Once Denisov is in charge of the lapel he fights for his favoured sleeve grip.
He likes to pin his opponent’s sleeve, whilst tucking his elbow into the side of his stomach.
This unique body position allows him gripping dominance, whilst conserving energy in his right arm.
After catching the opponent’s forearm he moves his hand to on top of their wrist.
He pushes down on their wrist using his thumb, before pulling them in tight to his body.
This sleeve gripping strategy is what allows Denisov to dominate so many Kumi kata exchanges against opposite stance opponents.
Here is the movement of the thumb when on top of the wrist.
He says this point is very important as it prevents the opponent from taking a dominant sleeve grip themselves.
Notice the squeeze on the wrist as he takes control.
The crucial element to maintaining such strong grips for prolonged periods of time comes from the arm tuck into the side of his stomach.
In doing this, Denisov says that he can dominate in Kumi kata whilst not weakening the strength in his bicep. He focuses his power on his hand and elbow joint, and not the arm muscles. The forearm and upper arm stay relaxed.
Denisov is now in his ideal position in which to initiate all of his big throws.
An extremely defensive opponent may adopt an extreme right stance and keep their sleeve arm out of reach.
In this case Denisov will switch stances himself from left to right, so that he’s now within range of the left side of his opponent’s body.
He initiates Kumi kata by taking the other lapel, feeding it from his right hand to his left. As he does this he catches their sleeve, before going onto the lapel.
Critically, Denisov says that it’s a circular movement that enables him the opportunity to catch the sleeve, as the momentum created has broken his opponent’s balance.
With the opponent’s thoughts on their balance and legs, they lose focus on gripping and arm position.
By using a bit of Ashi waza more momentum can be created. Denisov is now back in control.
Finally, Denisov reveals what he does against an opponent who tries to block his lapel hand using a cross grip.
He pulls back with his lapel hand, catches their sleeve and pressures his opponent by pushing them back.
And with this pressure he creates the opening to a high lapel or collar grip.
A true masterclass in sleeve control.
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