Help with larger opponents


White Belt
Jun 22, 2007
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OK guys, I'm a new blue belt (3 mos.) and I still seem to have a problem dealing with larger people, especially when they're inside my guard. I'll get a new white belt and if they out weigh me by 50+ lbs. they be in my guard and just try to smother and stack me, maybe go for some kind of choke. I know they won't be anble to finish anything, but I'm having trouble sweeping or even creating space for my hips. Any suggestions?
I he is in your guard, raise your hips, underhook an arm, try an arm drag to back(they work well for me against bigger guys), sit up and break his posture, shrimp out. Is he stacking you while actively attempting a pass?
I actually have more problems with little quick guys then large muscular opponents. My strategy for when facing someone bigger in my guard is to always be bumping my hips up and hand fighting. Don't give them a second to use that strength to secure a solid base keep attacking a hand with a two on one and pulling elbows and keep bumping your hips up and trying to bring your knees forward so they are constantly having to work. The armdrag was a great suggestion I suggest it as well, but if they are just really huge and lay on you while in your guard you have to push them away a bit or try and reach around their necks as well.
I have the same problem although ive been working on it ive also been a blue belt for about 3 months I find not pulling guard is the best option but its not always possible so therefore i try to play open guard and keep some space between us nothing worse than having someone that out weighs you by 50+ pounds smashing you into the mat. Spider guard is good. If they stand up il use de la riva guard. butterfly guard is great also.
Thanks for the response guys, I really need to work on this. To answer the one question, the few guys I rolled with didn't try to pass, they just stacked me and tried to smother me or go for some cross collar choke. I eventually just let them either take mount and sweep from there, but I'd rather not make that a habit.
If they are putting all their weight on you, try to - as the guy before said, create space by opening your guard and shrimping, you can then work triangles from the open guard as they lean into you.

If you can get a knee into their chest, work the scissor sweep too if you can.
Move yourself, don't try to move them. That is why I love armdrags and duckunders.
Move yourself, don't try to move them. That is why I love armdrags and duckunders.

Agree..I am one of the big guys (6'5" 250), and guys who stay very active give me fits. Since I've got very long legs, I of course want my opponent in my guard to slow things down and work for something. If your smaller, keep attacking the legs and work for a position to apply a choke. (well, that's what gets me anyway)
this is from stephan kesting i subscribe to his newsletter

Of all the questions I am asked, the most common question has to be how
to beat someone bigger and stronger. I've tackled this issue in a
previous tip of the week ( but people keep on
asking me for more tips and techniques to topple the Godzillas that
walk among us.

The fastest way to beat a big, strong, INEXPERIENCED guy is to mount
him and wait for him to try to bench press you off. When he pushes
your chest you pivot around and take the armbar. This strategy works
great for the first few times, and then the the big strong guy figures
out not to bench press you when mounted. What now?

If we're talking about big, strong EXPERIENCED opponents it's harder to
recommend a specific submission strategy that will work all the time.
Instead of a technique per se I will suggest a positional strategy: get
behind him and take rear mount (e.g. Rear mount is THE place
to be when you are fighting someone who is 50 or 100 pounds heavier
than you. If someone had just told me this on my first day of
jiu-jitsu it would have made my life a lot easier!

It might be a little strange to take advice about fighting a big guy
from someone who weighs in at about 210 pounds himself, but I do follow
my own advice occasionally. I have had the dubious pleasure of rolling
with a skilled big guys ranging from 240 to 300 lbs. The last time I
rolled with one of these man-monsters I got flung around for a few
minutes, and then I went into survival mode by using my half guard to
hold him off (albeit getting a bit crushed in the process). The tables
finally turned when I nailed a back climb from half guard, sank my
hooks in, and finished the match with a rear naked choke. The rear
mount did the trick, whereas I wasn't having much luck from other

P.S. If you haven't already seen my Youtube instructional on sinking
the Rear Naked Choke you can check it out at
What i like to do against bigger guys in my guard, is when they stack me i get double underhooks and then stretch out my legs to push them backwards, your arms slide up their torso and you get their arms up above their head, then it's easy to hip out and armbar.
Stay on top.
Fatigue them.
Don't use butterfly guard.

i 100% disagree with not using hte butterfly. butterfly my go to game for large guys.
with butterfly they have none of their wight on you and you are sitting fwd.. the hook sweep is all about flanking, so their wieght will not really be a problem. when you finish the sweep you are in side control and you can start working on the stay on top aspect of the game.
Anyone else have things to add here?

I am one of the bigger/stronger guys at my place, but I am also new. With the smaller guys I can rely on strength and usually power them off me. Today I rolled with another guy the same size as me. I pulled guard and he laid in my guard for 5 minutes basically. I tried to throw my legs up for a triangle a couple times and even an arm bar, but he pulled out pretty quick and I went back to guard.

So far those are some good tips, just looking for the rest of the guys who haven't replied yet.
The answer to this question is always the same. Learn to armdrag or use an underhook to go to the back. The classic.
The answer to this question is always the same. Learn to armdrag or use an underhook to go to the back. The classic.

thanks, i always had the same question. im small and always get big guys with alot of power. always move, dont let them use their power, i always wait on my side in half guard with the underhook to look for the oportunity to shrug and take the back bc there slow rather then knee to elbow back to guard. thats my 2 cents. now time to learn that armdrag!
i try to not let them get top. again i'm generally in the average to heavy range (85kgs ish) but when i roll with guys >110kgs (and i do) i try to take the initiative and work to get on top to start with, to take their weight out of the equation and force them to work.
Do you guys have a video that shows the armdrag then taking the back. It is something I would like to try
hey easto, i read a few of your earlier posts. you said you can usually out muscle the smaller guys but you have trouble with a guy your own size in your guard, correct? i know where you're at. try not to always spar with people who weigh much less than you. you win during sparring, but you end up developing bad habits and become comfortable with moves that only work when the opponent is smaller than you.

when your opponent is in your guard, the key is feeling your opponent's weight distribution and recognizing when he's vulnerable to a particular submission or sweep. if he doesn't go forward you're not supposed to force him to go forward. it will not work. you need to make him want to go forward. how do you do that? you do a move that's designed to attack an opponent when he is leaning back (e.g., sit-up sweep). then when he defends that move he has to lean forward, and you set yourself up for the move designed to attack a guy leaning forward (maybe arm drag).

to answer your specific question, in an arm drag with no gi, you usually grab the opponent's triceps.