In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the cross grip is very important. Many, many techniques follow from this one movement and clamping of the hand.
I was reading an article yesterday that mentioned how important it is to avoid applying “muscle to muscle.” Basically, if an opponent is attempting to force you somewhere, don’t counter their force with your own force. In many cases, the classic “step aside” strategy would be much more appropriate. The article reminded me of the trouble I was having keeping stronger players in my guard. I think I was trying to meet them half-way far too often. With the smaller guys, I would have no problem, but when it came to the bigger ones, I’d get crushed.
During Thursday night’s class, I made use of the cross grip quite frequently. I’ll tell you, it worked more often than not. I was extremely impressed with the success rate I had and decided to analyze things a bit more. I wanted to look into proper technique and follow-through. Was I doing things correctly? Was there something I could add to what I was doing that would make things easier? Faster? Higher percentage?
As it turns out, I was hitting the nail on the head. While there’s always going to be a twist here or there, I pretty much had down the “deflection” aspect of the cross grip. “Don’t meet your opponent head on – simply push them to one side and take them where they’re weakest.”
I found a video that discusses the fundamentals of the cross grip very nicely. Actually, it’s one of the best “basics” videos I’ve seen to date. Adem Redzovic of Gracie Barra Chicago covers the who, where, why and what of the cross grip in simple to understand and elegant detail. Take a look.
BJJ Basics – Closed Guard Attacks – Cross Grip Series