BJJ Vs. Wrestling – who would win? The answer is that it depends on the ruleset. Speaking from the perspective of BJJ guys, wrestlers are a real handful, even when they do not have BJJ experience. A solid wrestler with no Jiu-Jitsu knowledge can really put even experienced BJJ students under pressure. However, in a BJJ setting, whether it is the gym or competition, there are ways to beat a wrestler. Are you going to beat every wrestler you meet? Of course not, But if you know how to approach them, you can take wrestling out of the equation and make your encounter a pure BJJ match.
At a certain point after you start training BJJ, when all the torture stops, you start realizing that there;’s a fun side to it too. As you train you to become better and better and you really start enjoying Jiu-Jitsu. Then, one day, a wrestler walks in the gym a reminds you of those first few months in BJJ. Suddenly, nothing seems to work. You’re under pressure, you’re tired, there’s no way to end up on top. For all you know, it may be Khabib Nurmaghomedov himself on top of you. Facing a wrestler tends to put things into perspective for lots of people. And it inevitably raises the question of BJJ vs wrestling and the options you might or might not have.
The first thing that might give you hope is the Gi. After a few training sessions where that new guy mauls everyone, he finally gets a Gi. Now, the tables have turned (somewhat). There’s now a way for you to manage what they’re doing, even if you still can’t really accomplish much. However, there are certain strategies that might settle the BJJ vs wrestling dilemma once and for all. As you’ll see in this article, it is not really that difficult to deal with people that come from a wrestling background. Even when you’re standing.
BJJ Vs Wrestling: Know What Wrestlers Want
The first step in knowing how to deal with a tough wrestler in BJJ is understanding what they’ll be looking for. Depending on where you are, wrestling can be really straightforward. The first thing you need in a BJJ match, for example, is to recognize the stance and grip fighting of wrestlers. First of all, a wrestler is going to be standing much lower than a BJJ or Judo guy. There’s also a very specific posture that’s a dead giveaway for wrestlers. If that’s not enough, once you see someone refraining from a gripping fight and measuring distance instead, you can be certain. If they touch your head while circling, and avoid Gi grips, you can be certain. And you’ll need to react quickly.
Wrestlers are going to look to maintain distance until they can set up their takedown game. Once they have their opening, though, they’ll be looking to explode right away. Explosiveness and relentless work are two of the main traits of wrestlers. Once they get a hold of you they’ll be on you like a pit bull. What you can expect is that you’ll end up on the ground in 99% of the time.
Once on the ground, there are is one thing you can be certain of – pressure. Wrestlers are never going to accept fighting from a bottom position. This is to be expected as in wrestling, getting your back on them and is a great way to lose a match. The main problem you’ll have apart from the pressure is a wrestler’s base. Their base is just as notorious as its takedowns skills. So, what do you do against a pressure-heavy wrestler with a base of steel? BJJ vs Wrestling
On The Feet
The one thing you can master very quickly as a way to deal with wrestlers is sprawl. It is not as much BJJ vs wrestling as it is wrestling vs wrestling. But it works. And it can open up a lot of opportunities for you. However, the sprawl is not the one move that’ll keep you safe against wrestlers. It may help you deflect most attacks that involve them grabbing your legs. Still, you’ll be easy prey for headlocks, Russian ties trips etc. Which brings us to the next step.
If you’re up against a wrestler and you stuff a takedown attempt or two, pull guard. If you have no wrestling background yourself, pulling guard is your best bet. WIll ti land you in a perfect position? No. That said, there’s probably no position that is perfect to have against a wrestler. What you’ll accomplish with the guard pull is to get to the ground on your terms. The other option is getting taken down, which means the wrestler will have side control at least. Not where you want to be. So, recognize the grips and stance, avid takedowns, and pull guard ASAP.
The main thing you need to do from the bottom is to deflect direct pressure. In order to do this, forget about most fancy open guards. They’re way too easy for a wrestler to smash right through them. Your best bet after pulling guards to remain in closed guard. Here, you’ll have great control over the pressure with your hips. If you play your cards smart, you’ll also have submission options they won’t expect.
However, what you’\ll hardly achieve from the closed guard is sweeps. And, if you’re up against a strong wrestler (which chances are, you will be) submissions won’t be easy to set up. The absolute best way to finish a wrestler is either a leg lock or a rear-naked choke. If you ask me, I’d go for the second option as many wrestlers will take the pain of a joint lock. To achieve this, you’ll need to go underneath a wrestler. As far as BJJ vs wrestling advice goes, this is the most important one. Get underneath the base of the wrestler. The best guard options for this are the X and single-leg X guards and the deep half guard. The 50/50 might also be helpful but only if you’re dead set on a leg look finish.
When you’re underneath, you can manipulate a wrestler’s base without bearing their pressure. However, when they realize this, they’ll do all they can to return to a better position, or even disengage completely. In order to prevent it, you’ll need to use smart grips, and entangle your opponent. The deep half guard is perfect for this, as it restricts movement more than any other. It also offers you a sweeping option that lands you in a better top control than others.
How To Stay On Top
If you want to stay on top of a wrestler, you must use wrestling against them. However, you can’t be looking to use pressure against them. they’re too sued to withstanding and escaping it. Instead, your best option is using an old wrestling principle against them – staying loose. This doesn’t mean going limp on top, but staying light and active. Whenever you have side control, use their explosive escape attempts to go straight into the mount, or hunt for the back. Do not be afraid to go from mount back to side control if you need to. Forget holding mount as this is one rodeo you won’t win. Keep floating around a wrestler if you want to truly maintain top position and control.
Remember to also attack while you’re transitioning. Allowing any position to set means you’ll leave wrestlers options to look for ways out. Instead, what you want to do is look for submission while you’re in a transition. For example, if they’re turning from the mount, you’ll want to look to slap on a choke while you’re taking their back. BJJ vs wrestling
Finally, make sure you use high percentage submissions only. We already mentioned leg locks and chokes. If you can use them, go for heel hooks and forget any other leg lock. If not, stick to toeholds/Estima locks, as they’re true giant killers. In terms of chokes, nothing beat attacking from the back. If you have the Gi, use it to your maximal advantage. the Bow and arrow are much better than the rear-naked choke because it’ll be tighter and harder to defend against. Also, consider going for loop chokes over guillotines, if you really want to tap out a strong wrestler.
One great idea is to go out and improve your wrestling skills yourself. Short of going to a wrestling gym and taking extra classes, your best bet is Hudson Taylor. Or, to be more precise, Hudson’s DVD “Wrestling for BJJ”. This is the ultimate resource for you to improve your wrestling skills in a way that is specific for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