3 Tips for Handling Bigger, Stronger Opponents

Posted on Posted in Jiujitsu Talk

When we look up the definition of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the explanation often mentions its effectiveness against bigger and stronger people. How is this accomplished, and why would bigger people want to do this at all? Before delving into the technical aspects, we need to address the mental approach. Bigger opponents must be seen as equals. It’s a common excuse to think someone wins because they’re bigger and stronger. Accepting this as an end to the explanation stops the problem solving process completely. It also fails to give credit to the opponent’s skills. We need to remember that big people also have to deal with other big people, and aren’t allowed a convenient excuse. The puzzle is how they are using this size and strength. What exactly is stopping our normal routine? There are weight classes because this is a different set of problems than someone of equal size, but they’re not unsolvable puzzles. While everyone has a different take, this is what works for me.

First, begin practicing on smaller practitioners. If we give our egos a rest and treat smaller people like they’re stronger, it allows a safer place to test our theories. A certain amount of strength should be used, but only when it’s from the right position. Using strength to get out of bad places improperly, or to make up for poor decisions are habits that should be fixed. We need to have a sense of where we want to be, and understand the necessary timing to get there.

Second, being under someone big should be fairly brief. Weight is usually concentrated in one place, often below the head or hips. Everything else is light. If we study positions enough to pick up what’s light, sweeping and submitting gets much easier. Problems occur when weight shifts into difficult places, so it’s important to get to work before something changes. It’s even better to catch the weight shifts as they occur.

Last, as a late reaction, we can use posts and frames. The important detail is to still be able to move while framed out. Framing limits mobility, so identifying movement possibilities will allow us to move again.

These are just a few things that can open up a stalled game. Growing an understanding of principles when learning anything can help us in circumventing obstacles to movements. Many people make good use of push-pull, various applications of leverage, and manipulation of space as well. Dealing with bigger and stronger people is only one of many difficulties we find in our development. Keep a balanced outlook, ask the right questions, and have fun!