Now, most have have heard that jiu jitsu is a gentle art. I feel this is all dependent on who you grapple with, or the pace you choose to grapple at. For instance, the way I grapple is at a highly intense pace, so it may not be as "gentle". So I guess I don't completely agree with the gentle art concept, but compared to others it can certainly be more forgiving. What really makes jiu jitsu less punishing on the body is the guard. This position allows people a way to catch their breath, and use a bottom position to their advantage. Jiu jitsu is also more focused on ground fighting, which means your body isn't being plowed into the mat from doing lots of take downs like in other combat sports. This allows a person to train more, because their body won't go through as many aches and pains. The flip side is that jiu jitsu is a submission art and if you are not sure of your bodies capabilities and pain threshold, you can put yourself in a very dangerous spot. I've seen some prideful people come out with a few hurt limbs, and I've had a few in deep chokes that almost went to sleep. So remember, if your doing jiu jitsu, leave the pride at the door.
When in doubt, Tap Out!
Switching gears now, lets get into arguably the toughest sport known to man, Wrestling. Easily, I would put wrestling at the top of sports to kick your ass into shape. I was a football player who decided to tryout wrestling, and I never looked back since. After just one conditioning period of wrestling I realized football was a cakewalk. The main reason wrestling is more physically demanding then jiu jitsu is pace. Their are very few moments in wrestling that you aren't going between 90-100%. When your on bottom in wrestling, the best way out is to out pace your opponent with constant movement, so your body can easily get fatigued. This leads to having to be in tip top shape, and so you must train to get to that fatigued point and be comfortable when tired. I get tired when I grapple, but I am so accustomed to being tired that it doesn't stop me from using good form, and knowing the situation I'm in. My coach had a saying, "Practice being tired", and despite the fact many people say it's not good to over train like this, I have found that it does help to your mind to drill, and practice at a high pace when your tired. It gives you experience in a situation that some people haven't felt very much, and gives you the ability to preform under great fatigue. After wrestling, any physical challenge becomes much easier, and you will feel like taking on the world. The main set back, is the physical abuse that the body is put through. Practice is done everyday, and then competition is held on Saturday. If it's a big tournament, sorry, then competition is done through the weekend, and if the coach is generous, which they seldom are, Monday may be a rest day. Then it's back to the grind.
All in all, Yes, Wrestling is the more demanding sport, but Jiu Jitsu is by far the more complex sport. To succeed in Wrestling, one must have a very strong drive, and determination to do anything it takes to win. To succeed in Jiu Jitsu, one must know his limits, and master his mind before he can truly start to progress and improve his skill.
This has been my overview of two of the greatest arts for physical and mental development. I have become the person I am today by applying the lessons I've learned from these lifestyles, and I have to say, I love them both. Even after high school, I have still been wrestling, and will continue to find ways to do it. Jiu jitsu is currently growing, and won't be going going away. So, live, laugh, wrestle, and roll.