Which BJJ Techniques Work and Don’t Work w/ Small Man Against Big Man

Which BJJ Techniques Work and Don’t Work w/ Small Man Against Big Man

Guest post by James Duscio, a BJJ black belt under Walter Cascao Vital. He runs Cascao Evolution BJJ out of Las Vegas nv.

It would be ideal if all of our moves worked all of the time against all opponents, but one of the first things that I was taught in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was that nothing is 100%. That is why our art is so effective, because we realize and except there are weakness’s with every technique. And this comes to light when you have a smaller person going against a bigger opponent.

Have fun trying to knee bar a guy who’s thigh is bigger then your waist and all the best to you when you get curled back in from an arm bar attempt on a guy who’s biceps are bulging through the rash guard. Some of our most popular moves do not fair so well against a large size difference, especially if the bigger guy is trained in combat.
So to rectify this we need to make a list of the techniques to avoid against a larger opponent.

1. Knee Bar
2. Arm Bar
3. Arm Triangle
4. Leg Triangle
5. Kimura

These techniques tend to require a little more strength or don’t do well with a thick body girth.

Now lets create a list of techniques that do very well against a larger opponent.

1. Rear Naked Choke
2. Guillotine
3. Collar Chokes
4. Lapel Chokes
5. North South Choke
6. Ankle Lock
7. Heel Hook
8. Toe Hold
9. Omoplata

As you can see, there are plenty of options in the arsinal to choose from. These are the moves that cut off the air or blood supply to the lungs and brain. If its not a choke then the technique puts your whole body against the smallest part of their body.

The bottom line is that we always tell strikers to bring a bigger opponent to the grappling range because they could knock you out easy while your ability to knock them out remains low. But when we get to the ground the only advice we get is don’t be on bottom. Which is great advice but only part of the answer. Marcela Garcia is a huge proponent of only using an arsenal that works on both small and big opponents, and that seems to be working very well for him. His guillotine level is insane because of this strategy. So next time you roll with a bigger guy, avoid the techniques that give you a low percentage chance and focus on the ones that raise the level of your success rate.

Helio Gracie said it best “For the choke, there are no tough guys”.

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