Which Is The Best Grappling Art?

Which Of The Grappling Arts Estes The Best?

In my opinion they are all great at what they do and the best thing to do is to get experience in each art and not be closed minded to other systems/styles. That being said there is NO question that all grapplers and MMA fans out there own the Gracie’s their due because they are the ones that are responsible for creating the current grappling rage and the UFC. That being said; it is also true that Catch Wrestling had NHB events going on as early as the 1900’s but their events we eventually hijacked by the WWE type of entertainment grappling and lost popularity.

To keep it simple I will keep this discussion to the most popular and well know grappling arts. Each art naturally claims that their art is the latest and greatest (The Gracie’s come to mind.) and that there is no need to ever train in the other arts. That sounds fine and dandy but the truth is that they all have their strengths and weaknesses. I could write a book on each art but this is a blog so I am purposefully keeping it brief.

BJJ = Developed the guard position. They fight from their backs very well and very technical submissions. This is the most popular art of all the grappling arts these days. Amazing with the gi.

Catch Wrestling (Shoot Wrestling) = They fight on top very well with brutal submissions/hooks. Of all of the grappling arts they guys tend to be the most brutal and it translates to MMA very well.

Freestyle Wrestling = Fantastic takedowns and considered the best base art. Prior to the rise of BJJ this was the most popular grappling art. Sadly, the Olympics just removed wrestling from it’s list of events last week regardless of it’s strong fan base and deep history. This was also my first art that I trained in.

Judo = Throws throws and more throws. Did I mention throws? O yeah I almost forgot a small little detail. BJJ came from Judo so maybe we all owe Judo as must respect as we do BJJ? Just a thought folks!

Sambo = Amazing leg locks/foot locks. Watch your feet with these guys! Sadly there is not very many legit Sambo schools here in the USA. More popular in Europe & Russia.

In UFC 1 the Gracie’s shocked the world with BJJ and now that all grappling arts are benefiting from that success there is a huge amount if grapplers that are training in all of the above mentioned grappling arts. This is nothing short of a great thing and it will be very interesting to see what the synthesis of all of the grappling arts produces. I enjoy all of the above arts and I am not closed minded Kool Aid drinker that thinks that one art has all the answers. If you want to be a good grappler CROSS TRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope that you enjoyed my blog this week and feel free to respond


Brian Brown
Owner/Chief Instructor
Atlanta Martial Arts Club

The Grappling Rage

The Grappling Rage.

Ever since UFC 1, the grappling arts have been the rage because the Gracie’s proved to the world that Brazilian Jui Jitsu can be a very effective method of controlling and submitting a bigger, stronger striking opponent in MMA bout. There is NO doubt that you ABSOLUTELY need submission grappling experience if you are going to compete in MMA.
Without it you will be taken down squeezed, pressurized, choked and arm barred until you scream for your mommy.

However, how effective are the grappling arts for self defense on the streets.

Street Self Defense


Now, I say that being someone who wrestled in middle school, high school and in the US Army and I am currently a very active BJJ purple belt (4 stripes). Lets me be very clear- I love grappling both on the ground and stand up and I do have the preverbal grappling bug and BJJ has helped my skills set and personal growth in so many different ways that I could write a post on the benefits of that alone. That being said, I am not a cool aide drinker and BJJ does have its strengths & weaknesses just like all arts do.

There are 3 primary concerns that must be addressed when discussing self defense on the streets.

1) Multiple Opponents

You can not choke out , arm bar or leg lock multiple opponents at the same time. PERIOD! It is physically impossible. There is a very real and very high risk of having to deal with bad guy #1 and his side kick bad guy #2. If all you have in your skill set is BJJ, Catch Wrestling, Judo, Freestyle Wrestling or Sambo then your goose is cooked. If anyone tells you that you can and if you believe them then I have some land you can purchase really cheap. 8-D

2) Weapons

BJJ, Catch Wrestling, Freestyle Wrestling Judo, and Sambo are all FANTASTIC for two people fighting with very limited rules, but dealing with weapons is something that they DO NOT DO! I don’t care what the Gracie’s Combatives claim or what you saw GM Helio Gracie do in a book. All grappling arts are about controlling your opponent and during the struggle of controlling your opponent there is space and if you give a trained knife fighter space you are going to be cut and stabbed over and over until you bleed out all of the very important red stuff that flows through your body that keeps you alive. The same is true for blunt weapons & guns. If you want to learn how to deal with weapons, then seek out a martial art that specializes in that training, such as Escrima, Kali, Silate or Systema.

3) Environment

Concrete is hard and it sucks to try to grapple on the ground, but lots of fights go to the ground so if you are there, I believe in 3 rules:

1) Do not fight from your back.
2) If you are on the bottom, sweep his ass and get on top.
3) When in doubt always refer back to rules 1 & 2

There is also all sorts of nasty dirty glass and all other unsavory stuff on the ground that can hurt you. So always refer to the 3 above mentioned rules.

So, it is pretty clear. If you want to be a MMA fighter you better get some grappling submission experience in which ever grappling art you prefer. If you want to learn how to fight in the streets then cross train in arts that will teach you how to deal with weapons and multiple opponents.

I hope that you enjoyed this weeks post and please feel free to comment.

Brian Brown
Owner/Chief Instructor
Atlanta Martial Arts Club