The first battle in any grappling match is the battle for grips: In any grappling bout, whether it be a friendly match in the gym among white belts or a titanic struggle in black belt competition, is the battle to attain functional grips upon your opponent. The number one theme I also in this regard can be stated very simply – ALWAYS FIGHT FOR GRIPS WITH A PURPOSE AND A PLAN. So often I nonchalantly working for grips first and then try to figure out on the fly what they will do with those grips once they get them. THE IDEA IS TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO FIRST SO THAT YOU KNOW WHAT GRIPS YOU WILL NEED TO BRING ABOUT THAT END. This will immediately give your grip fighting a purposeful and energetic feel that will make you stand out in a training room. Here, and Dillon Danis settle into position to begin fighting for grips in a hard fought, tactical match that prominently featured grip fighting and grip denial. Both athletes knew what they needed to win and what the other fellow needed to win and had a plan as to what grips they had to get and which they had to deny in to get what they wanted. Much of high level is determined by the outcome of these grip battles. Photo @banejitsu