the concepts, practice, and make it your mission to have the best grip in your gym…. People will wonder how you got so good without seemingly changing your game… surprise them and as always, have fun on the mats!  

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