List of Grappling Martial Arts

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An actual fight is unpredictable. You might stand toe-to-toe with an opponent or battle it out on the ground. If a fight goes to the ground, then you're in a grappling situation. At that point, the fighter that best uses leverage to his advantage is usually the victor. Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo and hwa rang do are some of your best examples of martial arts that focus on grappling.


The Japanese martial art of judo was founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882. Kano originally studied jujutsu and derived judo from this style. Kano eliminated the killing and maiming techniques from jujutsu in favor of ways to force opponents to the ground. Judo still focuses on the efficient execution of throws and take downs. You also learn how to do chokes and joint locks once you're on the ground. By using leverage on an opponent's limbs, you can cause a significant amount of pain at his joints. Judo, the first Asian martial art to be practiced worldwide, became an Olympic sport in 1964.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Mitsuyo Maeda, a successful Japanese judo fighter, moved to Brazil in the early 1900s and opened a martial arts school. Carlos Gracie became one of his students and opened his own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in 1925. Unlike judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on the intricacies of ground fighting instead of throws. In addition, it stresses smooth transitions between submission techniques. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can teach you how to grapple larger opponents and defeat them. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu shot to popularity in the 1990s when Royce Gracie won the early Ultimate Fighting Championship competitions against many larger opponents.


Sambo was developed in the early 20th century in the former Soviet Union. Vasili Oschepkov and Victor Spiridonov incorporated techniques from judo and other foreign styles to improve the Red Army's hand-to-hand combat skills. According to the American Sambo Association, this art teaches you how to capitalize on your innate movement style when performing techniques. You learn how to do the throwing and grappling techniques seen in judo, but with more leg locks. Sambo has evolved into a form of combat and a sport.

Hwa Rang Do

Hwa rang do dates back to the seventh century when the hwarang warriors trained in hand-to-hand combat. Like other Korean martial arts, such as taekwondo and tang soo do, hwa rang do teaches several kicks and strikes. Unlike these arts, hwa rang do includes a strong emphasis on grappling. The submission techniques are known as “go too gi.” In hwa rang do, you learn the joint manipulations and chokes from other grappling styles. However, many of those techniques are performed with an acrobatic flare. Jumping and rolling techniques are often used to gain advantageous grappling positions. For example, hwa rang do can teach you how to jump up and scissor your legs around an opponent to take him down.