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Old 11-21-2007, 01:13 AM   #91 (permalink)
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How to beat a bigger, stronger opponent

I was working with one of my older training partners (not like an old dude, he's in his late 30s) during BJJ class, and the guy is a retired vale tudo fighter from Brazil (he was mostly a standup guy, but he's good on the ground too) and he outweighs me by about 50-70 pounds (depending on where I am in competition preparation).

I realized, while I was working with him in my guard, that there is something really different about working with a guy bigger than you, as opposed to working in a weight classed fight, with an opponent your own size. Since some guys compete in open weight grappling, and stuggle alot with being a smaller guy as a fighter (I know that when I compete, I tend to be the smaller competitor, even if the weight difference isn't nearly that extreme).

The major difference doesn't change between MMA and submission grappling and BJJ, because the principles are the same. It's an issue of joint control.

Against a larger opponent, you have an issue with controlling whole limbs. In my personal experience, I can be going for an isolation move, like an armbar or a kimura, and my leverage won't be perfect and he'll power out of it. This is a really serious problem, partly because of the psychology and partly because you can give up a worse position.

I'm not going to make it sound like you need to do it in a traditional position-submission-sense, it's not that simple. Even a mounted armbar is hard to get on a strong opponent.

The trick, as I've personally found, is to play close to the body. Where as an opponent with your sized limbs will give up a strength advantage as long as you have moderate leverage, a much larger opponent will not. If you are sinking in a kimura on a guy your own size, it's pretty much done, but a larger opponent can punch out of it.

Playing close to the body doesn't mean sticking to chokes, but it means keeping your torso against his, or your side against his chest, in order to maintain a connection and keep your own balance. If you create distance, you are not doing anything for yourself except creating an opportunity to run away. That is not the intention.

Realistically, if you play in to the body you will make it easier to push through his center of gravity, instead of trying to use an outside sweep (like a scizzor sweep), this keeps him from having the opportunity to really use his weight as a prevention tool.

Another good trick I've found, and it's what set me up for the win last night, is to be aggressive. Big guys aren't always used to being attacked, and if you are attacking a submission wholeheartedly and he is resisting, he may make a mistake that gives you the opportunity to better your position or transition to a different technique. It's risky because if he doesn't make a mistake you are expending alot of energy, but, realistically, you are going to do that if you are fighting a bigger opponent.

The tricks that you use as far as set ups for sweeps or alternate submissions don't need to be complicated, just efficient. The one that I have found works really well for me, personally, is the kimura-to-hip-sweep transition. If an opponent, even a stronger one, is focused on getting out of that kimura, they may posture up to try and straighten the arm out forward. As soon as that happens, you are essentially set for the hip-sweep. That also works for a basic straight lapel choke from guard.

Hope that was helpful for all the small guys out there.
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:23 PM   #92 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMan
I was working with one of my older training partners (not like an old dude, he's in his late 30s) during BJJ class, and the guy is a retired vale tudo fighter from Brazil (he was mostly a standup guy, but he's good on the ground too) and he outweighs me by about 50-70 pounds (depending on where I am in competition preparation).

I realized, while I was working with him in my guard, that there is something really different about working with a guy bigger than you, as opposed to working in a weight classed fight, with an opponent your own size. Since some guys compete in open weight grappling, and stuggle alot with being a smaller guy as a fighter (I know that when I compete, I tend to be the smaller competitor, even if the weight difference isn't nearly that extreme).

The major difference doesn't change between MMA and submission grappling and BJJ, because the principles are the same. It's an issue of joint control.

Against a larger opponent, you have an issue with controlling whole limbs. In my personal experience, I can be going for an isolation move, like an armbar or a kimura, and my leverage won't be perfect and he'll power out of it. This is a really serious problem, partly because of the psychology and partly because you can give up a worse position.

I'm not going to make it sound like you need to do it in a traditional position-submission-sense, it's not that simple. Even a mounted armbar is hard to get on a strong opponent.

The trick, as I've personally found, is to play close to the body. Where as an opponent with your sized limbs will give up a strength advantage as long as you have moderate leverage, a much larger opponent will not. If you are sinking in a kimura on a guy your own size, it's pretty much done, but a larger opponent can punch out of it.

Playing close to the body doesn't mean sticking to chokes, but it means keeping your torso against his, or your side against his chest, in order to maintain a connection and keep your own balance. If you create distance, you are not doing anything for yourself except creating an opportunity to run away. That is not the intention.

Realistically, if you play in to the body you will make it easier to push through his center of gravity, instead of trying to use an outside sweep (like a scizzor sweep), this keeps him from having the opportunity to really use his weight as a prevention tool.

