Technical Strengths (and Opportunities)
The five tips listed above focus primarily on how the right mindset can improve a wrestler’s chances to successfully transition to BJJ and submission grappling. But, it is also important to be aware of the wrestler’s technical skills that are going to help in jiu-jitsu, and the tendencies that can be weaknesses if not corrected.
1. Mental Toughness
This isn’t really a “technical” strength, but it is worth giving wrestlers credit for their work ethic and tenacity. Wrestling culture embraces relentlessness, where jiu jitsu (the “gentle art”) is often praised for enabling technique to conquer brute force. Never-the-less, the wrestler’s grit is a great asset.
2. Take Downs
It is no secret that wrestlers are good on their feet. Today, many BJJ practitioners are training wrestling and Judo to improve their takedowns. But, it is very difficult to completely close the gap with wrestlers who have spent years honing this specific skill. Once swept, however, a wrestler’s tendency to go to his belly, exposing his back, can be a deadly mistake.
3. Solid Base
Wrestlers are also known to have terrific top control. Experience holding an opponent down to prevent his escape gives wrestlers good balance and scrambling ability. A watch-out here is that wrestlers tend to keep their hips high, which allows space for the opponent to recover guard
About the author: Reed Shelger is the owner of Paradigm Training Center in Houston, TX. He was an NCAA Division-1 wrestler at UC Davis. He was the IBJJF World Champion in the Master Purple Belt division and is a regular competitor in the Texas BJJ scene.