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Posted: 5/28/2002 6:05:05 PM EST
Over the years during my martial arts training, I’ve had the opportunity to work with people of all shapes and sizes – everyone from kids all the way up to people built like NFL offensive linemen.  Let me relate a story about one of my experiences that may help someone else down the road.

One of the many drills we’ve done in my martial arts class is to practice hook punches for power. The way it works is your partner holds a pair of focus mitts in front of him at about rib level and you alternate left & right hooks to the pads as hard as you possibly can. The pads usually offer good protection for the holder, but we have a few guys who hit hard enough to cause some discomfort to the pad holder’s hands.

On one of the days we were scheduled to do this drill, a new student came in who had to duck when he walked through the door. I’m not exactly little, but this guy was 6’ 8” and 300 lbs. with all kinds of piercings, and he almost made me look petite.  I thought to my self, “That is one big, scary lookin’ dude.” Our Sensei paired us up, and since I was the most experienced student in the class, he put me with Man Mountain. Here’s how the drill went (my thoughts are in brackets):

Sensei: “Mantis, you work with Man Mountain”
Me: “Yes sir, Sensei” (Thanks [b]A LOT[/b] Sensei)

Drill starts with MM punching first

Me: (Man, this is [b]really[/b] going to hurt!)

Me: “OK big guy, lets see what you’ve got” (Bracing myself)
MM: “Grrrrrrr !!”  Hits pad.
Me: (Hmmm, he must have glanced off)

MM hits again. Second light shot. (Maybe he didn’t understand the directions)
Me: “Hey big fella, hit it full contact”
MM: “[b]GRRRRRRR !!![/b]”  Hits again, another light shot.
Me: (Maybe he’s warming up)

More light hits again and again.

Me: “Do you realize you’re supposed to hit the pads as hard as you possibly can ?”
MM: “[b]I AM !!![/b]”
Me: “Oh.”

My first thought was, “It’s a good thing this guy is here learning, because if he is out on the street and someone who is not intimidated by his size takes him on, he is going to get his arse kicked!”

We did some modified sparring later on in the class, and I basically had my way with the guy.

I had an almost identical experience a few months later with another guy at the school who was almost as big.  

The moral of the story is, if you have some decent fighting skills, don’t be intimidated by someone just because they are big and scary looking.  In a no holds barred street fight, I would much rather take on a real big guy with little fighting skills than a guy smaller than me who is a trained fighter. Anyone agree or disagree ?
Link Posted: 5/28/2002 7:01:29 PM EST
Hell yeah, I've taken a few exibition matches where  heavey weight couldn't make it, but his opponent really wanted to fight (or we had too many cancellations and we really need fights)  At the time, I fought at light heavy (168-174lbs) I was 172lbs.  The fight was a super heavy weight fight (205+)  I'm only 5'9", this guy was 6'3" and 225, BUT it was only his second fight.  At the time, I only had 4, but I had alot of ring time logged.  Being a newbie and a Super Heavyweight, he was a "head hunter."  He missed me more times than he connected and I made him pay for every time he missed.  It was only an exhibition, but the ref made sure he handed me the big trophy.
Link Posted: 5/28/2002 7:10:01 PM EST
I weigh 377 and stand 6'2"...  I am no martial arts person, but once rushed a punk with numb chucks...  I took one hit to the shoulder and arm... I whipped this Black belt pansy in front of all his pansy assed friends until he cried..

Don't Judge all big men as being weak...  you might be in for a rude awakening [;)]

edited for smiley ....
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 2:33:42 AM EST
I have always been of the belief that speed is more important than size.  I think if you are quick you can employ techniques that will allow you to prevail, even if the other guy is a lot stronger than you.

Link Posted: 5/29/2002 8:45:09 AM EST
I'm with Realist. If skill levels are equal, the guy with the most size will usually have an advantage. I'm 6'2" 270 and I was blessed with tremendous hand speed. I've wrecked alot of smaller fighters because I can take a shot and because when I connect, I really Connect. To say that size doesn't matter is as arbitrary as saying skill level doesn't matter. It DOES matter. Why do you think that even the UFC went to weight classes. A jujitsu fighter with 1000 years of training would get grounded and pounded by a bigger North American with good wrestling skills.
   That being said, I once had the opportunity to spar Rickson Gracie at a seminar in St. Louis-he spanked my ass! The guy weighs 185 and he spanked my ass! He does assert under no uncertain terms that all skill level being equal size does matter. It just so happened to be that hhis skill was much bigger that my size. I learned not underestimate smaller fighters-you should not underestimate larger ones.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 12:53:20 PM EST
It does'nt matter how big those fists are if they are slow.  Now, give that big guy some hands speed and...watch out!
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 1:41:51 PM EST
Size of course DOES matter. If the above "big guy" was smaller he'd have struck the target with even less force.

Of course skill can overcome size and that is why we train.

And I've seen a lot of big guys who cannot fight because they've never had to.

