Stephan Kesting – How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent

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“A temporary setback,” he thinks. “I’ll be out of this in a minute, there’

Stephan Kesting - How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent

Stephan Kesting – How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent

Check it out: Stephan Kesting – How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent


My name is Stephan Kesting, and I’m a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu blackbelt, and have been doing martial arts for over 30 years.

I’m also a certified instructor in Erik Paulson’s Combat Submission Wrestling, a blackbelt in Kajukenbo Karate, an instructor in Dan Inosanto’s Jun Fan JKD, Maphalindo Silat and Filipino Martial Arts program. I’ve also studied Japanese Judo, Russian Sambo, various Chinese Kung Fu systems, Brazilian Capoeira, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and many other martial arts.

I’ve published over 20 articles in magazines like blackbelt, Ultimate Grappling, Tapout Magazine and Ultimate Athlete. In addition to my print articles, I also publish two online newsletters: the Beginning BJJ Newsletter and Grapplearts Grappling Tips.

Because I’m considered to be an expert, and have a strong internet presence, I get hundreds of questions every week by email, Facebook, etc.

The most common question – hands down – is always something like:

“What should I do when facing a bigger, stronger person? I try different techniques but none of them seem to work when there’s a big size difference. Plus I’m scared of getting injured…”

These questions and concerns are totally valid! There are many specific problems that smaller grapplers, both men and women, face on a daily basis.

See if any of the following problems ring true for you:

  • Do you get pinned and smothered on the ground by Goliath-sized grapplers, unable to move and unable to breathe, only to find that the escapes you’ve learned don’t work on someone much bigger than yourself?
  • Have you noticed bigger people simply use their natural strength, size and weight advantage to overpower you? It’s very frustrating to get crushed by a less experienced, less skillful opponent whose only advantage is having 10 lbs of additional muscle on you.
  • Are you a lot weaker in the upper body than most of your opponents? Strength differences are usually greatest in the upper body, which is why a big guy can just ‘bench press’ his way out of a bad position. But if you try this then not only will it be ineffective but it will leave your arms limp, drained, and feeling completely powerless.
  • Have you ever been betrayed by a submission that works on everyone in class except that big guy who always powers out of it and then smashes you when you end up on the bottom? This is very common, because a lot of submissions require you to be at least as strong as your opponent.
  • As a smaller grappler do you have to struggle a LOT harder to get out of bad positions? And even if you do escape, have you used so much energy that you’re now completely exhausted?
  • Have you found that the closed guard doesn’t really work for people with short legs? In fact the closed guard should be avoided if your legs are too short to maintain the position and attack from it effectively.
  • Is it scary when big guys don’t know how to control their strength and weight, and have no clue how to train with someone not their own size? Injuries are the bane of effective training, and often they’re caused by some Sasquatch-like grappler who goes totally ‘agro’ when his ego is threatened.
  • Do you find it almost impossible to sweep a larger opponents from the guard? The sad truth is that you can just throw out most guard sweeps if you are much smaller than your training partner.
  • Have you ever been frustrated by bigger people who’re not as good as you but who feel threatened by smaller, lighter grapplers and so they just lie on top of you, not even doing anything? Their whole plan is trap you on the bottom, stifle your movements, and prevent you from using the skills you’ve worked so hard to develop.
  • Have you ever wanted to tap out when you’re on the bottom in a position, just from feeling suffocated and not being able to get out?

When people get in touch with me about these issues I do my best to help them, but the fact that I’m 6′ 1″ and 215 lbs means that I’m just not the ideal poster boy for teaching this topic.

(This is actually kind of ironic, because even I get worried about running into bigger guys. When I was younger and doing a ton of weight training, at my peak I weighed 238 pounds. And even then I was still worried about the 250 and 300 pound guys.)

This image problem is why I first started thinking about collaborating with someone. I’ve known Emily Kwok for a long time, but she now lives across the country from me. So when we reconnected, when I heard what she had been up to, and saw how she was basically reverse-engineering Marcelo Garcia’s game, I knew I had work with her.

Emily is only 5′ 4″ and has competed at 135 lbs. Her game is tailor-made for dealing with larger, stronger opponentsIt needs to be!

