Combat Sports Project Est.2012
Combat Sports Project Est.2012

Combat Wrestling- what is it?



Before I start this article, I would like to make a few things clear:

I love all grappling arts!

And I have tried competing in many of the styles, available out there, so one of the reasons I wrote this article is actually my own competition experience.


Let’s start with the usual grappling competitions. What is their format and rules set?

If you look at the majority of No Gi grappling tournaments like NAGA, ADCC, Grapplers Quest and etc. you can easily spot the common points- they are all based on BJJ rules set. Is this a problem? Absolutely no! Many athletes (including my self) have competed and continue competing in those tournaments, winning medals and having fun.

So what is the issue here?

Well, for many years, people have been wondering, why aren’t there many high level judo/ sambo/ wrestling practitioners, willing to compete in ADCC or NAGA for example.

The simple answer is- they are not prepared for it.

Since the creation of BJJ, the rules set of the sport have been gradually developed as anti- Judo and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

Low scoring for throws, no score for pins, 4 points for back mount (easily gained position against judokas) and a few more technical details are the reasons why most probably we will never see waves of judokas entering in No Gi competitions any time soon.

They just cannot win!

You don’t expect athletes to win, when the best tools from their arsenal is taken away from them.

You don’t expect a high level judo/ sambo/ wrestling competitor, who spent the best years of his life training to throw people and hold them on their backs, all of a sudden to start pulling guard and play bottom game, use sweeps and collect points by shifting positions, they never even knew they exist.

Of course, after the end of their competitive career in their main sport, they could finally find time and dedicate a few years to reach the top of the sport BJJ. But they won’t be top athletes anymore. And the years of vigorous training in Olympic sports sure takes it toll.

Enter the Combat Wrestling grappling tournaments!

Held mainly in East Europe, Russia and Japan as sporadic events, Combat Wrestling rules are what judo, sambo and wrestling guys could ask for, in terms of No Gi grappling.

Currently there are some efforts for unifying the rules, applied in different countries for Combat Wrestling, in order to promote the format into the BJJ community as well.

-Throws are scored with 1 to 4 points, depending on the amplitude and impact of landing.

-Pins are scored similar as in judo and sambo- more time riding a pin brings more points.

-Almost all type of submissions allowed.

-Players restarted on their feet if no action on the ground.

-No points awarded for back mount.

Matches last 5 minutes.


The tournaments are held on wrestling mats and the competitors wear wrestling shoes and red or blue shorts.

Until this year, the majority of the tournaments were held in a small scale, up to national level, attracting many grappling stars, willing to try them selves in a No Gi tournament, suited well for their primary style.

This year, there are rumors about organizing international cups and a world federation of Combat Wrestling, but that would be a focus of another article on this website. Until then, I can offer you some videos to enjoy:

Here is ex- PRIDE champion and current UFC fighter Takanori Gomi, frequent participant in Combat Wrestling matches in Japan.


And here is Sato Rumina, tearing through a Combat Wrestling tournament in Japan, 2001.


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