T Nation

Big Guy vs Little Guys

What i’m about to say, may not be politically correct, but its fact. Many guys out here like to say that size and strength don’t have anything to do with fighting, i say, ya right, lol. a few years back, i once remember seeing a guy, who was a black belt in karate, he thought he was tough as hell, and he started talking trash with this big weightlifter, big mistake. i knew the weightlifter, i trained with him. he was about 245-250lbs, he had a near 550lb bench press. the karate guy was about 170lbs. the karate guy landed a good fast punch to my buddy, after that, he charged the karate guy barreled in, grabbed a hold of him, grabbed him by his legs, and picked him up so fast, within seconds, slammed him so hard to the ground, and just pounded him into a bloody mess. YOu see, even though my freind wasn’t even a trained fighter. with all the karate guys training, nothing could prepare him for a rageing monster coming at him. So please, next time you guys think a little guy can beat a big strong monster, really think what you are saying. the karate guy tried fighting back, but he just didn’t have the strength to get my friend off of him. now i’m sure, if u take a really skilled little man, and put him in with a big couch potato, then he would win. but we are talking about weightlifting monsters here, 230lbs and up. i myself, am 275lbs, and often here how this little guy can take me, i just laugh, and say, sure thing buddy, keep dreaming. they say they are faster, who cares, if u can’t hurt me, big deal, when i hit you, ur going down, simple.

I wouldn’t underestimate those who know grappling hold and locks. Also, someone who knows how to tweak pressure points would have an advantage over a big brawler.

Big guys that are equally skilled (or better) at fighting have the “wingspan” advantage and therfore can make it hell to beat them. I’m 5’9, and, in college (where I fought alot), have destroyed some 6’7" lineman in bar fights. It also helps that I’m a black belt (and can use it) - but if the big monsters I fought understood fighting as well as I did I would have been in for a major ass kicking. I’ve lost very few fights, never to a big guy but actually to little guys (like 5’5/5’4)! They where quicker and much better fighters than me (although they looked like pussies). But trust me on this, if your a big guy and you cross somebody that knows how to fight at the level I do, get ready to go to the hospital.

“Me Conan, me smash puny man.” Dude, what does a strong bench have to do with a punch? Please tell me? I would suggest you do some research into the role of the hips, trunk, and limbs, contribution to punching power. I bet you a middleweight olympic lifter would be more likely to have more punching than power your trillion pound, 500 .lb bencher. And just because someone takes karate doesn’t mean they can fight. Royce, Rickson, neither one a big guy, but beat bigger guys all the time. I remember one that bucket of roids Mark Coleman got ko’d by the “small dude.” Dude, I know a somewhat known bodybuilder in my area who not to long ago got knocked the hell out by some little mexican dude. God, I still laugh to this very day.

Silly Traditional martial artists. Karate, Kendo, and other such structures were originally designed to be used by men wearing 75-100 lbs. of armor. The actions were slower, “longer” (more extended) and more prescise. Today, other than Kevlar clad SWAT Teams, we really don’t utilize armor in our everyday routines. When involved in an actual confrontation, the large bodybuilder is not going to wait for you to get into proper stance, pull your arm back, and thrust accordingly. Instead, he will most LIKELY smash your head into the wall creating a substance akin to a smashed strawberry pancake with eggshells in it. Bruce Lee’s art, Jeet Kune Do broke down the traditional movements into simple, direct attacks. Someone grabs you, you punch them in the throat; simple and effective. Grappling is a useful equalizer as well, particularly Gracie Ju Jitsu. When on the ground, size is a greatly reduced factor in the fight, though strength does still have it’s advantages. The beauty of grappling holds is that they need not be executed PRECISELY for optimum effectiveness. An arm bar or wrist lock at a 70 degree angle will hurt nearly or just as much as the same lock done at 90 degrees. This is advantageous for the offensive participant, or, in our exemplified case here, the idiot picking a fight with the large bodybuilder. Lata.

"MB Eric: Grappling with insanity and about to tap out since 1672."


Guns are the great equalizer, (no,I don’t own one)and the element of suprise, ask Lorena Bobbit. I have also noticed that the guy who hits first, and hardest, wins. These are usually the older guys, who don’t have the time or endurance to do much talking or posturing first.

I say once the big guy gets a chance, the little guy is as good as dead. Like Vovchanchyn (sp?) in Pride, all the fighters know he could knock someone out with one solid hit, so they try to get him on the ground or something. And Jim McKenzie, the guy from the ‘Achieving Structural Balance’ article, if you give him a chance to get you, you’ll get your eyesocket broken, like daryl sydor did.

