It has been established that I am a big guy(or big’un if you prefer).  I am not the largest guy to have ever graced the mats.  I am, however, usually THE big guy at my gym.  I want to tell you how to “beat” me.  Smaller BJJ players (townspeople) often tell you techniques on how to win against larger opponents(hill giants).  Well, let’s turn that concept on its head.  What if a super cool Hillman* said “Let me show you how to win against me and all my oversized bretheren.”

*I am totally rad level 7 Hill Giant

Prior to training in BJJ, the concept of being held in one place and having to submit to someone’s imposition was foreign to me.  Now, I like BJJ BECAUSE smaller opponents can control and tap me.  They can take away my attributes and level the playing field.  This is fun and exciting!  As such, I like to help my training partners learn to shut me down. This forces me to play Smaller-style BJJ which makes me better in the long run (selfish!).  By nature, this takes practice on the smaller player’s part.

So, grab your local Behemoth and try the following:


5. Conservation of Energy

You are working out of a deficit.  There is a really good chance that since I am bigger, I’m also stronger than you.  By nature big guys can make you work harder.  This is because they have more mass and are used to pushing it around all day, it’s science fact!  A great way to combat this deficit is using slow methodical movements to cover ground inch by inch.  Sometimes though, you can beat a bigger guy by being faster.  Hang on a sec Lightning Larry, attribute based games are what you want to avoid, right?  Speaking from my own experience I want you to spaz out, flail about, and wear yourself out.  You will be exhausted and give me submissions just to get me off of you.  Save your energy for the pure technical movements that will turn the tide for you.

4. Never shy away from rolling with larger opponents

Disclaimer:   DO shy away from larger UNSAFE opponents.

Provided your larger training partner is a relatively safe individual; you should never shy away from rolling with him/her.  “I’m tired and you’re just going to smash me.”  That’s probably true at first.  You really should take the opportunity even if it is harder.   The the more you roll with larger opponents, the more comfortable you will be doing so.  A blue belt I train with never misses an opportunity to roll with me because and I quote “If it works on you, Big man, I know it works”.  I believe this is a fundamental concept in BJJ.  This is what it’s all about.  A smaller person controlling a larger one to great effect.

3. Be two positions ahead.

One purple belt I have trained with consistenly was absolutely always two positions ahead of me.  Not only would he be defensive, but while defending my attempts to smash/crush/hulk my way to a position, he was secretly mounting an offense.  His defense was to mount an offense two movements ahead.  Over time, I began to see that this was happening and have tried to adopt the same mentality when I am in the size deficit (It happens occasionally).  The trick here is transitioning to where you want to be, not where you are now.

2. Be assertive with your defense.

Assert your postion by bracing your frames/grips with technique and confidence.  You will be surprised how little it takes to keep a larger opponent at bay or under control.  There have been so many times in my BJJ career that I’ve gotten past a more technical opponent because they mentally beat themselves at the start of our roll.  If you start with a defeated attitude, the outcome will follow.  Granted, pure belief in yourself is not going to make you the top BJJ contender in the world.  It does go a long way to mentally keeping you in the roll.  A self-defeating attitude never succeeds.

1. Control is really spelled H-I-P-S

I can tell you right now, there are guys and gals half my size that can effortlessly control me by shutting down my hips.  While the bigger opponent has larger scale hips, they work the same.  Shut them down with proper leverage and grips.   Under no circumstances let the larger opponent get his (or her) hips back into play.  When my hips are shut down, I can only use an exhaustive, strength based series of movements.  That starts the downhill slide for me.  The blood is in the theoretical water.

A second note about this, the purple belt I referenced earlier had a superior crushing, pressure based game with me.  He was smaller than me by a considerable amount (80-100lbs).  Due to his hips and superior positioning, the situation felt like *I* was in the strength/size deficit.  This was due to HIS  hip movement/control.  Not only was he shutting down my hips, but he used his own to maximum effect.