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Thread: Dealing with the big guy.

  1. #1
    Site Supporter Clobbersaurus's Avatar
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    Dealing with the big guy.

    My 10 year old son goes to a mixed martial arts school. He was recently awarded his yellow belt and just prior to that, won his first tournament (kickboxing) against kids who had a lot more experience than him. We were shocked and proud and he just loves going to class.

    He is learning grappling and really likes it, he's fast and has good instincts. At his last class, during a grappling session, he ended up being paired with a student that was much older, much taller, and much heavier than he was. She also had a couple of belt levels on him. The class was small and he didn't have any other partner options so the instructor had to go with it. The other student was at least 4 years older than him, a foot taller and probably had 60 pounds on him. It wasn't quite Keith Hackney Vs. Emmanuel Yarbrough, but the size difference was massive.

    Unsurprisingly, she manhandled him! He tried for a single, he tried for a double, and she just basically shrugged him off, picked him up, shoved and squashed him around like it was nothing. He could move around her pretty well, but once she got ahold of him, that was it. Even when the instructor gave him the opportunity of a dominant position, he had no hope, she just pushed/pulled him off. He had a great time trying to figure out that puzzle, but thankfully the instructor switched up the students quickly.

    As info, I have little knowledge of MMA beside being a sometimes fan of the UFC. I know there are weight classes in MMA for a reason, but my sons training session got me thinking about size and skill. It struck me that it would be a real bad day for someone with skill to have to deal with an unskilled person that had 80 or even 100 pounds on them. An even worse day if that person had some rudimentary MMA knowledge..... and an almost impossible day if that person was skilled.

    Am I wrong in my above line of thinking? At some point does size help to make up for skill? Also, how do you guys recommend one deal with the unfriendly giants among us?
    "Next time somebody says USPSA or IPSC is all hosing, junk punch them." - Les Pepperoni
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  2. #2
    Needs practice Joe in PNG's Avatar
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    Reminds me of my first year of HS wrestling. Sadly, I had yet to grow into my 6'2" frame and was kind of a beanpole at 160lbs.
    So, wound up sparring with people with far more strength and experience in that class.
    The team was dissolved after two years, so I never really got any good.

  3. #3
    Site Supporter GuanoLoco's Avatar
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    Too inexperienced at this point to solve a combination of size and skill gap.

    Plan on getting beaten for a long time by people bigger/better/stronger/whatever. Over time he will start getting harder and harder to put away. At first this is the goal. At some point the tables will start to turn.

    I found the 80-100+ lbs of weight difference to be a challenge when the opponent has skills. That doesn't mean they are unbeatable but you had better have skills, conditioning, be durable / hard to finish and then get creative with your own moves.

    That probably isn't happening at yellow belt. Persevere.

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    It's also a good lesson for a boy to get thrown around by a girl - in a fight, gender doesn't matter.

  5. #5
    Size does matter. I was a white belt throughout my entire time in BJJ. Never cared about belts or tested, just wanted to roll. I never rolled another white belt after day one, and spent most of my time rolling the instructor and other black belts or top students. I was sort of confined to purple belts or better. The instructor liked rolling with me because of my strength and weight advantage and my freakish body build. I usually got beat.....but it took a ton of work and pushed perfect technique on the instructors......again, why I was rolling them. I did good on the street due to size and leg strength. Size is an obstacle that is only beaten with technique. When I faced guys on the street bigger than me, I had to focus hard on application of more complex techniques to counter size.

    Also, in the grappling arena and contact combatives, size does not equate to slow. Big folks might lack in 40 yard sprint speed, but it does not mean they do not have quick reflexes.

    Sort of the point of this is your son's focus needs to be on improving technique. His instructor was smart doing what he did because it showed your son that his technique was lacking or needs improvement and cleaning up. A mediocre arm bar he gets away with with opponents his own size or age is not going to work on a large opponent. Students often need a teachable moment...and he got one, which if taken right is good.
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  6. #6
    Site Supporter Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    It sucks fighting big dudes. I've broken 5 ribs, had a yearlong shoulder injury, and a bunch of other BJJ injuries--all fighting dudes 100 lbs heavier. What's made it worth it is I'm getting better at dealing with the size disparity. I'm surviving longer...
    "I have one simple request... and that is to have sharks with fricking laser beams attached to their heads!"--Dr. Evil

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dagga Boy;541951 [B
    Size is an obstacle that is only beaten with technique. When I faced guys on the street bigger than me, I had to focus hard on application of more complex techniques to counter size.



    Sort of the point of this is your son's focus needs to be on improving technique. His instructor was smart doing what he did because it showed your son that his technique was lacking or needs improvement and cleaning up. A mediocre arm bar he gets away with with opponents his own size or age is not going to work on a large opponent. Students often need a teachable moment...and he got one, which if taken right is good[/B].



    Darryl has it correct.

    There is a standard caveat in the BJJ world that holds pretty true - every 25 pounds heavier or 10 years younger equates to one belt level. So if you are a purple belt fighting a white belt who is 30 pounds heavier than you AND 12 years younger, you and he are roughly even in fighting ability.

