A Reader Question: Bjj Tips for the BIG Guy

Recently Jiu-jitsu Times featured 3 Tips for Smaller Grapplers

A reader writes Jiu-jitsu Times:

“More stuff for BIG grapplers please! As a beginner at 6’6″ it is hard to deal with these little SOB’s!”

As a bigger guy, those squirmy, fast smaller guys can be very difficult to control!
They seem to sneak a hook in out of nowhere and recover their guard or suddenly slip around to your back.

One of the things the bigger guy hears from Day 1 on the mats is “Don’t use your strength and size.”
And this is mostly true. Jiu-jitsu should be about developing technique, not trying to use brute force to squash a much smaller training partner.

But that doesn’t mean that the bigger jiu-jitsu student should NOT use their bodyweight and apply pressure.
As a black belt friend of mine says “No one tells a smaller bjj not to use HIS advantages of speed and flexibility!
So, the big guy is entitled to use his bodyweight.”

Regardless of your bodyweight, using your weight and pressure correctly is an important part of jiu-jitsu.
So don’t feel guilty about applying pressure to your opponents.

Here are 3 tips for the bigger bjj guy:

1) Technique should always remain primary
We all want to win our rolls, but the most important thing is to DEVELOP technique, NOT to just win any way we can.
While the bigger guy might well be able to bench press his way out of side control, he is not developing the proper technique that he would need against another big opponent.
The big guy must always ask himself: “Am I using pure strength to escape? Would this work against a guy my same size?”
Don’t be seduced by early success is using your attributes to avoid a tap, it is detrimental to your longer term technical development.
Always look for a technical solution.


2) Learn how to apply pressure correctly
I recall training knee on the belly with a 250lbs. white belt. I told him that he felt like he weighed 150 lbs. as his weight was not being applied properly.
He was shocked.
I showed him how to adjust his weight distribution and his pressure was magnified immediately.
NOW he felt every ounce of his 250lbs!

Pressure is important to slow the movement and control the hips of a faster opponent.
Those of you who have a 150lbs. black belt instructor who feels like he is 250lbs. on top will understand how proper application of this principle.
That 150lber might be able to show you a tip or 2 about how to maximize your own top pressure.


3) Don’t avoid the guard
It is tempting to stay within your strengths and play top, but your bottom game will get further and further behind your top game.
Ideally, you should be near equal top and bottom game in jiu-jitsu. Keep in mind that you want to have the skills from your guard to defend and be dangerous.

Matt Hughes said in a seminar that when he trained to become a complete fighter, he would always start his rolls on the bottom.
A bigger guy will likely never have the same movement and mobility on bottom as a lighter guy (but don’t tell that to Cyborg Abreu!).

We have witnessed wrestlers and other bigger guys unaccustomed to fighting off their backs look both clueless and helpless when they end up there in a match.
Don’t be that unbalanced big guy!

What are your big guy jiu-jitsu tips?

For more questions please email us at info@jiujitsutimes.com


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here