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    Picking an art based on body type

    I've been studying TKD (not in the ATA or WTF) for a while now and recently decided to try to learn something about grapping and how to fight on the ground in case it ever came to that in the real world. I've done a tiny bit of BJJ so far and I've noticed that most everyone I run in to in it is short and stocky. I'm 6'7" and weigh around 200 lbs. I asked one of the instructors about this an he told me that my build would work against me at the beginning (and it has) but in time, it would become a significant advantage. I've got no reason not to believe him but, well, talk is pretty cheap. Before I invest a lot of time in trying to learn something I might not even been well suited for, I wanted to get some outside opinions on the matter. Would a big, skinny guy really be well-suited to BJJ and so should I keep on taking my lumps until I learn or is there another style with more ground/grappling that would be better suited to me?

    #2
    I'm a somewhat tall guy (6'2'') and I would say that BJJ is fine for me or you. If your legs are longer, you'll have a better guard game and be able to get more submissions and sweeps. You'll also be able to bridge higher and escape positions easier. A disadvantage would be that long arms and legs are more susceptible to submissions. Also, standing up, you'll probably be easier to take down because your center of gravity is higher. Working from the top may be a little harder because the guy on the bottom may have extra space to work with. Grappling can work for anyone, different body types just have different games, different things to work on. You'll excell in certain things like the guard, while you'll be weaker in other areas. Small people are the same way in that they may have a harder time locking guard or getting submissions using their own legs.

    It takes some time to learn to use the guard effectively, so in that respect it may be hard at first, but grappling is hard for anyone to learn as a beginner. I say keep learning it because it is a great art, and it will most definately work for you.

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      #3
      Speaking as one big skinny guy to another, BJJ will be just fine.

      The only height related problem I've had is with some of the Judo type hip or shoulder throws. I prefer wrestling style takedowns. On the ground it doesn't seem to make any difference.

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        #4
        Go for it.
        But you should probably learn some striking, too. In case it comes to that in the real world.

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          #5
          If jiu jitsu can work for guys with no arms, I think it can work for a 6'7" 200lbs healthy guy. In other words: quit yo' bitchin'.
          Originally posted by Osiris
          Imagine if track was run like the martial arts community. While the winning teams would just sprint down the field, smoking the competition, you'd have a bunch of losers running around explaining how they can skip down the track just as fast. Never mind that it doesn't fucking work. Oh no, they're too fast for track. They run on the STREET.

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            #6
            once technical skills are mastered, physical characteristics that give advantage come into play.

            reach is a two edged sword. you need speed to cover the openings that your reach creates.

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              #7
              Hell yeah. I also am a tall and skinny guy (absurdly so: 6'5", approx 165 lbs/75 kg), and this comes in really useful for certain aspects of the game, particularly as I'm reasonably flexible.

              Pros:
              Guard. Given sufficiently long legs, you will be able from closed guard to switch to body triangling thin people; this is hard to break. You can thus play very safe while looking for opportunities. Against fatter people, you'll be able to hold a closed guard where other people's legs just wouldn't reach. Big feet make for extra-large hooks, allowing you to get away with being a little sloppier in butterfly guard. Extra reach with the arms helps with several submission options. Grapevining the legs to stretch them out is easy - you've got so much leg they really stretch. More reach with the arms means more latitude to underhook their legs for sweeps etc. There are just so many pros for this position...

              Triangle chokes. You should be able to triangle almost anyone with your leg length; it's also that much easier to get the initial set-up, though you may need to work a little more on getting your triangle tight enough to bite.

              In guard. Extra reach again means you can get your knees wider and have a more solid base, protecting you better against sweeps. You'll also get more leverage with some manoeuvres e.g. the knee-in-coccyx closed guard break. You've got more latitude to react to arm drags etc as you need to be moved more to attain the same result. You can stretch your limbs further out to get past knees, etc.

              Under mount, side control, etc. Long legs + flexibility = higher bridges. If you can get leverage for an elbow or knee, you can create more space than someone with shorter arms or legs could. (But you'll need it).

              Half guard. Longer legs let you reach further to trap an opponent's leg, which helps with some half-guard sweeps.

              On top. Long arms mean longer upper arms mean a wider base when you're forced to stick an elbow out to avoid being turned over. Leg length helps with using them as counterweight in kesa gatame etc.

              Takedowns. I know some bloody good judo players who're tall and skinny. I'm not one of them. However, you can create a very solid game around your strengths: lots of ashiwaza, o-soto-gari, uchi-mata, sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi, other tall man throws. Hip throws not so much. And sumi-gaeshi's great, but I'm told it's great for everyone. You can really sprawl, though.

              Cons:
              Side control. It's impossible not to give away more space than a shorter player would, unless you have more than one elbow/knee per limb. You just can't fit against them as snugly. (Kesa gatame's all good though).

              Under side control. They, however, can fit against you plenty snugly, and can be much sloppier and still not give you space to work with. You'll really have to work that shrimping...

              Under mount. Again, shrimping through is a harder option, you've got that much more leg to bring through.

              Half mount. Big feet are easily trapped, so getting your leg all the way out to a proper full mount you can armbar from is hard work.

              Takedowns. A high centre of gravity makes you the short hip-throw merchant's dream. You need to be careful not to let them get their hips in under yours.

              I'm sure other people can probably think of more. But there are huge pros to having long limbs on the ground. People talk about the leverage aspect as something that works against you, and yeah, they've got more to work with applying that armbar; but first they've got to get to that armbar. The flip side of this is that for a shorter person to reach the same points that you can reach if they were in your position, they need to straighten their limbs more, putting themselves at greater risk of being caught with a straight-limb lock. I'll take lowered risk of getting into a submission position in the first place over a slightly easier escape when there any day.

              In summary: there are many, many places where your build will be a huge asset. You'll probably come to believe in time, as I do, that the pros outweigh the cons greatly enough that it seriously advantages you in groundfighting. You merely need to adapt your game so it works for you.

              Comment


                #8
                Three words, one man:

                Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

                Possibly the best BJJ practitioner alive if not only in MMA, and while he isn't quite as tall as yourself, he's still not short by any means. You should be able to get it ro work for you, or at the very least learn a lot about defense.

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                  #9
                  If you have decent speed, with that reach you'd be tough to beat in boxing. 6'7" cruiserweight? You'd mostly be fighting against people around 6 foot.
                  You can't make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.

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                    #10
                    Dude, former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir is 6'1 and 240lbs and he is a brown belt BJJ fighter. Yeah, it is an anecdotal fact, but that should come as proof that size and mass should not be treated as an impassable obstacle to learn BJJ or anything for that matter :)

                    Maybe down the road you decide to try something else. Who knows, maybe BJJ turns not to be of your liking (which is totally legit). Your size will have its pros and cons, no matter the style you chose IMO.

                    *** EDIT ***

                    Yeah, what Hurt said. Minotauro may be a much better example of a heavyweight man who happens to be a successfull BJJ fighter.
                    Last edited by Teh El Macho; 5/03/2006 9:23am, .
                    Read this for flexibility and injury prevention, this, this and this for supplementation, this on grip conditioning, and this on staph. New: On strenght standards, relationships and structural balance. Shoulder problems? Read this.

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                    The street argument is retarded. BJJ is so much overkill for the street that its ridiculous. Unless you're the idiot that picks a fight with the high school wrestling team, barring knife or gun play, the opponent shouldn't make it past double leg + ground and pound - Osiris

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                      #11

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