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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Rolling with Wrestlers

    I've talked to more than a few BJJers and lesser primates who complain about having trouble with wrestlers due to their aggressiveness and whatnot. So, below I am sharing my personal strategies for sparring with wrestlers that I've come up with after rolling with a lot of them and talking to them about their training.

    By the nature and rules of wrestling, they have been trained to make mistakes in BJJ (just like a BJJer would be trained to make mistakes in wrestling), and if you just take the time to examine these against your BJJ training, you'll see how many ways you can catch them.

    This isn't some absolute list. Not all wrestlers do the same thing, and if they keep doing BJJ, they'll untrain their wrestling habits that get them in trouble. You'll find your own solutions to their actions, but I thought these might give you some ideas to start with. Your mileage may vary.


    The guard, closed or open, is your friend. Use it to the fullest. It's a lot of fun to tumble around the room with x-guard on a gotarded wrestler who's trying to jump to freedom.

    Have good side mount escapes for when they do get on your side. They usually won't know enough to block out the guard, so recovering half guard is easy.

    They'll often scoop the legs when in the guard and dive into triangles. Or they'll do the dumb elbow grinding. Triangle them for that too. They have no triangle awareness so you can even get them from mount, side control, under side control or all over the place.

    They post on the mat a lot, giving you the trigger for kimuras and omoplatas from guard. Just snap them down from guard with your legs and they'll start posting.

    They don't know how to fight off their back, and tend to give up their back when scrambling up. I'll often let them come to their knees rather than try to pin them with side control (especially if they are bigger and explosive) just so I can work on taking the back or the crucifix (for the reverse omoplata).

    They go for takedown headfirst a lot, so guillotines are handy.

    Headlocks are retarded, and you should just take the back. I once pulled half guard just so they would headlock me. I got both hooks and had an arm across their neck before they have even stopped trying to headlock me.

    If they are wearing a gi, collar chokes of all kinds should be gimmes.

    Make sure you are also training no-gi so you're not taken by surprise when they don't have one.

    The last point is one that was made to me that changed the way I thought about rolling with aggressive grapplers like wrestlers:

    "You know jiu-jitsu -- they don't."

    It was just a change in mindset, that all their aggressive and power are still not enough to overcome technique and strategy. I've never beat a wrestler by trying to match his power, but I have caught them by putting them out of their game with techniques, strategies and positions they don't know how to handle.

    Just think of all the things that BJJ has that wrestling does not, and you'll see where you can take advantage of them. Submissions, sweeps, guards, and so on. You've got a whole arsenal available.

  2. #2
    Founder/GrandSensei of Joint British / Papua New Guinean Non-contact Lawn Bowls Jiu Jitsu Committee
    supercrap's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Least Cool Guy in all of Japan
    I have some experience with this too, there are a lot of wrestlers as my school is also Shooto.

    I don't have any specific techniques other than picking up on what Aesopian said - you know JJ, they don't. (Unless they do, in which case you're screwed.) Don't let aggression or size intimidate you, just stick to your training.

    I remember partnering up with a big old cauliflower-eared muscle head and thinking 'oh ****, I'm gonna die' but ended up redirecting his blunt aggression, and spent most of the second half of the sparring session on his back with a body triangle trying to choke his stumpy neck.

    Don't fight muscle with muscle, use your technique.
    Imports from Japan, Shipping Worldwide! Art Junkie, Scramble, BJJ Spirits, Reversal...
    Scramble Stuff

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    BJJ, TKD, Boxing
    let them put you on your back.

    they'll think they won and start to celebrate.

    when they turn their back pull their pants down and heel hook them. :laughing3

    naw, all the above advice by other posters is spot on.

  4. #4
    Gringo Grande's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    The Warsaw Ghettos/Gainesville, FL
    Bad KB, Worse MT
    I would like to point out strictly for amusement purposes is how crazy wrestlers go when you get them on their back. Basically they've trained their entire life to stay off their backs. Sweeping a wrestler onto his back (kimura sweep works great from the closed guard) and watching them squirm realy brings a tear of joy to my eyes.

    Almost as much as shaving Aesopian's legs.

    Gringo Grande
    MMA Record vs Llamas 0-1-0
    (The Llama bit my junk but the ref didn't see it).

