“If you take out me and Gina, the average weight in this class is 200 pounds!” -Mike
That quote pretty much sums up the advanced class at Lincoln BJJ on Wednesday. They say Jiu-Jitsu is good for little people against big people, but what they don’t tell you is that while you’re working to reach the necessary skill level to be able to overcome size advantages, it’s going to be very difficult, and you’ll probably get crushed a lot. Sometimes bigger people will use their size and strength against you (especially if they’re losing ;), and it can feel like an exercise in futility. Another quote from Mike (after someone had asked him about being injured once again), “It’s just the life of a little person in BJJ, Gina knows what I’m talking about!” Yes, yes I do.
Before it starts to seem like I’m complaining too much, I have to say that while being a 5’4”, 125 pound, 45 year-old woman is not the ideal situation when learning Jiu-Jitsu, it could be worse. For one thing, I don’t have any physical conditions that affect my training, and I’m strong and healthy enough to take the punishment that comes my way. Sometimes I just wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller…
The good news is that even though I was outweighed by almost a hundred pounds by many of my grappling partners yesterday, I still managed to do some good things. During my roll with Bueller, who had totally flattened me in side control last week, my main goal was to not let him get me in side control again, and I succeeded for most of our six-minute match. When he finally passed my guard, I was able to position myself so that he was lower on my body, and he wasn’t compressing my chest, so I could breathe. Then after he mounted me, I actually pulled off an upa and got on top! I didn’t stay there very long before he reversed me, but if you had asked me before our roll if I thought I would be able to upa Beuller, I would’ve said “No way!”.
There are also advantages to being small; we’re usually fast, flexible, and we don’t need much space to escape. People with big arms sometimes have a hard time choking us, but then again, they often crush our jaws instead, and we have to tap anyway! I haven’t found any advantages that come from being middle-aged, but since there’s nothing I can do about my disadvantages, I just have to make the most of what I have. I’ve heard that being a smaller person forces you to learn good technique, and you become more resilient, which is helpful in the long run.
“Little guys might get the short end of the stick (no pun intended) when it comes to injuries and getting beat up by bigger guys, but on the other hand, this reality distinctly impacts their games and develops subsequent strengths from it.” -Daniel Faggella