There is a lot of overlap in grappling-based martial arts. When you train one, you improve your skills and level in all to a certain extent. Few, however, are as lethal as a combo as BJJ and wrestling.
Let’s dive into why these two pair together so nicely, like wine and cheese.
BJJ and Wrestling: The Ultimate Combo
How Wrestling Can Help Your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
The fact of the matter is this, a BJJ match starts on the feet. Unless someone immediately pulls guard, which sometimes they will, you have an opportunity right away to score points.
Even if you are an athlete that loves to play guard and that is where you would want to be ideally, you still need to know how to wrestle. The best athletes are well-rounded. They have a diverse skill set, allowing them to rise above their competition.
If you lose a close match that you could have won if you had scored just one more point, what could that difference be? It could literally be the difference in scoring one more takedown than your opponent did.
Are you willing to leave that opportunity on the table?
When you train in wrestling you train a very diverse set of skills that you do not necessarily get just out of BJJ alone. Yes of course all BJJ athletes train in some type of foot grappling. It is the standard practice.
But when you set time to train, what is foot grappling specifically rooted in? You jump levels over those around you who simply will not because they feel they “do not need to”.
You build balance on your feet, so when someone is in on a single leg you can fight through it and win the position. Every position you can win brings you closer to victory at the end of the match.
You learn how to use your hips in a way that no other martial art can really compare to. WRESTLERS HAVE GREAT HIPS! They HAVE TO have them. You get thrown into so many weird positions in wrestling that if your hips and posterior chain are not built for you will lose.
Scrambling is another thing that wrestling practice gives you. The ability to fight for your own position from someone else’s. The ability to FLOW through various positions and eventually end up in a position advantageous to you.
CHAIN WRESTLING is another great skill that you would be hard-pressed to find in a BJJ-only gym. Not because you do not chain wrestle in BJJ, but because it is a skill that has to be built by doing a lot of wrestling.
Does your first takedown get stopped? You use what’s available to you of that takedown attempt to attack again, then again, then again, until you DO get to a position you can score in. Then you score.
Wrestling for Base, Cardio, and Tenacity
Wrestlers usually have insane cardio. This is due to the nature of what a wrestling practice looks like. A college wrestling room you will typically come in and warm up, drill HARD (Forty-five minutes to an hour), then wrestle live or spar for thirty minutes or more.
This is very demanding. In a high-level wrestling room drilling is far more than just:
- Guy # 1 does takedown (or skill/move being drilled)
- Get up and reset
- Guy #1 does takedown (or skill/move being drilled)
- Get up and reset
Really it looks more like this:
- Engage with each other
- Hand fight to your setup (if on your feet)
- Attack the position you are drilling
- Finish takedown
- The guy taken down builds up to the base, works up to his feet & escapes
- Then the other guy goes
OFTEN TIMES – The two guys’ hands never leave each other’s bodies. They are in constant contact with each other!
Sometimes this is done in sets of two, sometimes sets of three, and sometimes even one and one alternating. But the key difference here? The athletes are not just getting up off the guy and resetting onto their feet.
You are being forced to DO MORE and PUSH MORE because both athletes are wrestling in a manner that is more realistic to what an actual bout or match will look like. This builds insane cardio because this is INSANELY difficult to maintain over the course of an entire practice.
One of the toughest wrestlers of all time, Cary Kolat, talks about drilling properly.
You have to become tough mentally or else you simply can not keep this type of pace.
Yes, BJJ is different in terms of practice design but the same principle can be applied. When applied you can get more out of your practice because you grow to expect more out of yourself. You build this slowly over time and then it allows you to go even harder when you compete.
You compete the way you practice. So if you practice like a slouch at a slow pace, how will you compete on the mat in a tournament?
You will rise to the conditions you have trained for. It’s as simple as that.
Outside of that, keep in mind that developing wrestling makes you a better grappler overall. If you add layers to your game you grow. You evolve.
No questions about it, training wrestling specifically will level you up. Not just as a grappler, but as an athlete and an individual. There is a reason that wrestling is often called the “world’s hardest sport”. If you want to be a serious grappler, you need to learn how to wrestle.