After all, when she walks into the dojo she’s usually the only female in a male-dominated world. The vast majority of her training partners are young, UFC-obsessed alpha males, all of whom are bigger and stronger than she is. And she’s proved her techniques work, both in training and in the absolute divisions of some of the toughest tournaments around.

The basic premise of these DVDs is that…

Size Does Matter…

…but there ARE specific, concrete things you can do to compensate for size.

With the right techniques and strategies it’s absolutely possible to successfully hold your own against bigger, stronger opponents. And with the right leverage-based techniques you can even go on the offensive and bring the fight to them!

Whether you’re male or female, these DVDs are going to show you exactly how to do that.

I’ve been doing martial arts a long time, and have produced a ton of videos and instructional materials.

I’m obviously biased, but I really think that these are the very best DVDs I have ever produced.


Emily Kwok is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt, and there are at least three reasons why you should listen to her if you want to learn how to handle yourself on the mat.

First of all, Emily is one hell of a competitor, so when she tells you that something works under pressure you’d better believe her!

When she was a brown belt she competed against blackbelts at the 2007 Mundials, and came away with a gold medal. That makes her a legitimate Brazilian Jiu-jitsu world champion (unlike some ‘World Champions’ who won their title at an event that nobody has ever heard of).

She competed and won in Smackgirl, the premiere womens MMA organization of it’s time. Both as an amateur and a professional fighter.

Emily is also a no-gi champion. She’s taken gold at the Pan Am No Gi Championships in the Absolute (no weight limit) division! And a silver medal in the World No-Gi Championships.

Secondly, she’s got an impeccable pedigree.

Emily has learned from many of the very best instructors in the world, including Marcus Soares, Ricardo Almeida and Renzo Gracie.

And she’s currently training and working with Marcelo Garcia…

Marcelo Garcia is probably the most famous grappler active today. He’s a 5 time BJJ world champion and 4 time no-gi ADCC champion.  But he’s also been an absolute terror in the Absolute division, regularly facing and submitting much larger world-class opponents.

She’s really taken the aspects of his game that most apply to smaller grapplers and created a system that she can now pass on to others.

So in addition to all her other experience, you also get the benefit of Emily reverse-engineering Marcelo’s game for you!

Third, and most importantly, Emily is a born teacher. 

She runs a school in Princeton New Jersey, where she teaches men and women of a wide range of sizes.

She’s also a Head Instructor and Co-Founder of Womens Grappling, the only organization that hosts women’s-only training camps throughout North America.

Emily has worked, hands on, with literally thousands of people. Many of whom were on the smaller side and looking for a little extra help to deal with larger, stronger, heavier people.

Finally I’ve noticed that Emily has the ‘magic touch’ for connecting to people, breaking down and teaching techniques in a way that makes them easy to learn and quick to implement.

What’s Included in this Training Set?

After we decided to work together, Emily and I spent months crisscrossing the continent to talk strategy, do research, and plan the script.

Finally it was time to actually film the material and Emily flew out to do the shoot.

Originally we thought that the filming might take two days, but the scope of the project kept on growing. She wanted to cover every aspect of her approach to handling large and strong people on the mats.

We actually went way over the allotted time, and in the end it took FOUR SOLID DAYS of filming to get her complete approach onto video.

Here are the general topics we covered:

  • Strategies and tactics that smaller people must know in order to level the playing field against a larger opponents,
  • Pin escapes that work regardless of size, including the rarely taught topic of transitional escapes,
  • Drills and exercises to make your moves instinctive and strengthen your body in sport-specific ways at the same time,
  • The best attacks from the guard position, including which variations of guard work for smaller grapplers and which don’t,
  • The secrets of gripfighting and how to shut down your opponent’s offense by keeping his mitts off of you,
  • Guard passing for the smaller person. How to blow through your opponent’s guard even if he’s bigger and stronger.
  • Submissions that’ll tap out skilled opponents, even if they’re much bigger and stronger than you,
  • Tricks and shortcuts that Emily uses all the time as equalizers for size, weight and strength differences,
  • Physical conditioning that prevents injury, allowing you to train with bigger people and not feel ‘beat up’ all the time,


The resulting product is a professionally produced 5 DVD set. There are THREE core DVDs with over 5 hours of solid instruction and no filler. On top of that you also get TWO bonus DVDs with 2 more hours of instruction for a total of more than 7 hours of incredible material.

