BJJ vs Wrestling – What Makes These Martial Arts Different from Each Other?

We know wrestlers are among the most solid athletes in the world. In order to succeed in wrestling, you need to be dedicated, persistent, and resolute. In addition to leverage, balance, and technical knowledge, wrestling uses these same techniques as jiu-jitsu (BJJ).

So, what is the best martial art for fighting between these two styles? Well, both have their conditions, advantages, and disadvantages too. Hence, one who is great in any of these would definitely consider that as the best one. However, it is still better to know about both of these; when and where to apply the techniques and how to defend one’s own self.

BJJ vs Wrestling

BJJ vs Wrestling – The Differences

BJJ and wrestling are similar in many ways, but the main difference is intensity. There is no other sport more explosive and aggressive than wrestling. In general, wrestlers are often very well-conditioned and physically fit. That’s because training at wrestling clubs concentrates heavily on aerobic activity, strength, and explosiveness.

When it comes to the aim of the sport, a wrestler’s goal is to take their opponent down and pin him or her.

While in BJJ, it is strictly prohibited to hit opponents in jiu-jitsu. This type of fighting relies on the control and holding of the opponent while scoring a point, and on the techniques used for control and compulsion, such as levering on the arms and legs, which, if done properly, will ensure instant victory.

Besides improving your fitness, Jiu-Jitsu is also good for your health. However, it isn’t quite as intense as wrestling. In Jiu-Jitsu, the goal of a submission is to force your opponent to submit, which is possible from both top and bottom positions. An important difference exists here.


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Takedown 2 points
Sweep 2 points
Knee on belly 2 points
Guard Pass 3 points
Mount 4 points
Back Mount 4 points


Out of Bounds 1 point
Reversal 1 point
Penalty 1 to 2 points
Exposure 2 to 3 points
Takedown 2 to 5 points

How Do the Rules Differ?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

There are three main rules for winning a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match.

  • In the first case, you must submit your opponent using the legal submissions you can perform at this level of your belt.
  • Another way to win is through points, which includes guard passes and sweeps. Sweeps are basically a reversal technique that gets you up from the bottom, much like a takedown. While in Guard Passes, you have to pass your opponent’s knees with both hands from the top to secure a side mount, knee on belly, full mount, or back mount.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

  • Thirdly, your opponent might be disqualified if he or she does something wrong, which is completely out of your control. A violation of the rules may include making weight in your division, performing moves forbidden by your belt level, slamming, or violating another rule.


The rules of wrestling are a bit different from those of BJJ.

  • In freestyle wrestling, you need to get your opponent to the mat and then assert your dominance. Competitors who are kneeling or worse, lying on their backs lose.
  • In this sport, you aim to knock your opponent down and pin their shoulders on the mat for two seconds. When you attain a pin, your match is automatically won, just as if you had submitted. A pin or submission is the corresponding move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Even though the timer is up if you do not win by pin, you can still win by decision. The match could be won if you succeed in putting your opponent is in a different more dominant position as determined by the referee. At any point during the match, if you have a ten-point lead over the opponent, you immediately win via technical knockout.


The Clothing

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

For practicing BJJ, you can either attend the classes with a Gi or with no Gi.

If you attend classes with a Gi, here’s how your clothing would be:

  • BJJ kimono made from a thick, durable material called a “Gi”.
  • Rashguard for minimizing direct contact between skin and skin.
  • Mouth Guard.
  • BJJ belt.

And, if you choose to go without a Gi, here’s what your wearing would include:

  • Shorts for MMA/BJJ
  • The rash guard
  • Mouthguard


For wrestling, the clothing for practicing classes and for the actual competition differs.

For Practice Sessions

  • Shorts for MMA
  • Rashguard/Shirt
  • Protective mouth and ear guards

For Competition

  • Singlet for wrestling
  • Protective mouth guard
  • Ear protection


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Pros and Cons

  • Plenty of submission options
  • An effective sport for learning self-defense techniques
  • Better Bottom Game. You spend quite a lot of time in training off your back
  • Safest martial sport to practice
  • BJJ is for everyone
  • Takedowns aren’t the same level as those of wrestling

Wrestling Pros and Cons

  • A winner martial art sport when it comes to the Takedowns
  • Promotes athleticism
  • Improves cardio fitness and health
  • Not for everyone.
  • A very explosive and aggressive sport


Summing It Up

In short, if you wish to become the best grappler or a martial artist that you can be, you should read up on all of the grappling disciplines. Each grappling art has its own strengths and weaknesses, whether it is BJJ, wrestling, judo, or whatever else.

We hope the information would have been helpful for you. Now you would have an idea about how do these two martial art sports differ.


Can wrestling beat BJJ?
Generally, any style can be beaten if its application is better than its opponent’s. BJJ guys can be controlled by wrestlers. Similarly, Boxers can KO Muay Thais. It can be either way around or any combination.
Is wrestling harder than BJJ?
Competing in wrestling requires full warming up, physical exertion, enduring bad situations, and being thrown around and beaten down. Unlike BJJ, wrestling has a much more difficult training regimen. In wrestling, you are always on the move. Moreover, wrestling is more painful and exhausting than Jiu-Jitsu.
Who wins BJJ or wrestling?
Anyone who performs well according to the rules of the sport and succeeds in controlling the opponent completely, wins. A wrestler will win if he takes his opponent down and pins him or her. While a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner will win if he finally forces his opponent to submit.
Can a wrestler beat a martial artist?
Probably no. Professional wrestlers have different backgrounds that influence their performances. Even without a ground game, he would be able to crush an MMA fighter with no wrestling background and a strong knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu. So, who beats whom, depends on the training of the wrestler and the gripping intensity of the martial artist.
Is BJJ training dangerous?
Not really. Among all the arts you can train, BJJ is about the safest. Because of the way the sport is taught, concussions are almost nonexistent and you have a lot of control over your chance of injury.


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