Rolling with a larger opponent is always an interesting experience. A lot of jiu-jitsu figures recommend that you usually don’t roll with guys that are much bigger than you. How big is “much bigger”? Let’s say seventy to one hundred pounds. It’s true that the chance of getting injured is much higher, however, at its heart, jiu-jitsu is an art that is rooted from the idea of a smaller person being able to deal with a larger opponent – whether he has experience in BJJ or not.
So there will definitely be a time where you will have to learn how to adapt your game to these giants. You can’t use the same set of techniques that you would against someone closer to your size. The following are a few general tips that will help you at survive and hold them at bay.
Avoid the closed guard
On first thought, the closed guard may seem like the perfect technique for dealing with larger opponents because you think you will have the same type of control as with guys your own size. But if you start to look a little closer at the details, you will realize that there are some serious disadvantages.
Firstly, you won’t be able to support their weight if they collapse on you. Even in your guard, a mildly experienced practitioner will know that if they flatten your upper body, they can walk around to the side and force your legs open. That’s why it’s ideal to actually open your guard and use your knees to keep them away. Lift your hip to make sure you don’t get stacked.
Secondly, it’s very hard to break their posture. You can pull and climb all you want, but it won’t really do much offensively. At best, you can stall a little bit. So again, you want to open you guard and monitor their grips on your legs. Strip any grips you need to make sure you can keep some distance from them. Which leads us to the next point:
Feet on the hips
Placing your feet on your opponent’s hips will make sure that you can’t be stacked by the giant in while he is in your open guard. You want your feet on his hips and your knees ready to buckle inside together to stop him from putting down more of his weight. Make sure to control his sleeves to avoid giving any pant control. From this position, you can easily start preparing variations of the scissor sweep and omoplatas can be very effective too.
Walk those shoulders
So what happens if you’re using your knees to keep him off but he starts leaning over further? Well, if you’re not confident yet to go for the sweep, you can just go backwards to the neutral defensive position by walking on your shoulders. This backward movement is a great lifesaver and you can really utilize it often when using your closed guard against anyone, but it’s especially useful against those larger bullies.