Is Wrestling Good for Self Defense?

Wrestling is one of the oldest and most popular sports in the world. It has been used for centuries as a form of physical and mental training, with practitioners learning how to use their own strength, agility, and technique to overcome opponents.

But recently it has gained popularity as an effective means of self-defense. Many people are wondering: is wrestling good for self-defense? in this article, we will explore the answer to this question as well as the benefits of using wrestling for self-defense.

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wrestling for self defense

What Wrestling Is?

Wrestling is a combat sport that involves two combatants attempting to gain control over one another using physical strength, speed, and technique. It can be done in a ring or on the ground and is often used as part of mixed martial arts.

It’s important to know that wrestling is divided into two main types, amateur wrestling, and professional wrestling. Amateur wrestling is commonly seen in high school, college, and Olympic competitions while professional wrestling uses more theatrics and is often considered entertainment.

Benefits of Wrestling for Self-Defense

Wrestling offers several benefits that make it an effective self-defense system:

1. It Teaches You How to Use Your Body to Defend Yourself

Wrestling teaches practitioners grappling techniques, joint locks, throws, and takedowns that can be used to defend against an opponent. It also emphasizes the importance of using proper technique and body positioning in order to successfully control your opponent.

2. It Develops Physical and Mental Strength

Wrestling requires a great deal of physical and mental strength as it involves using your body to overcome an opponent’s size, speed, and technique. It helps develop muscle memory so that you can use the techniques effectively in a variety of situations.

3. It Encourages Proper Nutrition and Conditioning

Wrestling requires practitioners to be in good physical shape and provides an incentive to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. This helps ensure that you are prepared for any physical altercation and can perform your best when it matters most. While many think that wrestling stunt growth, research shows that wrestling is actually beneficial for physical development.

4. It Improves Self-Confidence and Discipline

By mastering the techniques of wrestling, you can develop greater self-confidence and discipline. This confidence can then translate into other areas of your life, such as work or school. It also helps you to remain calm in stressful situations and can help you make better decisions when faced with danger.

What Wrestling Style Is Most Effective for Self-Defense?

There is no single “best” wrestling style for self-defense. Different styles of wrestling emphasize different techniques, so it is important to choose one that works best for you.


Greco-Roman wrestling is an Olympic sport that focuses on the upper body and emphasizes throws and takedowns. It teaches practitioners to use leverage, technique, and strength to defend themselves against opponents.

Freestyle and Folkstyle

Freestyle wrestling is a style of amateur wrestling and is the international version of Greco-Roman wrestling therefore many people are wondering if Freestyle wrestling is good for self-defense.

It allows the use of the lower body and teaches practitioners how to use their legs, hips, and core to gain an advantage over opponents. Folkstyle is the most popular style of wrestling in the United States and focuses on takedowns, escapes, and reversals.


Submission wrestling is a form of ground fighting that focuses on grappling techniques such as joint locks and chokes. It teaches practitioners how to control opponents on the ground as well as how to effectively defend themselves against an opponent who is attempting to submit them.

Although, as mentioned, there is no “best” wrestling type for self-defense, submission wrestling is probably the best choice of the four mentioned as it focuses on ground combat which is an important part of a street fight.

Can You Really Use Wrestling Moves In the Street?

Yes, wrestling moves can be used in the street for self-defense. However, it is important to remember that unlike a sporting event or competition, in a street fight, the goal is not to gain points or win; it is to protect yourself and your loved ones. Therefore, when using wrestling moves for self-defense, it is important to focus on controlling the situation and not on inflicting harm.

Moves like suplex, takedowns and even submission moves can be very hard to execute in a real fight, due to the stress, adrenaline, and chaos of a street fight. That is why it is important to practice controlling the opponent, using joint locks and proper technique in order to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.

The most important “move” is to have confidence and believe that you will be able to defend yourself, no matter what situation you are in, that’s more than 50% of the fight.

What Are Some Good Techniques of Wrestling for Self-defense?

1. Arm Drag

This is a takedown move where you control your opponent’s arm, which lets you take them down to the ground and gain an advantageous position.

2. Hip Toss

This move is similar to an arm drag, except you’re using your hips to take your opponent off balance and down to the ground.

3. Ankle Pick

This move is used to take your opponent’s balance and then trip them up.

4. Headlock

A headlock is a wrestling move that can be used to control your opponent’s body and immobilize them.

5. Guillotine Choke

This move is used to control an opponent and can be used in both standing and ground positions.

6. Rear Naked Choke

This is another submission move that can be used to control an opponent and render them unconscious if necessary.

7. Knee on Belly

This move is used to gain an advantageous position and control over your opponent.

Do You Need Any Equipment to Defend Yourself Using Wrestling?

No, you do not need any special equipment to defend yourself using wrestling. The techniques and moves mentioned above all require only your body and physical strength. However, if you are taking a class or practicing with a partner, it is recommended that you wear wrestling shoes and protective gear such as headgear, a mouthguard, and knee pads.

So, Is Wrestling Good for Self-defense?

Yes, wrestling is good for self-defense. It teaches practitioners how to control opponents and gain an advantageous position in a fight. Wrestling also helps to build strength and agility which are both essential for effective self-defense. Overall, learning the techniques of wrestling can be a great way to defend yourself in a dangerous situation.

But, the main disadvantage of wrestling, in almost all types, is the fact that there are no defending techniques against striking punching, kicking, knife attacks, etc. For this reason, wrestling may be helpful for self-defense, but less than martial arts like Krav Maga, MMA, Wing Chun, Ninjutsu, Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, etc. which focus on an array of self-defense techniques.


In conclusion, wrestling can be a great way to defend yourself in dangerous situations. It teaches practitioners how to control and gain an advantageous position over opponents.

However, it is important to remember that wrestling does not cover defense techniques against striking and other weapons-based attacks, which is why it should not be the primary form of self-defense. Martial arts like Krav Maga, MMA, Wing Chun, Ninjutsu, Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, etc. are more useful for self-defense than pure wrestling.

All in all, if you’re looking for a way to become more confident in your ability to defend yourself, wrestling can be a good addition to your repertoire. Just remember that it should not be your sole method for self-defense and defense against weapons-based attacks should also be taken into consideration.