Submission Wrestling vs BJJ

(Last Updated On: July 6, 2019)

If you’re into MMA, you know that it is a very diverse sport. There are many different aspects and forms of MMA. One common form of MMA is Jiu Jitsu.

In many Jiu Jitsu competitions, there are different types of styles that you can fight, including submission wrestling. 

What is Submission Wrestling?

The most basic way of explaining submission wrestling is by saying that it is ground wrestling. It has a different name in every country though.

Submission wrestling is derived from many different styles of fighting. When people are competing during a submission wrestling competition, they don’t wear a gi like they would while doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Instead, submission wrestlers usually wear form fitting clothes, such as shorts, rash guards, compression shirts, and speedos.

This form of clothing keeps your opponent from grabbing your clothes. This will keep your clothes from ripping and it also won’t give them an advantage.

When you compete while wearing a gi, your opponent can grab onto it and sometimes control your movements when they do this.

Mixed martial artists may also use the term submission wrestling in order to describe some of their techniques or tactics during a fight.

During submission wrestling, there are some moves that are allowed, while they may be banned in other MMA competitions.

Some of these moves include finger locks, heel hooks, and toe holds. There are many different types of submission wrestling as well. These include luta livre, catch wrestling and no gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Types of Submission Wrestling

Luta Livre

A rough translation of luta livre is free fighting. This form of submission wrestling basically was derived from wrestling and Brazilian Judo.

When practicing luta livre, you want to make your opponent submit by taking them down. You will want to do this as quickly as you can.

You also learn how to strike if you learn luta livre.

You can win by striking and stopping strikes, but since it is a grappling sport, you will probably do better if you cause the opponent to submit with taking them down and holding them.

Sometimes, you may get an opponent that won’t submit during a hold. You should practice your holds as often as you can. You want to become advanced with as many holds as you can.

This will give you a huge advantage during competitions.

Catch Wrestling

This is an older style of submission wrestling, and it isn’t as popular as other styles. This style started in the 1800s in Britain, it was a mix of different styles of fighting in the UK at that time.

In this style, you want to pin and control your opponent into submitting.

Once people started taking people on at carnivals in the states, that’s when it started becoming popular over here.

Some techniques used in catch wrestling are the same as some in Judo. In the United States, we typically just refer to this style as wrestling.

No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an amazing and beautiful sport in its’ own way. Once there started being no gi competitions, many fighters started training without their gis or bjj belt on.

This helped them practice their speed and agility in a different way. It also helped them practice grappling techniques to use during other competitions. They still needed BJJ Mouthguards and knee pads though. 

Differences: Submission Wrestling vs BJJ

More Submission Options

Since the rules are different in submission wrestling, there are more ways you can get your opponent to submit.

You are allowed to do hip locks, knee reaps, and heel hooks in submission wrestling. You can’t do those moves in BJJ though.

You can also do leg locks and reaps as well in submission wrestling. Also, since you aren’t dressed in a gi, most choke holds are easier to do as well.


While it can be easier to get your opponent to submit during no gi events, it could also be easier for them to escape. Some fighters will decide not to wear a shirt at all.

When you’re in a competition, you could get very sweaty. This could make your skin slippery, which may make it harder for your opponent to get you in a hold and hold you there.

No Advantages

The point scoring system in submission wrestling is different than typical BJJ competitions. In BJJ competitions, you get scored on the advantages.

While in submission wrestling, you’ll get scored on dominance.

If you can take your opponent into a hold and keep them there or make them submit, you’ll get points. There are other differences in rules as well.

Each different style of MMA has different sets of rules. Try to remember the rules so you won’t have any points held against you.

No Gi

This is the biggest difference between submission wrestling and BJJ. Not only does it make the fight different, but it also saves people a lot of money When you are training for BJJ, you will need a gi.

High quality gis can cost quite a bit of money. You will also need different gis for different training sessions and competitions.

Some competitions require that you wear a certain gi. The specific gi could depend on color, fabric, or other factors as well.

Read: The top bjj gis are here!


There are some major differences between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and submission wrestling, but they can also go hand in hand.

If you are interested in learning BJJ, or any other MMA for that matter, I highly suggest learning submission wrestling as well.

Learning different forms of MMA such as Judo even, will help you become a better fighter and competitor overall.

The more you learn and know, the better you will become. Just remember that during a competition, there are different rules for each event.

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