Why Size and Strength Matters In BJJ

Does size and strength matter in BJJ?

BJJ is marketed as a martial art where a smaller grappler can beat a much larger opponent who is less skilled. Though there is some truth to this statement, size and strength matter in BJJ.

When skill is equal, the bigger stronger BJJ practitioner is going to win 9 times out of 10. This is simply, a fact that you will find in just about every sport.

That said, if you are a smaller person don’t give up hope just yet. BJJ skills can help you defeat an opponent who is larger and less skilled than you.

But if you are hoping that size and strength do not matter in BJJ, sorry you are out of luck.

Proof That Size And Strength Matter In BJJ

A good example of this is a video I watched of the world’s strongest man Hafthor Bjornsson rolling with a BJJ black belt. Hafthor was simply too big and too strong for the black belt to use his skills effectively.

I know this is an extreme example. After all, he is six foot nine inches tall and weighs 400-450 lbs. Either way, it does show that if someone is that much stronger it can neutralize your BJJ.

Skill Vs. Size and Strength In BJJ

That said, I have also seen the exact opposite where some big 230 lb bodybuilder comes to class and gets easily tapped out by someone 150 lbs. Skills are more important than size but you can only stretch it so far.

There is a point where an extreme is so large that your skills are not able to overcome an opponent’s size and strength. I know it is not what a lot of people want to hear but it is the truth.

There is truly an unbelievable advantage that BJJ skills can give you over a larger opponent. But you must understand that it takes extreme skill to over come a much larger opponent.

Why Strength and Size Matter in BJJ

Size and strength matter in BJJ for the same reasons they matter in all sports. Simply put being bigger and stronger than your opponent gives you a physical advantage. Of course, when I say bigger and stronger I do mean putting on more muscle.

The fact of the matter is that being strong and athletic will also give you an advantage in the event of self-defense as well.

I think it is crazy when people who want to learn self-defense do not take into account their physical strength and athletic ability. Of course, you can only get as strong as your genetics will allow but everyone who does BJJ should also do strength training.

Don’t Lose Hope

Hopefully, this post did not get you down. My goal is not to discourage anyone but to not give them a false or unrealistic sense of security.

Don’t underestimate how much strength and size play a role in a physical altercation. You might not be able to put on 30 extra pounds of muscle but you can certainly become stronger. Adding just a few days of strength training is enough to make some major differences.

Not only will it help your BJJ game, but it is also good for your mental and physical health. There are a ton of positive benefits of lifting weights whether you are an athlete or not.

In Conclusion

Size and strength matter in BJJ whether you like it or not. Yes, skills are more important but skills and strength are even better.

With that in mind, make sure that you incorporate a strength and conditioning program to go along with your BJJ training. Not everyone is going to be able to put on the same amount of muscle but everyone can get stronger.

So don’t let all the little thoughts distract you and just focus on getting a little better and a little stronger every day.

Joshua Paul

Joshua Paul is a BJJ purple belt who lives in Austin, Texas. Joshua loves all forms of grappling and when he is off the mats he is likely spending time with his wife and son.

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