Off the Grip Attacks

The element of surprise can be a very helpful tool. Off the grip attacks are almost always synonymous with surprise. Anything from drop seio and beyond can be utilized to attempt an off the grip attack. And ultimately, every single judo player has to have off the grip attacks. This will help you win national and international competitions.

In the video here, Travis Stevens teaches an off the grip attack that helps him get his offense going. It is also a fairly safe bet to use it. It is important to make sure that you take the time to focus on your “situational” judo. While training your bread and butter is important, work on your weaknesses too.

A Great Training Program

A great training program for developing situation drills is one we refer to as “combinations.” The idea is, you do a situation for 1 min (can be longer, we have gone up to 2 min in the past when we’re in very good shape) with a 5 to 10-second rest. Then your partner would go and repeat the process.


One of the workouts we use would look like this: 1 min each

  1. With two sets any combination
  2. And two sets off the grip attacks
  3. Two sets only development techniques
  4. And two sets your favorite best technique

This workout would be roughly 18 mins of your standard hour and a half workout.

Most of the time spent here is based more around the development of fundamental judo strength. You will need to make sure you hit three to four key points every single time you perform an action. In the off the grip attacks, drop seio version Travis focuses on the following:

  1. Not losing my grip
  2. Make sure I get to the end of the wrist
  3. Only do it after trying to establish my right hand on the gi
  4. Make sure my opponent falls to the floor


If you focus on these four areas, you’ll be in great shape. Remember this type of technique is not to initiate scores, but it makes being offensive possible. If you can make solid attacks that knock your opponent to the mat, you put yourself in an advantageous position to win.

Hopefully it also gets your opponent thinking that if they don’t let you put two hands on the gi, they can be thrown. That will give you the opportunity to get a stalling call against your opponent.

A Final Thought

Take time to focus in on these situations. Not being able to put a second hand on the gi, or an athlete that grip fights a little too much are great examples. Remember that in training and in competition you’re going to encounter athletes like this. And you will have to score on them and find ways to win. You can’t sit and complain about it, you must find a way to win. These situations come up all the time and when you’re down by a score you’re going to need to make sure something happens. Work on your off the grip attacks and let us know how it goes!


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  • I agree, grabbing at the wrist is a crucial point. I used to constantly fight to get the right grip. However, I learned a trick from a 3rd Dan in England (Sensi Sid Lawry). He would bow and with his right hand grab his lapel and stick it out for the opponent to grab — and they immediately did so. Without realizing it Sid grabbed the opponent’s right hand at the wrist and would pull it straight down; anchoring, the opponent’s right leg to the mat; and, keep it anchored until he followed up with a throw. The first time I tried this it worked. I’ve never seen anyone since that offers up the lapel — psychologically — it would throw an opponent off enough not to realize his right are at the wrist was vulnerable. Try it!