Christian Graugart of Combat Sports Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark was happy to share a tutorial with me so I could put it up on the journal.

It was his site and the incredible tutorials he produced that first inspired me to start putting my own techniques online.

I had always thought he set the standard for online tutorials, so it is an honor to get to share one of his.

A simple way of thinking about top game

I have played this top game for quite a while now, but it is not until recently that I actually started to think about what I have been doing. I am trying to think a little outside the box position-wise, so the game has no fixed positions, nor does it follow the fundamental five for top game. For many years I have been fixed in the 3 basic top game positions, but this new way of putting my game in a system has completely thrown that away for me. Positions are now kind of made up along the way. May sound silly, but works really well for me.

It is really simple. All I think about when playing top game is controlling at least one of five parts of my opponent’s body, in this text called “control points”. Each control point has an objective which is fulfilled if I grab one or more “handles” for that body part. If I control one or more I am OK; if I control none, I have to turn it up and get one quickly. And apart from being aware of the guard, that is all I do to prevent my opponent from escaping. I don’t block the guard with hand/foot/hip always, as some of the “handles” for the control points makes it impossible for my opponent to pull guard anyway. Nor do I worry too much about my opponent getting the underhook, as many of the handles combined with correct weight distribution will nullify that completely.

What these handles do is of course “just” to keep my opponent either flat or turned away from me, which prevents him from escaping in other ways than turning away from me. If he choose to do that, I attack the back.

Below, I have listed the control points, the objectives and some examples of “handles” that I grab to control as many of the five as possible. There are probably more, but these are what I use. In the bottom, I have posted a little video clip, where I play this top game in isolation.

Hope this is useful for someone out there 🙂

Here are the five control points:


  1. The head
  2. The near side elbow
  3. The near side knee
  4. The far side knee
  5. The far side shoulder

Ze Master Gameplan:

  • Prevent opponent from turning into you by controlling at least one of the five control points. Preferably two or more.
  • Be aware of the guard
  • If opponent gets on his side, move 180 degrees around his head and control handles on opposite side right away.
  • If opponent turns away from you, go to harness.

Control point one – The head

Objective: Keep head turned up or away from you.


Crossface / Shoulder of Justice.


Use forearm to turn head.






Grab shoulder for one-armed prybar.


Grab gi behind neck for one-armed prybar.

Control point 2 – The near side arm

Objective: Keep elbow from touching the mat.


Lift arm above elbow.


Hold elbow up using thigh.


Kill arm using hip.


Sprawl on arm.

Control point 3 – The near side knee

Objective: Keep knee from touching the mat.


Scissor grip with hand.


Scissor grip with foot.


Grab leg and lift.


Lift knee with thigh.

Control point 4 – The far side knee

Objective: Keep knee from crossing opponents centerline.

Underhook leg – diaper check.


Scissor grip with hand.


Scissor grip with foot.

Control Point 5 – The far side shoulder

Objective: Keep shoulder touching the mat


Underhook and put weight on shoulder.


Overhook and put weight on shoulder.

Now all you have to do to play top game is control at least one of these at all times 🙂

Here is a little video clip of me playing around with this in some isolation:

I don’t move very well in this clip because I have a f*cked up back injury, I am going to make a new clip when my back gets better. But you probably get the idea. I control at least one point always using the handles. If my opponent turns into me, I go 180. If he turns away, I take the back.

Now go play ze zhoozhits!

-Christian, SBGi Denmark

(Thanks to Ken Allen for the help on the pics and video)