Tonight was a very productive and grip heavy night and also saw me employ deep half guard sweeps with great success. During all of my rolls I was paying particular attention to my grips and my opponents grips and I started trying to determine which of my grips was just gripping for the sake of grabbing something, and which ones were actually productive. It was easy to tell which grips that my opponent had were useful and which were just keeping their arm occupied while I worked. It was less simple to figure that out about my own grips. For the most part it seemed that when I established a grip I had a plan, but many times I found myself gripping purely as a pre-emptive defense.
I often established a grip solely for the purpose of denying my opponent an action without any connection to where I wanted to direct the roll. This was most common when I was rolling with bigger guys. I then got to thinking about who provides good examples of consistently productive gripping and both Cobrinha and Rafe Mendes came to mind. Luckily they have run into each other on a dozen or so occasions and one of their best matches is from the 2012 mundials.
This video in just the first MINUTE has some incredible offensive and defensive grip work that is 100% productive. You never see either of these guys just grab something and hang on because they can't think of anything else to do. Each grip they take has a specific purpose.
I think my grip work is still too inconsistent to be overly worried about efficiency yet, but as I continue improving it my goal is to approach this kind of grip efficiency over time.
It's been a while since I posted a homework (or posted in general), but this is a good one. Your homework is to spend at least one roll this week counting the times that you take a grip and then don't use it to attempt a sweep or a submission. It will be difficult to concentrate on counting grips while rolling, but that's why it's only one roll. Think about how much effort and strength you are burning clinging to your opponents Gi without any clear plan in mind and work on reducing your non-productive gripping to the bare minimum.
Remember, Get your grips then move your hips! The first part doesn't work without the second!