    Can size be overcome? Sure. It is done every day in BJJ gyms around the world. I quite literally can show you hundreds of hours of footage of it happening. One of the first times in my BJJ life where I realized I was actually getting okay was when I was a blue belt and I was rolling back to back with two brothers visiting from out of town. Both were 300 lbs and played offensive line for a junior college in Chicago. They were beating a few of the white belts through sheer size and strength. When I went with them, it was not fun, but I ended up choking both of them (one almost completely out because he refused to tap). But that does not mean it is easy to do, nor does it mean that it only takes one or two "magic death touch" techniques. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears, pain, and time.

    As Darryl said, the smaller you are in relation to the other person, the tighter and more precise your technique and movement has to be.
    Last edited by Cecil Burch; 12-27-2016 at 12:04 PM.
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  8. #8
    Site Supporter Clobbersaurus's Avatar
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    Lots of great posts here, thanks for taking the time to respond.
    "Next time somebody says USPSA or IPSC is all hosing, junk punch them." - Les Pepperoni
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  9. #9
    Heathen voodoo_man's Avatar
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    I've learned to use weapons on people bigger than me from rolling and training with bigger people.

    It really makes the decision to carry blades and train with that intention much easier knowing how easily you can lose to someone bigger than you.

  10. #10
    Site Supporter Paul Sharp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clobbersaurus View Post
    My 10 year old son goes to a mixed martial arts school. He was recently awarded his yellow belt and just prior to that, won his first tournament (kickboxing) against kids who had a lot more experience than him. We were shocked and proud and he just loves going to class.

    Am I wrong in my above line of thinking? At some point does size help to make up for skill? Also, how do you guys recommend one deal with the unfriendly giants among us?
    You're not wrong, just looking at it from a different perspective. Try this one. It's the gym, who cares if we get tossed around. Spend enough time on the mat and you'll get caught as well as do some catching. Forget about it and move forward. He needs to see this is a blast and who cares if he has a hard time with a bigger student that has more time on the mat than him. For better or worse, that's kinda how it works. I remember the first time I, as a blue belt, caught a black belt. I was ecstatic... until the next round when I got crushed by another blue belt. The mat doesn't care and it will smash your ego just as fast as it strokes it. Once I let go of that score keeping mentality, rolling became pure joy. I don't care if I win or lose in the gym, there is no tally sheet. I'm there to learn, if a 130 pound blue belt has a slick guard pass and she keeps passing my guard, guess who I'm going to be pestering to show me that guard pass? Ditto for the 230 pound black belt with an inescapable side control. Hey dude, how the hell did you lock me down like that? Once I see THAT light come on in my students eyes I know they've been bit, this is now a big learning experience for them and they will have a much better time during training sessions.

    This is why we don't let white belts spar, and we don't let folks that aren't competitors train with the competition guys. A tabby is a cat just like a Lion is but it doesn't belong in a Lion's pride for it's own safety and because it's can't keep up.

    Size does make up for skill up to a point. Once your little dude learns to let the bigger opponent do their thing rather than waste energy trying to stop them or take them down life will get better. I fight for the takedown but I know a guy with 50-100 pounds on me with equal or better skill is going to get me eventually unless I can bait them into any of the backstepping throws so I'm prepared to save my real fight for the ground. Escape and take the back is usually my plan. Most experienced big guys won't fall for the bait if you let them back you up because they've been Uchi Mata'd or Drop Seoi Nage'd into the next time zone a few times and know to avoid an opponent that let's them drive them back to easily.

    Less skilled guys that are bigger? Crush them. We had a former pro NFL guy come in to train with us because he wanted to try MMA. First second of first round he explodes into me hard enough I though my ribs were going to give, slams me and then tries to grind me into dust. I escape get his back and choke him out. Stand up, reset. He tries that again except this time I realize his entire game is basically going to be about running me over. So I hit an Uchi Mata. Which is the throw I've hit on every single big guy because they think they're going to push everyone around like the always do and this makes them a perfect candidate for this one. Sucks to be them. My guy hit the ground and I could tell right away he was in full panic mode. He had no idea how this happened, had never been on his back like this, and had no idea how to get out... other than bench press me which was perfect. It was like hitting a day one arm bar. He's a good dude and runs a construction company in this area now. He still trains BJJ and catch-wrestling. So I'm not trash talking him just using that as an recent example of this one time at band camp. Your son will eventually do this in the gym against a bigger, stronger, but less skilled new guy.

    Everyone I know in this game has at least 5 of those stories. Over the course of almost 24 years of doing this stuff on a regular basis I've seen that scenario play out at least 50 times. If your son stays in the game that long, and I hope he does, he'll see it and do it just as many times. He might even have to do it on the street should he need to protect himself. Nothing changes an unfriendly douchebag giants behavior like getting a face full of sidewalk courtesy of a drop seoi nage after he just called you out in front of a club full of people.

    I was going to put together a list of throws I really dig for busting up the unfriendly giants but this blog post already covers most of them; https://nuclearchainsaw.com/2014/05/...g-judo-throws/

    Learn those, practice those, and if you need to use them do so with audacity and abandon. Their weight moving forward + the umphh you add with your speed and weight + gravity = unfriendly giant suddenly wanting to be friendly while he holds the pieces of his head together.
    Last edited by Paul Sharp; 12-27-2016 at 12:47 PM.
    "There is magic in misery. You need to constantly fail. Always bite off more than you can chew, put yourself in situations where you don't succeed then really analyze why you didn't succeed." - Dean Karnazes www.sbgillinois.com

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