Why Wrestling Is a Great Entry-Way to Learning (BJJ) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Holistic training is a crucial aspect of learning BJJ – whether online or in a gym. An inclusive training approach benefits more in developing a BJJ practitioner’s skills. For this reason, relevant sports, such as wrestling, are a great introduction to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.


Jiu-Jitsu has a lot of movement variations and employs the entire body to fight an opponent. If you look at Wrestling closely, the sport closely resembles the takedowns and grappling maneuvers necessary when learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Here’s the key rulebook between Wrestling and BJJ, citing the differences between them and the subtle similarities:


  Wrestling Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Mat position Control the opponent down the mat Bring the fight to the mat
Taking down an opponent Pin the opponent to the mat Control the opponent to make them tap

The objective of both Wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu is similar in how the fight needs to happen on the mat. Although, they are different on what counts as a win for a wrestler versus a BJJ fighter.

These are just the fighting systems of Wrestling that make it a viable form of training when learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Entering the sport of BJJ has relevant skills, techniques, and mindset that one can learn from Wrestling.


In the U.S. alone, 1.9 million participants engaged in Wrestling sport in 2017. Among these millions of anywhere from basic to advanced wrestlers are possible contenders once they enter Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Wrestling is a great training ground with numerous benefits and applications in BJJ. What makes Wrestling a good choice to practice when learning BJJ? Let’s explore further why Wrestling – whether you have a background or want to cross-train – can make you a better BJJ fighter on the mat.

A Baseline for Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a sport that requires complete knowledge of various athletic abilities. One would need to build stamina to be more effective in a fight. The advantage of having wrestling as a foundation for learning BJJ is that it allows a practitioner to practice more cardio and tenacity in the sport.


Cardio is important in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as you would need to do various moves using both arms and legs – all with precise and high-impact action. It will be difficult to last in a fight – which is the foundation of the sport – without endurance training. Wrestling imparts key disciplines in how to enhance your cardio and endurance, making your body acclimated to the grueling BJJ fight.

Thus, if you’re already doing Wrestling, shifting to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu means you have the foundation for the sport. You have the advantage of developing stamina that works well in a BJJ fight. Practicing Wrestling is worthwhile if you want to build your endurance in the BJJ sport.

Mat Familiarity

Awareness on the mat is another aspect of learning BJJ that one can train more from Wrestling. Jiu-Jitsu is a game that requires taking the fight to the ground and controlling an opponent, which has the same intensity of Wrestling. With the balance and sense of awareness in Wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu practitioners can have a steadier fighting approach.


Jiu-Jitsu practitioners have to maintain a steady stance to stand their ground in either defensive or offensive positions. Practicing Wrestling helps in keeping a fighter in charge and ready on the mat. Instead of doing other drills to refine their balance skills, Jiu-Jitsu practitioners can turn to Wrestling. It helps their whole body to gain proper stability and momentum on the mat.

The skills one learns in Wrestling can help a BJJ fighter secure a better fighting position on the mat. When you practice Wrestling, you’re also applying the same level of balance and mat awareness, which is ultimately the goal in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fight.

Improved Strength

Those with a wrestling background are harder to sweep off when doing Jiu-Jitsu. Wrestling builds up strength and athleticism, making one a more effective BJJ fighter. It is almost similar to strength training, with the added advantage of Wrestling skills applicable to a BJJ fight.

The athleticism one can learn from Wrestling helps build up the strength in terms of gripping, grappling, or taking down an opponent in Jiu-Jitsu. A background in Wrestling will be more advantageous for a BJJ practitioner to add more difficulty in sweeping them off from an opponent’s actions.


Sweeping your BJJ maneuver will be harder once you have a background in Wrestling. The agility and athleticism that you can learn from Wrestling transfers to an improved strength that you can bring in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Applicable Techniques

Wrestling has techniques comparable to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They are closely related and serve well when used in a BJJ fight. Whether that’s grappling or punching, Wrestling skills translate well to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Wrestlers rely heavily on single or double leg attacks, which are one of the primary techniques in BJJ. The fireman’s carry is also another effective Wrestling technique that you can apply when a BJJ opponent has grips. Another would be the arm-triangle choke, which is an efficient move in Wrestling. Modifying the arm-in pin move works well to tap down a BJJ opponent. Then there’s the hammerlock – although limited to a certain angle in Wrestling – which is exactly what you would need to do in BJJ, causing the opponent to grapple with the pain until they tap.

These are just some of the techniques that you can apply from Wrestling to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. By modifying some of the effective movements in Wrestling, you can work towards BJJ maneuvers that can lock in an opponent’s submission more easily.

Skills Leverage

Practicing Wrestling brings a competitive edge when learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The skills in Wrestling enhance the fighting abilities in BJJ, adding more impressive and easier takedowns.

The crossover of Wrestling provides immense benefits to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. It will make a BJJ fighter more holistic on the mat instead of focusing purely on Jiu-Jitsu training. Wrestling enables a BJJ fighter to enhance what was already learned in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. From grappling, and controlling an opponent, to effective takedowns, Wrestling brings more intensity and competence to a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter.

The Takeaway

Learning BJJ online or in a gym is all about incorporating fighting techniques from other combat sports. A background in Wrestling is a sign that you would do well in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fight.

If you have just started training for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or are already working towards the long journey to a black belt, it’s best to include some form of Wrestling practice as a cross-training approach.


Conversely, you would have an immense advantage if you came from the sport of Wrestling. It would be easier for you to switch over to learning BJJ online. With online methods, you can easily perform various BJJ maneuvers. Some of these online learning methods include instructional videos, like the ones from Grapplers Guide.


The supplementary training approach of subscribing to Grapplers Guide provides you with complete and unlimited access to various BJJ techniques that would otherwise be limited to your time inside a gym. You will find some of the Wrestling techniques relevant to the several movements that are effective in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. From the foundation of endurance, mat awareness, enhanced strength, techniques, and leveraging skills – all of these make wrestlers already one foot at the door towards a fledgling BJJ performance.

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