When I started judo in I started judo in 1982 at the age of 7 in an afterschool program in Miami, Florida I didn’t know anything about grip fighting. Hell, my parents relocated when I was 7 years old and my judo career was over, I didn’t return to the sport of my youth until I graduated from college in 1997. And even then… I knew nothing about grip fighting.
I had limited tools. Limited knowledge. And most importantly, I did not know what I did not know. After seeking out the best and really putting my nose to the grindstone I was able to understand grip fighting at the basic levels and then really concentrate on the things that made throws work.
Grip Fighting is such a complex subject that it can be very difficult to grasp and understand. And it is very seldom understood that most of the information on the subject online is 100% incorrect. Most people teach some gripping tips or tactics and don’t provide a whole system of grip fighting.
See the basic philosophy of judo does NOT change. But the strategies and tactics of how to win at judo are always changing. They are constantly changing and you must change and adapt too.
Grip Fighting is a system…..
A system with rules, guidelines, openings, closing, counters, approaches and simple and easy to understand language..... if you know them.
Let me be clear with you….
Before I learned grip fighting, I was a human highlight reel for my opponents. I may have well just walked on to the tatami, performed a cartwheel and fell on to my back. I was going to tournaments and making donations. And when I traveled to Europe to compete, I was called and “F.R.C.” If you don’t know what an “F.R.C.” is, that’s a first round clown. That means you show up to compete and you lose in the first round and you are done.
Life without understanding grip fighting was miserable. I walked on the mat confused, thinking about what throw I was going to “get ‘em with” this time.
And even though all of that is funny now… the sad part is that I was wasting my parents and my hard earned money. And the money of my friends and family members that believed in me, that were supporting me.
I felt horrible always having to give stories about “how long I lasted in the match” or how I lost to the “person that won the tournament or medalled.” And, quite honestly, some of my friends didn’t know anything about judo and sometimes I’d just lie. I’d say that I was close but couldn’t pull it out this time. I’m embarrassed to admit it. But, it was true.
I had to do something.
And I did.
I looked at the 3 things that you need to become a great judo player and I attacked those three things with reckless abandon.
When it came to grip fighting I studied some of the greats. From Eddie Liddie, Jimmy Pedro, Steve and Irwin Cohen and I watched video and studied religiously. I figured out the grip fighting game that would work in the various divisions and weight classes and I figured out the grip fighting games that were foundational that would work in all divisions. I studied the grip fighting rules and the exceptions to the rules.
A few months ago I asked myself the question, “What Is The Hardest Gripping Sequence To Beat When It Is Applied Properly?”
My answer was…. The Cross Gripping Sequence!
And if you don’t believe me. Just watch this….