Grappling Cross Training and Developing Bad Habbits


A lot of grapplers cross train with other grappling styles, in order to gain advantage in competition.

And while there are definitely a lot of benefits in cross training, one should be extra careful when entering in a new gym, because of the specifics of the competition rule set for each sport.

If a BJJ guy wants to learn some throws, most probably he will choose judo, because of the uniform similarities and dynamics of the style. And of course, that would be a great decision!

But he also should be aware, that his judo coach might not know anything about BJJ rule set and most probably will proceed with doing what he does best Рteaching him judo.

Hypoteticaly, there is nothing wrong with that… except the fact, that you dont win by ippon in BJJ and a big turning throw will only score you 2 points. And if your opponent is good, he might actually end up in a better ground position, scoring 4 points, taking the back, since a lot of the competition judo is primarily focused on the throw first and ground game comes after.

So, please make sure, you explain in details to the coach of the new gym why are you there, what would you like to concentrate on and what is the application of it in your sport.

Here are some points to consider, when cross training in other grappling styles:

Wrestling is a great takedown and pin art. Submission grapplers could learn a lot in the wrestling gym, become extremely difficult to deal with on their feet, ferocious in the scrambles and clinch, impossible to put on his back and also to posses smothering top control.

Although, wrestling is suitable for No Gi competitors and is quite difficult to adjust to sports with gi.

Another major issue is that wrestlers are not familiar at all with the concept of “The Guard” used in BJJ/ Judo/ Submission Grappling. So, you might consider taking some time to explain the details of your primary style to the coach and let him make some fine tuning for you.

Judo would be one of the best choices for the throwing connoisseurs.

Unfortunately, the current international competition rule set prohibit leg grabbing, which could lead to nasty surprises in BJJ/ Sambo competitions.

Also, due to the big emphasize on the throw, judo practitioners will do their best to land on anything else, but their backs. And that means developing the habit of dropping on your stomach, without worrying too much about your back been taken. Or even if the judoka lands a big throw, he might leave him self open for attacks on the ground, since he has no instinct of dealing with prolonged newaza battles. In his mind he already won the fight…

Sambo is one of the best grappling arts out there.

It mixes almost everything from both, wrestling and judo, while possessing quite a lot fo its own technics, specific only for the sambists.

Sambo people are aware of difference in landing positions, use of guard, dynamic ground game, pins and submissions. One throw ippons are very rare, so the strategies are always based on throw- pin- submission sequences.

But… the lack of chokes in Sport Sambo could develop the habbit of leaving the neck open for attacks. Definitely something a BJJ and Judo people could use to take an advantage.

BJJ is the best newaza style in the whole grappling world.

And while been refered to as the most technical one, it lacks in all other aspects, including conditioning drills (no, Crossfit is not grappling specific conditioning).

Most BJJ schools do not develop throwing game and while that’s not such a big minus for their sport, the knee wrestling they use, means no break fall drills. And that means you are about to be hurt big time with any high amplitude throw.

Also, the strategy of BJJ involves a lot of voluntarily bottom control and that is not such a great idea for sports, involving pins.

So, I will repeat:

Please consider explaining in details to the coach of the new gym you are joining, why are you there and what are you going to use the new skills for.

Train smart!