Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Handling the size disadvantage

Because it's such a common theme I continually end up in discussions about how to handle bigger guys when rolling and I see a lot of people looking to guys like Cobrinha and Marcelo Garcia for techniques to try. The problem with that is that those guys are so experienced that they have a highly developed game filled with techniques they've used thousands of times. Of course they can make their stuff work against an 80 lb advantage. But how did they get there? What does the beginning of a game that can handle that kind of weight disparity look like?
And before anyone accuses me of getting a swelled head, I'm not comparing myself to Cobrinha or Marcelo, that's the point. I'm not them. I'm not anywhere close to that level, but I am still able to control people that weigh up to 100lbs more than I do. So I shot three videos last week demonstrating how I roll against those guys.

The first video is against a 230lb white belt who has been training for just under a year.

Important points to notice in this video are as follows: Notice how active my legs and feet are? I use my feet as a second pair of hands. I try to keep most of my opponents weight on my legs because they are so much stronger than my arms.

At 1:20 I start working to get under him because he has stood up. If I can get under a standing opponent I can get their hips loaded onto my feet and sweep them, as you see I do at 1:28.

After that I move into my "mudslide" phase and concentrate on keeping as much deadweight as possible on my opponent. At 2:20 when he is trying to lift me and toss me away I concentrate on keeping my weight driven down onto my knee that is on his stomach and use my extended arm and leg as balance points only, no weight is actually on them.
Once I get to side control I focus on keeping a dominant position. Whenever he tries to push me away I pop to knee on belly. At 3:19 he attempts to roll away and I start moving to his back, however to avoid the chance of being tossed off and ending up on the bottom I don't go all the way to his back. I move to back side control, which proves a wise decision as he rolls back in to me and I end up on top of side control again.

In mount I make a minor mistake and move to "Monkey Mount" while my hips are still too low, which allows him to toss me off at 3:45. I surf on him to maintain top position for a while, then drop back to force him to play top game because I wanted to show some more control from the bottom.

Again look at 4:30 and how active my feet are. I always have my feet on his hips, or on his biceps, or some combination of the two. He is never able to successfully bring is weight to bear on me.

The next video is with a 180lb Blue Belt. This guy is intentionally trying to avoid using too much strength as he's working on improving his technique. I use a lot of the same stuff to keep from getting smashed though.

Ok, things to watch in this one: Again I try to keep my legs between me and my opponent. Feet are on biceps and hips constantly and my knees are always up.
At the same time I'm trying to attack his balance whenever I can.

At :55 he starts to pass on one side and I immediately push his head down and execute a technical stand, then re-pull guard. From there he drops back to LRH and I start working to pass guard,again with a mudslide mentality. He keeps his legs between us and at 1:49 is able to get my hips over his leg far enough that he can lift me over and dump me quite hilariously. My reflex is to pull me knees up and immediately get them on his hips to prevent him from taking advantage of it though and I push him off and return to guard.

At 2:20 from feet on hips spider guard I begin working a collar choke using my knees to keep his defending hands away. He reverts to pure strength for a moment to pull my hand off and I throw up a couple of triangles at the end. Nothing too special in this one, just another good example of using my feet and legs as a second set of arms.

The final roll is with a 215lb white belt that has been training with us about 6 months. He's shorter than the 230lb guy from the first video and so carries his weight in a more compact package which results in a slightly different method of controlling him.

Once again I immediately get my feet on his hips to stop him from bringing his weight down on me. I stretch him out a little while I have the sleeve grip which extends his arm so I can spin under him to attempt an armbar. Notice at :17 that I am not attempting a normal armbar which would allow him to stack me, but using my knees to pinch his arm and attempt the armbar. I could have cranked it here and finished it, but instead I go with his resistance and let him drop onto my leg. At :21 he's loaded for the sweep already, he tries to run away from it, but his weight is centered on top of me, so there's no way he can escape once I have his leg underhooked. This is a perfect example of how to use a bigger guys weight against him.

From there I maintain mount by extending my arms out. Once again I make the mistake of switching to monkey mount against a bigger guy and he's able to roll me. I move to closed guard, then return to me preferred guard with my knees between. Once I establish my feet on hips guard I start attempting to monkey flip him. He's able to keep his hips far enough back that I can't manage the full flip in this round, but I did land it on him in a later round.

The most important thing in this video is once he does manage to get good grips on my ankles and pin my legs to pass. I immediately turtle and roll through to regain guard. As he tries to move to side control I'm already getting on my side, getting my underhook, getting my knee between us and establishing a half butterfly hook. All before he even comes close to settling in to side. had the round not ended I would have been able to easily pop back to guard or even come out the side and attack again.

As always, comments are welcome. Tell me how much I suck and what a noob I am. It's all good.


  1. I am at work and didn't have time to watch your videos, but wanted to compliment you on your post. THIS IS SO USEFUL! omg please keep them coming?

  2. Enjoyed watching these as well! Learned some really useful stuff! Thanks for sharing. :)