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Is BJJ Helpful For Wrestling?

Is BJJ Helpful For Wrestling?

1. About BJJ and Wrestling

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling martial art well known for its submission techniques and joint locks. It was brought to Brazil in the 1920s by a Japanese delegation of Martial Artists, among them was Mitsuyo Maeda, who taught Jiu-Jitsu to the Gracie family. Even a fighter with relatively smaller size can easily takedown a bigger opponent with techniques.

Whereas, wrestling is a much older grappling sport when compared to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It originated from ancient Egypt. It focuses on takedowns, and uses pins to subdue the opponent to the ground. Wrestling is also included in the Olympic Sports.

2. Will BJJ Help with Wrestling?

Wrestling and BJJ both are grappling sports. Most appropriately No-Gi BJJ is somewhat more similar to wrestling. If a fighter wants to switch to wrestling after being a BJJ fighter, he has already learned a lot about the grappling style of fighting. You can also find many great wrestlers in BJJ gyms. Though having some minute differences, BJJ and Wrestling both guide the fighter almost in similar ways because both fall under the grappling martial art category. Both grappling arts enhance the awareness of your own body and teach how to remain calm in a stressful situation.

Both prepare the fighter mentally and physically. BJJ makes you excel in submission attacks while wrestling helps you in mastering takedowns and executing pins. BJJ is known as “Gentle Art” and teaches how to fight calmly without being aggressive to your opponent and focusing on the joint locks and choke holds for getting submissions.

There are many similarities between the fighting style of BJJ and wrestling.

2.1. Why is BJJ Compared to Wrestling?

BJJ is often compared with wrestling. It is because both sports provide excellent grappling techniques to take down an opponent. MMA is a hybrid of many combat sports including BJJ and Wrestling techniques.

3. Common Techniques

As Wrestling and BJJ both are grappling sports, they have many common techniques.

3.1. Arm Drag

It is a very diverse technique. It can be used to grab the back of your opponent, you can apply a number of chokes, sweep your opponent, and can go for submission attempts.

  • For applying Arm Drag, the fighter grabs the opponent's right hand with his left hand.
  • The fighter pushes the opponent's hand and holds him by his triceps.
  • After which the fighter pulls the opponent and grabs his waist.
  • The fighter uses his own knee behind the opponent's butt to stop him from changing his position.
  • After caging around the opponent's butt, the fighter yanks his hand inside the opponent's leg. It restricts the opponent's movement.
  • The fighter grabs a tight hold of his opponent. After which he mounts on the opponent's back, locking his legs around the opponent’s waist.

Arm Drag used in BJJ is very similar to the one used in wrestling. Both sports coincide in this technique.


3.2. Single Leg Takedown

It is a very important technique in both Wrestling and BJJ. It brings an opponent from standing position to the ground. This technique is used to submit even bigger opponents. It is an effective move taught to beginners.

  • This technique is used in BJJ as well as in wrestling to bring a standing opponent down to the mat. This abrupt movement helps in gaining an advantage and in most cases, victory over your opponent.
  • The fighter attacks one of the opponent's legs to bring him down from a standing position.
  • The fighter grabs the opponent’s triceps and pulls him forward.
  • As the opponent is not ready for this abrupt move, the fighter grabs his leg.
  • The fighter exerts pressure on his head which is placed under the opponent’s armpit and it stops the opponent from moving freely.
  • Now the opponent's leg is lifted by the fighter.
  • The fighter brings his hand to the fighter's heel for maximum leverage, hence the heel is trapped under the fighter's armpit.
  • The fighter brings the opponent's head down and kicks his other leg.
  • The opponent loses his balance and falls to the ground.

Single leg takedown is an essential move in BJJ and if you want to excel in wrestling, then single-leg takedown is equally effective in Wrestling.


3.3. Double Leg Takedown

It is the most effective takedown move used in Mixed Martial Arts. It brings the opponent to the ground from a standing position.

