Are you looking for the best grappling style to complement your Jiu Jitsu skills? You might be considering Judo vs Wrestling, two of the most popular grappling martial arts. But which one is better for BJJ? Read all about the similarities and differences between Judo and Wrestling, their benefits for self-defense, and their training and competition differences, so that you can make the most informed decision about expanding your grappling game.
What is Judo and How is it Used in BJJ?
Judo is a Japanese martial art that focuses on throwing, grappling, and submission techniques. It was founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882 and has since become a staple Olympic sport.
Judo techniques are categorized into standing or ground techniques, with throws being the most prominent aspect of the art. In BJJ, Judo techniques are often used to initiate takedowns and gain dominant positions on the ground. Judo practitioners are known for their explosive power, balance, and timing.
One of the main benefits of Judo for BJJ is its emphasis on randori, or free practice. Judo practitioners are trained to apply their techniques against resisting opponents in a live setting, which makes their techniques highly effective in real-world situations. Judo also includes the use of the gi, which directly translates to BJJ.
In fact, some of the most iconic submissions we use in BJJ nowadays are actually derived from old-school Judo techniques (Kosen link).
What is Wrestling and How is it Used in BJJ?
Wrestling is an ancient sport that involves grappling, takedowns, and pinning techniques. It has been practiced for thousands of years in different cultures around the world and has also become an Olympic sport like its Japanese counterpart.
Wrestling techniques are mostly focused on takedowns and controlling the opponent’s body, with pinning on the mats being the ultimate goal. In BJJ, Wrestling techniques are used to initiate takedowns and maintain top positions on the ground. Wrestlers are usually known for their strength, speed, and endurance. Wrestling is done exclusively without the gi, which makes our Judo vs Wrestling for BJJ debate even more interesting.
One of the main benefits of Wrestling for BJJ is its focus on explosive takedowns and top control. Wrestlers are trained to shoot for takedowns with speed and power, which can catch BJJ practitioners off guard. Wrestling also teaches valuable skills such as mat awareness, which can help prevent being pinned or submitted on the ground.
Similarities Between Judo and Wrestling
Despite their differences, Judo and Wrestling share some similarities that make them both effective for BJJ. For instance, both arts focus on grappling and takedowns, which are essential aspects of BJJ. They also prioritize physical conditioning and mental toughness, which are integral to any martial art. Additionally, both arts have a competitive aspect, which can help BJJ practitioners develop their skills under pressure.
Another similarity between Judo and Wrestling is their emphasis on technique and timing. Both arts require precise execution of techniques and perfect timing to be effective. This makes them both highly technical and rewarding arts to practice. Finally, both arts have a rich history and culture that can deepen a practitioner’s appreciation for martial arts.
Differences Between Judo and Wrestling
While there are similarities between Judo and Wrestling, there are also significant differences that can impact a BJJ practitioner’s decision to train in one or the other.
For example, Judo focuses more on throws and submissions, while Wrestling focuses more on takedowns and control. Judo also has a stronger emphasis on traditional etiquette and respect, while Wrestling is more focused on competition and aggression.
Another difference between Judo and Wrestling is their training methods. Judo places a strong emphasis on randori, or free practice, which can lead to injuries if not done properly. Wrestling, on the other hand, focuses more on drilling and sparring, which can be less intense but more focused on specific techniques.
Finally, Judo has a wider variety of techniques, while Wrestling has a more narrow focus on takedowns and control.
Which is Better for Self-Defense: Judo vs Wrestling?
Both Judo and Wrestling can be effective for self-defense, depending on the situation. Judo’s focus on throws and submissions can be useful in close-range situations, where the practitioner needs to quickly immobilize an opponent. Wrestling’s focus on takedowns and control can be useful in situations where the practitioner needs to quickly take down an opponent and maintain top control.
However, it is important to note that self-defense situations are unpredictable and can require a combination of different skills. BJJ practitioners are encouraged to train in multiple martial arts and self-defense techniques to be prepared for any situation.
Training and Competition Differences Between Judo and Wrestling
Judo and Wrestling also differ in their training and competition methods. Judo competitions are typically held on a mat, with points awarded for throws, pins, and submissions. Judo practitioners are also required to wear a gi, or uniform, which can be used for grips and throws.
Wrestling competitions are typically held on a mat or in a ring, with points awarded for takedowns, escapes, and pins. Wrestlers wear singlets, which are tight-fitting uniforms that allow for maximum movement.
In terms of training, there is more to add to the Judo vs Wrestling debate. They also differ in their focus and intensity. Judo training typically involves a lot of randori, or free practice, which can be intense and physically demanding. Judo practitioners also spend a lot of time on technical drills and kata, or prearranged forms. Wrestling training, on the other hand, focuses more on drilling and live sparring, which can be less intense but more focused on specific techniques.
Judo vs Wrestling for BJJ: How to Make Your Choice
Choosing between Judo and Wrestling for BJJ ultimately depends on the practitioner’s goals and preferences. Judo can be a great choice for those who want to improve their throws and submissions, while Wrestling can be a great choice for those who want to improve their takedowns and control. Judo can also be a good choice for those who enjoy more traditional martial art of type training, while Wrestling can be a good choice for those who enjoy a more competitive and explosive approach
There is also the case of training attire in the debate of Judo vs Wrestling. As logic stands, gi grapplers will benefit more from Judo to a certain point, than Wrestling, and vice versa for those involved exclusively in no gi grappling.
It is important to note that Judo and Wrestling are not mutually exclusive, and many BJJ practitioners choose to train in both arts. Combining Judo and Wrestling can provide a well-rounded grappling skill set that can be effective in any situation.
Ultimately, the best choice for BJJ practitioners is to find an art that suits their goals, preferences, and lifestyle.
Combining Judo and Wrestling in BJJ
Thinking along the lines of combining Judo and Wrestling in BJJ rather than ting to find a winner in Judo vs Wrestling can provide a powerful grappling skill set that can be effective in any situation. By combining Judo’s throws and submissions with Wrestling’s takedowns and pins, grapplers can become more versatile and unpredictable on the mat both with and without the gi.
BJJ practitioners can also benefit from the physical conditioning and mental toughness that both Judo and Wrestling provide.
When combining Judo and Wrestling, it is important to focus on the techniques that are most relevant to BJJ. For example, Judo’s sacrifice throws, such as Tomoe Nage, can be effective in BJJ, but require a lot of practice to execute properly. Similarly, Wrestling’s double leg takedown can be effective in BJJ, but may not be suitable for all situations.
It is important to experiment with different techniques and find what works best for each individual practitioner.
Judo and Wrestling are both effective grappling martial arts that can complement BJJ skills. While they have their differences, they also share similarities that make them both valuable for BJJ practitioners. Ultimately, the choice is not Judo vs Wrestling but rather select aspects fo both depending on the practitioner’s goals, preferences, and lifestyle. By combining Judo and Wrestling, BJJ practitioners can become more versatile and effective on the mat. Whether you choose Judo, Wrestling, or both, the important thing is to keep training and improving your skills.
Ogi is a black belt that does Jiu Jitsu full time and is very passionate about anything grappling-related.
He is also the head coach of Enso Jiu Jitsu in Macedonia and an aspiring Globetrotter.