September 4, 2022

Judo vs Wrestling: Which one’s better?

Judo and Wrestling are two of the most popular martial arts practiced by millions across the globe. But have you ever wondered how the two are different?

Judo is all about grappling and takedowns. A Judo practitioner employs grappling, and with the excellent clinch and proper grip, he can take down the opponent with the flick of an eye. In contrast, Wrestling also uses grappling more smoothly to take down and pin the opponent, but the major difference peeks in due to the different uniforms.

Despite the apparent differences in rules, the two also are poles apart when it comes to the philosophies and techniques. Let’s get you familiar (and maybe a bit more enlightened) with Judo and Wrestling.

That’s what we are here to tell you about. Let us start with the techniques of fighting involved.

two men training judo

Techniques of Fighting


When it comes to Judo, the primary purpose of a player is to engage with his opponent by grappling. Usually, going by the trend, the one who gets a better clinch has the better chance to set up the other one for a takedown. To take the lead, one must force the opponent to the ground, which is possible by avoiding a counter. The player must have a remarkable grip on his opponent to balance the fight and throw him off.

We have compiled a list of the best Judo techniques for you.

1. Nage Waza aka the throwing technique: It involves lifting an opponent and thrusting them to the ground. A player must master the pulling and rotational motion to be able to perform the throw.

2. Tachi Waza aka the standing technique: A player has to be in a standing position to perform the action. It is sub divided into Te waza – the hand techniques, Ashi Waza – the foot or leg technique and Koshi Waza – the hip techniques.

3. Sutemi waza aka the sacrifice technique: This involves landing on the side or on the back, while trying to throw off the opponent.

4. Ma Sutemi waza aka the back sacrifice: In order to execute the throw, the player must throw himself on his back.

5. Katame waza aka grappling techniques: This can be applied when both the opponents are on the floor.

6. Shime waza aka choking technique: A player can press the sides of the neck of the opponent to restrict flow of blood and oxygen, which might make him unconscious for the next few seconds.

7. Kansetsu Waza aka joint locking technique: The impact of this one can be made to multiple joints of the body. It involves using the elbows, legs, arms, knees and grasping motions to bend the opponent in the opposite direction.


Wrestling also involves clinching, same as Judo but in a much smoother fashion and one clean transition. You may say that it isn’t as elaborate as Judo since the motion is very rapid and the drive and takedown are far quicker than Judo.

Let’s get to the techniques of the martial art:

1. The penetrating shot: It involves weakening the defense system of the opponent using a penetrating shot. The foot on your front should land between your opponent’s legs. You should be able to land on a knee to grab the legs of your opponent.

2. The Basic Shoot: This is another takedown technique that allows the player to get past the opponent’s defenses for one swift attack.

3. Single Leg takedown: Usually preferred by heavy weight wrestlers, this is a full proof attack when your opponent seems to have a tight defense. This is what it aims to target as you bring down your opponent to the mat.

4. Double Leg takedown: You might end up learning this one even before the single leg takedown. The technique involved is quite the same with the only exception that you must be aiming to take down both the legs of your partner.

5. The sprawl defense: This one is more about denying your partner what he wants to do to you. That is, taking you down. The technique involves anticipating the moves of your opponent and countering them.

6. Escaping techniques: This technique is a last resort option when you have no room to try anything on your opponent. He might have you cornered or in a stance where you find yourself unable to grapple or defend yourself. In such a case, the first thing that you must do is to escape from the opponent’s hold.

7. The arm drag: In this technique, you are going to use your arms to pin down your opponent’s wrists. You will have the perfect angle with you to perform a proper takedown.

Which out of Judo or Wrestling is More Effective?


Are you simply looking forward to knocking your opponent to the ground? If yes, then maybe wrestling is your game. But if you want to focus on more submissions, then Judo is the one to pick. This is why, wrestling is always said to be more efficient at what it does.

Some players often say that Judo truly takes a lot more force and learning of rules to fight it the mixed martial arts way. In a real fight, you will always find yourself at an advantage when using Judo, since it involves greater scope for you as the fighter. However, solely from the perspective of mixed martial arts, you are better off with wrestling.

So essentially, speaking solely in terms of effectiveness, wrestling is better than Judo.

Which of Judo or Wrestling is better for Self Defense?

Clearly, Judo!

Wrestling can teach you a thing or two about grappling and knocking your opponent to the ground What it cannot teach you though is the optimal self defense to keep yourself safe.

Judo is a more upright martial art. It involves use of a greater variety of punches and kicks as well as deflecting them.

For the purpose of self defense, Judo is highly scalable martial arts. It involves the use of submission holds, ground training, and choke defense. Judo players are trained for coordination and spatial awareness. This is the reason why they are able to develop self defense techniques to an extent where they can easily beat someone at wrestling.

The Conclusion

Individually, both wrestling and Judo have their own strengths and weaknesses. Even today, a mixed martial arts player might clearly say that there is no direct comparison between the two sports. It is better to understand which aspects of the martial arts are vital enough to be included in your fighting sequence.

It is best to include the strongest parts of each art form to tackle a fight. So now you must know which form of martial arts you may want to learn now. Judo and wrestling have been conventionally practiced and performed by martial arts players from ages. Both the styles have their own unique elements that brings their emphasis on the mat.

Over the years, the regulatory organizations have made major changes to the formal way of practicing Judo and wrestling. Another unique feature that makes Judo different from wrestling is the Judogi uniform. It is designed such that players can grab and grip the opponent. This allows takedown easier in Judo and the most common way in which players achieve a takedown. As opposed to this, players have to rely upon different wrestling techniques to bring down the opponent.

Have you played either of Judo or wrestling to beat an opponent? 

Eugene Hardy

Eugene is a professional Muay Thai fighter, with several years of experience. Also, a black belt holder. He actively participates in tournaments and provides training to his students. Eugene started this blog to share his experiences with Martial Arts.

View all posts by Eugene Hardy →

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