Martial Arts: Wrestling vs Judo

Martial Arts Wrestling vs Judo

Wrestling and Judo are very similar in practice. In fact, both sports sed grappling and submission as their main engagements. Although on paper they are very similar, there are some differences. Lets breakdown Wrestling vs Judo sports!

Judo is widely recognized to be used for practical purposes and sports. As for wrestling is mostly engaged in sports and not much in the practical real-world situation.


Judo is a Japanese style of martial arts that primarily relies on grappling techniques that force their opponent into submission. There are some things that Judo does not have in their martial art such as striking, kicking, touching pressure points or using weapons of any kind. 

Any official match of Judo requires that the two participants in the contest wear a gi (a lightweight two-piece white garment worn in judo). This is important because many moves actually involve gripping the Gi to gain an advantage in the match. Judo is very skill-based, many of the best Judo artists don’t rely on pure brawn and tend to have a slimmer build.

Judo often involves a lot of throwing which gives that person a point and allows them to have more control over their opponent. The martial art is seen as a way to defend against other kinds of attacks. 

There are many moves in Judo for when people try to throw a hook and you with specific kinds of counters. Judo originated in Japan and there are different kinds of Judo such as Rikidokan and Butokuden. 

In Japan, it’s seen as a way of life with its own code. Men and Women compete in the sport of Judo at the Olympics.


Wrestling is widely considered to be the oldest sport in human history. There are many iconic moves but some of the most notable ones are the pile driver and the suplex. Wrestling relies on a lot more strength than other grapple arts. 

The competitors sport a leotard and headgear for every match and perform in a ring. The basic goal of the sport is to pin the opponent’s shoulders on the mat or until the opponent concedes. Wrestling also has specific footwear created for the sport, whereas other grappling sports won’t have any footwear.

There are three different kinds of wrestling, Folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco-Roman. In High School and College, Folkstyle is the primary method of wrestling.

In Folkstyle, there are rules about what moves you can use in certain positions. Being on top is seen as the most advantageous position while being on the bottom is seen as the most disadvantageous position. 

There are moves that are restricted when switching from Folkstyle to Freestyle and Greco-Roman so it’s important that the competitors are very familiar with the rules. Wrestlers tend to have the most muscle mass out of any set of grappling athletes.

What are the similarities between these Sports?

Both of these arts revolve around grappling and often need to put the opponent on the bottom in order to gain the upper hand. Both use a uniform that often has very practical significance in their respective sports. 

In Judo and certain kinds of wrestling, throws are allowed to be used which often get the user of that throw points. Neither of the sports allows for kicking or the use of other weapons in official competitions.

Both require a lot of skill and can’t be won purely on strength alone. Both sports have multiple variations with slight differences. Both sports can be used defensively for a set of counters against other kinds of attacks. 

The Olympics hosts both of these sports for men and women respectively. Both sports compete on mats where footwork is one of the most essential parts of what makes them skillful.

Swiftness and quickness often have a deciding factor in who is going to be awarded more points. Both sports have referees or officials who need to award them and moderate the match. This allows the competitors to set the pace and decide what they can and can’t get away with.

What are the differences?

Judo competitors where a Gi whereas the Wrestlers wear leotards. Grabbing the Gi for certain kinds of moves is one of the essential aspects of Judo.

Judo has more moves that are available to the competitor on the bottom, while wrestling has a very limited set of moves for someone on the bottom. Judo is far more catered towards defense.

There are often moves created to defend against moves in other kinds of martial arts. It’s seen as practical to teach people for real-life self-defense. Wrestling is almost exclusively a sport that people compete in.

Judo has a lot more throws that someone is able to do easier than in wrestling. In wrestling, the throws are much more limited, and you won’t be awarded as many points as someone in Judo. It can be argued that Judo has a lot more historical significance despite being younger than wrestling. 

Judo and Karate were taught as methods of self-defense to American soldiers in WWII. Judo is seen as a way of life for the Japanese people who practice it. This is similar to how some schools in China make students practice Tai Chi in order to graduate.

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Which is more widely practiced – Which is more effective overall

Although wrestling has intense contests of strength, there isn’t as much practical usage to use outside of the ring. Wrestling isn’t used as much the many kinds of Judo seen in the MMA. Wrestling requires a ring and headgear along with wrestling shoes. 

Wrestling requires a lot of heavy weightlifting if a wrestler is going to be serious about being one of the best. Genetics can play a big part in setting the best wrestlers apart from everyone else because of the rules associated with it. Metabolism, bone structure, how muscles are built, and height are much more important in Wrestling than in Judo.

In the MMA, there are a lot of fighters who use Judo to win a lot of matches. One of the hardest aspects of winning an MMA fight is managing your energy efficiently before you burn out. 

Fighters are often in Judo holds for minutes at a time because it’s such an effective method to drain the energy out of your opponent.

Overall, Judo is better martial art because of how it’s more practical than wrestling. There are a lot of techniques made for people who want to defend themselves against hooks or other kinds of attacks.

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