Does Height Matter In Jiu Jitsu?

The issue of height is really one of the most common questions regarding Jiu Jitsu. Most beginners would really wonder if height matters in the said sport. The reason is that most martial arts would really talk about height and weight such as striking martial arts where not just height, but arm length is important. Thus, this article would talk about Jiu Jitsu.

Height does not really matter much in Jiu Jitsu because Jiu Jitsu is actually a skill-based martial art. Furthermore, it is easier to grapple and hold larger opponents since they have a bigger bodies. Thus, it is not uncommon to see smaller people win in BJJ matches and rolls.

One thing should be clear before you start training. None of your background even your physique matters when it comes to Jiu Jitsu. Although a little strength would matter, it doesn’t affect much. The bigger is always the winner is completely a myth and today we are here to bust all Jiu Jitsu myths regarding height.

Is it better to be tall or short for Jiu Jitsu?

Being tall is better in Jiu Jitsu if we are talking about strength. The reason is that taller is usually stronger when it comes to overall physique. However, being short is also good in Jiu Jitsu since they are not only quicker in counter attacks, but also harder to grapple with.

Height weight is always dependent on your genes its totally lucky whether you get a good build and healthy frame or are slim fit.

Either way, you may think you are fit for Jiu Jitsu given you have the right amount of body fitness. But whatever you do, whatever your height is it can never match technique. Yes, the technique has far greater importance than height.

I repeat, Jiu-Jitsu is a skill-based martial art. Strength matters but are quite common to see a good BJJ practitioner defeat someone larger than them.

That is because in my assessment, BJJ is 70% skill and the rest is only about 30% of the equation.

For more information, you can visit the article I’ve made where I computer how much strength really matters in a Jiu-Jitsu match. Here is the link: Does Strength Matter in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Isn’t that just great? You have control over building techniques even if your body is lean.

Even if you think about it, short and thin guys are quick to counterattack their opponents.

Can short people be good at Jiu Jitsu?

Short people can be good in Jiu Jitsu because they are relatively quicker in executing moves in a match. Furthermore, they are harder to lock or grapple since they are smaller. Lastly, Jiu Jitsu is a skill-based martial art in which skill is far superior to strength.

It might come as a surprise but shorter people can prove themselves to be even better than heavier and taller people. Here is how it happens:

Short or small people are often quicker athletes because of the lack of bodyweight burden.

It becomes tough to keep them down during grappling as they are like little squirrels ready to pounce and overcome the opponent at the very first opportunity.

It has been observed multiple times that smaller people work better on their technique to compensate for their smaller size.

The risk of loss still remains very clear in front of a heavy opponent however smaller people manage to have better foot luck and foot trip techniques, employed in the grappling to their benefit.

Smaller people also avoid mounting by the opponent as it can make them caged.

Even side mounting is a poor option.

However, in case this happens, they can just scoot out of it being the quicker one in the martial arts.

This only result in shock and irritation of the heavy opponent who thought his heavy frame would allow him to win.

Research shows, small people have a greater advantage over their larger counterparts. It may prove difficult to hold down a heavy opponent for longer periods of time due to lack of weight but

Active transitions can make smaller people fight better and use some other technique to overpower the opponent. What are these tips? See below!

Tips for short people when doing Jiu Jitsu

It can be intimidating to fight against a bigger person in BJJ. size can be used to one’s advantage. Here are a few tips for people with short height. These will definitely help them out to overpower a huge opponent.

  • Lower stance: at the very outset of your session try your hand at a lower stance. Try sprawling.
  • Early Mount: you must try to mount your opponent at the beginning of the session.
  • Knee on Belly:  this may happen in a rare case however it is clear that this action can help to overcome the opponent quickly and efficiently.
  • Break the norms: certain mentors teach that a specific strategy is best for small-sized people. This is a lie. You should try to create your own method. Whatever suits you best should be your strategy.

Remember no matter what happens never lose confidence. Confidence allows you to overcome mental hurdles and winning from opponents all the same.

What body type is good for Jiu Jitsu?

Mesomorph is the ideal or good body type for Jiu-Jitsu. It is the body type of the famous BJJ expert Royce Gracie. Mesomorph is the body type that is predominated by muscles with a rectangular body shape and a straight posture. But, Ectomorph and Endomorph can still do well in Jiu-Jitsu since it is a skill-based Martial Art.

Whenever it comes to body type- the concern of height weight- most martial artists give examples of BJJ competitors Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock.

