Dan Faggella’s Book Hits #1 on Amazon: BJJ Techniques for Beating Bigger, Stronger Opponents
When I initially set out to write a book, the game plan was to take years of interview with the world’s best Lightweight BJJ World Champions, mix it with my own knowledge of body mechanics and skill development, and share it with the Jiu Jitsu community in a way that would shed light on the important, recent paradigm shifts in the sport
Months later – after photo shoots and more writing than I’ve done since college – the book hit the proverbial “shelves” and ended up being a runaway #1 Best Seller on Amazon under the entire category of “Martial Arts.” I thought maybe we’d have a chance of winning in the category of “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,” but “Martial Arts”? I was a little shocked, a little honored, and more than enthusiastic about the response across the BJJ world.
The review below was written by Johnny Red, to whom I’m very grateful to have such a great review, and you can see all of the other reviews by clicking the book itself, which I’ve included on this page. If you’ve gotten the book, or have questions about it, please do let me know, and otherwise – thanks again to Johnny for the review – and keep grappling smart!
Book Review: BJJ Techniques to Defeat Bigger and Stronger Opponents
Dan’s whole BJJ carrer has been designed around beating bigger and stronger opponents and his 128 lb frame sometimes has gone against him. After years of trial and error and interviews with the top lightweight BJJ black belts in the world he’s honed this skill to a science and I wanted to give an in-depth view into the book itself for anyone who’s heard about it since the Amazon release. Let’s take a look into what each of the books in my series teaches
Sweeping the Larger Opponent: Chapter 1
The eBook about sweeps is the first in the series and covers some key, crucial concepts that are need in order to go from bottom to top against a bigger and larger opponent. Whenever you are trying to sweep from the bottom you must be very very aggressive. I cannot stress that if your opponent is already starting to try and pass that it is too late.
The book uses the example of Rafael Mendes and how he pulls into the de la Riva and instantly hits a berimbolo to take the back which brings us to our next key concept. Our sweeps should be formulated about getting under our opponents base and not trying to just tip the over. So we should be trying sweeps from the X guard instead of trying something such as the hip bump. Once you do take top position the best place for us to be is on the back. It is easy for a bigger stronger opponent too chuck us off positions like side control and mount. Once you are on the back it is a done deal and we can start working our arsenal of submissions.
The Submission Game: Chapter 2
This is my favorite of all the eBooks and my favorite part of BJJ because who doesn’t enjoy getting their opponent to tap? Now we can’t just rush on in and try to submit someone bigger than us without any knowledge of the art so let’s look at the concepts covered in this book. I chose a quote from the book which I think you guys would like; “Play to your strengths, prey on their weaknesses, and use a lot of you against the little parts of them.” I love that quote. Whenever fighting a bigger stronger opponent you must be trickier and pick out those subs that play to your strengths and prey on their weakness. Good examples of these subs are the toehold, heel hooks, and rear naked chokes. You don’t want to combat the strongest parts of their bodies in submissions like keylocks and kneebars. The concept of initial snugness and cross sectional bites is also discussed and I find to be revolutionary in the little man game.
Pass the Guard: Chapter 3
Passing the guard is the most fundamental skill we learn in BJJ. BJJ is the only combat sport where fighting off the back is not only common but often advantageous so what do we do when we come across this situation as a little guy? First thing is first, do not get locked or trapped in! It is going to be very hard to deal with the strength and raw power of bigger opponents when we are stuck in their various guards which is why most of my passes are from the feet as compared to low inside passes. I also cover the key concept of passing to the back. As covered in the books before the back is the place to be for a smaller grappler. I also cover different strategies and techniques if you are trapped in a bigger opponents guard.
Reader Reviews on Amazon:
Fighting from the Feet: Chapter 4
Fighting from the feet is the most neglected part of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Most academies will have students start on the ground already in the open guard and this is why wrestlers and judo players have such an advantage over most BJJ fighters in tournament when the match starts. The last thing you want to do is being the smaller guy in an absolute division going for a takedown and have it fail because you don’t know how to properly take on the giants. It is important to keep the distance, be fast, agile, and aggressive. If you decide to pull guard it is important not to just pull into full guard. This may work in your own weight class but a bigger or stronger opponent can pass you with ease. That’s why I aggressively pull into sweeps and submissions from the start. The most famous example of this is my match against the giant which can be seen on YouTube. When I pull guard on bigger guys I either like to go inverted or pull into X guard because I’m attacking their base like we covered in the sweeps eBook. Believe it or not wrestling works well against bigger opponents too. The key concept is not to go head on with techniques such as a blast double leg but instead attack to the sides with things like a low inside single leg or arm drags. I also cover different training strategies and drills you can practice in your own gym to be a killer from the feet. Statistics show that the fighter who gets the first points will more than likely win the match.
Escaping Bad Positions: Chapter 5
Being crushed under a 240 lb man who is trying to rip your arm off is one of the most disheartening feelings in the world. In this eBook I cover not only escapes from these positions but also prevention. Prevention is key because if we stuff our opponents’ attempts to take a dominant position then we won’t have to worry about getting the life sucked out of us from bottom. Arguably one of the worst positions, the full mount, is seen innumerably in absolute divisions. We’ve learnt many different escapes in our careers but only a few work in the David vs Goliath battle when you are David. Trying to buck and roll a bigger opponent with a superior base is almost impossible. In the book I dive into the top percentage escapes such as the knee to elbow escape and how to get a heel hook from bottom mount. From side control I cover different stratagies and techniques to escape and take the back, a key micro BJJ concept. We also go over how to set up scrambles and set up better guards such as the Z guard and de la Riva from the full guard. This book is crucial to your game because you will be squished and put into these positions by bigger stronger opponents and it is up to you to fight back
Grappling Smart: Chapter 6
My book in the series titled Grappling Smart covers the mentality needed to be an effective lightweight fighter along with a case study of lighter weight IBJJF divisions and how these occurrences can work well against larger opponents. We notice in the lightweight matches that there are very few consolidated positions and we see fighting in guard more than anything. Lighter weight fighters also transition to top turtle and the back more than anything as well and have amazing back mount retention. So why are all the matches like this? The smaller fighters are used to being pinned by bigger guys in the gym so when they go to competition against guys their own size they have no problem escaping or regaining their guards. The matches are fun to watch due to the speed of the lighter weights and their great cardio. I also cover the mindset you must have by viciously hunting for sweeps and submissions. We also dive Into the concept of the entanglement game and the usage of the 50/50.
The Best Resource for Fighters of All Size
I truly believe that this eBook collection compiles the best techniques for fighters of any size. Not only is it going to get you to win matches as a smaller guy but we are seeing the increased usage of “little guy moves”. A perfect example of this is how Buchecha secured his victory in the IBJJF Black Belt World Championship against Rodolfo by using a berimbolo or how UFC star Rousimar Palhares dives underneath his opponents to viciously attack the legs for toeholds and heel hooks. The concepts of this book cover all weight classes in both BJJ and MMA and I recommend it to everyone. There are not many feelings as cool in life than standing up on the podium weighing in under 155 lbs staring down at your monsters of men you just defeated.”