  5. #5
    jnp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Austin, TX
    BJJ, wrestling
    Speaking as a former mathugger, wrestler's positional strength is typically derived from their base. I can usually tell within thirty seconds of pulling guard if my opponent ever wrestled. As stated before, one of their weaknesses is posting on their arms. Make them post and make them pay.
    Last edited by jnp; 12/28/2005 1:59pm at . Reason: typo
    Shut the hell up and train.

  6. #6
    eviechu's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
    I worked with someone who was doing wrestling classes at the academey I go to. We were working on jiu-jitsu techniques but he kept confusing it with wrestling stuff, which therefore confused me since I am still two months into my GJJ training.

  7. #7
    Hedgehogey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by supercrap

    I remember partnering up with a big old cauliflower-eared muscle head and thinking 'oh ****, I'm gonna die' but ended up redirecting his blunt aggression....Don't fight muscle with muscle, use your technique.

    Anyway, continuing from the HAHA BJJ WINS AGAIN theme, if you must sweep them, butterfly sweep. It's not always succesful, but they will usually kindof adopt a table position, making it easier for you to take the back.

    Also, if you can't take them down but wanto put them on their backs, try dropping and sweeping at the same time. Base and get up if the sweep fails. For instance, put your foot in their hip, drop and kick sweep.

    Find yourself under turtle and headlocked (forward), they'll be wise to your conventional sitout attempts. Instead, bring your knee across and in front of your body like you're doing a box pattern drill and fall back to butterfly guard. The headlock insures that you'll be underneath their base as you do so.

    "The only important elements in any society
    are the artistic and the criminal,
    because they alone, by questioning the society's values,
    can force it to change."-Samuel R. Delany



    It seems that the only people who support anarchy are faggots, who want their pathetic immoral lifestyle accepted by the mainstream society. It wont be so they try to create their own.-Oldman34, friend to all children

  8. #8
    fanatical's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Oslo, Norway
    Quote Originally Posted by Aesopian
    I've never had a problem with being slammed out of triangles since hooking the leg is a usual action. More than anything they try stack their way out of it, and end up just getting swept to a mount triangle.
    Argh, my typical reaction and/or result :(

    I usually have good use of the guard when wrestlers or other insanely aggressive crapplers go mental. Just staying focused on keeping guard and regaining it whenever they think they're scrambling past is often enough to both confuse and tire them out.

    Just defending and "stalling" will give me much more satisfaction than sweeping or anything else, since they rarely have any idea of position in any other way than anyone else would have (i.e. the man on top must clearly be the winner)

    I don't have any favourite technique though. Although I go for triangles no matter who I'm rolling with. I may be a tad predictable on that account.
    More human than human is our motto.

  9. #9
    UpaLumpa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Descending into absurdity
    It really does come down to redirecting them and realizing that they're trying to wrestle in a jiujitsu event. Their sidecontrol may be alright for somethings but half-guard is always there, which means the back is too. And seriously, how many times can you triangle choke a guy in a row until he learns to put his arms in the right place, even after you've told him.

  10. #10
    Da Komrads... Again you are MadPelvisOwn3d! supporting member
    Red Elvis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Soviet State Of Kalifornia
    Spetsnaz Shovel-Fu
    how many times can you triangle choke a guy in a row until he learns to put his arms in the right place, even after you've told him
    Silly rabbits, BJJ is for Kids! :duckie:

    It's all fun and games beating up on wrestlers in BJJ until the wrestlers learn BJJ. Then yo asses in trouble. Stick around in BJJ long enough and you'll realize a lot of the really good grapplers have wrestling backrounds. They have alot coming into the game that the average Joe doesn't have including exceptional bases, balance, control, sensativity, conditioning and mental focus not to mention their take downs are going to be 95% better than the typical pure blood BJJ artist. Another thing that sets them apart is their work ethic. Many BJJ people are just plain not aggressive enough and are content to play guard and ride out moves to win in competition. The ex-wrestler typically goes for the submission as the ultimate win as thier old goal is no longer valid. Ponder this kiddies!

    and if they keep doing BJJ, they'll untrain their wrestling habits that get them in trouble.


    To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence;
    Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without spilling your Guinness.
    Sun "Fu Man JhooJits" Tzu, the Art of War & Guinness

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