BJJ and Wrestling, The Perfect Marriage

Table of Contents

Top level grapplers are always looking for an edge to dominate in competition and one of the best ways to dominate is by building a proper game plan. 

Throughout years of competition and tens of thousands of matches, a noticeable dominant game plan has been a common theme for those athletes standing on the podium. This game plan is one where the athlete comes from a Brazilian jiu-jitsu background and also trains in wrestling. 

We can see the trend to train in both arts more and more with constant results. Athletes such as Buchecha, Andre Galvao, Gordon Ryan, Romulo Barral and Roberto “Cyborg” Abreau have all added wrestling into their game and found much success as a result.

Creating The Ultimate Grappler

If you had to create the ultimate grappler on paper they would be unstoppable on the ground and on their feet, they would be able to submit where they want, to control the opponent when they want and to have a iron tight defense from any attack done on them. 

No doubt that when it comes to being on the ground, the king of the show is BJJ, there have been thousands and thousands of matches on the ground where BJJ simply dominates. BJJ’s methodologies and techniques as well as it’s position before submission game plan has kept it dominant when the fight goes to the ground.

When it comes to standing and bringing the fight to the ground or keeping from being taken down, wrestling is the ultimate style and tool for this. It works with no gi and can easily be adapted to a gi. It produces another level of athlete, amazing attributes and if you do not have wrestling, you simply cannot compete at the highest levels in grappling today.

If properly combined, the 2 arts create the ultimate marriage, one of beauty, action and dominance.

What Wrestling Adds to The Mix of Things

Think of wrestling as both the enabler and gas pedal of a grappling match. On one hand it enables the athlete to choose where the match ends up and on the other hand it can be used to increase the pace of the match – either by adding pressure or using the scramble to overwhelm the opponent.

Wrestling can really help certain BJJ positions and techniques, wrestling has a lot of gameplans from the turtle (both when attacking and defending), it can give a lot of escapes from certain positions and holds that can be immediately capitalized into a takedown and reversal as well.

Wrestling Develops Grit, Cardio and An Amazing Base

Wrestling is high pace and full contact, being in a proper wrestling clinch, attacking and defending full power movements develops a type of grit that most combat sports dream to attain. Wrestling also has extremely challenging conditioning which over time produces a mentally tough athlete, this comes to no one’s surprise as it is very common to notice a wrestler’s mental toughness when in competition.

The cardio of wrestlers is absolutely amazing and full of both aerobic and anaerobic benefits that when brought onto the mat, creates one tough competitor to roll with. A typical conditioning session can easily last 1 hour and is full of sprinting, line drills, constant moving, jumping, rolling, lifting, throwing and running stairs…all of which are excellent for grappling.

Lastly Wrestling produces an extreme awareness to one’s balance, both standing and on the ground, especially when on top position. Practicing wrestling will only increase, this can really complement BJJ’s dominance as an auxiliary attribute.

Land in a Dominant Position Off of a Takedown

BJJ is all about position before submission and if you get a rock solid position, it is only time before that tight submission can be applied. Wrestling can add an extra element as if you learn to properly wrestle, you will be able to take an opponent down into a set position where half the battle is won, this means you do not need to fight for position as you land into a favoured position and thus hunt the submission.

The Anaconda and The Badger

BJJ athletes are like anacondas, dangerous, tight and once they get a proper position, they are very hard to shake off without getting submitted – it is the real beauty of BJJ. Wrestling though is much more like a wild scrappy badger, when in a nad position it moves, explodes and squiggles into a scramble for a better position. Wrestling can bring the badger element to any BJJ scenario in order to give other options to both escape and dominate a position.

This is a gift as it is a new type of mat awareness that can help you win more scrambles, positions and ultimately matches.

Develop Wrestler’s Confidence

It’s no secret that wrestler’s are super confident and sometimes even borderline cocky and it’s for good reason, they know they can back it up. Spending hours and hours wrestling, attaining takedowns, and stuffing takedown attempts successfully will definitely increase any BJJ athlete’s confidence level. 

BJJ athletes can confidently “just stand up” in order to play the take down game or they can confidently stop opponents hard takedown and throw attempts making for a more tired opponent as time goes by. Just take a look at the latest ADCC fights and you will see that those grapplers who train wrestling are gleaming confidence once the match starts as they know no matter what that the first real move will be decided by them and not the opponent.

The Proper Mix Must be Taught

Learning pure wrestling is for sure going to add new weapons to your arsenal but you must make sure you know how to BJJ-proof your wrestling skills. You must be aware about submissions, how to properly do takedowns for grappling scenarios where submissions can be used as if not, you can easily be the victim of a tight submission like a guillotine, kimure, triangle choke, rear naked choke or heel hook.

In order to properly mix wrestling into your BJJ game, you must make sure you are not vulnerable to submissions when going for the takedown. The best way to do this is to breakdown where you would attack yourself in the applied technique and how to create a better suited variation of that technique for grappling.

In Conclusion

The new era of grappling is here, one where BJJ athletes are training wrestling and where wrestlers are training BJJ, if you are not cross training then expect to be left behind in competition – especially at the higher ranks as you simply will not have the solutions to the problems presented in front of you when you compete against someone who is training both.

Together, BJJ and wrestling produce an ever so amazing grappling marriage that is extremely hard to beat.


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