What should be my goal with bigger, stronger rolling partners that are at my skill level?

JowGaWolf

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Another thing that is really helpful is to just talk to your sparring partner. Let them know what you are trying to do.

When I talk to my sparring partner I let him know that my arms are getting really tired and it makes it really difficult to defend myself when I hit that point. I'm not worried about him exploiting my weakness. He already knows when I'm tired. But what he sometimes does offer is to help me out. The last time I mentioned it to him, he invited me to join him when he lifts weights. He has also offered helpful tips, not so much with technique but with my mindset. One time he told me that he noticed that I was trying to hold on too much and he says that's common for people who don't fight on the ground. He said sometimes it's better to let go and go for a more efficient hold than to burn out on one that will never produce the result that I need.

When we talk, we always share what we were trying to do and analyzing the sessions in between breaks. That type of information is important because it helps fill in gaps that I may be missing. It helps him as well because he wants to know if what he's trying is working or if I'm countering him. Like last night he wanted to know if I was falling forward of if I was moving forward at my own will. He knows from previous sessions that I have no problem going with the flow in order to try to counter. If he does a technique then he wants to land it when I'm resisting. If I flow with it then he knows that maybe his technique wasn't effective, it was just me going with it to counter it.

If you aren't communicating with your partners like that then you will have a really long and difficult journey. The only people that didn't do this were the ones who only cared about winning or getting the best of me. If your partner cares more about developing their skills, then they will share valuable information that will help you to get better faster.

Start having these types of conversations with these people you are rolling with. Let them know what you were attempting and they'll probably tell you why you couldn't pull it off. After a while they will tell you the techniques they were trying to use on you and why they keep having success with using the technique on you.
 

Anarax

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There's a body builder at my gym who is the same level as me, and I don't really know what I get out of rolling with him. I just get smashed, and there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I get smashed by the upper belts, but they smash me with technique instead of just brute-forcing everything. They also give me a little room to work with. There's also some other white belts that are bigger than me, but they temper their intensity so that I can get some work, too.

I'm not scared to roll with this guy. He is using jiu-jitsu techniques, and he doesn't rip submissions. He's a very nice guy. But I feel when I roll with him, I'm basically wasting 5 minutes getting beat up on, because I don't really have much that I can do against him. I know the three answers I can think of, but they don't really help.

  1. Decline to roll - I don't really have any reason to, except that I don't feel I get much out of rolling with him
  2. He should match my intensity - I can only control myself, not him
  3. Beat him with technique - We're both the same rank, and theoretically roughly equal in technique; as I work on technique, so is he
What should be my goal when rolling with a bigger dude?
Pertaining more so to BJJ/grappling arts, I would say focus more on good positioning opposed to rushing for the submission. From my experience, rolling/sparring bigger, taller or stronger opponents, taught me the importance of setting up a technique. Learning and adapting to an opponent's abilities and traits is a critical part of a martial artist's development.
 

Anarax

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Just going from what I read here.... it sounds like you are relying too much on your own brute strength. You just found someone who has more brute strength than you.

Your goal should be to use less strength and more technique. Go with his movements, not against them. People who did randori with Jigoro Kano said that fighting him was like fighting an empty gi.... an empty gi that won.

Here is a little old man... using technique against guys much younger, much stronger and much heavier than him:

Working with this guy is your best way to simulate what will happen out on the street. If you get attacked on the street, it won't be by clean and practiced technique... it will be by sheer brute force and determination. This guy is giving you an opportunity to experience some of that in a training scenario. Use him to learn to deal with brute force. Use him to learn to get soft and more gentle. Use him to learn not to rely on your strength.


Literally what's playing through my head when I replay the Kyuzo Mifune video
i-am-not-worthy-not-worthy.gif
 
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Pertaining more so to BJJ/grappling arts, I would say focus more on good positioning opposed to rushing for the submission. From my experience, rolling/sparring bigger, taller or stronger opponents, taught me the importance of setting up a technique. Learning and adapting to an opponent's abilities and traits is a critical part of a martial artist's development.
He rushes for submissions and gets them. I try and be in a good position and he just flattens me.

I'm not saying your advice is incorrect...but it doesn't really apply to me in this particular matchup.
 

Gerry Seymour

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He rushes for submissions and gets them. I try and be in a good position and he just flattens me.

I'm not saying your advice is incorrect...but it doesn't really apply to me in this particular matchup.
Something to remember in all of this: white belt is a "holding" rank. It's just where people are until they earn a rank. So there can easily be a disparity between people's skills at this level. If I come in (with a standing grappling background and a smattering of BJJ and Judo), I have a chance of being better than someone who lacks some or all of that.

At blue belt, this is less true, because the folks who started better are likely to simply reach blue a bit quicker, but the playing field is more level once you get there.

So don't worry too much about disparities at this starting level. They are to be expected, and they won't all be in your (or anyone else's favor). Use the challenge to your benefit.
 

Anarax

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He rushes for submissions and gets them. I try and be in a good position and he just flattens me.

I'm not saying your advice is incorrect...but it doesn't really apply to me in this particular matchup.
I can't speak on the exact person you're rolling with. However, personally, I've found that when I focus more on positioning and setting up techniques I tend to be more successful with landing/executing them. If I'm finding myself getting overran or out-timed because of my opponents physical traits(strength, speed, height, etc), I re-evaluate what I need to do to make what I'm doing more effective and make the appropriate adjustment. Pertaining more to BJJ, I've found that having a solid guard-game and better positioning will make it both easier to pull off submissions as well as help in preventing from being submitted.

I would also suggest asking the instructor on any advice he might have on what you could do with this particular training partner and how to deal with his type of energy.
 

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