Difference Between Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu

Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu can seem like the same, as both sports require fighters to be on the ground at some point.

In this page, we'll go over the differences between Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu.

wrestling vs jiu jitsu

Table of Contents

Difference Between Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu

The goals of Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu are different. In wrestling the goal is to pin your opponent, which consists of putting your opponent on their back with any part of both shoulders (or shoulder blades) on the mat for 2 whole seconds.

wrestling pin

In order to achieve this the wrestler has to have top position (on top of their opponent).

In Jiu Jitsu, the goal is to submit your opponent through a choke or a joint lock where the opponent is forced to tap.

The BJJ practitioner can achieve this from either top position or bottom position. Unlike wrestling, they do not need to be in a certain position in order to win the match.

Wrestling Habits When Transitioning to MMA

Wrestlers are more than happy to give up their back to their opponent out of habit, as it does not put them in immediate danger of being pinned.

However when wrestlers transition into MMA, this is a habit that they must break as giving up your back can be the easiest way to lose a fight.

rear naked choke

In fact, one of the most common and easiest chokes to lock in is the rear naked choke, which can be locked in when an opponent exposes their back.

Additionally in general, they will need to learn to have their chin tucked in, in order to not leave their neck exposed. Something which is not a problem they have to worry about in the normal wrestling world.

Jiu Jitsu Habits When Transitioning to MMA

In Jiu Jitsu, there is a 'Gentlemen agreement' where one person will willingly stay on their back, while the other will jump into that person's guard.

Due to this, the wrestling aspect of Jiu Jitsu is not the greatest. Fighters do not need to secure a takedown in order to take the fight to the ground, as the opponent can just lay on his back willingly.

jiu jitsu back

When BJJ practitioners transition into MMA, they will need to learn elite takedown as well as takedown defense to have a successful transition.