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Judo Gripping


Red Belt
Dec 19, 2001
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I really do suck at gripping at the moment, i can pull off the techniques but lately i just don't know how to deal with people dominating me with grips. It's almost turning me into a lefty as people are dominating my right side too easily.

Anyone know any guides for dealing with different grips or at least giving me gripping strategies. At the moment it's limiting my throws at the moment as i'm not able to even get in or close enough to go through with them.

Any ideas or guides to get good at gripping.
Get a King Of Crunch grip strengthener. In the meantime, circle your arms a lot to try break grip.
Firstly, dont rely so much on your favourite grip. You have to have some "backup" grips so that when you are struggling to get your #1 grip, you can adapt to another grip according to the situation.

Secondly, no matter how strong you are, you will never simply be able to hang on to your grip against someone who knows how to break it off.

What throw do you like to use and what is your favourite grip?
i like to grab over the back and grab the collar or jacket just behind their head, and then have the sleeve grip.
but thats because i feel stronger there when the are dominating my right side.

However i'm fine with the traditional collar and sleeve.

Throws i like, seonagi, kata guruma, tai o toshi and i've been working on my uchimata.
Also i like hiza guruma and the de ashi barai (sp).
Buy it:


I think opponents preventing you from getting your throws could be two things: 1) Grip work, and 2) movement. Sounds like maybe you are static or defensive in your posture. Perhaps move around more.
Also, think "Hockey Goon" when it comes to dominating in grips. It's not pretty, and it's not nice.
Bubble Boy said:
Buy it:


I think opponents preventing you from getting your throws could be two things: 1) Grip work, and 2) movement. Sounds like maybe you are static or defensive in your posture. Perhaps move around more.
Also, think "Hockey Goon" when it comes to dominating in grips. It's not pretty, and it's not nice.

whats a hockey goon?
Sauron said:
whats a hockey goon?

Sorry, I watch (or used to watch) a lot of Hockey.
A "hockey goon" is also know as an "enforcer." Ever gone to a fight and a hockey game broke out? Well the guy doing the fighting sure as hell ain't Wayne Gretzky, the high paid star of the team. It's your "hockey goon" out there playing ruff and tuff with the other team's star player. He's out on the ice for one reason: to intemidate the other team, to keep them on their toes, to cause fear.
Usually it's two toothless thugs going to town during a hockey fight, holding on to each other's jerseys, pulling them over the other guy's head, etc. Essentially grip work. My point being, grip work is nasty business. It's not dainty or "gentle." You gotta really rip your arm away from the other guy, or aggresively smack his hand away, that kind of thing. It's down and dirty stuff. Think like a hockey goon my friend. :wink:
for your high grip, if you are right handed, grip his left lapel with your left hand, pull down, then grip overhand and drop your elbow down (to get the sleeve, you need to attack a right de ashi barai and catch the sleeve as they try to keep their balance).

Or, if they grip first, break their collar grip (if right handed) with usual break... control the sleeve by pushing it down and away from their body... then take your overhand grip.

A different strategy if they are right handed is to grip left first (left hand collar grip... no sleeve)... wait for them to grip, then break it and do as above... or just take the overhand then adjust and take the sleeve.

I am a little yammed, so reply if this makes no sense and I"ll fix it tomorrow.
One of the bigger problems with judo coaching is that movement and gripping are rarely taught explicitly. Simply asking questions helps. If you were getting dominated, ask the guy how you could escape or what bothers him from there. There are huge amount of little tricks and gripping techniques that experienced judokas pickup over time that are very helpful but are rarely asked,

Gripping is dynamic. You can't rely on just one grip much like you can't just rely on a single position in bjj. As in bjj where most people have a favourite position, most in judo have a favoured grip. Again much like bjj, it's important to have techniques for every gripping situation. I find that generally when i'm getting dominated by grips, it's because I lack the tools/techniques to work from there. You have to adjust your grips and movement patterns depending on who you're fighting and how the fight is going. If they're shorter than you, you might use a high collar/over the back grip to control them. If they're stronger/taller than you, you could might try to outwork them, make them move, don't let them get control of you. Quick drop seois, sodes, leg grabs and kata gurumas straight off the/before the initial grip can be very effective against taller/slower guys. Fighting someone in your own weightclass is when you can usually work your preffered grip game.

I use that high grip a lot myself. Works well for me because i'm usually a bit taller than guys in my weight class. I have various things i do from there. For instance if the guy trys to defend by going into a jigotai(crouched defensive posture) i'll usually grab the belt which i find easier than most due to my longish arms. The Russian Judo Masterclass book had a lot of good stuff on belt gripping

The Neil Adams book is good. Lots of ideas on what to do from various postions as well as some nice little tricks. It has some exercise to increase you're grip strength and gripping speed(which is often ignored), which are also quite useful.

Last thing i'd say is try and adapt about 6-8 throws and be able to use them in most situations. Being able to do 40 different throws on a white belt in randori might look good, chances are though, as a jack of all trades master of none, you wouldn't be able to use any of them on a decent black belt. Also try and have some variety with those throws, don't just rely on a single groups of throws(ie footsweeps).