I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
09 September 2009 @ 04:35 pmAbout the Author:
Jiu Jitsu is like a 2 foot python. In front of you, when it has not wrapped itself around you or bitten you, it poses very little threat. At any moment you can easily get it in your grip and whip it's head into the ground and kill it. You are bigger, have more mobility, got the superior grip and won. Now if you just mess around or don't understand grips and somehow allow that snake to slither and mess around get wrap itself around your neck, doesn't matter how bigger you are, you are done. You must address threats immediately before they cause a danger. It's why in certain war scenarios you leave no enemy wounded or take them as a prisoner, because they may pose a threat later.
Same with me and a friend of mine. We are both purples. He is over 6 ft. Over 200lbs. I am shy of 6 ft but close to 150lbs. When we stand away from each other in our stances, I offer little threat to him. Even if we both grab each other with collar sleeve grip I offer less threat. Forget the whole size being equal or skill being equal or one person even being more skilled. That's not the point, the point is on how deep a threat has been imposed.
Now if he allows me to get a grip on his collar, and then my other hand on his other collar and he sort of didn't address it right away. It now doesn't matter if he is better than me or I better than him or he is bigger or I am bigger. You start the best guy in a cradle choke of a decent guy and start the match there, the best guy loses every time.
So once you feel him getting that grip, don't wait to deal with it until he gets his second grip. That is way too late, that original grip will cause you huge problems down the line.
So what is vulnerable? Obviously grips around the neck are dangerous but its not only there, grips on both knees, grips on the belt or anywhere on the hips, and grips controlling the underhooks. We let these things happen and just try to get our grips but the best scenario is he has inferior grips on you and you have superior grips and control on him. Meaning you control his collars and he has a grip on your jacket. You control his knees while standing and passing and he is just controlling your pant leg.
Like one example is if I have someone's back. I grip with his collar and I have one grip. The guy tries to escape my hooks because he feels confident in his neck defense (already huge mistake on his part). Once I get a grip I am 90% to finishing because I am afforded huge options whereas he is afforded one, that I make a mistake. So scenario one, I grip deep, which he is fine with because when I grip deep it makes my elbow closer for his reach for him to now try to grip my sleeve and yank down and pull my head. It's his grip on my sleeve vs my grip on his neck. What he fails to realize is though a deep grip makes my arm easier to grab, a deeper grip affords me a shorter lever so it only takes a flick of my wrist to tap him whereas he has to pull my elbow all the way down to his chest. So here is another scenario, he won't let me grip deep and I grip shallow. This is an option Big Kevin from my academy showed me and its based on what John Danaher says, make his gi a murderer's rope. So I grip shallow and he feels safe now that its not directly on his neck and tries to leg work out. I turn an angle and pull the slack out of the collar and yank that collar behind his neck, choking him. He had room to put his fingers but now his fingers are just breaking. Because my grip was shallow I now have a longer lever, meaning my elbow is far behind his neck, no longer within his reach to grab and I win again. I have options whether he makes mistakes or not. His only option is I mess up in some bizarre way or I lose my grip. Which can happen but do not base your game on this phenomena.
But it's not just the gripping itself that is dangerous, it is what those grips afford. It affords that body to body contact and control. Remember my previous example with the snake? He had no point of contact on you. Once if bites you and coils it not only does it have a grip, its pulled itself close and made a body to body contact.
So in Jiu Jits when I grab your collar and now pulled my chest to your chest, my pass and eventual choke becomes so much easier. When I grab your knees and drop my shoulders onto your hips and made that body to body contact. Or grab one collar and get to knee on belly. It's that point where I use my body to pin your body to the floor, like stepping on a snake's head. Now you are immobilized and I have control yet I am mobile.
A snake gets his grip, pulls in, controls, pins, wraps, and kills. Grappling is like two snakes, all hips, tight body to body control, and eventual submission.
Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.