Breaking the Hold in Juji Gatame
Our classes normally begin with lots of grappling to warm up (not your standard warm-up, for sure). I was watching two guys, one a lightweight, the other significantly bigger, maybe middleweight, as they went from one move to the next. Lightweights move so quickly, but patience can pay off. The lightweight had the beginnings of a juji gatame on the other fellow, but couldn’t break the hand hold and gave up immediately, moving on to something else.
When Dave asked if there were anything we wanted to cover after all the grappling, I suggested breaking the grip of your opponent in order to effect the juji. (Chris had had kakure garami applied to him during his match with Dave, so he wanted to cover that: click to see Kakure Garami, our version of kesa garami).
Dave showed two methods to break the opponent’s hand grip: one I can describe; the other, although perfectly effective and easy to execute, is too complicated to explain. It is, however, on the video clip link at the bottom of this article.
The simplest method of breaking your opponent’s hand grip to get a juji gatame:
You are on your back (perpendicular to your opponent) with one or both legs on your opponent, applying as much weight and pressure as you can. Your hips are as close to his shoulder as is possible. You have both arms grasping his near arm and are trying to pull his arm straight. You can’t have a better position for this arm bar; however, your opponent is no fool and has clasped his hands together and is holding on for dear life. What happens is that as you pull his arms, his clasped hands and arms are effectively in a straight line, ninety degrees from yours, and his hands remain together. Try it.
What you need to do is break the straight line. This can be accomplished in a few ways, the easiest being to let go of his arm with one of yours (making sure your other arm keeps his solidly hooked); then use your free arm to reach for his far arm and pull his arm strongly towards you. Next, place both of your legs, slightly crossed, at about the far tricep to ensure he doesn’t move his far arm back into the old position. Now his arms are no longer in a straight line, his hands are not grasped anywhere near as securely as before and his arm cannot move back to the previous position.
In addition to pulling your own arms toward your chest to attempt to break his grip, you can fall to your side (generally towards his head). This also breaks the straight line aspect of the hand hold. Once his hands are loose, you can pull his arm away and straighten it for the juji, moving from your side to the standard juji position. When pulling the arm straight, ensure that you have his thumb pointed to the sky. If he has his thumb pointed to the side, you are fighting his bicep, one of the strongest muscles in his arm. Turning the thumb to the sky, causes the forearm muscles to work, smaller and weaker muscles. Click to see the basic Ude Hishigi Juji Gatame technique.
In order to break the hold in juji gatame, you need not be stronger than your opponent, but to apply simple strategies to enable his hands to separate.
February 16, 2009