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There are many important aspects to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/BJJ that are somewhat overlooked by beginners. They are definitely not overlooked by those that reach a high-level of skill because such BJJ‘ers clearly display all these little nuances. One area many top players excel in would be the art of gripping.

Gripping is basically what it sounds like. It refers to how your hands grip and grasp your opponent. With the Gi, a large amount of your gripping will involve grasping the collar and the sleeves.  The pants legs are also grabbed and, to a lesser extent, you can grab the belt. (Beware – the belt moves around a lot so belt grips are somewhat unreliable)



Why is gripping important?

There are a few reasons why you would employ grips. Mainly, you do so to control and opponents and execute offensive and defensive maneuvers. Obviously, performing offensive and defensive maneuvers is a major part of the game.

 In a sense, the reasons for gripping on the ground in BJJ/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is the same as gripping standing in Judo.  In Judo though, a greater emphasis is placed on grips very early at the beginner level. Gripping definitely is not something to be overlooked on the ground because of the many benefits to using it.

A few of the gripping techniques are about as simple. If someone is in your guard you can grip the sleeve and pull their arm forward to execute an armbar or a triangle. You could grip the collar and sleeve to pull someone down to prevent them from getting the posture to pass the guard. If you are trying to pass the guard, gripping the sleeve can be employed to press the arm down and hold it in place so it cannot defend the guard pass.  

To repeat, gripping can be used to apply any offensive or defensive tactic.

There is a bit of controversy regarding the use of grips. Namely, there are those that say gripping is another form of stalling. This can be true if the person gripping his/her opponent is not doing anything and only trying to kill the clock. If the person is being active then it would be impossible to say what he is doing is stalling.

It is advised that if you wish to employ gripping techniques you should perform conditioning exercises that can help improve your grip. Squeezing an isometric rubber ball would be one example of an easy way you can develop your grip abilities. Even a few minutes per day can lead to a great improvement. 

Don’t allow gripping to be an overlooked component of your game. Putting the proper effort into developing your grip game could lead to many improvements in how you actually perform.  And you definitely want to improve. That is why you are training in the first place.

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