BJJ VS. Wrestling – Which Style is More Effective?

Both BJJ and wrestling are grappling martial arts.

However, what is the difference? Is one more effective than the other? Which is better for real-life situations? These are the common questions that you can find on forums. There are many advantages and disadvantages of choosing one over the other.

Let’s start comparing these two effective martial arts.

Wrestling Vs. BJJ


In order to win a BJJ match, you must score more than your opponent. Different points are given to different submission types. For example, rear mount is four points. So if you have more points than your opponent at the end of the match, you will win it. The other way to win is to submit your opponent.

Whereas wrestlers’ goal is to successfully take down the opponent and pinning the opponent on the mats for two seconds or push your opponent outside the circle. Another way to win a match is to have more than fourteen points than the opponent. The latter requires more skills.

Obviously, if your opponents do not follow the rules and regulations they can be disqualified and you can win the match.

Who does Prefer BJJ more? Some people just love this martial art and can’t wait to go to a dojo and practice triangles. However, BJJ Is formed for people who are shorter, have a smaller frame to defend themselves. So, smaller people get experts in this martial art and can protect themselves in a fight effectively.

In some cases, it is argued that jiu-jitsu is better than wrestling. However, this depends on the circumstance. If you know BJJ and your takedown defense sucks then your opponent may slam you to the ground and the fight would be over at that point. But if you are on the ground a wrestler probably can’t defend effectively against the submissions. So, the advantages of learning one over the other entirely depend on the circumstance.

What do We Suggest for Self-defense?

If you are a small person then learning jiu jitsu is a better option as you may not have enough power for takedowns or other wrestling techniques. If your opponent is stronger than you it is actually your best bet to practice BJJ for winning the fight.

So considering these BJJ is actually better for self-defense in many circumstances. You will have more chances to win a street fight if you choose to learn it. But this does not mean that wrestling is useless in real-life situations. There are just fewer circumstances that it can be more beneficial to use wrestling techniques like throws in real life. Also, wrestlers know how to control the opponent and it is quite useful in matches however self-defense experts want you not to do it in real life as stabbing would be too easy in this circumstance.

Learn BJJ with These DVDs and Videos

Progression Differences

It is quite important for practitioners to put in time and effort in BJJ. This is one of the most important factors for advancing in belts and the other factor is the instructor’s recommendation. You need to achieve specific goals for advancing. For example, practitioners need to master different escape techniques from mount in order to advance to blue belt. Every belt requires you to accomplish specific goals. Children tend to be rewarded with new belts more often. And there is no age restriction for progression.

Wrestling does not have any official belt system. Because wrestling is a combat sport and there is no hierarchy and traditions like belts. However, almost every martial art has a ranking system.

How long are Matches and Classes?

BJJ matches last longer.

Wrestling matches last between 3 minutes and 4.5 minutes.  And BJJ matches last between 5 minutes and 10 minutes. This depends on the belt of the practitioner. For instance, the match lasts eight minutes for brown belts.

However, BJJ classes last shorter than a wrestling class. The average jiu jitsu class lasts around an hour and the wrestling class lasts around two hours. So wrestling training is quite demanding and explosiveness is also important for you to have a good session. So you need to consume more calories, carbohydrates before a wrestling class.


Wrestling is a quite demanding martial art and wrestlers always need to be in the top physical condition during competitions. I am not saying BJJ practitioners do not get in shape for tournaments however jiu jitsu depends heavily on skills. Wrestling also depends on a wrestler’s skills however in order to show skills, a wrestler needs to be explosive.

Practicing wrestling helps you achieve an amazing physique in a very short amount of time. Bjj is still not bad for it however wrestling definitely has the edge.

Size and Strength

BJJ is actually great for people who are short or not really powerful. So they can rely on submissions techniques to beat the stronger opponents and they don’t need to overpower them.  This is why many self-defense classes include different jiu-jitsu techniques. However, this is not the case for wrestlers. When you are trying to pin your opponent, doing takedowns, scrambling with your opponent’s strength is definitely one of the most important factors. So both size and strength matter.

The cost

Equipment, Gears

Wrestling gears are quite different than BJJ gears. These are headgear, a wrestling singlet, jockstrap, mouth guard and wrestling shoes. If you practice BJJ regularly, you need multiple BJJ gis, rash guards, finger tapes, socks for grappling, ear guard, groin protector.

Wrestling gears tend to be more affordable than jiu jitsu equipment. The reason is BJJ gis. The quality kimono is quite expensive martial arts clothing and you definitely will need more than one.


BJJ dojos generally charge more than wrestling clubs. The difference is around forty dollars. Also, it is common that BJJ practitioners train more than wrestlers. I know some of you disagree with this statement but it is actually true according to my observation in the MMA gyms over the years.

So, training BJJ costs more than training wrestling.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gear Guide

Who wins an MMA Match?

When a wrestler faces a BJJ practitioner in an MMA fight who has the advantage?

This topic also needs to include a lot of details about the techniques like sprawling and guards. The following video does a good job of explaining everything in detail.

Train Both BJJ and Wrestling

This is recommended for people who want to practice self-defense or improve the chances of winning an MMA match. For instance, you can counter wrestling techniques with BJJ techniques like leg locks. This is not a conventional way to go about it as your opponent would expect you to counter with wrestling techniques. So you can catch them off guard.

Considering everything both of these martial arts have advantages and disadvantages. So training them together is the best way to go about it if your goal is to learn self-defense.

Is wrestling harder than BJJ? It depends. Wrestling can be quite tough especially while scrambling with your opponent to get to a dominant position. It is definitely more physically challenging than BJJ. You can build more muscles and burn more calories during a wrestling class. However, it is way harder to learn BJJ techniques as there are more of them and kimuras, leg locks, triangles are more complicated than takedowns.

Is BJJ better than Wrestling? When a BJJ practitioner faces a wrestler, generally wrestler wins the fight. The reason is that the wrestler can also use their hands well and they can do takedowns before you know it. And it seems practitioners generally can’t counter in a short amount of time. Thus we witness the wrestlers beat jiu jitsu practitioners in MMA gyms more often than not.

The Similarities

These martial arts share some similarities. Both of these are effective for self-defense and grappling is incorporated into BJJ and wrestling. These martial arts help you burn calories fast and lower body fat percentage.

Which one is more fun?

This depends on the individual. However, it seems like lots of people, who take BJJ classes, go to classes and learn sweeps for fun!

Final Thoughts

Wrestling Advantages

  • Perfect for building muscle and losing fat
  • Comparing to BJJ it is easier to learn
  • More affordable to practice
  • Great for balance
  • It improves explosive power
  • You can control your opponent
  • Takedowns can come in handy for some martial arts

Wrestling Disadvantages

  • Very physically demanding

BJJ Advantages

  • It is great for self-defense
  • It relieves stress
  • You can get very fit with jiu-jitsu
  • You can get good at ground fighting, various submissions
  • It is fun

BJJ Disadvantages

  • BJJ might be expensive for some people
  • It does not include striking
  • Submission techniques like darce are harder to learn

Now you know enough to make an educated choice. However, whether you choose to practice BJJ or wrestling you need proper training, schedule, good instructors and dedication.

If I miss any important points about this topic please feel free to comment below.


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