Counters for Gi shoulder grab?


Turd Ferguson
Oct 4, 2005
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Anyone know any counters or defenses for your opponent grabbing your gi sleeves at the shoulders and controlling you? I know obviously "don't let them grab your sleeves". This one guy seems to always have the upper hand by grabbing my sleeves and thus controlling my arms when we lock up. Thanks
So they have one of your arm sleeves and your shoulder sleeve?

Break the grip off the arm sleeve and throw him with Morote Seionage. This works well if you can get your hand on his collar to pull across his body while turning to throw. If he's not off balence enough, drop to a knee or expand your base and do a seio-otishi.

If he resists too much with this throw, pull his gi collar to you and release his sleeve with your other hand. Execute Ippon Seionage from here (just be quick with it.)

Or, you can just mimic the grip he has and do an osotogari.

I hope I explained that alright.
This leads to a question, more to bjj than Judo

Sometime ago there was a thread about how to get their hands off your wrist. The answer is to put your force against their thumb.

However, if they Grip you at your Gi wrist sleeve, how will u get out then? You cant really go against their thumb then.
Assume right hand on your left shoulder:

Straighten your left arm and draw a large, counterclockwise circle to wrap your opponents arm just above his elbow- its kinda like throwing a hard wizzer on someone.

The actual lock attacks the elbow, like a keylock/americana would. After you wizzer the arm with your left arm, you can regrab your left hand with your right hand to give added pressure. For larger stronger opponents, you can further straighten your left leg across your opponents waist as if you were to attempt a poor hip throw.

Hard to explain without pictures...
I think this is the technique Van Damme was talking about, just do it from a standing situation


I like to use a kouchi gari or kouchi makikomi. Just take a step back with foot on the side of the shoulder grip and there'll probably be a decent sized gap there.

You can also do a nice kata guruma in that situation. With the arm he has the shoulder grip on, grab his gi on the outside of that shoulder. Dive your head under his armpit on that side, grab under his leg with your free hand and bring your leg on the same side as your free arm across past his foot on that shoulder gripping side. You should be doing a sort of splits. He should be falling foward and the shoulder grip is pretty useless in that situation. It'll look something like this.


Makikomis are also useful in that situation, but I wouldn't advise them in bjj.
What VanDAmme is trying to explain is a Technique we used in Hapkido a lot. I can appreciate it is hard to explain.

Imagine you draw a circle in the air, except their arm is in the middle of the circle. As you come back to the end of the circle your arm will move to be about 45 degrees angle (facing towards them) and above the elbow joint. It kind of ends out being like a bent armbar that looks like a kimura, except the pressure is bending the elbow and twisting their shoulder, just like a figure 4 (kimura)

I actually applied this technique to a poof in a pub once. He came up and went to put his arm around my shoulders. I rolled straight into this technique from the side and pulled my fist ready to smash him straight in the face. I saw him absolutely shit his pants along with the pain he was feeling, I released the lock without hitting him and he dissapeared really quick.

Another good way to move an opponent from that lock is once it is applied, push their face back and around into the lock. They wil drop to the ground, and then you have them in a tight arm lock ready to drop into an armbar.
if I understand correctly, he's grabbing high on both your sleeves, but not over the top of your shoulder?

if so, that is not exactly the most dominating grip. he has no way to stop you from pulling him close, especially from a lapel grip. pick a forward throw and dump him.

if he's a taller guy, lapel seoinage will be good here. he will be looking to move you laterally and rotating you in a circle. get in close and watch for his foot sweeps.
oh and if you mean on the ground, well, your hands are still free when he grabs up high. push him away, or use your body for power in movement.