Hand Fighting or Grip Control has taken an increasingly important role in the development of my MMA and Submission Grappling Game. One of my Jiu-jitsu coaches, Mike Diaz impressed upon me the fact that
he who controls the grips, dictates the subsequent, incremental battles for control in general, e.g. Posture, Balance (Kuzushi), and Relative Body Position
(Belly To Belly, T-Position, Back Mount or Back From Standing).
Grip fighting or limb control, usually precedes any major engagement in a grappling contest. Footwork, Level Change and Bridging the Striking Gap are all equally important factors that must also be taken into account as they precede grip fighting in MMA style competitions. But when it comes to contests restricted to grappling, grapplers can elect to concede these ranges and begin from the clinch (elbow and collar tie up, Over – Under, etc.).
Often the grip is the means by which one breaks his opponent’s posture, off balances him and prevents his opponent from doing the same in return.
Last week we discussed training and the injuries that come along with it. Since that time, I’ve managed to add a severely sprained big toe to the line up of injuries.
I just can’t seem to catch a break. In the last three weeks I’ve managed 3 fairly serious injuries.
A sprained ankle, a subluxed rib, and a sprained big toe respectively. It’s times like this that I have to dig deep to find something that I can work on as I allow my injuries time to heal. Grip fighting is an area of study well deserving of some attention.
I learned another novel idea from working with Sean Weaver, another one of Professor Pedro Sauer’s wonderful Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black Belts. We were working in the gi, and I asked Coach Weaver how to deal with an opponent who gets a grip on your sleeve that you cannot break. He responded by telling me to look at the situation differently.
If you can’t break his grip, grab his sleeve back. Now you have him as much as he has you. I suppose this same strategy would work without the gi as well.
Fighting for grips is essential. This skill applies both in the standing clinch as well as once the fight goes to the ground. For either the top or bottom player, he who controls the other’s arms, generally controls the other elements of the game.
So until next time… Get a grip!
A special thanks to Coach Billy Robinson and Jake Shannon of www.ScientificWrestling.com who have been so kind to share their tricks of the trade with us.