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Distance Management the Key to Beating Bigger Guys

Distance Management the Key to Beating Bigger Guys


Distance management is an extremely important concept for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, especially when you are a smaller person.  Being small in bjj can be a blessing and a curse.  If you don’t learn the right moves and can’t create a distance based game, you will get smashed by bigger guys.  The trick to beating bigger opponents in bjj is to create distance and use distance based guards.

What do we mean by distance based guards?  Well you have to learn guards that nullify your opponents strength and weight distribution.  There are so many good guards for this; some of them include single leg X, X guard, spider guard, lasso guard, De La Riva guard, and many other open guards. 

Today we are going to discuss two of these guards, the first being De La Riva and the other being spider guard.  These are probably the best ways to deal with a bigger and stronger opponent; many people refer to these guards as “The Lightweight Guards.” 

De La Riva for Distance control

De La riva may be the best guard in the world to control the distance.  Controlling the distance is SO important for anybody but especially smaller and lighter guys.  There is a reason that DLR is frequently utilized at the highest levels by people like the Mendes brothers, The Miyao Brothers, Caio Terra, and many many more.

Why is DLR so good?  It presents itself very often.  By present itself we mean that there are very many positions in which it is very easy to put in a De La Riva hook and play guard.  Once you are able to get a DLR hook in, the guard is very difficult to pass as long as you know the mechanics.  The biggest benefit is that you can use your legs to keep your opponents weight off of you unlike in half guard or butterfly where your opponent may be able to distribute their weight on you and put pressure. Check out this sweep below from DLR guard.

Spider Guard

Spider guard is another one of the best guards to control the distance.  This happens when you are controlling your opponent’s sleeves and you put their feet on their biceps and extend one leg while retracting the other.  This allows you to play your opponent like a puppet.  

Spider guard may be one of the best guards for a smaller opponent.  Your legs are so strong and it is nearly impossible for your opponent to close the distance if you have a good spider guard.  Many people dislike the spider guard but it is probably because they don’t know how to beat it. Being in someone’s spider guard may be the most frustrating thing to deal with.  Check out these cool spider guard drills below.

If you guys want to learn how to move like a light weight, check out purple belt World Champion, Matheus Gonzaga’s DVD set, “The Lightweight Guard.”


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