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  1. #1

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    Gripping Gis and an extra random question...

    Background info: Been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (with some judo and wrestling thrown in) for ~2 months. Was doing a drill where one person grips the sleeve and collar (opposite side to the sleeve being gripped) of his partner and the partner breaks free and does the same hold. Long story short, I thought I'd hold on tight to make the training more useful and got my hand (the one holding the collar) blasted off with enough force that I sprained my index finger (but luckily I dont think it's broken). Obviously, I was gripping in some pretty dumb way...and with that said...

    What IS a standard way to grip a collar, or part of the gi for that matter? I was holding the collar with all five fingers as if I was grabbing a fist full of hair (sorry if that analogy sucks, my martial arts roots come from the d34DLI3z). Also, should I be putting up a struggle to maintain my grip? Or is it something I should ease up on if I anticipate my opponent trying to break out?

    Also, and this may be a rather wimpy question: but my ear has been killing me because some people I roll with put a lot of pressure on my face with their arms as their hands transition from holding my head from behind and switching to grabbing my chin from below and stuff like that. Is that normal and something I should do or are they just being rough? I can see how it does add a lot of control.

  2. #2
    NeilG's Avatar
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    Not sure exactly what you're asking, but I like to grip using largely the pinky and ring fingers, with less pressure in the thumb and forefinger. It's counter-intuitive, but your wrist can flex more freely and so ultimately it is a better grip than the other way around.

  3. #3
    AKRhino's Avatar
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    Have you heard of cauliflower ear?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauliflower_ear

    In my yellow belt opinion, the only time I really grip hard is during a throw. I move my grips enough that I'm not trying to grab and hold on, just establish a grip, check control, advance to a better grip, and then a throw entry.

  4. #4

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    Neil is correct proper gripping in judo only uses the first three fingers, the thumb and index fingers do little or no work. What you had is what I call a death grip all four fingers and thumb hanging on for dear life. The fact your thumb had your index finger locked in is why it was hurt. Proper gripping is rarely taught in BJJ classes.

  5. #5
    NeilG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by judoratt View Post
    Neil is correct proper gripping in judo only uses the first three fingers, the thumb and index fingers do little or no work.
    We use the same style of grip in kendo, where wrist flexibility and general lack of tension through the arms and shoulders are required. Not as much power needed as in judo of course.

  6. #6
    cualltaigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EternalSpring View Post
    should I be putting up a struggle to maintain my grip? Or is it something I should ease up on if I anticipate my opponent trying to break out?
    You have two options, you can fight to maintain the grip and continue that attack or you can anticipate how they are going to fight the grip to setup an entirely different attack. You need to learn both.

    You might want to invest some time into strengthening your grip. One I use is chinups with either a spare gi top (gripping the lapels) or with just your belt (but gripped like a lapel) thrown over a chinup bar.

    Quote Originally Posted by EternalSpring View Post
    Also, and this may be a rather wimpy question: but my ear has been killing me because some people I roll with put a lot of pressure on my face with their arms as their hands transition from holding my head from behind and switching to grabbing my chin from below and stuff like that. Is that normal and something I should do or are they just being rough? I can see how it does add a lot of control.
    Applying pressure with a crossface is fairly standard and you will learn to deal with it better over time. It is a fairly important control and you should learn to use it effectively. As an example, we drilled a half-guard pass on Monday where you invert their half-guard. The only thing stopping them from rolling on top of you to take top half or even mount is maintaining a good crossface secured with a deep underarm grip while you free your leg.
    Dum spiro, spero.
    Tada gan iarracht.

  7. #7
    blackmonk's Avatar
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    Simply echoing what has already been said: your primary force is applied with the pinky, ring, and middle fingers of the gripping hand.

    Regardless of how you grip, though, your fingers will get sprained. That's why old judo guys sometimes have fingers that look like gnarled tree branches. If you neglect your gripping skills, though (which is a common problem in BJJ), your game will suffer, period.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilG View Post
    Not sure exactly what you're asking, but I like to grip using largely the pinky and ring fingers, with less pressure in the thumb and forefinger. It's counter-intuitive, but your wrist can flex more freely and so ultimately it is a better grip than the other way around.
    Well, you ended up giving an answer to my question anyways, so thanks on that. After reading what judoratt, I realized that it actually is similar to the way I was taught to hold a bokken. Definitely going to grip like this more often. Are there times that you use a grip with the index finger and thumb?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKRhino View Post
    Have you heard of cauliflower ear?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauliflower_ear

    In my yellow belt opinion, the only time I really grip hard is during a throw. I move my grips enough that I'm not trying to grab and hold on, just establish a grip, check control, advance to a better grip, and then a throw entry.
    Yea, it makes more sense to not just grip as hard as I can unless I'm doing a throw (which I dont know any yet so I probably shouldn't be gripping hard often at all).

    And I'm hoping I didn't get cauliflower ear so soon. The pain is almost gone in my ear but that wiki scared the **** out of me. I dont see anyone at my school wearing ear protection, but I'm definitely going to look into it because I'd rather try and preserve my appearance if i have a choice. Any suggestions?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by judoratt View Post
    Neil is correct proper gripping in judo only uses the first three fingers, the thumb and index fingers do little or no work. What you had is what I call a death grip all four fingers and thumb hanging on for dear life. The fact your thumb had your index finger locked in is why it was hurt. Proper gripping is rarely taught in BJJ classes.
    "Death grip" is a pretty good way to look at it. Not like it was some near death experience, but in a training sort of way it traumatized me because it would have sucked to be out of training over a drill. Luckily the finger is like 80% better and I was able to train today.

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