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Giant Killer Techniques

Giant Killer Techniques


We all know what it is like to get paired up with bigger guys in the academy. When approaching a roll with someone who has a substantial amount of weight on you, it is important to have strategies in place. Typically bigger opponents like to use moves that have weight distribution dependency.

When rolling with a “giant,” you have to be vigilant, and be able to get to positions with good control and nullify their ability to implement pressure.  You also have to use submissions that allow you to maximize your strength while minimizing their defense.  Some great Giant killing positions and submissions include closed guard, wrist locks and foot locks.

The Closed Guard for Giant Killing

When facing an opponent who is much heavier than you, the best position to control them from is closed guard. This is also the best way to deal with a bigger opponent in a self-defense situation.  Closed guard allows you to nullify many of the advantages that a heavier person may have. If you want to add a good submission to your closed guard, check out our post on the cross choke.

With your legs wrapped around their hips, it is hard for them to utilize cross faces, under hooks, and other techniques that may let them distribute pressure with their weight.  Bigger opponents typically love to flatten you out by getting an under hook and cross face.

In closed guard it is theoretically impossible for someone to submit you, and it is extremely difficult to smash you.  Your legs allow you to maneuver them, against big guys, this is critical.  If you have a giant in your half guard, they may be able to apply “strength” submissions such as Americanas, Kimuras, or Ezekiel Chokes.   Having them in your closed guard will nullify all of this.  Check out this video of Black Belt World Champion, Claudio Calassans, demonstrating an incredible wrist lock from the closed guard.

Wrist Locks for Giant Killing

Wrist locks may be the most underutilized submission in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Contrary to popular belief, the wrist lock is one of the submissions that requires minimal strength, and can be applied on people much heavier than you.  If you want to learn a slick wrist lock, check out our post “A Brutal and Easy Wristlock.”

Why is the wrist lock so effective against Giants? It is because you are using so much strength and leverage against a part of your opponent’s body that has no muscles. Wristlocks have a bad reputation because people don’t have the proper knowledge on how to apply them.  6x Black Belt World Champion, Rafa Mendes, used wrist locks in the 2016 world championships to finish people at the highest level, it works. Check out this devastating wristlock from Travis Stevens below, pay attention to the details.

Foot Locks for Giant Killing

Foot locks are another extremely under rated submission.  A properly applied strait foot lock can very easily break your opponent’s metatarsals.  Why is it effective against giants? 

Foot locks are a great submission because they present themselves very often. If you can't pass a big guys guard and manage to get him into single leg X, you can immediately attack a foot lock.  Foot locks also allow you to use an immense amount of strength, and leverage against one small part of the body.  No matter how much bigger your opponent is than you, escaping a foot lock does not depend on strength. Check out this video of Luiz Panza demonstrating and extremely technical approach to the strait foot lock.

If you want to become a “Giant Killer” yourself, get your hands on Black Belt World Champion, Claudio Calassans DVD, “Giant Killing.”


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