I’m Small – Can I still Protect Myself Against Larger Opponents?
Do you weigh anywhere between 125 and 145 pounds? Do you bench less than 150 pounds? Are you worried that your small size is going to affect your self-defense capabilities? Well, throw all of those worries out the window because none of that matters. It’s true – BJJ is not a sport that relies on strength or size. Even if you only weigh 100 pounds, you’ll still be able to effectively defend against an attacker who weighs 250 pounds.
Intelligence and Agility – The Key to Success in BJJ
The primary components of solid self-defense against larger opponents are agility and intelligence. First, let’s talk about intelligence. In most self-defense situations, you’ll come to realize that many larger opponents are very good at “thinking”. They may be big, and they may be strong, but they’re not intelligent fighters – and you can definitely use this to your advantage. Self-defense forms of martial arts like BJJ will help you capitalize against these opponents.
The second key component to success in fights is agility. If you’re small, you’re probably also fast and agile. And this is a good thing because it means that you can maneuver to positions quicker than your opponent can react to them. Intelligence, combined with agility, is the reason why some of the best BJJ artists in the world weigh less than 130 pounds. Royce Gracie (a famous BJJ grappler) once beat an opponent who weighed several hundred pounds! And he didn’t just beat him – he tapped him out!
Skill Beats Strength Any Day of the Week
Size plays a smaller and smaller role in fights as you move up in belt rankings. As a white belt, for example, you’ll probably only be able to beat opponents who weigh 20 pounds more than you. As a blue belt, this number will move up to 40 pounds. Once you reach brown or black belt level, you’ll be able to beat opponents of any size.
So while size isn’t a factor per se, it does become increasingly easier to be larger opponents as you become more knowledgeable about the sport. For example, an experienced BJJ expert will know that their back is the safest place to be against a larger opponent. A white belt might be too timid to let a larger opponent on top. When defending yourself against larger opponents, just remember the key concept: they’ll get tired way before you do. Simply wait for this to happen before attempting a submission or gaining a dominant position.