BJJ and wrestling are both great grappling martial arts. However, if you are interested in MMA or self-defense you might wonder which style is better.
The truth is that you need both BJJ and wrestling for MMA. This is because ( excluding catch wrestling ) wrestling does not have submissions. But most would agree that wrestlers have dominated mixed martial arts for decades now.
BJJ Vs Wrestling For MMA
This is a debate that has been going on almost since the beginning of MMA. There is no doubt that both of these styles have their place in MMA.
In fact, MMA is largely responsible for the great successes of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Rorion Gracie was one of the founders of the UFC. I believe it was his goal to showcase in front of the world how effective BJJ was.
It seemed to work out for BJJ. After all, the first UFCs were dominated by the much smaller Royce Gracie who was a BJJ fighter. Even today it would be very rare to find an MMA fighter that does not train BJJ.
Of course, if you want to fight MMA today, then you need to be a more well-rounded fighter than you were in the early days of MMA.
Wrestling Is The Best Base For MMA
Wrestling is by many people’s accounts the best foundation for MMA. Most of the current UFC champions come from a wrestling background.
Because of their excellent takedowns, wrestlers often get to dictate the direction of the fight. They can choose to keep the fight standing up or they can choose to take the fight to the ground.
Wrestling will also teach you how to train hard. Wrestlers have developed a work ethic and general toughness that will transition well into MMA.
Of course, in today’s world, you should learn both BJJ and wrestling if you want to do MMA. Luckily many schools teach both BJJ and wrestling. So you probably do not have to choose between the two. Instead, work on both.
BJJ Vs Wrestling For Self-Defense
This is a hard one because we first need to talk about the difference between classic BJJ and sport BJJ. Brazilian jiu-jitsu started out as a self-defense martial art. As BJJ got more popular many schools started to focus more on BJJ competition than self-defense.
As you might assume there are plenty of moves you would do in a competition that would not be practical in a self-defense situation. After all, you do not have to worry about being punched in the face during a BJJ competition.
Though at its core BJJ is a self-defense system many schools are only focused on sport jiu-jitsu. Both sport and traditional BJJ are amazing and both have their place. That said if you are looking to learn self-defense make sure you choose a BJJ school that is self-defense-focused.
Wrestling Does Not Focus on Self-defense
Wrestling, on the other hand, is not really focused on self-defense. That is not to say that some wrestling techniques would not come in handy for a self-defense situation.
Takedowns and the ability to control your opponent are great skills to learn for self-defense. It is simply that wrestling was not developed for self-defense like BJJ was.
In my opinion, traditional BJJ is the best self-defense system when dealing with a one-on-one attack. Many traditional BJJ schools will also teach what I believe are the most important aspects of self-defense.
That is situational awareness and distance management. So between the two, I would suggest finding a traditional BJJ school that has a strong focus on self-defense.
Instead of thinking of it as BJJ vs wrestling, think about how you can use both arts to achieve your goals. It is important to define what you want to accomplish. Do you want to learn self-defense, do MMA, or do you just want to have fun and get some exercise?
There is nothing wrong with any of those answers. These are simply questions to ask yourself that might help you decide which direction you want to go. Either way, both of these grappling arts are amazing and you can’t go wrong learning either of them.