Big Training Partners

Very often I see articles discussing how larger Jiu Jitsu practitioners should roll with smaller ones, there is also a world of experience that can be gained by seeking out people who are substantially larger and/or stronger and testing your mettle with them.

Jiu Jitsu being an art that is supposed to somewhat level the playing field in the realm of physical combat has a distinction of often snubbing the use of size and strength in lieu of technique, and rightly so. That said, in a street fight or in competition people will use whatever tools they have available to them, and if their technique starts to fail them they will often resort to brute force and that can sometimes work out in their favor. For this reason, I think that it can be very valuable to utilize the presence of much bigger and stronger practitioners in training.

There are some training methods that can specifically utilize teammates who are much bigger and stronger that can help sharpen up existing techniques.

For starters, when working with a teammate with a 50+ pound weight advantage over me, I start in bottom side control and specifically request the very maximum application of pressure and strength that they can exert. This is not a pleasant experience and I very often have to tap out simply because I am being smothered or I fear that my ribs are going to break, but every time I do this I get a little bit better at escaping and/or reversing the position.

This is also good for my larger training partners as it gives them an opportunity to practice pinning a smaller, faster opponent. After all, their experiences in the absolute can go south pretty fast if they are dealing with an opponent who is sneaky.

A general principle that I’ve found to hold true when working with much bigger and stronger training partners is that stuff that works on people my size or smaller doesn’t always work against them. I can’t supplement my technique with muscle when rolling with someone who has 50+ pounds on me, so I need to sharpen that technique to a razor edge to even stand a chance.

One thing you’ll discover if you start doing this is that when someone weighs upwards of 250 pounds their midsection becomes a deterrent to guard play against them. Another training method I’ve found to utilize the big guys is playing guard against them and trying to retain guard against them. Guard is a whole different animal when the other person can just rest their weight on you and tire you out.

Training with people of all different body sizes is ultimately going to diversify any Jiujiteiro’s game. Rather than making excuses for why larger practitioners are able to manhandle you, always try to find ways to address situations in which you are not in control, even if that lack of control is caused by a huge weight deficit. This is just one way to help get better one training session at a time.


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