It’s not easy being little.
As a smaller guy in the world of athletics, I understand just how hard one must work in order to trump the larger opponent. For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the good thing is that just because you’re bigger, doesn’t mean you’re better, but they do offer difficulties for us little fellas.
Relying strictly on skill isn’t always going to allow you to beat the bigger man. One must be able to harness the resources around them in order to adequately prepare for the match, and know how to approach it.
Not long ago I sat down with top-level grappler, Justin Rader, to talk anything and everything pertaining to BJJ. At one point, our talks turned to how us smaller guys can thrive against bigger opponents. You can check out the interview below
Luckily for me, Rader was chalk full of information and was willing to share his two cents on this topic being a smaller guy himself.
Justin shared some fantastic insight that isn’t only practical to beating bigger guys, but Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a whole.
Properly Utilizing Your Training Time On The Mat
While it may sound rather obvious, the first place you’ll want to focus on to beat bigger grapplers is the gym.
Your mat time is pretty much gold, and you have to treat it as such. Without adequate time sharpening your sword, you will quickly lose a step, and no matter how confident you are, you will become a sitting duck for your opposition to concur.
“In training, there needs to be times where you need to be training situations with bigger guys,” Justin explains. Having this time to prepare with larger opponents will help you familiarize yourself with what works and what doesn’t, along with the movement of the match.
“You need to train your competitive game…you need to have those times where you train the “what if…” situations.”
Simply put, Justin is promoting the concept of “prepare for the worst, and hope for the best” when it comes to grappling with large opponents.
Setting Your Submission Priorities
One thing I found intriguing that Rader went into detail about is his submission priority list. Being a disciplined grappler who relies on strategy, Justin doesn’t go for just any submission that presents itself to him, in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Relying on patience, Justin tries to be one step ahead of the game when a submission appears, because he knows it could potentially lead to a bad spot for him to be in.
Rader shared his submission priority list with me:
- Choke & choke variations
- Shoulder/Kimura/wrist locks
- Triangle Chokes
- Leg Lock variations
“Armbars are on the very bottom!” Justin shares, with a big grin on his face.
Listening to him speak, it’s clear that Justin Rader is a man of strategy that sticks to the script. As someone that has found himself in similar situations, I can tell you that Rader has the right idea.