That said I know some big f*ckers who hit like a goddamn truck.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 4:37:44 PM EST
I'll agree with you guys [b]IF[/b] the bigger guy has some fighting skills and also that if skills are equal, the big guy will have an advantage as long as he has some speed. My point is that just because someone looks big and intimidating, it doesn't necessarily mean he'll come out on top in a scrap. I hear a lot of students say "I wouldn't want to mess with that guy !". Well, that may be a prudent thing to do. However, if you find yourself in a nasty situation with a much bigger person, don't loose your confidence and automatically assume you'll get your butt kicked.

What SteyrAUG said about some big guys who can't fight because they never had to is dead on. My instructor had a student years ago who was about 6'5" and 275. This guy was a bit of a bully. One day, he got into a heated argument with a little wiry guy about half his size. He expected the little guy to back down immediately. Much to his surprise, the little guy got right in his face and was ready to go with him. This scared the crap out of the big guy - hence his visit to the martial arts school.

I had a similar situation last year. I've played ice hockey for years, and every once in a while one of the other teams has a goon or two on the roster. During one game, this goon who must have stood 6'10" on skates kept taking runs at our guys & it was pissing me off. I put a good hit on him, and when he got up he was ready for action. I didn't back down a bit and I think it shocked him. He was a good boy for the rest of the game.

Link Posted: 5/29/2002 4:55:25 PM EST
Big does not mean "strong." Do you know how MM trains or keeps his body? 300 pounds of nasty 7-11 nachos with 12oz curls is not making him strong. I would not think all big men are weak just like I would not think all small ones are strong.. I would say the moral of the whole story is a big,strong "scary" trained guy is very dangerous.
Link Posted: 5/29/2002 5:44:20 PM EST
   You speak the truth!
Link Posted: 5/30/2002 4:33:04 AM EST
Never underestimate the other guy...big or small! period.......That being said.....theres always someone bigger........enough of my cliches already.
[;)]......any girl who told you that is LYING!
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 3:37:44 AM EST
Size does matter.

There are factors that can make it matter less, but it matters.

I wouldn't want to fight Shaq.
Something kind of scary about a 300lb., 7 foot tall ATHLETE, with a fist the size of your HEAD, and a reach advantage of about TWO FEET.

Link Posted: 5/31/2002 11:52:52 AM EST
 I think that this has been a valuable discourse and as such, I would like to throw one more log on the fire-motivation. If an individual is highly motivated sometimes even skill, speed and size can be overcome. When I was 14, I came home to find my youngest brother had been beaten up by an 18 year old neighbor neighbor. I mean, this guy beat the hell out of my brother(broken nose and 14 stitches). He had a blackbelt in Kenpo Karate, fast hands and 30 lbs on me. I found him kicking it with his homies about two hours later and proceeded to sneak up behind his car and hit him in the face with an AN/FM radio and then punched his stunned face. Now he survived the initial blows, but there sheer malice and viciousness of my attack stunned him-he broke and ran and I went after him. His three homies also broke and ran. The idea that I was so motivated(a white kid that would attack three African Americans in Gary, Indiana) scared the hell out of them. For them, it was a brutal interruption of a Saturday afternoon of chillin' and for me it was the determination and motivation borne after seeing my 10 year old brother curled in a crying ball.  Don't ever discount motivation!!! Highly motivated people are dangerous!!!
Link Posted: 5/31/2002 4:56:13 PM EST

I agree with your point on motivation, although motivation without some ability may be dangerous. In the experience you described, you also displayed another characteristic that helped you overcome the bad guys – attitude. When you attacked and showed no fear, it looks like those a-holes figured you were too crazy to mess with and they showed what cowards they really were.   I had two real-life situations in the last year that could have turned ugly, but the attitude I displayed shut my potential opponents down real quick. It usually takes a lot to rattle me so I stayed calm throughout the confrontations. These guys sensed a quiet confidence in me that unnerved them, so they backed away. I felt I could have handled either of them if things got nasty, so that probably helped.

I’d say my title for the topic is a bit misleading.  I probably should have titled it “Size doesn’t always matter”, and I’ll stand by that. I didn’t mean that big guys couldn’t fight. They are some big guys I definitely would not want to mess with. I agree that the bigger guy, even without formal training, will have an advantage until his smaller opponent is of a certain skill level. Things will then level out, and after that the more skilled smaller fighter will have an advantage. My whole point was that just because a guy is bigger, it doesn’t mean he will automatically win.

Here’s a perfect example: At the school I attend, we have weekly classes for stand-up fighting and for ground fighting.  I feel comfortable with my stand up abilities, but my ground fighting skills need work, so I attended my first class last night. Near the end of class we have open grappling where you take on each other for two-minute rounds (using only grappling techniques). My first bout was with the instructor. I’m 6 ft and 202 lbs., and since I’ve been lifting weights longer than I care to remember, my strength is much greater than average. My instructor is a police officer who stands MAYBE 5’6”, weighs about 140 lbs., and is an expert grappler. Regardless, I thought with my size advantage and with the limited ground fighting ability I possess, I’d be able to throw him around a little. He choked me out twice in two minutes. Talk about being humbled.
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