I am coaching a youth wrestling club, and one of the wrestlers has a three year background in Judo.

What are the most importance points for a judoka transitioning to (folkstyle) wrestling?

I know many of the differences such as the Gi (and grabbing), stance, the scoring system, the match format, and the goal.


I studied judo and many other martial arts. I've never studied wrestling. Personally, I feel like it's perhaps less helpful to a new student to try to explain things in terms they understand already. It's usually best to approach it like they have absolutely no knowledge and start from there, just like you do with every student. Otherwise you assume they understand something, so you just gloss over it, when in fact they're pretty weak on it.

That means starting over from scratch and making sure your students know how and why each aspect is done the way it is before moving on to other things. If they have grappling experience already, it will make sense to them more quickly maybe than others who don't already know grappling.

So if your goal is to get them into wrestling quicker, don't worry. They have grappling knowledge already, and they'll probably take to it faster than average on their own without you having to map judo into wrestling for them. Let them figure it out. That's part of the fun for them. And just adjust the speed at which you feed them new info accordingly.

If you're worried that they'll get bored or will feel like the material is a repeat of what they already know, don't worry about that. First of all, I know for a fact that wrestling is very different from judo in many ways. So it's not going to be a repeat of what they already know. Second, if you adjust the rate at which you teach them based on the rate at which they seem to be understanding things, they won't get bored. At some point (probably almost immediately), you will find that they will start seeing new material that they've never seen before in judo. So don't worry about that.

My advice anyway.

After putting on a white belt in probably a dozen martial arts, I can tell you that it's almost detrimental in the long term to try to mentally equate techniques I already know with new ones I'm just learning. At some point, I usually find that the techniques differ enough that I have to go back to the beginning and re-learn the new material properly, without any of the baggage I already have. It ends up taking me much longer to learn the new material in the end.

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Here's what I would start with, with some judo knowledge and close to no wrestling experience:

  • Standard kumikata (lapel and sleeve) roughly maps to over-unders or collar-and-elbow. This should help jump-start the porting of judo techniques to wrestling without a gi.
  • Hip throws are quite similar.
  • There are rules differences that I'm not qualified to speak to on the wrestling side
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