Bro, a black belt does not mean JACK! I know some black belts who will NOT spar…because they do not want to get hurt (They do not deserve those Black Belts in my opinion). Also, if the Martial Artist in question has no idea how his body reacts under adreniline (AKA Adreniline Stress Response) he is just as effective as the average joe, and will probably get killed by a larger opponent. As a M/A who competes, I will tell you how much fun it is to watch the “Natural” M/A who does everything perfect in class (and looks damn better than I do doing it) get into the competition ring for the first time…and suddenly they realize that this is about hitting HARD, and it HURTS! Then his adreniline kicks in, and he is TOAST. To me any Martial Artist who got his Black Belt while doing NO sparring, or “touch” sparring…is fairly useless. You learn to pull your punches too much, and you have no idea how your body reacts to the Adreniline Stress Response. However a competitivly trained Martial Artist in ANY style who has learned to handle getting hit, and learned to handle his adreniline rush I would give a better than 60% chance to against a larger untrained opponent. Of course, I am 6’5" and 256, and a martial artist, so perhaps I shouldnt talk for the smaller guys.

I still am not sure if a top notch middle weight Boxer or kick boxer would beat a pretty much novice fighting a heavy elite OLer. Elite Olympic lifters are the most powerful and quickest people on the planet. Now if a top notch grappler was fighting i would probably go with him.

And just to set the record straight…I was CERTAINLY not one of those types of guys that came back to his ring coach looking like a deer in headlights after his very first round of competition in his life whining about how hard I was just hit…nosiree bob! And I certainly didnt get hit with adreniline, and have #1 shortened range of motion (My head kicks didnt even get to his shoulder) #2 Tunnel Vision (Of course I saw that head shot coming! (learn to scan!)) #3 selective hearing (Sure I heard the ref say break!) Nope…not me!! Everything I put in the post above was just from watching others…cause as a big bad macho T-man…I would NEVER of had those issues my very first competition!! Just wanted to set that straight!! LOL!

Whopper said it about as good as you can say it. You don’t hear many people talk about the adrenaline stress response but in my opinion it’s one of the most important things for street fighting. Let me also add that there is a difference between the kind’ve response one might get in a fixed setting, such as in a tournament or a boxing ring, and a spur of the moment fight in a bar or whatever. You can prepare all you want but you never know how your mind and body are gonna react until you get in that situation.
I agree with you about the small karate guy getting overpowered by the big weightlifter…more times then not thats exactly what would happen. However, if the smaller guy was trained in the art of grappling, submissions and close in ground fighting it might be a different story.

Conan - correct me if Im wrong but I strongly suspect you are a big guy with little experience in brawling or sparring (without foo foo rules). There are loads of guys my height (5’9) and smaller who could quickly help you to understand the error of your ways in any way you chose from submission to ground and pound to a good side of jaw “one hook you never even saw and youre snoring”. Technique is the major factor period. Your example was a striker with unrealistic training getting grappled. If the little guy could actually fight (and if you cant grapple you cant fight) the result would have been very different. I personally dont concern myself with size because the real risk in a fight is that your opponent has better technique and if he does you will most likely be hist irrespective of size. I say all this from painful experiences learnt over time including back when also didnt understand the real difference between winnin and losing in a fight. You may not agree now, but I know you will one day, especially with the view you put in your thread. You might want to watch UFCs 1-3 (no weight classes, little guys prevail and 180 pounder wins) to learn more about this without getting hurt.

Dre and Kelley, I hear the grappler in each of you, so as a striker I must step up and say that we were taught that in a street situation the LAST place you want to be is on the ground…because thats when his buddies tend to get brave and use your head or ribs for a soccer ball!! Secondly, any well trained Martial artist should be able to…in my opinion, end a fight with no more than 3 strikes. (If you ever noticed, Bruce Lee started almost every fight with a “cut” kick to his opponents knee…I believe in that strategy myself (in a street fight only…not competition) If you loose a wheel, you have pretty much lost…even on the ground. Considering that Soviet Spetnaz training teaches their soldiers to land over 500 strikes in one minute…performing 3 well placed strikes in a second should be achievable to ANY striker worth his rank. However, I would agree that some ground training never hurts…just in case, you need to know your basics, your judo rolls, and how to reverse simple grapples. Again tho I do realize that my size and weight really do not give me a decent perspective on being your size, so I should probably just shut up on the topic of grappling.

I think what he’s trying to say is the little guy is not going to come out on top unless he is a relatively advanced skill level.

Imagine a 165 lb karate kid with a brown belt going against a 230 lb beast :slight_smile:

But I know what the other guys are saying too. Grappling, joint locks, etc, can be brutal (if you know how to properly use them, not in slow motion like you learned). This is rarer than most of you think though. Sparring can only go so far because if it crossed the line someone would get hurt. So many jujitsu guys train up to a point but never finish it like they would have to in a confrontation. They just assume they could. Well, maybe they could. And maybe they couldn’t. I mean bending and twisting that 150 lb jujitsu instructor in a demonstration is one thing, but trying to bend the arms of a 230 lb weightlifter is going to be “slightly” different.

