From Wrestling to BJJ

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A while ago, I got asked about wrestlers coming into BJJ/grappling.

What should they do?

If you’ve read my past emails, you might be able to guess what I’m going to say in the following.

Most BJJ players suck at takedowns and takedown defenses. So you may be able to take them down pretty easily.

If you’re good at snapping your opponent down, you can work on taking and attacking the back from there as well.

Either way… you will need to know how to deal with the guard.

Your priority should be to defend yourself from submissions first. And then to work on guard passing next.

You will need to work on the guard position yourself as well. I’d say the easiest (and best) position for wrestlers to get started with is half guard.

Many half guard sweep options are just single leg takedown variations, except you start them from your back.

(Or to be precise, from your side… because you should almost never lie on your back when you play half guard.)

If you want to be a bit mobile, X guard can be a great option as well. Again, with X guard, you can come up on your feet more easily than with other guard positions.

The idea here is… connect what you already know (i.e., wrestling) with BJJ skills. It may not always work, but for the most part, I believe it will help you learn BJJ skills more quickly.

I’m kinda doing the opposite now as well, trying to use BJJ concepts to understand wrestling.

For example, I see that hand fighting is a bit like guard passing. Does this sound strange? I might elaborate on it at another time…