Wrestling vs. Jiu Jitsu: What wins?
That question is not an easy one to answer. For starters you need to first clarify, and then hold a lot of things equal. The wrestling vs. Jiu Jitsu battle will have to be between two competitors of equal skill level, weight, and age. Just finding two guys that meet those qualifications is hard enough, especially the skill levels of the competitors in wrestling vs. Jiu Jitsu. What decides how good someone is in a cross discipline comparison? Is an NCAA champion wrestler vs. a NAGA grappling champion fair? A Grapplers Quest champion? Any black belt? NCAA champ vs. Abu Dhabi champ? (See Mark Kerr below for one example of this) An Olympic gold medalist vs. an Abu Dhabi champion? Who knows? I am in no position to decide that.
For the purpose of this debate, let’s assume we can find two competitors that make it a level playing field. It’s pretty obvious in a wrestling match, the wrestler will win. On the other side of the coin, it is not as obvious that a Jiu Jitsu expert will automatically beat a wrestler in a grappling contest. The reason being is the point system. Wrestlers dominate takedowns and takedowns score points in grappling contests. However some wrestlers in this wrestling vs. Jiu Jitsu hypothetical will undoubtedly get caught and tapped out.
The numbers are not as important as the fact that some wrestlers will beat a grappler in a grappling contest but almost no wrestler will lose to a grappler in a wrestling match. From this conclusion it would be easy to assume in the wrestling vs. Jiu Jitsu debate that wrestling wins. However that is not entirely true. Never in a “fight” will the only means of fighting be wrestling. So the wrestlers’ complete advantage in their realm is not that important.
Wrestling vs. Jiu Jitsu in a Cage
Inside of an Octagon with a pure wrestler vs. a pure Jiu Jitsu guy, it would probably come down to who is better with their standup game. The better wrestler will have the option of taking down his opponent. If it was me in there versus a better Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I would take him down and let him back up. Just so I could demonstrate to the judges that I can take him down. That would score points with the judges if it came down to a decision.
I am very biased in this regard but if I had to choose between wrestling vs. Jiu Jitsu or say being an Olympic or NCAA wrestling champion or an Abu Dhabi champion, I’d chose to be an Olympic or NCAA champion. For one, an NCAA champion wrestler has gone on to win an Abu Dhabi championship. Mark Kerr accomplished that feat in 2000.
In truth, inside of an Octagon a wrestler and a Jiu Jitsu expert are really on the same side. Wrestlers learn Jiu Jitsu extremely quickly as the MMA and wrestling post pointed out. Grapplers can pick up wrestling a lot easier than a striker as well. The question that should be asked is who is better off inside of a cage, a wrestler/grappler or a striker. That’s a post for another day.
In the battle of wrestling vs. Jiu Jitsu, I choose both.