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My Powerlifting Mixed with BJJ Experience...


2 months ago, I stumbled into a small BJJ gym and the instructor gave me a free lesson and I have been hooked ever since.

I have progressed enough to have earned 1 stripe on my white belt...Yaaaahooo! right?

This is what I learned and any help, guidance would be appreciated
1) Since I train to powerlift, my explosion to a move is hard to stop per the instructor
2) I still rely on a lot of strength instead of technique since I can over-power everyone in the club who weigh more or less than me
3) I have learned to move my hips and focus on position instead of strength...still a work in progress because once the instructor puts me in a lock I freak out and rely on brute strength
4) BJJ has increased my flexibility which has helped me in my powerlifting

I am really hooked on this sport of BJJ. My first comp is May 8 in Dallas. I have learned to protect and survive since I constantly roll with the instructor who is a 4 stripe purple belt. He overcomes my strength with pure patience and technique. Most of the time it is him and I in class because people enjoy paying money and not coming to class.

Is there any training tools I can use, credible websites I can visit or anything? I am unsure of where exactly to go and who has the most credibile information since everyone has a BJJ website up. I hear the name Gracie a lot but are there anymore sites out there that is credible by the sports standards?


Welcome to a great sport! Where do you train? What tournament are you doing?

Two tips for not using strength:
1) Think about everything you do. Strength does not beat a good angle or leverage. Experience brings plenty of both. Every time you get put into a position or submission, ask yourself if you have learned a specific escape or reversal from that spot. Ask higher belts to work a spot with you and tell them not to let you muscle them

2)Roll with much, much bigger guys. 280lb, 320lb, etc... They are out there and they often don't let you muscle them for anything.

I train at RCJ Machado Jiujitsu in The Colony. I'll be doing the NAGA tournament on May 14th in Dallas


here are a couple sites i've gotten a lot of info from:



i tend to muscle through technique as well, so for me i found that drilling was more important than rolling.... one of my buddies also suggested training after workign out, so you'd already be tired.


Tod Duffee suggests yoga.


How big are you?

I ask because for most of us, until we started competing/competing again body weight was just a number. But you have to remember if you ever compete, it will be against people roughly your size.

And while it feels great to power through that obnoxious buck-forty purple-belt who was sure his skill would have you tapping, when you compete it will be a different story.

I second the roll with bigger guys. I also say roll slow. If the other guy is moving quick, work your defense, think about what he's doing, be quick/explosive briefly when it's planned and timed for a specific purpose. 90% of the time when I'm rolling I'm not even breathing hard. When I'm training/rolling for fun, ego-free, I'd rather get caught by something I wouldn't if I were rolling "competition style" because I'm moving a little slow, thinking and taking my time, than be powering through the round.

The big thing for me is to try and work something specific when I roll, based on who I'm rolling with. If I know I've got the advantage on top, I'll let them put me on my back, and try the more technical/obscure sweeps I'm terrible at.

I think too many people, even who've been doing it awhile, treat all rolling as competitive rolling: it's not.


I train in wichita Falls, tx at a club called Red River BJJ. The only problem with asking higher belts is the only higher belt is the instructor and he is a purple. We are all white belts.

The biggest guy I ever rolled with was around 290-300. Although he was a white belt at another club, he has a Brown Belt in Judo. So when he smashed me, all I could think about is giving up on life just to get him off me. LOL I was still able to over-power but as I have learned, strength is not the key.

The tournament I will be in is the IBJJF on 8 May 2011. Thanks for the tips. Much obliged.


Great insight to the rolling aspect. Never thought about going slow.

My current body weight is 249Lb in off-season of powerlifting and since I have PL comp on 23 April, I will weigh in about 241-242. I try not to go over 250 during my off-peak PL trianing and then cut down maybe 10lbs during my peak season for the Comp.

I guess I should post full stats of:

My instructor says I will be going in the Master's category which is find by me. Nothing like dealing with Old man strength...

If you want to know squats, Bench and DL's numbers see my training log of "Trying to be the strongest in the world".


good luck on your competition, remember, have fun enjoy the experience, don~t tense too much.


Just curious how tall you are, not that it matters that much in grappling.

At that weight you'll probably always be doing the heaviest and/or open weight anyways.


Peeped your logs- good work.
your a big guy.

You would be in masters open weight- which means mostly competitors
over 30 or 35 and close to your or more then your weight.

Masters is fun , you would be paired up with other beginners white belt etc.
sometimes its hard for smaller completions to field enough competitors

I am on the other end of the spectrum from you in that I'm pretty much not allowed to roll
while not exactly a buck40 Im about 185-
competed for years-in wrestling and Judo at 55kg in college which is tiny
yes strength is good it plays less of a part at the lower weights and more of
a part in the bigger weight classes

Its hard to learn Judo BJJJ from video's etc
but there are some excellent sites out there
right now I would recommend not watching other videos-
as in the beginning it can get confusing

If you are looking for some stuff to do as far as mobility
I can recommend a few things if your not actively working on mobility
that is.

Defranco has the agile 8,

Eric Cressey has a dvd called magnificent mobility- its excellent.

there was a strongman contributor who wrote an article here


I have a thread on mobility that needs updating its in over 35.

