It’s definitely no secret that top-level Judo fighters make excellent wrestlers. There are plenty of martial arts out there that may claim to help your wrestling, but nothing can do a better job at it than Judo. In this article, we’ll take a look at why Judo is superior and how it can help you compete and win in wrestling.

Judo originated in Japan in the late 1800s as a technical grappling art based on the use of maximum efficiency and minimal effort. Judo focuses based on grappling, throws, and submissions. Its unique combination of physical and mental training has made it one of the most popular martial arts around the world.

It’s also a great discipline for wrestlers, as it can help them improve their technique, physical conditioning, and mental fortitude. This article will provide an overview of Judo and its benefits for wrestlers, as well as examine how combining the two can help wrestlers improve their abilities in a match or fight.


Judo Basics


Judo was created in 1882 by Jigoro Kano, who wanted to create a martial art that was less dangerous than its predecessor, Japanese Jujutsu. Kano combined the most effective techniques from Jujutsu and created a style that focused more on technique and less on strength. This new fight style of martial art quickly gained popularity in Japan, and eventually spread around the world.


Judo is a sport governed by the International Judo Federation (IJF). The IJF has set up a set of rules and regulations that govern the sport, including weight classes and scoring systems. Judo matches consist of two players competing against each other. The winner is determined by either an ippon (full point) or by accumulating two half-points (wazari) to win.


Judo is a martial art that focuses on grappling, throws, and submissions. The primary technique in Judo is the throw, which is used to take the opponent’s body off their feet. Throws can be used to score points or to set up submissions. Other techniques in Judo include grips, joint locks, chokes, and holds.

Judo and Wrestling


Judo shares many similarities with wrestling. Both sports involve two players competing against each other, and both involve the use of takedowns and pins, trying to shift your opponent’s body weight and balance against them. Both sports also require a great deal of physical and mental conditioning, balance, and a strong body and mind.


Despite their similarities, Judo and Wrestling also have some major differences. In the current Judo rules, the only ways to score points is to throw your opponent onto their back, pin, or submit them.

In Wrestling, takedowns, pins, and near-fall points can all be used to score. Wrestlers can grab the leg, but Judokas can not. Judokas can choke or submit their opponent, but wrestlers can not.  Additionally, Wrestling matches are typically longer than Judo matches.

In Judo, fighters, called Judoka, wear a uniform called a Gi with a colored martial arts belts.  In wrestling, wrestlers wear tight-fitting outfits called singlets.  Judokas fight barefoot, while wrestlers wear shoes.

Combining Judo and Wrestling

Leveraging Judo Techniques in Wrestling


One key technique of Judo is gripping. A good grip can be used to control the opponent, to set up throws, and to score points. In wrestling, grips can also be used to control the opponent from a wrestling stance and to set up takedowns.


Throws are another key technique that can also be used in wrestling. In wrestling, a judo throw can be used to score points or to set up takedowns.

Judoka are known for their explosive strength on the mat and powerful throws such as uchi mata and harai goshi. Additionaly, these throws can be used to control the opponent or to set up other techniques.


Pins are a key part of Judo and one of three ways to win a match. These same pins can also be used in wrestling. A judoka must hold a pin for twenty seconds, while wrestlers only have to pin for 3. That’s a big difference.

judo pins for wrestling

Developing Judo Defense


Breakfalls are an important part of Judo and can also be used in Wrestling. Breakfalls are used to minimize the damage from throws or submissions and can help a wrestler stay in a match longer.

Head and Arm Control

Head and arm control are essential in Judo and Wrestling. In Judo, head and arm control can be used to set up throws and submissions. In Wrestling, head and arm control can be used to set up takedowns or to score points.


Escapes are also important in both Judo and Wrestling. In Judo, escapes are used to escape from holds, throws, and submissions. In Wrestling, escapes are used to escape from takedowns and pins.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for Wrestling

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is also a combat sport that focuses on ground fighting. It’s one of the most popular martial arts in the world. It’s known for its emphasis on ground fighting, submissions, chokes, and leverage-based skills.

Developed in the early 1900s by the Gracie family in Brazil, BJJ has developed a wildly popular MMA following.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was developed out of the Judo kata as a more “ground-centric” combat sport.

Many a wrestler believes, that because BJJ is a ground grappling martial art, it should help with wrestling. This is not the case with all grappling martial arts, including BJJ.

BJJ primarily trains to get to the ground using leg takedowns, leg grabs, shots, and foot sweeps, but that is not enough to guarantee a productive and competitive career in wrestling. You may earn two points for a takedown, but BJJ fighters spend plenty of time comfortably fighting off their back… which is not really a place a wrestler wants to be.

Reasons against BJJ for Wrestling are as follows:

Principles of the Art

BJJ is at its heart a submission self-defense that can be performed in almost any position — including your back. In fact, it’s quite common for BJJ practitioners to “pull guard” dragging their opponent to the ground while falling to their own back. In wrestling, you don’t want to be on your back at all.

Additionally, as a submission art, there is no winning by pin in BJJ.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters do make use of pins, but it’s not the way they win, so you can’t really say they are experts in pinning.

Non-Applicable Techniques

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not applicable for a wrestler because BJJ does not pin, they rarely throw, and the objective is to make the opponent submit or tap out.

Tapping is not allowed in wrestling. Neither are chokes or armbars. Wrestling involves throws, shots and takedowns, but ultimately, a pin.

Modern Judo and Wrestling Competition

Modern Judo is a great discipline and combat sport for a wrestler and high school wrestling competitions, as it can help them improve their technique, physical conditioning, and mental fortitude in folkstyle, freestyle, and greco roman wrestling.

By cross-training Judo and Wrestling, wrestlers, including those who practice Greco-Roman, can leverage Judo techniques in the off-season for a few months to improve their takedowns, throws, and submissions, as well as develop their self-defense.

With practice, boy and girl wrestlers can use judo throws and other techniques to become better wrestlers on the mat.

Summary of Benefits of Judo for Wrestling

In conclusion, Judo can be a great asset for both male and female wrestlers. It can help them improve their technique, physical conditioning, and mental fortitude.

A well-placed throw in a wrestling match often confuses the opponent, making it easier to score the takedown and pin.

Combining Judo and Wrestling can also help wrestlers improve their takedowns, throws, and submissions, as well as their Judo defense.

olympic wrestling olympic judo

Suggestions for Further Improvement

In order to further improve their Judo and Wrestling skills, wrestlers should continue to practice and refine their techniques. Additionally, boys and girls who wrestle should focus on developing their physical conditioning and mental fortitude to be its very best, as these are essential for success in both Judo and Wrestling.

Finally, wrestlers should also continue to study Judo and Wrestling, as this will help them become more knowledgeable and skilled as they grow and develop.  For more information on a Judo class and judo clubs that support boys and girls wrestling and judo, and to better develop and excel in a fight or competition, contact a wrestling and judo club near me today.