Even If You’re A Guard Puller You Should Work On Your Wrestling

I’ve written at length about why I feel that wrestling while a highly useful skill to have often takes a backseat to guard pulling ad butt scooting in jiu-jitsu competition.  The truth is that many rule sets in jiu-jitsu FAVOR the guard puller.  But on the other side of things, you shouldn’t neglect wrestling and wrestling is a highly useful skill to have in competition…

Even though the rule sets of jiu-jitsu competitions tend to favor the guard pull, wrestling skills are a significant competitive advantage both offensively and defensively.

If you’re exclusively a guard puller, there will be times that your opponents will be able to stifle your guard pull, or worse yet score points off of it.  Even if you have no intention on wrestling anyone, knowing how to wrestle will allow you to prevent points from be scored and it’ll allow you to understand how to better read your opponent.

Even if you never intend on EVER taking a shot in competition, you should still learn basic principles of wrestling.

Another factor that makes wrestling so important is when you’re in a situation where you absolutely need to bring the other person to the ground.  These sorts of moments happen in street fights, or even in matches in which your opponent isn’t susceptible to the guard pull.  Also, the rules of the game are constantly changing and there are some tournaments (like ADCC) that penalize guard pulling.

To take it a step further: I’d argue that wrestling is far trickier art to learn than submission grappling that takes place on the ground.  When you wrestle you’re dealing with more dimensions, physical space becomes a tool as do certain explosive movements.  When he was on Joe Rogan’s podcast John Danaher explored this in terms of the explosiveness that people can work with when they’re standing that is greatly reduced once on the ground.  When you wrestle, there are more things that can go right and wrong for each person.

On the other side of things, I’d say that many wrestlers neglect the guard because they simply assume that they’ll be able to stay on top, and while this may be true, truly understanding how the guard works and how to make it NOT work requires an understanding of the guard that many wrestlers don’t possess which is why you’ll sometimes see wrestlers who don’t also know how to play guard get dragged into deep waters with which they are unfamiliar.

If you’re a guard puller, do you also spend time working on wrestling?  If you’re a wrestler, do you also spend time on your guard?  There is no such thing as too much knowledge, spend time learning aspects of every area of the game in order to be a well rounded grappler.


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