Reader Question: “Any big stocky guys who do jiu jitsu?”

The question: “Hello, I’m new to jiu jitsu and was wondering if there are any big stocky guys who do jiu jitsu? Especially at higher levels? So many of the people I see are relatively slim and being a stocky guy myself, I’m just wondering if I could do this? I realize you have to be in great shape to do it but do you have to be of slim build? Thanks”

Jiu-jitsu Times: Thanks for the question. We love to hear from readers at Jiu-jitsu Times!

Yes, there are ABSOLUTELY stocky body types in BJJ!

I understand what you are saying about the predominant body type that we see at the higher levels of competition. The lanky, slim build like that of Keenan Cornelius or Ryan Hall lends itself to being really good at numerous positions, especially those requiring longer limbs like D’arce chokes and triangle chokes.

Bear in mind that the competitors also weight cut and diet to make lighter weight classes so you see streamlined versions of them at the competitions as they strive to compete at the top of the lightest weight class they can make.

That said, there are MANY top level guys with thicker, heavier builds.

Claudio Calasans comes to mind as a current top level competitor who has a more muscular stocky body type. Rigan Machado, Joe Moreira and Wallis Ismail are three old-school guys that did pretty well with heavier body types.

But perhaps the best example would be who many people credit as the best pound-for-pound jiu-jitsu fighter of all time.

The incredible Marcelo Garcia!

Marcelo has tree trunk like legs (not particularly good for triangles) and although certainly strong for grappling, his physique is not overly muscular. But boy has he adapted a jiu-jitsu game to emphasize his attributes and body type!

If you have thick, hobbit-like legs, being a master of triangles may not be in your future. But there ARE positions in BJJ that favour your body type.

Guys with a “stocky” (I have a stocky body type and hate that word!) body type often excel at:

– Butterfly guard, Xguard, and variations of half guard
– Guillotines
– Takedowns (as they can get underneath their opponents)
– Leg locks (see Rousimar Palhares as the ultimate stocky type)
– Top pressure passing game

Part of the key to your “stocky guy” jiu-jitsu is determining which positions fit your physical attributes and getting really good at those positions.

Read also: – World Champion Hannette Staack On Your A Game


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