Training with guys who are much bigger then you: Strategy?

Discussion in 'Brazilian Jiu Jitsu' started by MA Chick, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. slideyfoot

    slideyfoot Co-Founder of Artemis BJJ

    Although its worth keeping in mind that you don't want to get ahead of yourself. Generally, the most important things to learn about any activity are the fundamentals (so for BJJ, that's things like shrimping back to guard, upa, maintaining basic no-frills mount, cross choke etc): be certain that you're solid on those before trying out anything funky. This is especially true for beginners - personally, I don't plan to go anywhere near Eddie Bravo's stuff until I've got plenty more experience.
  2. sprint

    sprint Banned Banned

    just survive. try not to get tapped.

    at least for now.
  3. Ghost Frog

    Ghost Frog New Member

    I agree, in general, but I'm not talking about rubber guard and the like. The beginning of "jiu jitsu unleashed" deals with half guard, which many people (the methodical Machados included) believe should be taught first, since you inevitably end up in this position if you are smaller or a beginner.

    Turning it into an offensive position is an essential part of surviving longer on the mat for smaller or weaker people. I have found that improving my half guard has given me the greatest leap forward in training yet, rather than it being just one more step from getting mounted.

    But in general, yes, you get better at surviving against bigger opponents by constantly escaping from bad positions and moving to better ones. Just make sure you don't get stuck in a defensive mentality. Make sure you drill lots of attacks and learn to take advantage of better positions once you get them.
  4. slideyfoot

    slideyfoot Co-Founder of Artemis BJJ

    Interesting - where I train, I've seen half-guard, the sweeps in particular, actively discouraged in the beginners class. I presume the thinking is that if noobies start getting excited about half-guard sweeps, they'll neglect the less exciting fundamentals, which in this case would be recovering closed guard.
    Then again, with another instructor at RGA, we had a class that by contrast focused on half-guard sweeps, so clearly a matter of teaching styles. As far as I understand it, half-guard is also taught from the off at Eddie Bravo's school, but I'm not overly familiar with his stuff or methods of teaching.

    Out of interest, did you start working half-guard early on, or later in your BJJ training? Did you find it impacted on learning the fundamentals, or not really?
  5. Davey Bones

    Davey Bones New Member

    If you don't mind me stepping in, I work half-guard a lot. We do all the fundamentals, but I find half-guard is my strong point. That may change in a few years, but that's where I'm at now. We're actively encouraged to find what works for us, and for me it's half-guard. I find it works really well against bigger guys.
  6. Ghost Frog

    Ghost Frog New Member

    I have only learnt it later. Like you I have always been told to work back to guard and been taught transitions, sweeps and subs from guard. The thing was, I always got stuck in half guard and didn't know anything from it, so just lay there trying to stop them getting mount.

    The reason people try to keep you in the whole recovering guard thing is because it is easy to get distracted by 'new' techniques and stop working basics like recovering guard. This is fine up to a point, but there has to be a balance between spending three years fighting for your guard and failing and actually having a bit of fun and making some progress in your training. Half guard isn't some fancy footlock- its a valid position, honed to perfection by the Gracie Barra's own Roberto "Gordo" Correia.

    I think sometimes people teach "one-size fits all" jiu jitsu and its up to us to work out what works best for us. Ironically, I think working half guard has really improved my guard game in the process, giving me a flash of that "three dimensional" thing we all crave. :D
  7. slideyfoot

    slideyfoot Co-Founder of Artemis BJJ

    Heh - I've only been training BJJ since November 2006, so I'm thinking a rather smaller timeframe than that. So when you say 'later', are we talking years or months? ;)

    Personally, I do try (emphasis on the try) and use half-guard sweeps when I have the opportunity. That's because in the past couple of weeks I moved up to the advanced class, and in my second lesson the instructor focused on half-guard sweeps. So in my case, I left it until about six months in (though since we did do one session in the beginners class, I occasionally tried to throw in the half-guard sweep I learned, then as I could barely remember the technique anyway, decided to stick to basics).

    Of course, you already said you didn't mean stuff like rubber guard, so this is just out of interest now rather than related to my earlier point about beginners avoiding Eddie Bravo. Same question to you, GangrelChilde - did half-guard become a strength for you early on (like within the first year), or later?
  8. Davey Bones

    Davey Bones New Member

    I'm still very much a beginner and n00b (just a couple of months). It just seems to come more naturally to me than some of the other positions, I think because of the need to MOVE. I just find it easier to maneuver when I'm on my side, and bigger guys have to work a bit harder to control me than if I'm on my back.

    Does that make sense?
  9. Slindsay

    Slindsay All violence is necessary

    Eat more. Or indeed, at all, you are all runts. :D


    Other things work well for small people on me:

    North South hold down

    Chokes of any variety whatsoever (I suspect it's because slightly smaller arms can wriggle in to place more easily)
    Stuff done very dynamically so my posture is bad straight away, an example being when I tried to double leg somebody and ended up in their guard having broken my posture for them and not slammed them very hard, thy promptly arm barred me
    Juji gatame IF you get it in really tight before giving up position for it

    Things that don't work:
    Scarf Hold
    Anything in guard that isn't at the end of a combo of moves aimmed at breaking my posture really badly
    Sweeps from guard (Though they break my posture, I've never actually been fully swept, instead it's set up a submission)
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2007
  10. Ghost Frog

    Ghost Frog New Member

    I only started using half guard stuff in the last few months, so at around the 18 month mark.
  11. Oversoul

    Oversoul Valued Member

    Another good pressure point is the elbow.

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