And Martin Rooney- who writes here has some excellent videos and drills on you tube.

One of the biggest gripes I have with any BJJ school is the lack of discipline-
in roling- it should be at 50% or less intensity more like 30 and half speed
for most of it.
Its really abot getting some movement patterns down- but I know its hard
if you are mismatched in weight/strength often


6'0 with shoes...LOL, but seriously, 5'10. Yeah, I was looking at the brackets and I will be in the super heavy weights. My hope and dream is that they are big guys but weak as hell.. OH well, if not, I will just have to keep mobile and moving more than them and keep on the offensive.


Good information my man. I really dropped weight from my beginning days of PL'ing at my heaviest of 301 down to a fluctuating weight of 235-250 depending upon off-season or not with my PL meet cycle. All the good nutritional and excercise information on this sites makes easy for me to feel comfortable gaining a few pounds for strength increase and be able to cut smart and not lose a lot of strength.

Thanks for checking out my log. My first love is PL but I am enjoying BJJ because of the conditioning factor and it is a great substitute to running which I hate!!!!


Since you've only been doing BJJ for two months you don't know too much and the most natural thing for you to do in a bad situation is to use your strength. As your technique improves you will start to relax more and really think about what you are doing and what you will do next.
When you are rolling with people that are much smaller than you with similar technique levels you should be watching how they react and set up submissions/sweeps etc instead of worrying about the "win".
You could also try getting any powerlifters that live near you to join


When rolling with smaller dudes, never go 100%. Don't even try to match them in strength. If you try a sweep, for example, and fail, try not to muscle it through. Eventually you'll develop a sense of what you can and can't get away with on guys your size.

As a larger motha you're going to be on top most of the time. If you stick with it, your top game is going to be awesome. Don't neglect the bottom. Spend days working off your back, on shifting your hips for subs and escapes, and setting up reversals.

Personally, I only ever go 'hard' (80%?) with my purple belt instructor, and this big 40 year old white dude who used to wrestle and outweighs me 20lbs. The rest of the time, against everyone else in my class, I'd say it's about 60% or less. Against beginners who've learned how not to spaz out, I go VERY slow, and work new things, or solidify the stuff I'm already good at.

As competition gets closer, spend more time working at, or close to, competition pace. Just don't burn yourself out. Work on staying calm, and getting used to the speed and fatigue. At white and blue, I feel it's a good tool to have.


Good point of not trying to muscle the movements. I will keep that in mind as I continue my training. Never thought about that...great insight.

I also try to start with either me in their guard or whatever advantage they want. Typically, its either from a cross-side position, top mount or in their guard. If we start equal, my wrestling back ground usually takes over and I am able to take a person down from standing or muscle a person into my guard...

It's funny you mention my top game, because my instructor says the same thing when I take the top position, my "hamhock legs" as he calls them just wraps and pins the person down where they can't move and I constantly get submissions from the top.


Be careful about under utilizing your strength as well.
I got rapped on the knuckles so many times for beasting my way through training (there were maybe 4-5 guys my size or bigger, and a couple dozen 155 or lower weight class guys when I was training at CNYMMA)that I fell into the trap of only grappling with finesse and technique and not using my strength, and ended up getting smoked by a Sambo guy who wasn't afraid of muscling it.

I had trained so hard to be technical and methodical that I had trained myself out of the ability to be explosive and strong on the ground. To this day I'm still vulnerable to being over technical and not going for the physical advantage when it is present.


i love submissions101 to get somes tips and new moves/positions for bjj or nogi


Personally I would skip the powerlifting for a while and concentrate on agility movement and training. Perhaps switch to Oly lifts but there is a steep learning curve so it may not be timely.
The simplest way is then to start kettlebelling which will activate your hips and program your cns to work as a whole rather in segments. It also teaches effective breathing, letting momentum work in parts and actually exerting your strength only when needed and relaxing when needed.
Concentrate on bodyweight movements that move you through space, there are tons of variations of pull ups that you can employ to help you better in bjj. One such pullup is the kipping pull up which is a highly metabolic movement and at the same time teaches an effective cns activation sequence transferable to bjj etc.

Think bear walks, crawls, various pushups that move your body in dynamic/multiple planes rather than just up and down. One legged or one limbed movements also help.
Contreas had an article the other day on torsional strength as well. Check that out.

POwerlifting is so rigid and lacking in dimension, the breathing involved counter productive to fight training. Breathing should occur as a by product of your movement not a concentrated effort. It kills me when I hear coaches screaming breathe, breathe and then athletes get into this stupid concentration trying to breathe which only makes them more tired in effect since they're exerting effort to do it. Breathing should come naturally through the movement, for example when punching the movement involves contractions of certain muscles in the chest, ribs, diaphragm and more likewise in retraction of the punch their is activation and relaxation of various muscles. The aim being to tune these muscles which are working to perform the movement anyway to be the source of your breathing at the same time, without mentally thinking about trying to breathe.
The russians are famous for this and why they can actually fight in a lot calmer manner than many of us, their movements automatically facilitate breath


yeah powerlifting will never make you big and strong


lemonman, big and strong - yes, better at bjj - no.