“Is this a gi or no-gi set?”

Some BJJ practitioners have games that are entirely gi-based. Usually this means that their game then translates very poorly from gi to no-gi and MMA…

Other players, however, have a game that only requires minor tweaks to work incredibly well in both gi and no-gi.

Emily is a world champion in gi-based Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu AND in no-gi submission grappling. She doesn’t have two separate games: she has ONE game that works well in BOTH areas!

Not to mention that her main teacher, Marcelo Garcia, has also successfully imposed his game in both the gi and no-gi arenas in an incredibly dominating manner.

So it’s safe to say that Emily’s style of BJJ – and the material on these DVDs – translates very well between gi and no-gi.

Most of the material on these DVDs is completely transferable.

And keep in mind that having a bit of knowledge on how to use the gi – especially how to strip grips – is super relevant to self defense. You want to know how to easily neutralize some big guy if he grabs your jacket and starts dummying you around, don’t you?

Finally, consider that even when Emily is teaching gi-specific techniques she’s still sharing strategies, tactics, concepts and principles that apply to any sort of grappling.

I’m biased of course, but my recommendation is that you get these videos because there’s a ton of directly useful material whether you train with the gi or without.

Stephan Kesting

DVD 1: Drills, Gi and No-Gi Gripfighting (1 hour, 39 minutes)
Emily starts by sharing her favorite fundamental, advanced and two-person partner drills. Warm up your body, build strength and endurance, and create a foundation for the rest of her system with these highly functional sport-specific movements.

In part two of the DVD Emily gives you a detailed what-to-do breakdown of stand-up and ground-based gripfighting. She covers techniques that’ll work against opponents of any size and of any grip strength. She also shares specific gripfighting strategies and mindsets that have helped her win world titles in both gi and no-gi grappling competitions.


Why You Should Drill
Fundamental Drills
Technical stand-up
Forward Breakfall
Backward Roll
Leg Circles
Leg Triangles
Grappler’s Lifts
Advanced Drills
Butt Scoot Forward
Butt Scoot Backward
Shrimping Forward
Four Point Rotation
Jumping Lunges
Partner Drills
Leg Switching on Hips
Wheelbarrow Forwards
Crab Walk
24. Granby Roll
25. Leap Frogs
26. Drag with Sleeves
27. Bear Walk
28.Butterfly Lifts
29. Jumping Guard Sit Ups
30. Hook Walk
31. Guard Pop-ups
32. Introduction to Gripfighting
33. Four Fingers In
34. Pistol Grip
35. Lapel and Sleeve
36. Common Mistakes
37. Guidelines
38. Stripping Sleeve Grips
39. Stripping Lapel Grips
40. Stripping Elbow Grips
41. Stripping Over the Shoulder Grips
42. Stripping Grips on the Ground
43. Stripping Leg Grips
44. Demo and Summary
45. No Gi Grip Fighting

DVD 2: Compensating for Strength (2 hours, 24 minutes)
Not all guard positions keep you safe or are effective when you’ve facing someone who is much larger and heavier than you. Here Emily shares her favorite guard positions that work well against bigger people, and breaks them down so you’ll be able to keep good position and successfully defend guard passing attempts. Plus she teaches you which sweeps work against ALL sizes of opponents, not just ones your own size.

In part two Emily takes you through her bread and butter guard passes that she uses again and again when facing larger opponents. Don’t let guard passing turn into a battle of strength; use speed, leverage and timing instead! Emily teaches you the secrets of ‘ganging up’ on your opponent by using your whole body to dominate ONE of his limbs. Once you isolate a limb you can then use it to get past their guard and into a good position where you can dominate the rest of the fight.

In part three of this DVD, Emily explores the seldom-taught area of transitional escapes, sharing with you the strategies and mindset that completely changed her own approach to pin escapes. She also shows you the exact techniques you need to know in order to keep things moving, and to not end up completely flattened and helplessly pinned underneath your opponent.


