Finishing grip first or control grip first? There are some submission that involve a certain grip associated with the submission, for example a rear naked strangle involves a strangle hand around the neck, a heel hook a wrist under the heel. Without that grip the submission would never occur. In addition they require a control grip. In the case of a rear strangle it’s usually the rear mount itself with you as hooks locking you in place, in the case of the heel hook it’s whatever ashi garami variation you’ve chosen. The question is – which comes first? In the majority of cases the control grip ought to to come first. It will slow an opponent down and give you the ability to focus on getting your finishing grip in place. In this photo you can see Garry Tonon has established ashi garami control first to lock on to an opponents hips and now he can fight to get his wrist to the heel. At the higher levels however, there are good reasons to sometimes switch the order – usually because opponents have highly developed defensive skills. Sometimes slipping the strangle hand in first and then beginning a strangle to distract an opponent will allow you to then slide into rear mount uncontested. Similarly with a heel hook. Exposing the heel and getting your wrist to the heel first and then sliding into your favorite ashi garami will sometimes allow you to bypass the whole hand fighting phase of leg locking and grant you faster, cleaner finishes. Understand that usually the conventional method of control first, submission second is the way to go, but let let that blind you to other when circumstances change