The instant your opponent grips you, find a way to invert the grip so you control your opponent.
Any grip from your opponent should be immediately inverted into a grip you control. For example, pummelling a grip so it is advantageous to you and not your opponent. The first person to establish grips effectively is usually the one who dominates the fight.
Note that it’s not sufficient to break a grip, because your opponent can just re-grip you. You need to invert control of the grip, not just break it.
There are three ways to invert a grip:
#1: Break the grip.
This is usually done by taking the slack out of the grip and introducing a sudden and hard pull. Grip breaks come with a degree of risk, because focusing on the grip may reduce your ability to defend yourself elsewhere. Because of this, grip breaks can lead to you falling behind in the fight: you are still dealing with a grip while your opponent has already advanced to something else.
Note that it’s not sufficient to simply break the grip: in order to truly invert the grip, you need to ensure that your opponent is not able to re-grip you after you break it. Grip breaks may also not be realistic against opponents with strong grips.
#2: Invert control.
Rather than directly breaking the grip, change the nature of the grip so that it is advantageous to you and no longer advantageous to your opponent. This is often done by circling your hand or foot and bringing it to the inside of your opponent’s grip.
For example, if your opponent grabs your wrist: circle your hand around and grab your opponent’s wrist on the inside.
#3: Change the angle.
Sometimes it’s simpler to just move your body such that the grip your opponent has no longer offers any advantage. This is especially useful when playing open guard from the top.
Some examples of grip inversion:
- As soon as your opponent attempts to underhook you, pummel to deny him the underhook and take your own.
- If your opponent grabs your gi pants when attempting to pass your open guard, immediately pummel your foot so your foot pressure is preventing him from using the grip effectively.
- If your opponent grabs your sleeve, immediately pummel your hand and establish a more dominant grip.