Compensating for Strength
Intro to the Seated Guard
Knee Push Sweep
Butterfly Sweep
Butterfly Sweep with Head Control
Butterfly Sweep with Knee Push
Single Leg X Guard
Intro and Shin-to-Shin Entry
Butterfly Sweep Entry
Side to Side Finish
Heel Grab Finish
Dealing with Grips
Transition from Single Leg X Guard to Regular X Guard
Intro to the X Guard and X Guard Details
stand-up Finish
Backtrip Finish
Intro to the Half Guard
Taking the Back
19. Leg Grab Sweep
20. Roll-Under Sweep
21. The ‘Vomit’ Sweep
22. Guard Passing
23. Strategies and Tactics
24. Explosive stand-up
25. Standing Step Pass
26. Leg Drag & Hip Trap
27. Over-Under Pass
28. Transitional Escapes
29. Pin Escapes Intro
30.Block and Elbow Wedge
31. Multiple Bridging
32. Side to Side Bridging
33. Transitional Mount Escapes
34. Improving the Elbow-Knee Escape
35. Leg Trap Mount Escape

DVD 3: Top Five Moves (1 hour, 15 minutes)
Every champion has his or her favorite ‘go to’ moves… In this DVD Emily shares her top five submissions, her top five guard sweeps, and her top five escapes and transitions for dealing with much larger people. Most importantly, she includes the tweaks and details that take ‘regular’ techniques and change them into ‘giant-killer’ moves. Master these 15 techniques and watch your training partners develop a new-found respect for your skills.


Top 5 Submissions for Smaller People
Choosing your Submissions
Cross Side Lapel Choke
Modified Baseball Choke
Reverse Armbar from Mount
Bow and Arrow Choke
North South Choke
Top 5 Guard Sweeps for Smaller People
Developing your Guard Sweeps
Knee Push to Single Leg X Guard
Knee Push to Sickle Sweep
12. Scooting Butterfly Sweep
13. Double Shin Lever
14. Counter to Backstep Guard Pass
15. Top 5 Transitions and Escapes
16. Moving in Transition
17. Closed to Open Guard
18. Elbow Push vs Guard Pass
19. Leg Over Head Escape
20. Granby Roll Escapes
21. Two-on-One Escape
22. Some Final Words of Advice


Bonus DVD 1: Q & A Session with Emily Kwok (1 hour)
This DVD was filmed during a semi-private Q & A session in which Emily answered questions from white, blue, brown and blackbelts. She shared the tricks and techniques she uses on a daily basis against taller, heavier and much stronger training partners – no matter how ‘agro’ they are. Here’s just some of what she covered, responding to questions and requests from grapplers just like you:

A highly sport-specific and functional warmup for a group of people of all sizes,
A detailed breakdown of Emily’s approach to atttacking from rearmount, including secrets learned from Marcelo Garcia,
How to finish the guillotine even when your opponent is taller and stronger than you with a much larger neck,
How to attack with the guillotine in a way that sets up an instant guard pass,
When NOT to attack with the guillotine from guard,
Sweeps that use your opponent’s size to your advantage,
A choke that works on bigger, stronger Goliaths, even if you’re only using one hand,
What to do when your opponent stalls in your guard, trying to shut down your attacks,
How to protect your fingers from getting mauled when gripfighting,
Emily’s favorite X Guard pass,
The keys to controlling the rear mount so that your opponent can’t squirm or power out of it, and how to put him into constant danger of getting submitted,
Which traditional teaching techniques actually hinder your progress,
Two high-percentage moves to recover from a failed butterfly guard sweep, even if your opponent is trying to use his superior size to crush you and shut down your game,
The mindset you MUST maintain to prevent your sweeps from being shut down and having your guard passed,
and more…

Bonus DVD 2: An Introduction to Total Body Stability
by Roy Duquette with Emily Kwok (1 hour)

In this unique bonus DVD, master strength and conditioning coach Roy Duquette puts Emily through a workout from his TBS system. The goal of this system is to strengthen, stabilize and protect the joints and muscles that are most susceptible to injury.

