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Controlling The Inside From The Outside With Jimmy Pedro

Controlling The Inside From The Outside With Jimmy Pedro

Griping is a huge subject and it can be easy to overlook, but it is something four time Olympian and Olympic coach to many of America’s greatest Judoka Jimmy Pedro has built his success on.  Jimmy has noted that as American competitors don’t receive funding in the same way as Japanese or South Korean athletes in the Olympic program it would be incredibly hard for American athletes to beat these countries by being better at throwing than they are. Jimmy had to find an area and create a systematic way of gaining an advantage and the area he chose was the foundation of Judo, the grip.


First we will look at the quality of our grip itself and then we’ll look at some of Jimmy’s strategies for shutting down or reversing our opponent having a dominant inside grip that they can develop throws from. 

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When we first begin grappling people often think of the grip as a simple closing of the hand, in a similar manner to picking up the bar for a deadlift, or holding a baseball bat.  This type of grip however is very immobilizing for the wrist, elbow and shoulder and dulls the sensitivity in our hand that we need to read our opponent through the sense of touch. Grappling is reliant on touch to a huge degree and the use of the hands as antenna to gain a sense of the quality and intention of our opponent can’t be overlooked

In traditional Kendo schools students clean the floor by hand using a wet cloth. This may look like simple menial labor but as well as keeping the dojo clean the action of wringing out the wet cloth teaches the student correct gripping action. The correct gripping action for the Japanese sword is that the main contraction of the grip comes from the little finger and a spiraling motion through the arms, which is the same wringing action and grip training Kendo students learn by cleaning the floor. This results in a strong and fluid use of the arms that is connected to the body, which is also something vital for Judo.

Now we’ve looked briefly at the quality of a grip we’ll look at what Jimmy recommends when our opponent gains a dominant inside grip. 

The first option:

Here Jimmy’s opponent has the inside lapel grip and when Jimmy attempts to gain inside control in response he is being shut down by his opponent dropping their elbow down and turning it inwards. Instead of getting mired in attacking his opponents strong point, his inside grip, Jimmy begins a flanking attack to an opening in his opponents defenses, the outside. By feinting an attempt to go underneath his opponents inside lapel grip and triggering them to drop their elbow in defense Jimmy has now closed the gap and removed the block to going over for a back grip. As this distance is closed Jimmy is now able to leverage that back grip to shut down the space between both players and therefore shut down his opponents offense. 

As Jimmy takes this grip on the back he is pulling his opponent into him in order to control the space between them. Grip fighting is largely an issue of controlling 1) the space between both players and 2) the opponents shoulders, posture and balance. By taking a grip over his opponents back Jimmy is able to break down the space between them and begin to impose his weight on their posture, setting up throws of his own from there.

The second option from here is that instead of trying to pummel his hand underneath his opponents inside lapel grip Jimmy is going to take his forearm over their grip, grab their lapel, and pressure downwards with his body weight into their arm in order to collapse it and take away his opponents space. Once he has taken away the space Jimmy has taken away some of the advantage of his opponents inside grip, because now they can’t rotate with it. After breaking down the inside grip in this way Jimmy is now free to take his own dominant grip over his opponents shoulder or back. 

Grip Like a World Champion 2.0 by Jimmy Pedro

Grip Like A World Champion 2.0 By Jimmy Pedro will give you a look at what it takes to become a Champ! This 3 part series gives you a look at how Jimmy Pedro has created some of the best Judokas in the U.S. like Travis Stevens and Kayla Harrison! Go on a Judo Journey that covers everything from theory of gripping to defending power grips. Grip Like A World Champion 2.0 is guaranteed to increase your success on the feet!