In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, grips are very important. They can be used to control and move an opponent, to deny attacks and to set up attacks of your own.
This article will discuss the four most basic grips in BJJ. These are the collar grip, the cross-collar grip, the Judo-style (fore-)arm grip and the spider guard/BJJ-style arm grip. Firstly, I will describe the grip. Secondly, I will mention the points of control of each grip. Thirdly, I will mention a grip or grips that can be combined with the described grip and lastly, I will mention techniques or groups of techniques that can be done with the grip (keep in mind though that the list of techniques is by no means exhaustive).
#1 The Collar Grip
The collar grip is the most basic grip in BJJ. It is very easy to get and quite versatile in its functioning.
The ideal way to grip is to have the hand just underneath your opponent’s collar bone. This way you can control your opponent’s shoulder and manipulate the whole upper body, including the posture. As you grip on the same side of your arm, it is quite hard to go around you.
The grip can be combined perfectly with the Judo-style Arm Grip (#3) to set up throws/takedowns or with the BJJ-style Arm Grip (#4) to pull guard. Especially guard pulling works very well with the grip, as you almost automatically break your opponent’s posture.
#2 The Cross-Collar Grip
The cross-collar grip is pretty much as easy to get and as versatile as the normal Collar Grip (#1). However, it has the disadvantage that your opponent might be able to go around you, as you only control one side of your opponent’s body. On the other hand, especially if combined with another grip, you have a lot of control over one side of your opponent’s body.
Generally, the grip is the same as the previous one, just on the other collar. This time, you control your opponent’s other shoulder, which can be very effective, especially, if combined with the Judo-style Arm Grip (#3) or the BJJ-style Arm Grip (#4). I, personally, prefer the Cross-collar Grip, as it allows me to still set up throws/takedowns or to pull guard, but also gives me the option to use a collar drag. The disadvantage of opening up your side is also rather low if you keep this possibility in mind. Furthermore, you can use the grip to create a shoulder-to-shoulder frame when in full guard or half guard.
#3 The Judo-style Arm Grip
The Judo-style arm grip is a very basic way to control the arm. However, it is often applied incorrectly and thus, ineffectively.
Ideally, you grip the gi as tight to the arm as possible and just underneath the elbow. Additionally, you roll/press your thumb inwards. This gives you very good control over your opponent’s whole arm.
This grip is perfect to set up Judo throws. For that, it is ideally combined with the Collar Grip (#1). This combination allows you to control the whole upper body of your opponent, including the arm and the posture. It can also be combined with the Cross-collar Grip (#2), but that is mainly useful if attempting a collar drag or a lower body takedown (i.e. single leg takedown).
#4 The BJJ-style Arm Grip
The BJJ-style is by its nature less of a controlling grip than its Judo-style equivalent. However, it is a very strong grip that is rather tough to break and does not depend as much on the strength of the practitioner.
Just like the Judo-style Arm Grip (#3), this grip can be combined perfectly with the Collar Grip (#1) or the Cross-collar Grip (#2). It can be used perfectly to pull guard and to set up spider or lasso guard. After a while, the grip is quite tough on the fingers. Nonetheless, I believe that this is one of the most versatile grips in BJJ. It can be used in almost every position and is great to set up takedowns, sweeps and even submissions.
Obviously, all grips have advantages and disadvantages and grips can be combined and used in more ways than explained in this article. Nonetheless, these are the four most basic grips every Jiu Jitsu player should know and, depending on one’s game, use.
Written by: Leg Lock The World