After reading a post on tips for new female grapplers, I really started thinking about the application of some of the advice to larger women. If the advantages that most women have in BJJ are smaller bodies, more flexibility and better mobility, I'm playing with a slightly different deck of cards. I'm not small, I have average flexibility (that's improving) and am not particularly agile or mobile. I've been checking out videos of Lana Stefanac since my build is somewhat similar (she's a little shorter and heavier)
Last class I got another remark of surprise at my strength from my instructor. I gotta admit that it made me happy, but I still question how strong I actually am. It's not like I can match muscle with guys my size, or even smaller ones. Full on military pushups are still not my forte and I won't even metion pullups...so I doubt that pound for pound, I'm actually STRONG. I suspect that I'm somewhere between "strong for a girl" and "stronger than reasonably expected for my size and gender."
I think though, that it's a matter of understanding what advantages to use when. My strength level is what it is depending on how I develop it. What does change pretty drastically though, is the strength of my opponents. My school makes an effort to pair women with women, but also to rotate partners, so I end up with the stronger guys on a regular basis too. While I know they hold back because I'm female, I often wonder if they hold back a little less because I'm a larger, stronger female.