Grips – Imposing and denying: Every thing starts with grip in Jiu jitsu. Most of the gripping initiates with the hands, but given that the are an essential part of gripping when playing guard they can sometimes initiate gripping as well. You can’t do much in grappling until some form of grip is established. How that grip is established will usually determine all the next steps of the battle. Both athletes will try to their own grips while an opponent grips. This initial grip is one of the factors most responsible for determining the outcome of the match as a whole – yet is largely ignored as a skill by most students since it is not visually interesting. I can tell within seconds of initiating contact with an athlete what his overall skill level is and what is his tactical just based on his gripping and grip sequences. Make sure your gripping game is consistent with your overall game. Make sure also that there is some subtlety in your gripping game. Your grip reveals a LOT about your intentions – so throw some fakery and into your grips as well to make yourself less transparent. This game ends with submission – but it starts with grip.