This drill is one of the most fundamental drills to perform in all jiu jitsu. You have to ask yourself what you do the most when defending from any bottom position. You will go to your survival position and immediately go to shrimping.

You may wonder why it is that time and time again I find myself in a position that I can’t shrimp out and gain space? Let’s look at the fundamentals.

Shrimping is the Key to Jiu-Jitsu

Shrimping is about pushing your hips away in an upside down “V” shape not an “I” formation. I witness people doing shrimp drills completely wrong, even near a blue belt level.

Some people are designed to spend all their time on top or side control so they never learn to fight from the bottom, and when they do fight from the bottom they scramble right back to top.

Shrimping is key to jiu jitsu. If you fail to spend time in a position to work it, then your percentage of achieving a proper shrimp diminishes.

When shrimping, make it a mission to turn up to your side and don’t allow your opponent to drive your back to the mat. Always look to push your hips away instead of up. You want the space to open between your hips and their hips, not their upper body.

Leg Action During Your Shrimp

Your legs play a huge role in shrimping. You are not trying to push both feet to your butt like you are getting ready for a max bench repetition. You are looking to bring your body up enough to provide clearance for the bottom leg that is going to replace your guard.

When you chamber your leg close to your butt you are looking to create an angle much like a dump truck dumping a load of gravel. You work to blade your body preventing the opponent from flattening you to the mat.

This stops your opponent’s hips from following you to where you shrimp. Work on getting that foot as close to your butt as possible, and remember not to bring both feet to your butt.

The shrimp involves one leg making space and the other obtaining the guard. If you do bring both feet up to your butt, you have just given the replacement leg a second task. We do not want to bench press the guy! We want to get away from them!

Hand and Arm Placement During Your Shrimp

Hand placement when shrimping is very important, but it also differs from person to person. If we are speaking generalization we can say one hand goes here and the other here; however, we can’t do that if one person has long arms and the other looks like a T-rex.

Remember, the hand that goes in the hip is the same side as the leg replacing the guard. Your whole objective of shrimping is to make space, not to move your body up and your opponent lower on your hips.

So, what we are doing is placing one hand or forearm in the hip and restricting his movement back into us. The top hand closest to his neck or face goes to either his throat gripping around his shoulder or to his opposite hip depending on your abilities to defend the americana.

If you have a bigger, stronger opponent, I recommend to shrimp from the survival position instead of the forearm to the neck. Hand placement is key. You can’t expect to perform a successful shrimp if one arm is around his upper body holding him down.

The 3 Jiu-Jitsu Commandments

The best way to ensure doing things right is to follow the jiu jitsu commandments that apply to defending, which are as follows:

1) In order to defend, you must make space.
2) Tight is right.
3) Position over submission.

The commandments above can be applied from this situation because there are submissions that can be applied from shrimping, but you don’t want to go for those unless you have drilled these techniques in copious amounts.

You never want to run the risk of being submitted yourself. The other commandments are self explanatory.

Ask yourself as you are rolling, “_Am I following these rules_?” If the answer is no, then apply the correct rule and see improvement immediately.

Jiu jitsu is a complete game that isn’t based on stacking a deck or luck. If someone is submitting you from side control time and time again, then it isn’t weight training or luck that will help you to change the results. It is hard work from drilling, conditioning and technique. Go hit the mats hard, and you will be hard to beat.

Shrimpin’ ain’t Easy

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