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Smaller/Skinnier Guy starting grappling


Orange Belt
Nov 30, 2005
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I've been considering checking out grappling classes time to time, but always had a worry that I wont find peopel within my weight to start things out on. Now I'm 5'9, 150lbs, which is pretty light, and was wondering what have your experience been starting out in grappling classes (bjj schools/etc.) being on the smaller/lighter side.
just start training. bjj is designed for people exactly like you :)
Im 5'9'' between 150 and 155 throughout the course of a week. At first you'll struggle with the bigger guys. There is no denying that. After about 6 months I started working a lot of my open guard game because nothing else was working for me. If I got on top they could just bench press me off. So I got use to hanging out underneath. Your game will be far more technical then theirs. After about a month or so I started tangling people up in my legs. A couple months later I was in to spider guard. My instructor got on me about always going to open guard so he had me learn rubber guard. Now Im all over half guard. They have gotten to the point now that they try to pull guard on me because they'll spend mins trying to get through my legs. There is only one person I train with that is actually 10 lbs lighter. I think one is 20 lbs heavier, the rest atleast 40 lbs heavier. Get out there and try it. Just expect that for some time you'll feel like you aren't getting anywhere. But in the long run your are far more technical than the larger guys. And I wouldn't want to train with people my size. When you are use to keeping 200+ guys off of you and you get someone your size, you see how good you actually are.
wow u think thats bad im 14 105 ( was 112 but wrestling) and i go against people 40+ pounds. I mean people arent going to be asses and overpower you or pick on you cause ur small
Yeah, you're not as small as you think. There should be plenty of guys your weight--if not your height ...

I'd second what OuchThatHurt said about technique. That's what will eventually make the difference (a big difference, I might add) if you stick with it and steadily improve.

You'll spend some time trying to go strength-on-strength with bigger guys--it's a natural impulse and it will work some of the time (it did for me). But try to resist it and focus on escaping from their "pins" (i.e., side control, mount, rear mount) using the techniques your instructor shows you.

Just remember that there are more experienced grapplers your size who can completely school the bigger guys you'll have trouble with. The difference is all in the technique. And the technique can be learned.
dude i was 5'10 and 130 when i started and i was one of the better people there. i'm 150 now and still one of the smallest but i hold my own.
im a tiny guy and i get stacked alot but like kid dynamite said, i hold my own.
Don't worry about. Just get yo ass in there. That's an order.
Just start training. I'm 150 lbs. and 6'2". And I do fine.
i'm 5'9, 150lbs.
don't worry about the size of ur partners. The only thing you need to be concerned about is what your partner brings to their game. Besides being a great sport, bjj is essentially used for self-defense. What better practice then working with bigger guys?

If you were in a situation on the street, are you gonna coward away and say "dude, that's a big guy... i'm use to working with people my size... will my techniques work on someone like him?"
I'm about 6' 2", 165...but I've never done weight training or anything, so I'm not really built or powerful at all. I'm also pretty new to BJJ...probably not even 15-20 classes under my belt. I concur with the people who say you're gonna get beat on at first...guys with better technique and more power/weight will just put you where they want you and submit you from there. This'll sound weird, but watch out for body triangles if somebody takes your back. Smaller people make it easier to get the legs around, so everybody goes for body triangles on me. What I get from talking to my instructors is that since you may not have the strength or weight to fall back on, eventually your technique will be better and you'll eclipse those who rely too much on their power. It'll take time; just keep training.
SpikeSpiegel said:
I'm about 6' 2", 165...but I've never done weight training or anything

Same as me when I started. I never gained much strength doing bjj probably because even at that weight I was one of the bigger guys in my club.

I started lifting when I got my blue belt and while I probably should have started much earlier it made me realise technique is more important than strength.
Helio Gracie was the smallest kid on the block and had bad vertigo and he pretty much developed most of what gracie jiu jitsu is today.
I started a few months ago and I'm 13, 5'2 or so, and 100 pounds. It's an all adult class so every one is larger than me. It's fine, you should try it.
Aesopian said:
Just start training. I'm 150 lbs. and 6'2". And I do fine.
Wow, I'm not trying to be an ass, but you must be fairly slender. I'm 5'10" 170 and always thought I was pretty scrawny. I guess that's because the guys I train with are usually monsters.
I am checking out a school next week for my first time ever. I am 5'8" 183lbs.