Why can't wrestlers learn bjj?

Why can't the elite wrestlers in MMA learn bjj?

For example, I think many fighters who have bjj or thai boxing as their strength, have been able to learn and perform to the ability of someone who's had 2 years of wrestling.

MOST wrestlers in MMA have not learned what would be the equivlalent of say, 2 years of bjj at the Gracie Academy.

Why the slow learning curve?

??? I notice the opposite. These new younger crop of MMA fighters are more fluid in their wrestling to jujitsu. Guys like Kenny Florian etc...

But if u are talking about guys like COLEMAN and KERR...u are correct...they are simply more comfortable striking from the side mount and inside an opponents guard. Rather than passing the guard.

by most wrestlers do you mean -

Matt Lindland
Matt Hughes
Diego Sanchez
Tito Ortiz
Renato Sobral
Drew Fickett


Mark Coleman
Kevin Randleman

The first group, a partial listing, have fair to excellent submission games, and represent most of the top wrestling-based fighters in MMA. The second is two guys who mot only haven't learned BJJ, but haven't picked up a substantial amount of kickboxing, either, and yet frequently get billed as "most wrestlers in MMA".

Some of the best BJJ guys I know started out as wrestlers.

That being said, there are lots of wrestlers who don't embrace BJJ. The reasons are usually:

a. they can't get their heads around being told to relax and not go 100%

b. they can't stand tapping to someone they just held on their backs for the last 5 minutes

c. they roll with smaller/weaker/inexperienced guys who are not able to tap them, and they feel the art isn't all that special

At the professional level, there is no excuse for not having a well-rounded game, and the examples of those who aren't are few. Coleman and Randleman are pretty much the last of the one-style specialists who are so skilled in one area (and so physically strong) that they can still be successful at an elite level. Their time is passing, thankfully. It was seriously painful to watch Randleman just sit there and try to take the pain from Shogun's leglocks, because he had no idea how to escape.

In conclusion, when wrestlers do take the time to change their game and learn BJJ, they become flippin' nightmares. Sometimes I have bad dreams about meeting Sean Sherk in a dark alley. :(

I agree JRockwell

kenny florian is BJJ guy tho
but i do agree with your point, heman

Opppppppppps I meant Diego Sanchez...

This is a totally individual matter.

In Korea I train with a former national team member who has nearly totally assimilated Marcello Garcia's no-gi game. Without a gi he demolishes most black belts (including all the ones that visit from Brazil for seminars, etc.) And he does it with an ideal combination of very technical BJJ and wrestling.


Does your mystery bjj-wrestling blackbelt devower compete in any bjj tournaments? Also out of curiousity what bjj blackbelts are visiting Korea?

He's only a mystery to you:) His name is Jeon Chan-yeol. He has a very distinguished international record in wrestling. And to me he is all too real.

No, he hasn't competed in any BJJ tournaments. He is not interested in gi, and I don't need to see how well I will do against him in the gi. I get enough from losing to him no gi:)

But I do understand your unstated question, the answer to which is he would definitely have more trouble in a gi. On the other hand, from decades of international wrestling competition experience, he understands game management very well. So I can also see him scoring a quick takedown and winning a lot of matches 2-0. So tournament victories are also not a great measure of overall skill anyway.

BJ Penn has been here twice for fights/seminars in the last hear, Cobrihna once, Dennis Kang is here a lot, there are a few more who have been here semi-long term from Chute Boxe, Godoi, and Alliance. I don't know their last names, but the last two's first names were Gustavo and Allan.


Damn, so this guy demolishes BJ Penn, Dennis Kang, Cobrihna, etc.? Wow, he must be a phenom.

Proaly for the same reason that White Men can't jump.

Ask Bob Bass.

This should have been brought up before Sak and Hughes tooled

...using jiu-jitsu

Uhhh yeah, isnt the thread asking why cant wrestlers learn BJJ?

I imagine the reason someone can't learn something varies. I would also state that it's first a choice to learn

I've found that wrestlers have no problem learning BJJ, they just don't go through the classic fascination period with the guard like other students do.

The best way to force a wrestler to learn all of BJJ, is to push them, and make them do exercises if they get tapped. However, have the sparring bits timed so that slowing down the game will be rewarded.

Basically, you have to find ways to force them to use the guard.

Not a problem. johnfrankl@yahoo.com. I look forward to meeting you.


Wrestling and BJJ have differing philosophies.
As a wrestler you get penalised for being passive, a thing that BJJ is known for.
As a wrestler you find it un-natural to go to your back a think that BJJ uses to its strength.
As a wrestler you go to your belly, in order to avoid the pin. This is a danger in submission.
As a wrestler you go all out and hard and fast, in BJJ you flow with the go as such.

Superficially they are similar but really they are different in a great many of ways. It is hard to transition when you are a talent at wrestling to unlearn the qualities that made you great in your sport.

I have found that people with strong wrestling backgrounds and some knowledge of BJJ or grappling give guys from BJJ ALOT of trouble. Wrestlers are fantastic and skillful athletes and with some sub defence can be scarey to deal with.

Kym Robinson