Renzo Gracie and the perfect grip

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“The best BJJ fighter of them all is the one who has the most fun on a mat,” teaches Renzo Gracie. Indeed, if you don’t feel pleasure in wearing the gi, you may be the strongest, most skilled of them all, but it’s unlikely you will be the best. A lesson as simple as it is powerful: only love of the job can bring perfection. And that is evident right at the start of the video we’re looking at today. In a good mood, Renzo captures his students’ attention before explaining the secrets of the perfect grip when trying to choke an opponent.

Renzo draws attention to the correct way to control the first hand that advances against his opponent’s collar. If the fit isn’t right and deep enough, it’s not even worth it to keep going; after all, the opponent will be able to posture and easily resist the squeeze, while you waste energy and strength — not to mention the wear on your grips.

“Many fighters have the habit of pulling the lapel, thinking that way the other hand will go in easily and deep, next to the neck,” he says. “I recommend the opposite. Instead of pulling the lapel, I push it to the side, opening up plenty of room for the other hand to go in.”

That is how Renzo achieves the perfect grip. With that powerful control as a starting point, he assures: “It doesn’t matter where the second hand will grab the opponent’s gi. No matter how bad the grip from the second hand may be, the choke will be efficient. What really matters is the perfection of the initial control.”

From now on, resort to this nugget of knowledge when it’s time to risk a choke in your training, thus refining the adjustments on your tourniquet. “Seek the perfect grip with the first hand whenever you’re going to choke, whether you’re on the mount, the half-guard, the knee-on-belly,” he advises. “You will quickly notice that your finishing ability will be much greater.”

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