Friday, May 20, 2011

Types Of Hand Grips

When we clasp our hands together, people get confused and clasp in a variety of ways. Some people even interlace their fingers. So I thought about what the best grip is in another way, in evolutionary terms. What makes humans different form other animals? Their opposable thumbs. That key difference helped us with motor skills, and gave us the ability to hold and wield tools, to become the dominant species...

So what is the purpose of that kind of grip where I use my thumb? To hold something, wield something, use a tool, hold something in my hand. There is another kind of grip, called by man names, Greco grip, Gable grip, or monkey grip. Meaning clasping your hands with no thumbs. In BJJ, what is the most effective? Well what are the goals? We have no tools, we are fighting bare handed. So then the use of the thumb is a lot of times unnecessary, unless of course gripping and holding the gi which is a type of training tool. Why do they call it a monkey grip? Because monkeys want to cling, to hold on, pull things in tight. The same things a grapplers want, they want to cling, pull, hold things tight. Monkeys are the species that didn't evolve into us, because they like I said cling, even though they have opposable thumbs, but sometimes they will wield a tool like a stick.

Using your thumb lets you hold something in your hand like a hammer, or possibly your opponents wrist or collar and it helps you steer them. It's the same way you would hold a bat or a club, for wielding and moving it about. But if your goal is to cling, like around someones waist, a branch, cling to their arm for a kimura or america, then you would be better off with a monkey grip.

Just the other day I had a hard time rolling with someone who had impossibly strong grips. Grips are important, and in my theory, one of the 4 most important things in BJJ. Based on your goal, you will have to change your grip. Ask yourself, am I steering or am I clinging? Without the gi, you will hardly ever use the thumb. Try it out and see whats a stronger grip? The power of all 5 fingers together holding onto something, or the power of 4 fingers and 1 finger by itself holding on to something? That grip is as weak as the weakest link, which is the one finger (thumb) by itself. 5 fingers are better than 1.

By the way, never interlace your fingers. It's an easy way to break them.


Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletter. You can also connect to Inner BJJ on Facebook and Twitter.

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