The former competed and won in the Martial Art Tournament with only a weight of 178 pounds against the latter who even with 220 pounds couldn’t win.

This is a classic example that size or frame doesn’t matter what matters is practice and technique.

Shamrock was at the epitome of muscular health but as the bell sounded he couldn’t retain Gracie.

Gracie has the title to down many of his adversaries who were bigger than him and that too without injuring himself.

This being true, one side of the coin is also that mesomorphs that are the more muscular athletes are a better fit for BJJ. This physique is ideal.

More muscles mean less unhealthy fat.

Such a body is not only appealing to look at but also sturdy against the opponent during the session.

Athletes who have such a body are not the only talk of the town but also instill jealousy and are best in grappling sessions.

But the reality remains: BJJ is not a modeling contest but rather a challenging martial art form.

Every body type is beneficial in its own way so don’t be bothered by any specific body type. Everything works here in BJJ.

Short guys are good at certain poses like back taking strategy and butterfly guard whereas taller guys are good at mounting techniques and wrapping through their long limbs.

So at the end of the day non of it matters how you look. It is what you can fully master and put your body to your benefit.


BJJ is not a child’s play. However, if you try and be good at it you can achieve that through hard work and practice.

Where size matters in most martial art forms, in Jiu Jitsu is a momentary concern after which only your good technique and practice matters.

Don’t feel down on account of shirt height and weak frame.

BJJ teaches you to take pride in yourself and use your body in a way that maximizes power against your opponent. It is a realistic practice and educates one regarding the importance of mental faculties as opposed to traditional sports.

So keep your motivation levels high and don’t let your height be in your way to pursue BJJ.

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Welcome to my recommended list of Jiu-Jitsu gear.

In this section, you are going to see my recommended Jiu-Jitsu gears both for beginners and pros.

Grappling Shorts

When getting some grappling shorts, you first need to understand that the thing we are looking for in grappling shorts is the ones that will provide flexibility.

This means that we are not looking at designs but what we are looking for is how comfortable it is and if you can do a full range of motions while wearing the shorts.

If that’s the case, I recommend an IBJJF approved grappling short which has no pockets that can interfere with rolls, and most importantly, allows a full range of motion. This can help you in rolls since you need to have fluid motions to do some maneuvers.

Here is the link for the product: BJJ Shorts

Grappling Spats

Grappling spats are a great alternative to Grappling shorts and are sometimes used in conjunction with Grappling shorts.

The reason for using a Grappling spat is to prevent friction.

Remember that BJJ is focused on rolls, locks, and takedowns. This is prone to friction that can cause injuries such as burns and mat cuts.

In choosing a good pair of grappling spats, you need to take note that it is important that it is also flexible so you can easily do some full-range motions while rolling.

Furthermore, since you will be covering your whole legs with it, it is important for it to absorb some sweat while still being comfortable for the wearer.

If that’s the case, I recommend these Grappling Spats which are very stretchable making them good for fluid motion. Furthermore, it is well made to handle friction which prevents any unwanted injuries.

Lastly, its cloth is breathable which means that it is very comfortable for your skin.

Here is the link for the product: Grappling Spats


Think of a rash guard as the grappling spat for the upper body.

Rashguard helps in preventing friction that can cause injuries such as mat cuts and burns.

When finding one, it is important to find a comfortable rash guard which is breathable. Furthermore, have one that allows a full range of motion.

Thus, I recommend this rash guard which does all of the functions I’ve said: Rashguard

Knee and Elbow Pads

Personally, I am a victim of a knee injury. That’s why I always tell people to use knee and elbow pads when doing some physically intensive activities such as BJJ.

Because of my injuries, I can’t really last long with any sort of long physical activity.

So, while it is often neglected, I believe that Knee and Elbox pads are important.

Good Knee and Elbow pads are supposed to be comfortable while still providing maximum protection to both your elbows and knees.

Thus, I recommend these safety gears:

Ear Protectors

There are lots of cauliflower ear incidents with BJJ practitioners.

Even if this is quite an unpopular safety gear, it is important as we are preventing friction that can come from rolls.

In choosing an ear protector, you do not need to get something that protects you from strikes. Striking is usually not allowed.

So, what’s important is to find something that is very lightweight and protects you from friction.

If that’s the case, then you may opt for this which is really useful and won’t look weird on rolls: Ear Guards


Medium | Embracing your BJJ Body

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