Wrestling vs Aikido

Martial arts are ancient and varied forms of combat that have been practiced for centuries. Two popular martial arts styles that have gained worldwide recognition are wrestling and Aikido. While they share certain similarities, there are also some key differences between the two disciplines.

Wrestling is a physical form of combat that focuses on grappling and takedowns while Aikido emphasizes defensive techniques such as redirecting an opponent’s energy to gain control over them without striking or injuring them.

Both styles require discipline, strength, agility, and skill to master but each has its own unique benefits in terms of self-defense, personal development, and competition. Let’s take a closer look at wrestling vs Aikido to understand their differences better.

wrestling vs aikido

Table of Contents

What is Wrestling?

For centuries, Wrestling has been a celebrated sport throughout the globe. Originating in Ancient Greece, this competitive activity consists of taking down an adversary through grappling techniques. Today it is still widely practiced and enjoyed by many people around the world.

Wrestlers use different holds, throws, and takedowns to gain control over their opponents without striking them, and winning is determined by the number of points earned. This activity helps build physical strength and agility as well as mental resilience, focus, and discipline.

Also, wrestling is divided into two main categories: real and fake wrestling. While “real wrestling” is actually amateur wrestling which is an Olympic sport, “fake wrestling”, known as pro wrestling, is a form of entertainment with predetermined outcomes.

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a traditional Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba in the early 20th century. It is based on ancient samurai fighting techniques and philosophy, focusing on redirecting an assailant’s energy to gain control of them without the use of striking or injuring them.

Aikido is a defensive martial art that emphasizes redirecting an aggressor’s power and using their own momentum against them. Unlike wrestling, Aikido does not have a competitive form and is mostly used as a means of self-defense.

The Differences Between Wrestling and Aikido

1. Wrestling is considered a combat sport, while Aikido is a martial art used mainly for self-defense.

2. Wrestling requires physical strength, agility, and power to take down an opponent while Aikido emphasizes redirecting an attacker’s energy.

3. In wrestling, the goal is to pin your opponent to the ground while in Aikido, the goal is to control the attacker without striking.

4. Wrestling has a competitive form, while Aikido does not and focuses mainly on self-defense.

5. Wrestling is often a fast-paced and physical contest while Aikido is more slow and methodical in its approach.

6. Wrestling has weight classes while Aikido is suited for people of all shapes and sizes.

7. Wrestling techniques like suplexes, body slams, and headlocks are not used in Aikido.

The Similarities Between Wrestling and Aikido

1. Both styles require the practitioner to have discipline, strength, and agility.

2. Both arts use joint locks and throws to gain control over an opponent.

3. Both styles have a great emphasis on proper body mechanics and balance in order to maximize power and efficiency.

4. Both styles have been developed over centuries and are still widely practiced today.

5. Both styles required a strong mental focus and determination to master.

6. Both styles can help in a real-life self-defense situation.

7. They both require a lot of practice and dedication to become proficient in the art.

8. Both styles have the potential to help increase self-confidence and give practitioners a greater sense of physical and mental well-being.

Which is Better for Self-defense?

When it comes to self-defense, both styles are effective in their own right. Wrestling focuses more heavily on physical strength and power while Aikido is more gentle and utilizes redirection of an attacker’s energy.

Although wrestling for self-defense is not the best option due to its lack of defensive techniques against striking, knife attacks, etc. Aikido isn’t the best option either as it’s a complicated martial art and required years of dedication and practice to be proficient.

Ultimately, the best option for self-defense is a combination of both styles, as they each have their advantages and disadvantages. Combining the physical power and strength of wrestling with the defensive nature of Aikido can make for a very effective self-defense system. A well-rounded martial artist will be able to use a variety of techniques from both styles to stay safe and protect themselves in any situation.

By combining the best of both styles, a practitioner can become more effective in their self-defense skills and gain greater confidence in protecting themselves.

Which is Better as a Workout?

Wrestling cardio is known for being one of the most intense cardio workouts. It requires strength and agility, which makes it great for individuals looking to get in shape and build muscle. Constant movement and physical contact can help burn calories and build muscle mass quickly.

Aikido is also a great workout, as it requires a lot of strength and agility to perform the techniques properly. It’s more gentle than wrestling but still provides a good workout and the potential for weight loss. Aikido is also more suitable for those looking to increase their flexibility and find a more calming workout routine.

Both styles provide good workouts, though wrestling is often considered better for building muscle mass quickly while Aikido is better for building overall cardiovascular health and flexibility. Ultimately, if someone is looking to get in shape they should consider both styles of martial arts and choose the one that best suits their goals.

Gear Differences

When it comes to gear, Aikido practitioners will typically use a gi or keikogi and a hakama for their training. Wrestling requires the use of singlets or gym shorts and a t-shirt for grappling.

Depending on the level of training and practice, wrestling may also require additional items such as knee pads, wrestling shoes, and wrestling headgear which is designed to mostly protect the ears.

Aikido requires the use of a traditional Japanese sword, known as a bokken, for certain kata and footwork training drills.

Overall, both martial arts require protective gear but the type of gear differs depending on the style.

Which is More Popular?

When it comes to popularity, wrestling is considered the more popular martial art due to its appearance in the Olympics. It has a long-standing history in the world of sports and is a popular choice for athletes looking to improve their physical skills.

If taking into consideration professional wrestling as well, it is by far the more popular of the two sports as many pro wrestlers are famous movie stars and have large fan followings.

Aikido is not as popular, but it still has its share of dedicated practitioners who appreciate the art for its defensive techniques and philosophical approach. One of the most popular Aikidokas of recent times is Steven Seagal, who taught the art and starred in several movies.

Which is Harder to Learn?

When it comes to which martial art is harder to learn, it really depends on the individual’s ability and goals. Wrestling requires a lot of strength, agility, and physical conditioning which could be difficult for some people to learn, but it has many schools and colleges that offer wrestling programs to help train people and even get a scholarship. Moreover, its popularity around the world, makes it easier to find teachers and students.

Aikido, on the other hand, is much more complex and less popular. Its techniques must be practiced with precision and require more dedication and focus, so it may be difficult for some to learn. Moreover, since it is not as widely practiced, it can be hard to find good teachers and students.

Lastly, Aikido doesn’t have the same grandeur as wrestling which may discourage some students from continuing. Many think learning Aikido is like in movies, where the hero can beat 20 people at once when in reality it’s much different and requires hard work and dedication and only a few can reach that level.

So, Which is Better? 

Ultimately, it depends on what someone is looking for in a martial art and whether they are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to learn either one. If someone wants to focus primarily on strength and conditioning, then wrestling might be the better choice especially if the ambition is to have a wrestling career or become an Olympic athlete.

On the other hand, if someone is looking for a more calming workout routine and is more interested in self-defense techniques and deep philosophy, then Aikido might be the better option.

It is important to consider that both martial arts can help improve one’s physical health and well-being as well as mental and spiritual awareness. So, there is no “better” martial art, rather it is up to the individual to decide which one fits their goals and interests.


In summary, wrestling is the more popular martial art due to its Olympic status and professional wrestling industry, however, the level of difficulty for both martial arts depends on the individual’s goals and preferences. Wrestling requires more physical strength and agility, while Aikido is more complex and philosophical in nature. Ultimately, it is up to the practitioner to decide which martial art best fits their needs.

Both martial arts are excellent forms of exercise and can help improve one’s physical health, mental clarity, and spiritual awareness. So, regardless of which martial art you choose, you will benefit from practicing either one. Happy training!