Hey big bro Whopper. Im with you man and am actually more of a work off the jab puncher that is luck enough to never have been in a brawl that involved grappling. I agree about grappling where groups are involved but you have to admit that if a person with excellent strikes but no grappling went one on one with a grappler the striker could be in trouble in spite of his years of training. We’ve seen it on UFC and ive seen it in even uglier street circumstances. If fighting skills are a goal, all aspects need to be developed - otherwise its like lifting to get big but only doing chest and arms.

I want to add on to what the Big Mac said…If I was a thug and didn’t give a shit, when you get occupied with one arm trying to position for a submission…Well, that’s exactly when I’d sneak out my blade while your preoccupied and stick ya in the liver. I’m not knocking groundfighting at all. Hey, there’s a damn good chance you might end up on the ground. But, I just feel like sometimes Martial Artists forget that the street isn’t always “fair.” I agree with Whopper (kidding earlier big guy), I want the fight to stay standing. If the shit gets to hectic I can still turn heel and run. Hard to do when your committedd in a grappling match on the ground. And trust me, I’m not too prideful that if a knife gets pulled I’m not getting the hell out of there. Just my opinion.

Naturalman, I agree 100% a knife comes out and I am running my ass off. As I had posted a while back, I went to several knife fighting seminars, and knife fought some equally trained people…and I learned…YOU WILL DIE! All these fancy counters, and crap that you practice at 1/2 speed…are pretty much useless if the person has any idea how to use a knife (And no, you dont raise it above your head and bring it down in a long slow lazy stabbing motion…then the knife fighter will lose…but that only happens in the movies) DRE as far as grappling and striking they both play a role…I agree if you have grappling experience and I don’t and it ends up on the ground…I could be in for a world of hurt…thats why I know my grappling basics. To me, the biggest problem with martial arts today is they teach too much…I bet every fighter here knows 15 diferent ways to get out of someones hands around your throat, block a punch, etc. You need ONE…and that one you should practice again and again and again so that when adreniline hits you dont have to think…you DO. An instructor I had told me to MASTER ONE kick, ONE punch, and ONE block until you do them instinctivly. The same holds true for basic counters…find which ones work best for YOU and YOUR body…then forget the rest of them. I may not be the fanciest fighter, but I have a jab/reverse punch that will send you into next week…it is MY favorite punch. My hooks, uppercuts, backfists…are all OK, they will do the job, but the jab/reverse punch would be what I would lead with in any fight…after I took your knee out of course! Last but not least, I do not think Martial Artists get hit enough…I mean HIT. One of the BEST training tecniques my instructor came up with is one person stands in front of the other with his hands behind his back. Your partner starts with light shots to the stomach/chest that keep getting harder…(and he makes sure we nail each other pretty hard by the end) You don’t block…or counter, you TAKE the shot. Advanced classes we do the same with kicks to the head (not fists tho) Too many M/A and tough guys (In their mind) think they are ALL THAT until the very first time they get hit HARD…then they crumble…I have seen that happen in many bar fights…one good shot…ends it.

A big strong guy has a big advantage over a smaller opponent. You can ask any MMA in the lighter weight divisions and they will tell you that they wouldn’t stand a chance against the heavy weights. Even an unskilled big strong guy can do damage to a highly skilled small fighter. An other thing, being tall doesn’t mean you are a big guy.

i for one don’t care about self defense.
i am a kickboxer but in no way consider myself a martial artist or care about martial arts.the biggest mistake IMO with trad. stand up MA’s is that they don’t train against grapplers or wild aggressive people. when they spar they spar against other karateka or whatever their style may be.rarely do strikers train to fight grapplers using their striking ability.
i’ve seen ama. boxers(lightweights)beat the snot outta linemen because of 2 reasons, superior movement and conditioning. my friend matt couldn’t hurt theses guys but he would frustrate them, but he didn’t sit still and let them maul him.
i would never use a straight kick or side kick to the knee of an on rushing attacker. it takes what 9 lbs. of pressure to pop a knee? but try landing it while the guy is running at you and you have to land it as he is putting weight on it. harder than it sounds. and striking a guy is a gamble. there are people who can absorb massive amounts of damage and some that can take very little.your biggest advantage(again imo)being a competitive fighter is usually going to be your conditioning. i’ve avoided alotta fights with that thought. " if you wanna get me then you better get me quick,cause if you don’t, when those burritos and cigarettes catch up with you and you run outta gas and i’m still there, don’t think you’re gonna quit because you’re tired, cause then it’s my turn.

whopper I was actually trained as more of a stand-up fighter. Karate since the age of 12. I then got into kickboxing for several years. Just in the past year have I started to learn some ground fighting. I realize I was and still am an incomplete fighter because even with all those striking skills once I hit the floor they were about useless. For anyone who wants to know what it feels like to have a pissed off Boa Constrictor after you, just take a trained grappler and wrestle around with him/her for a while.