Submission wrestling

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Submission wrestling
Also known asNo-gi jiu-jitsu
FocusGrappling, wrestling, submission

Submission wrestling, also known as submission grappling, submission fighting or simply grappling, is a competitive martial art and combat sport that focuses on ground fighting and submission techniques. It is a hybrid discipline that incorporates elements of various grappling arts such as various wrestling styles, judo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Submission wrestling is practiced both as a competitive sport and as a training method for self-defence and mixed martial arts (MMA).


In ancient Greece, pankration emerged as a popular combat sport around the 7th century BCE. Pankration combined striking and grappling techniques, including joint locks and chokes, and was even included in the Olympic Games.[1][2] In Japan, jujutsu became prominent in the 17th century. Jujutsu focused on using an opponent's energy against them and included techniques like joint locks, throws, and pins.[2]

Jigoro Kano later developed Judo in the late 19th century, incorporating many grappling techniques from jujutsu, Judo influenced the development of various grappling styles around the world in particular Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Other styles of submission grappling also emerged, such as freestyle wrestling and sambo in the Soviet Union, which blended elements of Judo and traditional wrestling. All of these grappling arts contributed to the development of submission wrestling.[2]

Generic term[edit]

Mixed martial arts schools and fighters may use the term submission wrestling to refer to their grappling methods while avoiding association with any one art. The label is sometimes also used to describe the tactic in mixed martial arts competition of relying primarily upon submission wrestling skills to defeat an opponent.[3]

The term "no-gi" usually refers to a form of competition and training that does not use the gi, the "combat kimono" worn in traditional martial arts. "No-gi" Brazilian jiu-jitsu is the most well-known subset of submission wrestling, with the ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship considered its most prestigious tournament.


In submission wrestling, the primary objective is to force an opponent to submit through the application of joint locks, chokes, or other submission holds. Unlike freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, which often involve pinning an opponent's shoulders to the ground for victory, submission wrestling emphasises techniques that can lead to a submission such as tapping out or verbally submitting.[4]

Submission wrestling competitions, often referred to as no-gi, grappling tournaments or submission-only events, can vary in rulesets. Some competitions allow competitors to use strikes, while others focus solely on grappling techniques. Points may be awarded for takedowns, dominant positions, and near-submissions. However, the ultimate goal is to secure a submission, which ends the match.[3]


  • Catch wrestling: Also called "catch-as-catch-can", the style of grappling (without the gi) originated in Lancashire, Northern England and later became the dominant wrestling style in America during the 19th century, has experienced a resurgence during recent years due to MMA popularity. Early professional wrestling was once competitive catch wrestling before the sport slowly transitioned to sportive entertainment during the mid-1920s, with amateur catch wrestling becoming Olympic freestyle and collegiate wrestling.
  • Judo: A Japanese martial art focusing on high-impact throws, pins, joint locks, and chokes. It is also an Olympic sport, practiced wearing the judogi, but has been adapted to submission wrestling purposes.
  • Japanese ju-jutsu or jujutsu: An ancient art of Japanese wrestling/grappling that places a heavy emphasis on joint locks, chokes, and throws. Uses a gi traditionally, but training without one is not uncommon.
  • Sport sambo: A Soviet (Russian) style of grappling that typically uses a jacket, but without gi pants. Sambo uses leglocks, but most styles do not permit chokes.
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu: An increasingly popular style with great emphasis on ground grappling. It involves training with and without a gi.
  • Luta livre esportiva (pt): A Brazilian form of submission wrestling adapted from catch wrestling, trained without a gi.
  • Malla-yuddha: One of the oldest practiced forms of submission/combat wrestling, originating in pre-partition India, malla-yuddha is divided into four parent techniques, each named after particular Hindu gods and legendary fighters: Hanumanti concentrates on technical and positional superiority, Jambuvanti uses locks and holds to force the opponent into submission, Jarasandhi concentrates on breaking the limbs and joints and applying tracheal chokes while Bhimaseni focuses on sheer strength.
  • Pehlwani: The premier wrestling style of South Asia. It is descended from Malla-yuddha and the Persian varzesh-e bastani.
  • Pankration: Originating from ancient Greece, it combines elements that today are found mainly in the punches of boxing (pygmachia) and in the kicking of many martial arts (laktisma) with moves from the also Greece-originating wrestling (pale) and joint locks, thus creating a broad fighting sport similar to today's mixed martial arts.
  • 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu: An American hybrid of no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu founded by Eddie Bravo, influences from American folkstyle wrestling and Jean Jacques Machado's (a grappler with several missing digits) style of BJJ. More focus on no-gi half-guard and guard techniques that may be considered unorthodox in BJJ.
  • Shoot wrestling: A Japanese martial art (without the gi) based on catch wrestling, freestyle wrestling, and Greco-Roman wrestling, which later incorporated judo, sambo, karate, and Muay Thai. The major sub-disciplines of shoot wrestling are Shooto and shootfighting, along with Combat Wrestling.
  • Shuai jiao: A Chinese style of wrestling that incorporates throws and chin na (joint locks).

