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Wrestling vs BJJ: A Complete Guide To Becoming a Savage

wrestling vs bjj
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Regardless of where you are in your training or competing career, you can benefit from developing a harder mindset.

Martial arts are about far more than just the actual practice of doing them. They are a way of life. The lessons you learn on the mats or in the gym mold the way you live your life if you allow them to do so. 

This is something you decide to do. You DECIDE to become harder. You DECIDE to push more than others, to do more than others, to WIN more than others. Let’s talk about how to get there though. 

Wrestling vs BJJ: A Complete Guide To Becoming a Savage
Building Toughness on The Mats

When you hear the words “oh man, that guy’s a tough dude!”, what comes to mind? Grit, resilience, being hard-nosed, physically strong, maybe even slightly unhinged when it comes to the sport.

The thing is, for most athletes this type of mindset is not a given. It is built through consistent effort and expecting more out of yourself. Where? In the practice room. You don’t just get onto the mats for a competition and “BANG!” you’re a tough competitor. Nope, it doesn’t quite work like that.

You forge yourself into an athlete like that by pushing in the room. This comes in many forms. 

Wrestling teaches life lessons across the board. You can read a bit from top-level wrestlers to learn what they learned from wrestling here.

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Why Should I Do Wrestling?

Before elaborating on the benefits of training in wrestling, it is important to note one of the possible difficulties. 

Adult wrestling outside of the senior level (Olympic/World level) is not a thing in the United States. So finding wrestling-specific practices can be difficult. If you wish to train wrestling as someone who has never done it before, your best option is likely to find a BJJ gym that also teaches wrestling classes on certain nights! 

Why Should I Cross-Train?

Cross-training BJJ and Wrestling is beneficial because of how closely related the two are. 

Many people refer to BJJ (sometimes ignorantly) as “wrestling, but with chokes and breaks”. When you are grappling, you are grappling at the end of the day. So any grappling-based sport has some aspect of wrestling present in it. 

Becoming a better wrestler, learning how to move on your feet better, and scoring takedowns at a higher proficiency level give you a leg up on your BJJ competition

This is especially true if they DO NOT cross-train. If your wrestling becomes even moderate level your ability to beat them grows. This is because they do not fully understand the positions that you do. They also will not have the full perspective you do as a grappler

It never hurts to develop a more whole game by exposing yourself to other grappling arts than the one that you are rooted in. 

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Can I Use BJJ in Wrestling?

The applications of BJJ in wrestling are far fewer than in wrestling in BJJ. This is primarily due to the rulesets and differences in the sport. In Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, we can pull guard and have our backs flat on the mat.

In wrestling, when your back is exposed to the mat your opponent is gaining points, they can even finish the match by pinning both shoulders down to the mat and literally “pinning” you. Thus ending the match immediately. 

An example of something you would not really see used in wrestling are things like inversions. Going underneath your opponent and exposing your back, like you would when you establish standing leg entanglement. 

That being said, 90% of what you learn in wrestling can be applied in some capacity to BJJ. Albeit, you may need to modify a bit to not expose yourself to “bad” positions. 

Everyone can benefit from learning a ROCK-SOLID double leg into a classic finish. You learn to score points and establish a dominant position so you can start to work towards your finish. 

In wrestling you learn an immense amount of body control, using your hips, working through positions, and “chain wrestling”. 

How To Be A Savage 

Becoming a savage on the mats really boils down to just a few things. They are easy to type but much harder to apply. This is because a savage on the mats needs to have a certain type of mindset. 

A mindset like this more often than not is not something one just has, but that they have to develop. 

How is it developed? It starts in the practice room above all else. When others leave practice what are you doing? Are you leaving with them? Or are you getting extra work in?

When you start training your practice partners, you expect more out of yourself. You start to catch them, then you start to pass them. When you have that first moment where you recognize that you have caught up, it is immensely empowering to your mindset. 

When people are taking rounds off, do you take a round off? Or do you push yourself and do the extra round instead of resting? 

When drilling are you going through the motions? Or are you pushing yourself and your partners? 

In rolling, competing, and practicing what type of energy you bring determines where you go. Grit your teeth and push past your barriers. When you push past a barrier you have grown to be able to approach another barrier.

Then push past that next one. Find walls, climb them, build new walls and climb those too. This is how a savage is born.

Be mindful of how you carry yourself out of practice. What you put into your body, the way you live your day-to-day lifestyle. Is it conducive to your goals and pushing you forward? Or do you live a mediocre lifestyle? 

A savage embodies the warrior’s spirit in the room and outside of it!

If you want to be a savage, you must forge yourself into one. In body, in mind, and in spirit. You train all of them when you take on martial arts

This type of sport is the type of sport where you truly get out of it what you willingly put into it. So if you want to be a savage, you must BE a savage. Develop yourself into one. Not just for the practice room, but so you can be one outside of the room too. 

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