Judo vs. Wrestling

What's the Difference?

Judo and wrestling are both combat sports that involve grappling techniques, but they have distinct differences in terms of rules and objectives. In Judo, the goal is to throw or takedown an opponent to the ground and immobilize them with a pin or submission hold. In wrestling, the focus is on controlling an opponent and scoring points by pinning them to the mat or executing takedowns. Judo emphasizes the use of leverage and technique, while wrestling relies more on strength and agility. Both sports require physical conditioning and mental toughness, but the strategies and techniques used in each are unique to their respective disciplines.


Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
OriginJapanAncient Greece
TechniquesThrows, joint locks, pinsTakedowns, pins, submissions
ScoringIppon, Waza-ari, YukoPoints for takedowns, reversals, near falls
Competitive LevelsOlympic sportOlympic sport
Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Further Detail


Judo and wrestling are two ancient martial arts that have been practiced for centuries. Judo originated in Japan in the late 19th century, founded by Jigoro Kano. It is a modern martial art that focuses on throws and grappling techniques. Wrestling, on the other hand, has a long history dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. It is a combat sport that involves takedowns and pins to control an opponent.


One of the main differences between Judo and wrestling is the techniques used in each sport. In Judo, practitioners learn a variety of throws, joint locks, and pins to control and subdue their opponent. These techniques require a combination of strength, balance, and timing to execute effectively. In wrestling, the focus is on takedowns and pins to score points or win a match. Wrestlers use techniques such as single-leg takedowns, double-leg takedowns, and various holds to control their opponent on the mat.

Rules and Scoring

Another key difference between Judo and wrestling is the rules and scoring system. In Judo, competitors can score points through throws, pins, and submissions. Matches are typically won by accumulating points or by achieving a submission hold. In wrestling, points are awarded for takedowns, escapes, and reversals. Matches can be won by pinning an opponent's shoulders to the mat for a certain amount of time or by outscoring them by the end of the match.

Training and Conditioning

Both Judo and wrestling require a high level of physical conditioning and training. Judo practitioners focus on developing strength, flexibility, and agility to execute throws and grappling techniques effectively. Training in Judo often involves practicing techniques with a partner, sparring, and conditioning exercises. Wrestlers also need to be in top physical condition to compete at a high level. They train in techniques such as takedowns, escapes, and pins, as well as strength and conditioning exercises to build endurance and power.

Uniform and Equipment

One of the most noticeable differences between Judo and wrestling is the uniform and equipment used in each sport. In Judo, practitioners wear a traditional white or blue gi (uniform) with a belt that signifies their rank. The gi is designed to withstand the rigors of training and competition and allows for a wide range of movement. In wrestling, competitors wear tight-fitting singlets that cover the torso and legs. Wrestlers also wear wrestling shoes to provide traction on the mat and prevent slipping during matches.

Competition and Events

Both Judo and wrestling are popular combat sports that are practiced and competed in around the world. Judo competitions are typically held in tournaments or championships where athletes compete in various weight classes. Wrestlers also compete in tournaments and championships, with events such as the Olympics, World Championships, and collegiate wrestling competitions showcasing the best talent in the sport. Both sports have a strong following and fan base, with athletes competing at the highest levels of competition.


In conclusion, Judo and wrestling are two distinct martial arts that have their own unique attributes and characteristics. While Judo focuses on throws and grappling techniques, wrestling emphasizes takedowns and pins to control an opponent. Both sports require a high level of physical conditioning, training, and skill to compete at a high level. Whether you prefer the traditional techniques of Judo or the fast-paced action of wrestling, both sports offer a challenging and rewarding experience for practitioners and fans alike.

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