Rolling the big guys.


Rolling as the smallest person.                                                                Weight 55kg / 123 lbs

It sucks, absolutely, no question. I consider it “doing well” if, during a roll, I’m not simultaneously crushed and squeezed, whilst being tossed around like a rag doll. I’m not talking about being beaten by skill, that’s one thing. This is like hitting a brick wall, those times you’re sure the person you’re rolling with is actively trying to dismantle you, even if they’re not.Technique beating technique is fair, that’s earned, but damn… sometimes the strength disparity is just too much, it’s resembles going toe to toe with a truck, there’s no stopping it. It’s not like most of the bigger guys can control it though, many may feel like their rolling as timidly as possible but still, the little person is being smashed by them. It’s just the nature of the sport.

In the early days of rolling, I would be tapped 7 to 8 times per match, I remember counting one time. It was horrible, I felt like the worst person in the game. I had no method, I didn’t know how or when to attack, I couldn’t find a safe position to save my life and I didn’t know when, where or how to defend things. Basically, everyone’s first roll. But as time went on, and I learned all these things, when to spot attack opportunities, how to move into more advantages positions, when and how to defend, I realised I was still being tapped multiple times per round, it was pretty crushing. I felt so defeated. I’ve been here just as long as these guys, if not longer, why can’t I beat them? Or more accurately why is so easy for them to beat me?

Smaller guys will understand the feeling, it’s like being thrown into a pit with a gorilla sometimes and all you can do his hold on, defend as such as possible, rely on instinct or reflex and hoping to not make too many mistakes. It’s great for building up a defensive game, as well as figuring how to use pressure effectively, especially when the bigger guy is also a higher belt, mixing their strength with their practice to completely dismantle my game. With these guys I get completely destroyed and can’t do a thing to stop it. Technique or no.

Rolling with these folks can be humiliating, it can be dangerous, but it can also be fun and the perfect grounds for absorbing knowledge, like a test where you get the right answer by giving the wrong one. You ask, how did you do that, why was holding my foot that way so important to that technique, is there another way this thing can be done? Can you show me this? Can you teach me that? Again and again and again. Their probably sick of it.

Time will tell if I get so good at the sport that I can out technique even the strongest opponent, right now it’s a distant hope but one I’m definitely keeping on my bucket list.

  1. Write a blog
  2. Defend awesome world title in front of Alexander Skarsgard, he swoons and asks to get married immediately. (Sorry Dan).
  3. Out technique the big guys.

Simple, I already have one of those things down, the others shouldn’t be too hard.

Lessons I’ve learned from being the smallest at the gym.

  • Take your time, even if your opponent doesn’t, you’re more likely to make a mistake and get yourself hurt.
  • Tap early, and often. It should be an unwritten rule in every gym, but some people can be very prideful and will stubbornly hold on as long as possible, not caring if they get hurt in the process. This can’t be you, tap as soon as possible. It’s much easier for them to hurt you than it is for you to hurt them.
  • Roll often, another rule that should be unwritten and isn’t just for the smaller folk, if you want to get good, you have to roll, the biggest guys and the smallest. Everyone brings something different to the table, make it an all you can eat buffet.

5 thoughts on “Rolling the big guys.

  1. I’m not the smallest as I’m a female middleweight but in some respects that’s worse as I’ve had bigger guys who think I’m tough enough to handle anything – forget the 20kg weight difference and gender strength based difference. But on the positive without those guys I wouldn’t have the weight distributing, space shrinking, squirmy (yup there was space for my knee shield) game I have now lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My first time rolling with the guys was horrendous, they had no experience rolling with someone my size, let alone a girl. Over time i guess we both learned from each other, I learned how to defend better and use weight more effectively, they learned not to make every roll a power struggle or fight to the death 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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