  • The fighter stoops low and grabs one leg of the opponent by putting his own back leg down.
  • The fighter then straightens his head and his trail leg comes up, supporting the posture.
  • Fighter now has a complete hold of the opponent’s both legs.
  • The fighter stands straight by lifting one leg of his opponent.
  • After acquiring a balanced position, he swiftly shuffles his feet and sweeps his opponent to the ground.
  • In this position, the opponent's back is on the ground.
  • Double leg takedown is often used by MMA fighters. It is a signature move of BJJ. If you want to transition from BJJ to wrestling, you can also exercise the double leg takedowns in wrestling. Double leg takedown is equally used in the grappling martial arts of BJJ and wrestling.


3.4. Switch Escape

It is a defensive technique used in a bottom position to attain a score by reversal. Scoring an escape grant 1 point but scoring a reversal grants 2 points. This point system applies in BJJ. This escape helps in both BJJ and wrestling to counter the move of your opponent. It guarantees success as in an attempt to escape, the fighter reverses the situation and gains 2 points.

  • This move is executed when an opponent grabs the fighter by his waist in the bottom position.
  • The fighter uses his elbow to take position in the back of the opponent's armpit and the same hand is used to grab the back of the opponent's thigh from the inside.
  • After securing hold of the thigh, this secured position is used to turn over the opponent. Hence, escaping from the move of your opponent.


3.5. Pummel Escape

A wrestler is already excelled in pummel escape but if the practitioner is already excelled in BJJ, this escape becomes more smooth to execute.BJJ pummel escape causes tenacity and embed consistency to reflect in wrestlers' moves.

  • To apply Pummel, the fighter needs to underhook the opponent's arm on one side and overhook the other arm on the other side.
  • After hooking the arm, the fighter brings his legs forward to keep his hands around the opponent.
  • The fighter and the opponent must be in the position where their chest and shoulders are connected with each other.
  • After this, the fighter connects both his hands behind the opponent's back.


3.6. Knee Tap Takedown

It is one of the easiest takedowns. Takedowns are basically the core element of wrestling but they are also used in BJJ in one way or another. So if you're thinking of transitioning from BJJ to wrestling, the good news is you can apply the majority of the BJJ techniques in wrestling.

  • The fighter starts from the over-under position and pushes the opponent’s elbow towards his ribcage.
  • The fighter uses his other hand to grab the top of the opponent's shoulder and pushes his head on the side of the opponent's neck.
  • By applying full pressure on the side of the opponent's neck, you have restricted the movement of the opponent, which can give you an upper hand.
  • Hence, the fighter taps the knee of his opponent, pushes it and brings him to the ground.


3.7. Sprawl Takedown Defense

It is a technique used in Martial Arts and Wrestling. It is basically an essential defensive technique used to defend yourself from single or double takedowns. This BJJ defensive technique can also be applied in wrestling. Sprawl takedown defense is taught to BJJ fighters and if any BJJ practitioner wants to try his luck in wrestling, then he is already armed with sprawl takedown technique for an impeccable defense.

  • Here the fighter uses the head of his opponent to push him down on the ground.
  • When the opponent is on the ground in a turtle position, the fighter positions himself on the opponent's head in such a way that his chest goes down and legs go straight on the back side.
  • When the fighter drops his chest on his opponent's back, it stops the opponent from grabbing the ankle of the fighter.


3.8. Body Fold Takedown

This takedown helps the fighter control the whole fight and enables him to take advantage over his opponent. Applying this technique in wrestling will help the wrestler to defend himself from the abrupt attacks of his opponent.

  • Here the fighter locks his hands behind the opponent's back wrapping his lower body very tightly.
  • The fighter then pushes his head on the opponent’s chest and bends his own knees in such a way that the opponent loses his balance and falls on the mat.