Roy was Emily’s first conditioning coach, as well as the person who initially introduced her to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Emily, and many other martial arts athletes, recognize how important it is to create a strong foundation with this sort of conditioning, for the simple reason that it allows them to train harder in class and walk around without feeling crippled all the time!


Standing Active Posture Series
Front Raises
Dumbbell Shrug
Dumbbell Overhead Press
Upper Body Stability Bicep Curl
Sequential Roll-Up Series
Sequential Roll-Up
Roll-Up with Alternating Leg Raises
Roll-Up with Double Leg Raises
Superman Series
Double Arm and Leg Extension

13. Overhead Flyes
14. Leg Curls
15. Simultaneous Flyes and Leg Curls
16. Standard Plank Series
17. Sequential Plank
18. Plank Push-Up
19. Plank with Alternating Leg Raises
20. Swiss-Ball Bridge Series
21. Straight-Leg Bridge
22. Leg Curls
23. Bent-Knee Bridging
24. Alternating Leg Raises
25. Summary

“What makes this DVD set different from everything else out there?”
This entire program – all 5 DVDs – was designed from the ground up to give you the help you need to face off against the Goliaths of the world.

In fact, this is the first time a program has ever been specifically created to help smaller grapplers hold their own in both gi and no-gi grappling.

It was created by two BJJ blackbelts who have an enormous amount of hands-on teaching experience, working with people just like you. We’ve spent years figuring out how our techniques, concepts and strategies work against larger grapplers, and now we want YOU to use add these things to your own game as quickly as possible.

This is a condensed look at a world champion’s game, not a shallow overview of every possible move from every possible position. This means that the pieces fit together consistently, easily, and seamlessly.

This program is 100% focused on solving your huge-guy-grappling-problems. That’s why we cover lots of super-effective techniques to solve your most commonly encountered grappling problems. But even more importantly, we’ll teach you the concepts and strategies behind the techniques, which makes them more instinctive, even more powerful, and much easier to remember!

That’s why as you master the concepts and strategies covered in these DVDs it’ll become easier and less intimidating to fight big people. You won’t get stuck in horrible positions as often, and you’ll have a clear idea of what to do at every stage of a match.

If you have other Grapplearts products, like the Roadmap to BJJ, the Grappling Concepts Course or the Dynamic Guard Sweeps Package, then you’ll find that this material connects perfectly with the other instructional material you already have!

All of this is why I’m going out on a limb and GUARANTEEING that you won’t find a more powerful, more useful set of tools for dealing with bigger, stronger and heavier opponents.

Defeat Larger, Stronger Opponents!

One day soon you’ll square off against your school’s resident behemoth…

The last time you wrestled it didn’t go so well…

The last time he muscled you to the bottom, collapsed his weight onto you, and then used all his strength to drive his shoulder into your face for the rest of the match. You came away from that encounter with a bloody lip and your entire body felt like it had been through the wringer.

This time will be different…

This time you know what to do. You set yourself up in exactly the right position so he can’t push you around. Every time he reaches for you with his hands you thwart, deflect and counter his grips. And you start attacking him and getting your own advantageous grips…

He gets frustrated, stands up and tries to drive you flat to the ground. But rather than oppose his momentum you ride it, moving backwards and drawing him further in.

He steps forward one more time. Right into your trap. You hook his ankles, push his knees and he almost goes over. Almost, but not quite. Off-balanced but still standing he tries to latch onto you, but now you’ve already swung into the single leg X guard position.

He thinks “I’m NOT gonna get leglocked from here!”

And he’s right, because you’re going for the sweep, not the leglock. You sway your legs to one side, then to the other. Just as he adjusts his stance you grab his heel, arch your body, and 240 lbs of grizzled behemoth goes crashing to the mat.

Quick as a flash you’re on your feet, stradding one of his legs, one hand on his chest and the other on his knee. You kick your leg back, then swing it forward; you’ve just passed his guard without him ever clamping his legs around you or shutting you down with brute strength!

“A temporary setback,” he thinks. “I’ll be out of this in a minute, there’

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Stephan Kesting - How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent

Stephan Kesting - How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent

$35.00$97.00 (-64%)

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