Another good trick I've found, and it's what set me up for the win last night, is to be aggressive. Big guys aren't always used to being attacked, and if you are attacking a submission wholeheartedly and he is resisting, he may make a mistake that gives you the opportunity to better your position or transition to a different technique. It's risky because if he doesn't make a mistake you are expending alot of energy, but, realistically, you are going to do that if you are fighting a bigger opponent.

The tricks that you use as far as set ups for sweeps or alternate submissions don't need to be complicated, just efficient. The one that I have found works really well for me, personally, is the kimura-to-hip-sweep transition. If an opponent, even a stronger one, is focused on getting out of that kimura, they may posture up to try and straighten the arm out forward. As soon as that happens, you are essentially set for the hip-sweep. That also works for a basic straight lapel choke from guard.

Hope that was helpful for all the small guys out there.
Nice write up, and really good advice too. People don't realise how important the concept of "space" and staying close to your opponent is. Rep
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Old 11-22-2007, 01:36 AM   #93 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wukkadb
Nice write up, and really good advice too. People don't realise how important the concept of "space" and staying close to your opponent is. Rep
Like I've said, it's especially important in MMA, where you have to worry about elbows and punches on the bottom. Staying in close is also a great way to keep your opponent from just tossing you around, even without the strikes.
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:04 PM   #94 (permalink)
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Training Leglocks

I was working in a no-gi class this weekend and it got me thinking about the right way to train leglocks. To put it in a better context, I was sparring with a newer student and I was doing a standup pass when he threw his legs up in the air and stretched out his toe for an up-kick, to push me off so he could get back up.

He was, basically, feeding me a heel hook. I took the leg and went to my back, crossed my ankles at his hips (personal preference, because it keeps my opponent from attacking my feet) and started working in the hook, since he had started resisting.

As I applied the hook, I realized that he didn't know what the pain threshhold to start tapping was. Fortunately, I did it slowly, so my other training partners stopped him and explained what was going on, and I figured out what was going on pretty quickly. (I generally don't pay attention to my opponent's level of pain as I'm applying a submission, even in training, because I assume they will tap when it hurts)

The real thing that's important is to always be aware of your opponents level of training. I forgot about it and it almost cost the guy his foot. If he is an experienced student, it's okay to roll a little bit harder, but be careful with newer students.

This is really important with footlocks, because with heelhooks and toe-holds, the serious pain doesn't sink in until the foot is broken. That's the major difference between most leglocks and the straight achilles lock (which is why the straight achilles is allowed in white belt BJJ, and the other's aren't phased in until later), because while the achilles lock will cause only pain and no permanent damager, most footlocks cause alot of pain once the actual bone is broken.

Just something to be aware of for the catch wrestling, sambo, submission grappling and upper rank BJJ guys who are starting to work with this kind of stuff. It works great, but you have to be careful when you are training it, because not everyone knows when to tap.
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:51 PM   #95 (permalink)
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I've just discovered the training log session today. and I've gotta say...Iron Man, you're a beast.
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:23 PM   #96 (permalink)
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I've just discovered the training log session today. and I've gotta say...Iron Man, you're a beast.

Thanks, man. Always appreciate the feedback from readers. If you've got any questions, feel free to post 'em on the thread.
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Old 12-17-2007, 09:06 PM   #97 (permalink)
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Cranking It: Not Just an Annoying Hip-Hop Lyric

As far as submission fighting goes, there are few values more prevalent in the sport than the ability to commit to a technique, sink it in, and crank it for the tap-out. The real secret is, though, it doesn't always happen in that order, and thats one of the things that seperates the world class submission fighters from the rest.

I was working the other day with some of my more submission saavy sparring partners and caught one in a guillotine. Now, he has a short neck, but a big chin. At some point, my forearm got out from under his neck and started cranking his chin. It's a position that isn't too uncommon in BJJ or submission grappling.

Even as I thought he was starting to slip out, I kept working the submission. I didn't get it right away, but I put compression on his neck in a way that forced him to move back into the guillotine choke and allowed me to adjust and finish.

While there are some moments when you have to let go of a submission (the guillotine on an opponent who has passed guard is a good example), there are some where you just have to keep working and ignore the lactic acid build up in order to get that tap-out.

When you hear cornermen yelling at their fighter "crank it, crank it" it's not because they've got it sunk in and are about to finish, it's exactly the opposite. When a fighter like Tim Sylvia was slipping out of Frank Mir's armbar, Mir just cranked it and had good enough leverage to break Sylvia's arm to end the fight.

