Jiu-jitsu touts its ability to level the playing field. Indeed, when a smaller competitor overcomes a larger competitor it is in fact a demonstration of the efficacy of the art and its techniques. However, when a larger competitor beats a smaller competitor many simply write it off as being a direct result of the larger competitor’s size and weight, and that’s simply not fair.
Over the weekend I competed at another Fuji BJJ tournament (great tournaments, by the way) locally here in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the course of the day I had a few matches against a larger opponent, who in two of the matches was able to shut my game down, score points on me, and beat me. After our first match we spoke briefly and he attributed his win to a size difference. My reaction was that while his size difference certainly aided in his victory, it wasn’t the reason he won. Weight is never the sole determining factor in the outcome of any match. He didn’t beat me because he’s bigger, he beat me because he was able to use his attributes coupled with technique to defeat my attributes coupled with technique.
Size and weight used correctly win matches. If you ever get beaten by a much larger opponent and find yourself inclined to say that the only reason they beat you is because of their size, ask yourself if one of the Miyao brothers could beat that person? What about Caio Terra or the incredible Bruno Malfacine? Would either of them fall short in a match against the individual you fell short against?
Of course in 99% of cases the answer is that technique trumps size and strength. The Miyaos have both beaten men twice their size. Malfacine and Terra as well. And the guys they beat weren’t “local” competitors; they were high level names.
Size and weight are potential tools that if used correctly can be wielded by a competitor against other competitors with other tools. In the situation I mentioned above, my opponent was able to use his size and strength coupled with technique. If it had just been size and strength I would have likely defeated him easily.
Of course size matters. Of course strength matters. If they didn’t, jiu-jitsu athletes wouldn’t spend any time training off the mat. But I’m pretty sure that Orlando Sanchez outweighs Buchecha…and which one of those two prevailed when they faced off at ADCC?
Stop blaming opponents’ size for your shortcomings. If you had better technique it wouldn’t matter. Focus on using what you have available to you.
Jiu-jitsu is an art that was developed to nullify size differences with technical prowess. However, when an opponent has a size advantage it is an advantage that should be respected, just like a height difference or a difference in agility or cardio.
If you’re a larger competitor, don’t allow people to use the cop out of “Oh he only won because he was bigger than me.” It’s a cheap excuse. You won because you used technique coupled with your physical attributes. If you’re a smaller competitor, take pride when you defeat bigger opponents, but remember that technique goes both ways and if they have good enough technique to make their size work in their favor, good for them!