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4 Best Arts to Cross Train With Jiu Jitsu

4 Best Arts to Cross Train With Jiu Jitsu


Jiu Jitsu can be one of the most difficult things in the world and many people have trouble learning it.  A great way to increase your technique at a faster pace is to cross train with other arts and supplement your bjj training.  It can be very beneficial to get a fresh perspective on things and learn something new.  There are many other grappling arts and it can resemble a close mind to just rule them out. 

Some of the best other grappling arts to cross train are Catch Wrestling, Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo.  All of these martial arts have several aspects that are extremely similar to that of bjj and they all have so much to offer the bjj practitioner.  You can learn so much from these arts that you may not have otherwise learned with bjj.    Jiu Jitsu is an excellent art but it still has its own limitations. We have seen people from other martial arts have great success in bjj and we have seen bjj practitioners have great success in competitions when cross training other martial arts.

Catch Wrestling

Catch as Catch Can or Catch Wrestling is grappling art that incorporates pins, submissions, guard, passing, and many aspects that are similar to bjj.  Some people speculate that Catch was derived from several forms of wrestling, jujitsu, and judo in 1870 but this may be up to speculation.  We do know that it is hundreds of years old and we do know that it has been proven effective.  Josh Barnett, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion is a catch wrestler and he infamously submitted Dean Lister in a Metamoris match when Dean had not been submitted in a decade.  He used an unorthodox head and arm choke that many people would never really even learn in bjj.

catch wrestling does not use the gi or kimono.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is derived from Judo, Judo has been using Kimono’s for hundreds of years, and catch is derived from many forms of wrestling such as Greco-Roman and others.  This is what makes them distinctly different.  Although they are both submissions grappling arts, they are different and similar as contradicting as that may seem.  On a philosophical note and training methodology, they are different.  For instance, catch wrestling believes in “Catch as Catch Can.”  This means that take what you are gives, many bjj practitioners believe in “position before Submissions.” Not only this but catch also emphasizes pins very much.

Learning catch wrestling can take your bjj game to the next level.  Check out our article “Benefits of Catch Wrestling” to delve deeper into catch wrestling.  Also check out this video below with one of the best modern day catch wrestlers, Neil Melanson, as he shows a catch wrestling sequence.

If you want to learn more catch wrestling from the great Neil Melanson, check out his DVD Set “The Catch Wrestling Formula.”  Neil is one of the best grapplers in the world today.  He has trained so many of the UFC’s champions and is the head grappling coach of the infamous MMA team, Balckzillians.”  Not only is he an avid grappling coach, he is also one of the most methodical and technical instructors in the entire world.

The Catch Wrestling Formula By Neil Melanson


Bjj has long been notorious for neglecting proper stand up training.  Judo on the other hand is notorious for being one of the best martial arts for stand up.  Cross training Judo and Bjj can make you one of the most dangerous people around.  Judo can accelerate your growth in bjj in so many different ways.  There are so many similarities between the two forms of grappling.

There has long been a debate in the bjj community, on which form of grappling is better to cross train, Judo or Wrestling. Long story short they both have amazing benefits and it differs from person to person.  Some people may benefit more from Judo and others may benefit more from Wrestling.  Judo is good for the Bjj practitioner because it incorporates the gi and will develop grip strength and knowledge, it will build tenaciousness and it will help with base and cardio.

Judo will help you to develop your grip strength, stand up technique, tenaciousness, cardio, and explosiveness.  Judo is one of the oldest grappling arts in the entire world.  Judo grips are some of the most serious grips in the entire world.  When a Judo Player grabs your gi, it is impossible to break their grip.  They put a lot of emphasis on grip strength and explosiveness.  Judo is a lot about getting your opponent to the ground, although there are elements of ground work or Ne-waza, there is a lot more focus on getting a throw.  Judo has a lot of throws, trips, hip tosses, and takedowns.  Learning judo can be great if you are primarily a gi practitioner because it incorporates the gi but there is also great Judo for No gi.  Check out this Judo sequence below with Rick Hawn on some No Gi Judo.

Rick Hawn is a Judo Olympian and he is the most successful male Judoka in MMA.  He has won the Bellator 100k Tournament twice and has completed more throws in MMA than any other MMA fighter.  Rick Hawn has an excellent DVD set “No Gi Takedowns Made Easy.”  This is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn some awesome take downs for no gi from a world class Judoka.


Wrestling is one of the oldest forms of grappling, there are techniques in wrestling that have been around for hundreds and thousands of years.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a relatively new martial art when compared to so many others.  The essence and core of bjj has been around for hundreds of years, but what we see today in competitions such as the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation and the ADCC is a relatively new form of martial art and sport.

Wrestling can help you develop your bjj technique in so many different ways.  There are so many similarities between wrestling and bjj that it is almost insane.  So many positions and guards in Jiu Jitsu end up in a position that is probably utilized in wrestling as well.  For example, let’s take the half guard, either bottom or top.  In bjj, when playing the half guard on the bottom, you use your underhook to get up for many of the best sweeps; this puts you in dogfight position.  This dogfight position is one of the most popular positions in wrestling.  If you are on top half guard and someone tries to do an underhook get up, you will use a whizzer, this is also one of the fundamentals in wrestling.

Wrestling will not just give you a technical advantage when it comes to your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  There are many other physical and mental advantages to incorporating wrestling into your bjj game.  Wrestling can help improve your cardio by leaps and bounds.  We all know that wrestling is more cardio intensive than Jiu Jitsu.  At the vast majority of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies, we see people start their rolls from the knees.  So many people neglect the standing aspect of Jiu Jitsu.  Many times it is so more people will fit on the mat because when 2 people start standing it can endanger some of the people around them.  The most tiring part of bjj is probably when you are trying to shoot and start standing.  For this reason, if you start standing more often and just work your wrestling, so for instance, do 5 minutes of just takedowns, see how much better your cardio will improve.   Check out this cool video below on how to finish a single leg from a D-1 wrestler.

If you want to learn more from Hudson Taylor who is featured in the video above, check out his DVD “Wrestling for BJJ.”  Hudson received his blue belt after just 6 months of bjj training and went on to win the blue belt worlds in a flawless performance.  He has had much success in bjj and even more as an NCAA D-1 wrestler.  He had one of the best pinning record in the NCAA.


Sambo is a Russian martial art that is heavily focused on grappling.  Although there are forms of sambo that do incorporate striking, the vast majority of sambo is focused on the grappling elements.  Sambo is relatively new much like Jiu Jitsu.  It is the martial art of the Russian military.  Sambo focuses a lot on lower body attacks and throws/takedowns. 

Sambo is like a hybrid martial art of Wrestling, Judo and BJJ with its own twist.  We have actually seen many Sambo practitioners perform very well at submission grappling tournaments such as ADCC.  Rustam Chsiev has placed 3rd several times at the ADCC and has beaten several bjj Black Belt World Champions utilizing sambo.  Khabi Nurmagamedov is one of the best UFC fighters today and some people consider him the BEST grappler in the UFC.  He is a sambo practitioner. Sambo is the real deal.  Check out this sequence below with Rustam Chsiev.

If you want to learn more of Rustam’s Grappling hack check out his DVD below.  He is a multiple time ADCC medalist and veteran who has had success at the highest levels of competition.

Russian Grappling Hacks By Rustam Chsiev


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