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Author: Neil Adams
Pub: 1992 by Ippon Books
Pages: 96
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This is one of the 'Judo Masterclass Techniques' series of books. If you don't already own these books, start saving up right now... Ippon Books charges a pretty penny for these, I got lucky on a Christmas sale and picked up all 14 of them for $225. They are all at least as good as anything you'll be able to find anywhere else, and mostly superior. They are all written by acknowledged experts of the techniques being discussed. You simply cannot go wrong on any of the "Masterclass Techniques" books. I have my favorites among the 14 listed books, but they simply reflect my tokuiwaza, and no other reason.

 Foreword ............................. 6
 Grips: A Personal View ............... 7
 A History of Grips .................. 12
 Grip and Attack: Orthodox Methods ... 17
 Grip and Attack: Unorthodox Methods . 56
 Gripping Strategies ................. 69
 Developing Grip Strength ............ 85
 Gripping Skills and Self-Defence .... 90
 Afterword ........................... 93
 Appendix ............................ 95
 Index ............................... 96



Anton Geesink, the Dutch Olympic and World Champion, once reduced the complex skill of gripping to two simple concepts. He called the sleeve grip 'the working hand' and the lapel grip 'the playing hand'.

Kisaburo Watanabe and Trevor Leggett, in their classic analysis of tai-otoshi, used a different image. They called the sleeve grip 'the long pull' and the lapel grip 'the short pull'.

Both are useful in their contexts. But the truth is that grips is an immense subject that cannot be encapsulated in conveniently brief catch-phrases.

The traditional Japanese view looks at grips in terms of hikite (the main pull, which is generally the sleeve grip) and tsurite (the drawing hand, which is generally the lapel grip). Typically, the words carry their own special image which mirrors the action: tsurite, for example, comes from the Japanese word tsuri, to fish, and incorporates the idea of drawing an opponent off balance, just as a fishing rod bends when it draws a fish out of the water.

The modern view of unorthodox attacks typified by the Russian style approaches grips in a very different way. Anything within the rules has become not just acceptable but almost the norm, and there is now a bewildering array of attacking grips, defensive grips and tactical grips in use.

Anyone who has practised with Neil Adams, or seen him in competition or randori, knows that he has an extensive understanding of grips. Trying to get a grip on him is no small undertaking, though he always seems to be able to get the grip he wants.

While he generally favoured a traditional sleeve/lapel grip himself during the height of his competition days, he was able to adapt to the different grips as circumstances demanded. And because he faced top fighters with so many different styles, he was aware of the effectiveness, the limitations and the dangers of the panoply of grips.

In this book, he has outlined some of the basic principles of the main gripping skills. He does not pretend that it is a definitive book on grips because, with the wide range of existing throwing techniques, such a thing is probably impossible within a one-volume format.

His aim is to make judoka more aware of the subtleties and implications of particular grips, and of what can be done with the hands in a creative manner to produce the spectacular throws that are at the heart of judo.

He firmly believes that a greater understanding, of grips can make a dramatic difference to everyone's judo, for no matter how fast an entry into a throw, or how strong an attack, if the grips are not correct the throw will simply not work.

A book of this kind has never been attempted -- not even in Japan. But we think that the experiment has proved worthwhile, and that Grips will enrich everyone's judo knowledge and judo practice.

Nicolas Soames
Masterclass Series Editor

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