Some advice for beginners
I was reading another forum today and came across a noob's "im small how du i beat biggr guyz k thx" thread and asked if he should copy Marcelo Garcia. For some reason, probably because I had been working in Illustrutor for a couple hours drawing a smoking chimpanze, I wrote a reply.
And it turned out pretty awesome. So I'm sharing it here.
So you're small. What you lack in size or strength you'll have to make up for with efficiency of movement and technical skill. This should be how anyone trains who wants to really improve, but the point gets driven home to smaller guys sooner since they don't have bulk and power to fall back on. It can be a big shock to heavy weights when they realize this late in the game by finally getting crushed by someone even bigger than they are.
You're not going to get anywhere in the long run with just some tricks. They are fun to learn and it's always nice to have them up your sleeve, but they are really just passing amusements.
What you really need are solid fundamentals and strategy, which will only come about from a lot of mat time and a very critical analysis of your performance.
Since Marcelo has done well with taking the back and leglocks, maybe they are what you need to beat a bigger guy. But then again, maybe not. I don't know since I don't know your game or your body type. If those have been working for little guys and you want to try them out, go for it. It's a safe bet. I think taking the back is always a good idea regardless of who you're fighting. But I don't like leglocks since a bigger guy can step through them more easily. But maybe I just suck at leg locks. Maybe you'll do better. Or not.
I'm rambling, so what am I getting at? That what works for Marcelo may or may not work for me and you, or what works for me may not work for you, and what works for you may not work for me. So what do we do?
Find what works best for YOU.
This is only going to come about from serious training, trial and error and thinking about how to improve your performance.
Recommendations, advice, tips and all that will help. But it really comes for you putting in the mat time and developing yourself as an athlete.
So what do you actually DO to realize your goals?
Train more. Train a lot. Train everyday. Train twice a day.
Work on core body movements, e.g. shrimping to escape side control and mount, moving your hips and circling your legs to maintain guard and stop passes, moving your hips to take the back, etc. It's all in the hips.
In line with the last one, work on your escapes. The only way you're going to have any offense against a big guy is if you've got good defenses. Side control escapes are particularly important, and I consider them to be important to a good guard (since you're never going to have a good guard when you're always under side control).
Think about your posture at all times: passing guard is the first that comes to mind, but don't forget where to put your head and hands when you've got half guard, are escaping side control, mount, knee-on-belly or rear mount, when you're turtled, etc. Hell, even when you have CLOSED guard, with how popular the arm-behind-the-back pass seems to be getting. There are safer and more secure ways to hold your hands, head, etc. in any position. Learn these and put them in practice and you'll find yourself freer to escape and attack with less risk of submission or counter.
DRILL DRILL DRILL. I think this is most important. This is where you put all the theories into practice and pound them out until they work (or drop them if they don't). I recommend starting with static reps, but working up to isolated drilling/sparring.
Let's say you're working on side control escapes. Warm up with some shrimping to get your hips moving. Then get your partner and put in static reps of a particular side control escape, making sure to get all the details perfect (hand position, head position, hips, sequence of actions, etc.).
Then do positional sparring, starting under side control. Your goal is to escape (return to guard or reverse positions). Their goal is to maintain side control, improve their position (take mount, knee-on-belly or rear mount) or submit you. Restart when either one meets their goal.
Start at about 10%, and as you succeed, you both start upping the intensity (resistance, pressure, aggression, etc.). Work up through 25%, 50%, 75% until you're at 100%.
Do several rounds (maybe half-rounds) of this, switching top and bottom.
In these drills, there is cooperation between you and your training partner even though it's "sparring". The point is not to simply kill the guy on bottom but to help him start at a lower level of resistance and build it progressively until he can perform at 100%. It's also a lot safer than going straight to balls out sparring, and it is smarter for improving specific skills.
You can do this for any position, and even build it around certain skills or concepts that encompass several positions. Look into the I Method that Straight Blast Gym uses for more on this kind of training. They have made really good use of this kind of isolated, progressive-resistance training.
I could go on but I think that pretty well covers it for now. All of what I recommend really applies to anyone big or small, regardless of strength, speed, flexibility, cardio, whatever. It just happens to be especially true for the smaller guys.
I hope this helps.