3.9. Granby Roll Escape

This escape is used in BJJ to recover your guard. As the fighter gets trapped and fails to break the opponent's grip, he can use Granby Roll escape to create space between him and his opponent to get out of it. This technique helps in wrestling to get out of the opponent's grip.

  • This escape is performed in the bottom position.
  • The fighter brings the arm across his body and secures his ankle from getting trapped by the opponent.
  • If the fighter’s ankle gets trapped, the opponent gets a point.


4. Point Scoring Moves of BJJ and Wrestling

Wrestling Positions Points BJJ Positions Points
By Pin or Forfeit 6 points Mount 4 Points
By Technical Fall 5 points Rear Mount 4 Points
Major Decision 4 points Guard Pass 3 Points
Knee-on Belly 2 Points
Regular Decision 3 points Sweep 2 Points
Take Down 2 Points

4.1. Grappling

BJJ and Wrestling both are grappling martial arts. These techniques can easily transcend to both martial arts. Although Wrestling focuses more on takedowns, applying grappling techniques makes it interesting.

Both Martial Arts allow the practitioner to seize full control of their opponent as they both involve numerous grappling techniques. Since BJJ is also a grappling sport, its techniques can be applied in wrestling.

4.2. Self-Defense

BJJ is very helpful for wrestling in a way that it advocates many self-defense techniques.

Many critics have different views about self-defense techniques. When seen in contrast to other combat sports which involve weapons, hits, and throws, BJJ and wrestling restrict the use of throws, punches and hits. But that does not make them a sport without effective self-defense techniques.

4.3. Grips

No-Gi BJJ and Wrestling resemble a lot. It is because of their techniques and outfit i.e. rash guards and pants or shorts. Fighters use their hands and feet to grip each other. For example, the ball and socket grip which is the hand and forearm grip.

4.4. Superior Takedowns

Wrestling focuses a lot on takedowns. By incorporating some of the BJJ techniques, the practitioner can achieve great mastery of the technique and approach with speedy execution.

4.5. Safety

BJJ is basically a combat sport that focuses on self-defense techniques of grappling. BJJ is considered a safe sport because it ensures the safety of fighters at all times. Control and remaining calm under highly stressful situations is an essential part of both BJJ and wrestling martial arts training. If the referee feels that the fighter will end up getting injured in the fight, he quickly stops the other fighter from applying any move.

5. Cross Training with Wrestling and BJJ

Cross training with wrestling and BJJ can be very helpful. As the fighters can learn techniques and moves about both grappling sports. Especially in the No-Gi category, wrestling is very beneficial. Both grappling martial arts use grips without using traditional martial art clothing (Gi).

For training simultaneously in BJJ and wrestling, a fighter can allocate alternate days of a week for BJJ and wrestling. It gives insight into both sports and helps in developing a better understanding.

6. FAQs

6.1. Why do we use BJJ in wrestling?

We use BJJ techniques in wrestling because both are grappling martial arts and focus on ground combat-style fighting.

6.2. How is BJJ different from Wrestling?

There are also differences in the point-scoring system and in the execution of some techniques in both grappling sports of Wrestling and BJJ.

In wrestling, the opponent is pinned down to the ground while in BJJ the purpose is to submit or knock out your opponent.

6.3. What is difficult to learn, Wrestling or BJJ?

If you are a persistent and dedicated person, both grappling sports can become easy for you to learn.

6.4. How are BJJ and Wrestling similar sports?

Both are grappling martial arts focussed on ground combat. Both martial arts teach almost the same principles with some differences to gain victory over their opponent by initiating takedowns, pins, and submissions.

7. Conclusion

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Wrestling both are grappling martial arts. The takedowns involved in BJJ help as a guide in Wrestling. Both martial arts are similar in focusing on body awareness and the ground combat grappling styles differ due to some rules and execution of some techniques. The techniques mentioned above are beneficial for both sports. Wrestling is all about establishing control over your opponent. BJJ helps to achieve victory against an opponent of greater size and strength.

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