Many people who are drawn to BJJ are not naturally athletic. Some of us may have attributes that we see as disadvantageous that actually can work in our favor if we cultivate them.
1. Being physically skinny/small: Many guys wish they were bigger and stronger looking, but some people are physically smaller and skinner and will be that way no matter what they do. A physically smaller person can be harder to hold down. Since there is less of them to grab hold of they can use their skinniness as a tool to maneuver around larger practitioners. In BJJ being strong is always an advantage, but over time a physically smaller person can become much stronger than most people their size and can use their smaller size/stature as an advantage. One strong example of this is in securing the rear naked choke. If you have skinny arms, it may be easier to slid your forearm under the other guys chin than if you had beefy muscular forearms.
2. Physical awkwardness: Being a physically awkward person, Ive been ridiculed for my awkwardness quite often. Physical awkwardness can be turned into a lethal weapon with the right focus. I have found that when I learn new moves I have to play with them a bit because they dont always work for me even if the moves are good. Once I find the right way for me to do the moves with my body, I can apply them very effectively as people are not expecting me to do what I do. Also there are moments in which I can exert explosive strength where most people wouldnt be able to. Be careful though, some training partners may not like to deal with someone who doesnt move like a normal person. Not that ANYONE who rolls around on the ground with other people can really be classified as normal.
3. Being overweight/fat: Some people will always be fat, no matter how in shape they become. Its rare, and our goal should always be to lose non-functional mass, but Ive seen so many different body types. If a person can manage to get themselves into good shape in spite of being fat, they can be formidable. Yeah it sucks that youll never have those six pack abs, but if you get good at BJJ and you go against a guy with a six pack chances are you can smother him and make him wish he had more mass.
4. Being particularly short and stocky or ridiculously tall and lanky: People who fall outside the normal or average range of height experience all sorts of body image problems. Heres where it gets interesting: shorter and stockier people can be powerful wrestlers, and tall lanky people can develop scary guards. Height/limb length are super important aspects of the human body to consider when developing a game. The taller and lankier, or shorter and stockier you are, the more clear cut what that game should be becomes.
Every individual will naturally develop their own game and their own abilities. Being different than the rest can become a way for you to become excellent. Achieve that excellence by embracing your attributes and using it to your advantage.
What sort of attributes do YOU have that set you apart from the rest?
Emil Fischer is an active blue belt competitor under Pablo Angel Castro III training with Strong Style Brasa and is sponsored by Pony Club Grappling Gear and Cruz Combat. For more information, other articles, and competition videos check out his athlete pages at www.facebook.com/emilfischerbjj www.twitter.com/Emil_Fischer and https://instagram.com/emilfischerbjj/