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How to Break a Judo Grip

judo | 09/18/2018

Why is grip fighting important? Grip fighting helps determine everything from the tempo of a match to winning and losing. When focusing on grip fighting, we want to make sure we're blending offensive and defensive gripping. This makes sure that we are comfortable and able to grip, no matter what position you find yourself in. A lot of folks tend to think grip fighting is centered around "not letting opponents grab your gi." That's not the case. Grip fighting is ultimately the act of grabbing your opponent's gi where YOU desire. And doing so without letting them grab your gi in such a way that prevents you from attacking. So in order to grip fight, you have to have a good back and forth. This is why we focus on both offensive and defensive gripping when drilling.

Breaking Grips

Breaking grips can be a problem for everyone in the martial arts world who wear a gi. BJJ athletes need to know how to grip fight as much as Judo athletes do! There are a few ways to get your opponents grip off your gi. The first of which is by pure force. Being a lot stronger than your opponent makes breaking grips easy because you don’t have to worry too much about them countering you with a throw or controlling you. Strength matters.

Good grip fighters are masters at controlling not only the gi but the person wearing it as well."

When someone knows how to grip your sleeve, you feel like you can’t use your entire arm because they have set their grip. That's power! That's control! And that's why what we are going over is using our whole body to break the grip. Even if it's a grip of an opponent that has it established.

Grip Fighting Key Points:
  • Grip fighting means just that "grip fighting!" Don’t change your stance stand your ground and fight for the grip you want. 

  • You have to have a grip on with your opposite side hand it helps break the grips. As you go to pull your hand out make sure you are pushing with the hand on the collar to break the grip.

  • Create motion. Try to never break a grip while standing still it can be very difficult.

Final Thoughts

One thing to keep in mind when grip fighting or breaking grips is every grip has a different break. Every key has its keyhole, every job has its right tool, every person has their match. This grip break technique works very well against players who take a traditional judo grip on the bottom of your sleeve. Grips like Catz Paws and Pistol Grips have different breaks which you can find in other videos on FUJI. When going up against opponents who may be bigger or stronger than us, it's super important to use our bodies and leverage what we can. This puts us in the best possible position for success. 

Drill breaking grips as often as you can and remember to do it from both an offensive and defensive position. This is something that will span combat sports from judo to BJJ and beyond. Get a handle on grip breaking!


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