There's one thing that great submission fighters know: submissions are not an exact science. We may know alot about the better ways to get leverage, but you don't always need to be dependent on the perfect armbar or the best guillotine choke. Sometimes, just having the willpower and that last little bit of gas left in your tank is enough to twist the body and finish the technique, or at least give you a second put your opponent in enough pain that you can easily readjust your leverage.
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:16 PM   #98 (permalink)
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A Thought on The Scramble: Hitting the Deck

I've been helping one of the instructors at my BJJ school get the kids ready for an upcoming tournament, and there's one thing that I noticed when I was working with a few of the kids with the best instincts in the group.

When you feel like you're in a bad position in a scramble, you have your opponent on top of you and he's setting up a good position like mount or sidecontrol, hit the deck. Roll to your knees, protect your neck and look for a leg.

I'm not a wrestler, so grabbing an opponent's leg is not my first instinct to get on top, I'm much more likely to turn into an opponent and start looking for guard, but I've found that as I work with more and more complex scrambles, the best setup for getting on top is to hit my knees and grab a leg, then muscle the takedown through (which isn't that hard if I'm just pulling the leg into my chest).

People will say that this will get you stuck in turtle, and that's true for some occassions. The secret isn't really a secret, when it comes to making sure that that doesn't happen: just grab your opponents calf and pull it into your chest.

The escape from turtle, too, is also a fantastic armbar/triangle/omoplata setup, if you roll over shoulder, slip a leg either over or under and pretend like you are setting up guard. All that it requires is a slight momentum adjustment and landing your leg in a different position, as well as being on your side (something that gets easy when you consider the amount of momentum going into the roll).

Hitting the deck is something that most jiu-jitsu guys don't do because they don't tend to favor that search for top position that risks having your opponent sprawled on top of you. Still, if you catch that leg, it doesn't really matter what your opponent does when they sprawl, just explode through to the finish.

As far as finishes from this position, I haven't been able to work with the kids on some of mine (given that I like leglocks when working in the scramble), but I will say, simply, that if you really want to finish, it's important to know how to work in the scramble.

Scrambling is something that nobody ever gets entirely comfortable with, even guys like Marcelo work on it constantly, because it always offers new challenges. Remember, though, that the goal is really too be more efficient in a handful of scramble positions than your opponent, because if he's confused while he's looking to get back to a position he knows, you can catch him and finish way easier.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:03 PM   #99 (permalink)
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100th Post!

Well, this is the 100th post on my training log, so thanks to all of you guys who read it and take my advice.

I was on the mat yesterday and I was working for an armbar against an opponent and I realized something incredibly important, something that alot of jiu-jitsu practitioners forget, even at the the purple and brown belt level.

Sinking in an armbar isn't about powering through with any sort of position, it's about getting the right leverage, that's what all of jiu-jitsu is about, and in the day where it seems like strength-based fighters are was more prevalent, it's even more important to remember.

Uri, one of the kids in the juniors class I'm helping to teach now, asked me how to apply an armbar so that it didn't him in the groin.

I watched him and I realized something that alot of guys have a problem with is just creating the right leverage, and not just forcing the joint lock once they have their legs on the other side of the head.

So, to review the basic technique for the armbar:

When you apply the submission, your legs should be bent, your opponents thumb should be pointed up (or at least the inside of their arm should be pointed up) and groin should be a little above their tricept. (this will keep you from catching the elbow in the groin that causes guys to lose the submission)

Some photos of really good armbars and why they work:


It works because Royce's knees are controlling the shoulder, allowing him to isolate the arm, and his hips are pushing through the tricept, straining the bone above the elbow, not below (which keeps the elbow from striking the testicles).


Even though it's looser than Royce Gracie's armbar, it's effective because Fedor uses his upper body to push his lower body up, tightening the armbar by putting his hips, as Royce does, above Coleman's elbow.


Even though Nogueira hasn't finished the technique yet, his hips are very high (almost in the shoulder) and the leverage is set up so that once he loosens the hand free he's just applying the submission.

In fairness to the last one, which is the tightest as far as keeping the hips high and keeping the groin out of the way of getting whacked, it's much easier to get that tight position with a solid armbar from the "s-mount" (not the side mount, for those unfamiliar with the s-mount position). It's a mounted armbar, which sets Nogueira up higher simply on the basis that he doesn't have to pull his opponent down into the technique, like he would with an armbar from guard.

In that mounted armbar, though, it applies the same principle. Nogueira keeps his ass close to his opponent's shoulder, which keeps the submission tight and makes it take minimal leverage.

Remember, submission fighting was developed to help the little guy beat the big guy, and it works if you focus on the technique and don't get caught up in the adrenaline, trying to muscle out submissions that don't have the right leverage.

EDIT: This is actually the 100th reply to the thread, but it's still a big deal.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:20 PM   #100 (permalink)
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congrats on the 100th!
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