BJJ for Wrestlers

As a wrestler, you never really stop training during wrestling season. You always seem to be working out, training techniques and watching your weight. However, when the season ends you are left on your own. It may be difficult for you to keep up with your training regimen without the structure of a team. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) provides you with an excellent opportunity to stay in shape in the off-season while also providing you with an opportunity to learn new techniques and developing a new sense of mat awareness that may help you to be more successful in the next wrestling season.

What is BJJ?

BJJ is a martial art that focuses on ground-fighting techniques that are used to subdue an opponent. Matches start standing up, as in wrestling, and eventually work to the ground, where competitors work to gain a dominant position and submit, or “tap out”, their opponent through joint locks or choke holds. As a wrestler you use many of these same choke holds and joint locks as a way to manipulate your opponent onto their backs for a pin so the crossover will feel natural. One major difference between wrestling and BJJ is that a BJJ match does not end when one competitor is forced onto their back. Matches only end when either the time runs out or one competitor submits to the other.


The best way to get in shape for a sport is to compete in that sport. When wrestling season ends you can work out on your own but when the next season rolls around your body will have to get used to the pounding that wrestling puts on it all over again. BJJ provides an opportunity to stay in grappling shape during your off-season. Classes are structured similarly to a typical wrestling practice, with a warm-up, a technique portion will lots of drilling, a situational sparring session based on the technique of the day and free sparring at the end. Even better, BJJ will work your body in ways that you are not used to which will only sharpen your mat sense when the next wrestling season rolls around.

New Techniques

Wrestling is all about taking your opponent down and working for the pin. BJJ, on the other hand, allows you to work from your back and either sweep, or roll over, your opponent or submit him. You can also play from the top and work to pass your opponent’s guard and work for a submission from a dominant position. There are so many different techniques and methods for doing all of this that even Masters who have trained for 20+ years can learn something new from every training session. You will begin to see a bigger picture of grappling and learn how to manipulate your opponent from any position using leverage and technique, regardless of the relative size and strength of you and your opponent. You will be able to employ some of the lessons into your wrestling as well.

Just Train

If you want to be a good grappler, you have to grapple. Wrestling and BJJ are both grappling arts. Many of the techniques are the same. In fact, the best BJJ practitioners look to sports like wrestling to try to figure out what they can add to their game to make it more effective. There are many excellent wrestlers who have crossed over to BJJ as well. At Premier Fight Center, we have many current and former wrestlers, including Isaac July, a former Division I wrestler who won the BJJ World Championships in 2008 (Blue Belt). Give BJJ a try. You will not be disappointed!