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Thread: BJJ Tips - Grips and Hips

  1. #1

    BJJ Tips - Grips and Hips

    I wrote this for my website, but I thought some of you might find it helpful so I am posting it here as well. This is one of the most important tips I have found in jiu-jitsu after 32 years of training it.


    There are a lot of things to remember about what we have to do in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Hundreds of techniques, different positions, thousands of counters, a large number of principles and concepts that we have to be doing at all times; in short, a long list of things to not forget, and all of it can be altered in the blink of an eye by what our partner does. It can be daunting, especially to the beginner, thinking about all of this and trying to figure out how we are going to remember any of it in the heat of the moment all while another person is trying to choke us into unconsciousness.

    There are a number of mantras that try to help us put this into understandable chunks. Perhaps the most famous in Jiu-Jitsu is “position before submission”. All of these are good and useful but what I have found as an instructor that works particularly well even with complete beginners are three simple words. They are: grips and hips.

    What I mean by that is that most things in Jiu-Jitsu are only accomplished when you have good and superior grips and your hips are dominating the fight (i.e. can exert more control over your opponent’s hips and base). It doesn’t really matter how good you are at a particular technique if your opponent has his grips and he is shutting down your hip movement. Conversely, if you have superior grips and you can use your hips in the manner that you want to, you will find that you can make a lot of techniques work even if they are not your particularly best performed ones.

    Techniques are not the important part of the fight. Techniques are only guidelines to physical action. The key factors are what are the drivers that allow those physical actions. Base, posture, position, pressure, are some key ones that are not attribute based, as well as the idea of keep breathing (it may be shocking but beginners forgetting to breath is a chronic event). Similarly, the simple focused idea of always fighting for the best grip possible, and always fighting for the best hip position is easy to remember and does not have to be tied to a specific way of doing it. My methods of using my hips and establishing my grip may be best for me, but for you, another method may be superior. Think of any technique that shows those things as guidelines and suggestions, but don’t get bogged down in them and go into mental vaporlock trying to remember them in the middle of training.

    Watch this short video of a master of grips and hips. Note how Mateus always makes the adjustments on both that keeps him in control. Every successful attack is preceded by a solid control of these two things (also take VERY careful note that after each attack he takes the time to stabilize his post-attack position by making sure he has new established grip and hip superiority so he does not get reversed or countered):




    To sum up, don’t try to remember every technique all the time. Remember the principles and framework of jiu-jitsu. If you can consistently do that, you will learn to see the appropriate time for the technique.

    When in doubt, get grips and hips!

    http://www.iacombatives.com/2021/01/12/grips-and-hips/
    For info about training or to contact me:
    Immediate Action Combatives

  2. #2
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    Can't beat the classics! Xande Ribiero is one of the guys I always looked up to because it's nice to see a guy with a badass closed guard and solid fundamentals, in a world seemingly dominated by reverse delaworm lockdown berimbolos.

    And I say this as a guy who loves truck rolls and berimbolos and inverts. I don't get to closed guard as much as I like because my training partners are usually wise to my attempts to get there, but it's my first love...



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  3. #3
    happy sharps enabler Totem Polar's Avatar
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    My God, that clip was fantastic, and I’m sure I’m only catching a fraction of what’s actually going on.

    Cecil, would it be fair to say that—in the same way of having your hips *below* your opponents in stand up—having your hips *above* your opponents (from the perspective of head-to-toe level) is the rule? Every reversal I saw had your guy above the other dude’s beltline.
    ”It's important to remember that ALL news media is a consumer product. Just like soda and fast food, they don't have any incentive to make it good for you, just addictive enough for you to keep coming back for more.”
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Totem Polar View Post
    Cecil, would it be fair to say that—in the same way of having your hips *below* your opponents in stand up—having your hips *above* your opponents (from the perspective of head-to-toe level) is the rule? Every reversal I saw had your guy above the other dude’s beltline.

    That is true with closed guard, but not really any other ground position. At least as a general rule of thumb the way it can be in closed guard. For example, a number of my best sweeps in halfguard requires my beltline to be below theirs. As does most sweeps in butterfly (BTW, that is one of the reasons that there is a direct straight-line transference of skills to standing clinch work from half and butterfly). Also, when you have their back, you have to watch having your hips above theirs, especially if they turtle because that is how they will throw you off. It tends to be more true than not when you have a top position, but that is more about not letting them put you in their guard as opposed to having better leverage.

    You need the top hip position with closed, but we can't really get more simplistic than that.

    Good mental connection though!
    For info about training or to contact me:
    Immediate Action Combatives

  5. #5
    happy sharps enabler Totem Polar's Avatar
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    Thanks, Cecil!
    ”It's important to remember that ALL news media is a consumer product. Just like soda and fast food, they don't have any incentive to make it good for you, just addictive enough for you to keep coming back for more.”
    -Nephrology

  6. #6
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    So very true, Cecil, and grips are by far my biggest challenge in grappling. Somehow the hips come easier!

    Good article.

  7. #7
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    Is there a hierarchy of the types of grips you want in standing grappling?

    I know a lot of guys love the double unders, while others like the underhook/collar tie. I don't know many guys who like double overs, but I've seen dudes get tossed by some variation of a sacrifice throw when they thought their double unders were good.

    Or does it mostly depend on what sort of environment you are in and what takedowns you are good at?

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by 45dotACP View Post
    Is there a hierarchy of the types of grips you want in standing grappling?

    I know a lot of guys love the double unders, while others like the underhook/collar tie. I don't know many guys who like double overs, but I've seen dudes get tossed by some variation of a sacrifice throw when they thought their double unders were good.

    Or does it mostly depend on what sort of environment you are in and what takedowns you are good at?

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
    It depends. Yes, I know no one likes that answer but it fits.

    There is no real hierarchy for grips because it’s going to depend on what you want to do. For example, from a throwing standpoint, double overs is a great grip (very useful in Greco) but for self-defense it’s not so great because it almost always commits you to going to the ground. If you like foot sweeps, then a collar and sleeve grip is best. If you like turning throws, a double sleeve grip works super well. There are too many variables for standing work to say “ this is best”.

    Arguably the standard judo grip of strong hand control their lapel and weak hand control behind their triceps is a high percentage general grip (hence why it is standard for most beginning judo), but even there it can be bad. Case in point, me fighting in the Mundials my first year as a black belt. The guy I went against knew I was a thrower from my association with my coach who everyone knows is one of the best throwers in BJJ and let me take a really solid high lapel grip with my strong hand. Before I could do anything with it he did a flying armbar using my own grip as leverage and caught me right at the start of the match. So nothing is perfect or foolproof.
    For info about training or to contact me:
    Immediate Action Combatives

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