From September of 1990 to 2010 Willink was a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and Seal Task Unit Commander leading hundreds of operations in combat. He earned his Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from world champion Dean Lister, competed at the national level in Submission Grappling, and has trained dozens of professional fighters. He has also coached and cornered fighters in numerous King of the Cage, Pride, and UFC events.
Nowadays he is an American podcaster, author and retired United States Navy SEAL, who received the Silver Star and Bronze Star for his actions in the Iraq War.
Jocko’s podcast 68 had an interesting question asked:
In podcast 13 you stated that jiu jitsu is the martial art that takes the most time to become proficient I disagree and here’s why: as a wrestler I’ve been able to pick up jiu-jitsu in a matter of about 2 months to the point where I can submit a blue belt here and there and mostly control purple belt possibly … I might just be a bad teacher but I haven’t had much success teaching jiu-jitsu folks to wrestle. After the same amount of time they’re maybe a low highschool wrestling level…
I guess I should’ve said grappling men in general which is definitely harder to achieve a basic level of competence in rather than striking. Now don’t get me wrong – you take a skilled boxer, they will destroy an unskilled boxer. You take a skilled muay thai guy they will destroy an unskilled muay thai guy.
A good wrestler is a good grappler, you are a good grappler and that’s why you’re able to pick up jiu-jitsu quickly because wrestling is grappling which is jiu-jitsu. Are there differences? Yes there are absolutely but…
If you played baseball in college when you get on the office softball team you’re a killer… It’s the same thing with wrestling. As far as the fact that it doesn’t take long to learn if you’re a high level wrestler Yes absolutely, you learn it very quickly. Look at the history of the UFC Dan Severn, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Randy Couture, Tito – all those high level wrestlers and guess what it’s not history high level wrestlers are there now too. Jon Jones, DC.. it’s wrestlers – wrestlers … Now are there other guys who come in and fill in but the majority base is wrestling. So now you also have to look at the early UFCs or you go to any gym and the fact is a jiu-jitsu only guy beats a wrestling only guy 9 times out of 10. That’s the way it is Now if the wrestler can learn very quickly but if the wrestler only knows wrestling and the bjj guy only knows jiu jitsu the jiu jitsu guy is going to win simply because the wrestler doesn’t know how to finish the fight.