Hybrid styles[edit]

Combat Jiu-Jitsu[edit]

Combat Jiu-Jitsu
FocusBrazilian jiu-jitsu no-gi hybrid
Country of originUnited States
CreatorEddie Bravo
Famous practitionersVagner Rocha, Craig Jones, Masakazu Imanari, Brianna Ste-Marie, Tyson Griffin, Wilson Reis
ParenthoodBrazilian jiu-jitsu, MMA
Olympic sportNo

Combat Jiu-Jitsu (CJJ) is a submission grappling style innovated by American BJJ black belt Eddie Bravo in 2013. Following the success of his Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) events, Bravo decided to create a martial art aimed for self-defense that could also be used in competition.[5] Inspired from Pancrase matches as well as from the original Gracie Challenge.[6]

CJJ incorporates No-Gi BJJ techniques while adding open palm strikes allowing competitors to strike each other on the ground to open up the defense, CJJ matches are won by submission within the regulation period, or a winner is determined by EBI overtime rules.[7]

First ran as competitive matches during his invitational events, starting with EBI 11 in 2017, the first Combat Jiu-Jitsu World event took place in 2018.[5] Since then, multiple world champions have been crowned and the first team world championship took place at the end of 2022.[8]

Combat Submission Wrestling[edit]

Combat Submission Wrestling
Country of originUnited States
CreatorErik Paulson
Famous practitionersBrock Lesnar, Sean Sherk, Josh Barnett, Renato Sobral, James Wilks, Cub Swanson
ParenthoodShooto, catch wrestling, boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Olympic sportNo

Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) is a modern form of submission wrestling (and MMA system) developed by Erik Paulson, former Shooto light heavyweight champion. It includes grappling, submissions, and striking. It is a style that borrows elements and techniques from grappling styles including catch wrestling, Shooto, judo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu along with striking styles such as boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai.[9][10]

Hayastan Wrestling[edit]

Hayastan Grappling System or Hayastan Freestyle Wrestling
FocusGrappling hybrid
Country of originArmenia
CreatorGokor Chivichyan, Gene LeBell
Famous practitionersKaro Parysian
ParenthoodGreco-Roman wrestling, Freestyle wrestling, Catch wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Judo, Sambo
Olympic sportNo

Hayastan Grappling System or Hayastan Freestyle Wrestling, is a submission grappling style developed by multiple grappling black belts Gokor Chivichyan and Gene LeBell that blends elements of judo, sambo, catch wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling. This system includes all forms of submissions, including leg locks, footlocks, kneebars, heel hooks, shoulder locks, wrist locks, neck cranks, body cranks, chokes and others.

American Jiu-Jitsu[edit]

American Jiu-Jitsu
FocusGrappling hybrid
Country of originUnited States
CreatorJake Shields, Keenan Cornelius
ParenthoodScholastic wrestling, Collegiate wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Olympic sportNo

American Jiu-Jitsu is a combination of wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu developed in the US. The first person who was associated with this term was MMA fighter Jake Shields, who stated that it was an "Americanized" form of BJJ. In 2019, Keenan Cornelius, a BJJ black belt from San Diego, founded his personal academy that he named Legion American Jiu-Jitsu (AJJ). After that, he started to explain the style to the media, which caused a backlash from the Brazilian community, although Cornelius continued promoting his academy.[11][12][13]

Grappling tournaments and organizations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Freda, Bobby (2018-08-01). "A History of Submission Grappling Part I: Ancient Greece and Rome". Ground Standard Agency.
  2. ^ a b c "Submission Grappling". THE LVDVS: Martial Arts Center.
  3. ^ a b "What is Submission Wrestling?". Breaking Grips. 2019-11-08.
  4. ^ Kesting, Stephan (2012-03-17). "Submission Grappling vs. Classical Ju-jutsu; when cultures and concepts collide". Grapplearts.
  5. ^ a b "What Is Combat Jiu-Jitsu? An Introduction To Combat Jiu-Jitsu". MMACHANNEL. 2021-10-15.
  6. ^ "Should We Train Combat Jiu Jitsu? The CJJ Ruleset Explained". Jiu Jitsu Legacy. 2022-07-07.
  7. ^ "Combat Jiu-Jitsu News". JitsMagazine. Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  8. ^ "Combat Jiu-Jitsu Worlds Team Duel Full Results And Review". JitsMagazine. Retrieved 6 June 2023.
  9. ^ "Combat Submission Wrestling".
  10. ^ "Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW)".
  11. ^ "American Jiu Jitsu".
  12. ^ "What Is American Jiu Jitsu".
  13. ^ "Difference between BJJ and AJJ".