For smaller grapplers out there in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world, things can be a little tricky when you enter competitions and step onto the mat to see that your opponent is a hulking figure, almost double your weight.Daunting, yes, impossible? Far from it.
As someone who’s lucky to weight 135 lbs after going to an all-you-can-eat buffet, I have made it my mission in the sport to study the games of successful smaller grapplers ( just a small sample of everything I’ve written on the subject) and how they succeed against larger oppositions.
There are few lightweight grapplers that turn heads and have the recognition that Bruno Malfacine has. Truly one of the greats, Bruno has left his footprint in the sport and is an undisputed king of the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Bruno Malfacine is the only 10x weight class Black Belt World Champion in history, and he wrecks the big guys. Having made a career off of being a lethal lightweight competitor, I was lucky enough to pick his brain as to how smaller grapplers can prepare and compete against larger competitors.
Needless to say, there were some helpful tidbits that Bruno shared, and will likely be helpful for any lightweight grappler that is looking to compete with the big boys.
Preparing Your Game Both On And Off Of The Mat
Like any good grappler would, Bruno stresses the importance of not just doing what you have to do on the mat, but doing what you need to do off of it! By this, he doesn’t mean sitting around waiting for the next training session. Be proactive and go and learn, improve and take the next step forward!
For smaller grapplers, it can be tough; we aren’t going to grow gigantic muscles overnight—and if we did, I’m sure there are ways to test that—but we can progressively get better.
“The key is to keep learning,” Bruno shares with me, “watch people.”
Think about it, when you get onto the mat with a larger grappler, chances are they are thinking to themselves that they have you in the palm of their hand before the match can even get underway. Based off of size alone, they “should” win. Yet, by studying the game and understanding the ins and outs of everything, you’ll have the upper hand!
Bruno is someone who dedicated his career to putting in the extra time off of the mat that his opponents weren’t always willing to do, and this paid dividends and helped make him one of the best grapplers ever!
By studying the games of the elite lightweight grapplers, or by watching film on the tendencies of larger grapplers, you can quickly put to rest any worries about size differences. By equipping yourself with this knowledge, you are opening doors on the mat that otherwise wouldn’t have been there. Trust me; studying film is one of the best ways to develop your skills!
In tis match of the Open weight at the Atlanta open, Bruno at just 127lbs was able to defeat the very dangerous Guybson, who weighed 210lbs, and has already defeated Marcus Buchecha, Rodolfo Vieira and Hector Lombard.
Avoid Your Comfort Zone And Take Risks
It’s no secret, if you’re a smaller guy competing with a larger grappler, you have to be willing to step away from the norm and try something new. While many grapplers will stress that they don’t change their game plan—as they shouldn’t—it’s not farfetched to adapt to the situation you are in.
This was something that Bruno put an emphasis on. By sitting back and playing your game, then you are quickly falling into a trap that you find difficult to escape from. Try specific moves, look for different techniques, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone if it means getting the upper hand on a stronger opponent!
Bruno teaches the effective knee push sweep from his top selling instructional: How To Beat Bigger Guys in BJJ
As you would expect, by going about this while grappling would open yourself up for some potentially dangerous situations. In case this does—and evidently does—arise, Bruno has a nice fallback plan to keep in mind. If things fall apart, make sure you don’t allow your opponent the chance to get close to your head or your neck. This will allow them to control you, and exert their force as they see fit. Do your best to maintain the distance between your head and their controlling grip, and if you are working from the bottom, do your best to look for the sweep from the bottom.
No matter how you look at it, being a smaller grappler isn’t the easiest thing, but it’s not impossible either. Know how to properly function and read your opponent will only pay off in the long run, and will help chop larger grapplers down to size.
Bruno Malfacine Is The Greatest BJJ Competitor Ever To Step On The Mat & For The First Time Ever – The Only 10x Weight Class Black Belt World Champion In History – Wants To Show You How He Wrecks The Big Guys.
- Learn The Secrets That Have Allowed This 127-LB Champion To Destroy & Dominate 200+ LB Monsters At-Will.