If Kirill Denisov is up against a left handed opponent who targets his lapel with their right hand, he has a very effective way of turning defence into attack.
With the opponent switching their upper body stance from left to right, Denisov’s main objective is to prevent his left lapel from being dominated.
He does this by anticipating the grip throw, and being the first one to the lapel.
As he’s doing this he catches his opponent’s hand as it comes.
Once on the hand, he closes the space, stepping forwards and pulling on the lapel. He then turns his elbow in towards his opponent’s chest.
He says that this is uncomfortable for the opponent, as they are now tight to him and trapped in an unnatural right stance.
The idea is to be faster than the opponent to the lapel, whilst preventing them from having a strong grip.
With Denisov now in control, he takes up his favourite gripping position, moving the right hand down to the sleeve and the left hand up to the collar.
He is now ready to throw.
Denisov says that in order to prevent the opponent from getting a strong lapel grip it’s important to jerk the head back as the arm comes in. This helps to keep the lapel out of range.
Only once the hand is caught does he close the space.
By leaning backwards, not only does he protect the lapel, but he allows his opponent to commit his bodyweight forwards.
This forward momentum comes from the opponent’s desire to take control of the lapel. It plays into Denisov’s hands, as it traps the opponent’s body tight to his.
Here is the turn of the hand as he catches it. The thumb, he says, should be on the palm of the hand.
And, finally, here is the gripping sequence one last time in full.
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One of Denisov’s most effective strategies against same stance opponents is to come out right handed before switching back to a left stance once gripped up.
Here’s a good example against Turkmenistan’s Hojamuhammedov in the 2018 Agadir Grand Prix.
Denisov leads with a right handed lapel grip, w...