Last week after contemplating my struggles with Big Man in class, I really thought about the use of strength and conditioning in BJJ. Since I am the smallest of the Big Men in class I suffer from what my instructor termed the “law of diminishing returns.” He stated that if I were smaller and wiry I would be able to use flexibility, speed and more techniques. However, since I am in the range where I am considered one of the big guys, my speed, flexibility and technique aren’t enought to counteract the strength and size of opponents like Big Man (6 ‘6 280). My strength and size doesn’t match up either.
So if I am going to compete with the big boys I need to do a few things:
Become a lot stronger
Increase my flexibility
Continue to work on technique; and
Continue to roll with the big guys until I can figure out leverage points
To work on my strength and conditioning I joined a gym last week. Yes, we have a residential gym where I live, but it’s just not the same. I have had memberships at gyms before and nothing has changed, I become more motivated when other people are around and when I am there I might as well workout.
I know that technique is very important, but I look at my situation from this standpoint. In the very beginning of MMA in the US, BJJ and then wrestling dominated. However, as people learned the counters and escapes, ground fighters were forced to learn striking. As that evolved, all around conditioning also became paramount. If you are lacking in one area, it will most likely show.
In my weight range of 200 and up I can’t neglect strength. As I mentioned in a response to one of Crosschoke’s posts, I can hit the high 200s in a bench press without lifting weights for significant periods of time. I can lift good amounts in other lifts too. However, many people over 200 pounds can do the same. Further, benching in the high 200s doesn’t mean anything when your opponent weighs almost 300 pounds and is applying pressure downwards.
I have to be careful because my shoulder is still bothering me, but there are many other things I can do. Hopefully, this move will prove to be a catalyst.