What are the Differences: Judo vs. BJJ vs. Jiu-Jitsu?
I wanted to start martial arts as a way to stay fit and to learn a useful skill. But, when I started researching, there were so many that I got confused, especially since they sound so similar. I came across three close types of martial arts: Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), and Japanese (traditional) Jiu-Jitsu.
There are a couple of benefits to each. Here is everything you need to know about Judo vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo vs. Jiu-Jitsu.
BJJ vs. Judo
Both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are grappling martial arts. They don’t utilize striking as much as knocking an opponent down with throws and grabs. Hence, they emphasize flexibility and fitness much more than brute strength.
Here are a few key differences between the two:
Judo was created in 1882 in Japan by Kano Jigoro.
Judo is mainly concerned with controlling an opponent using takedowns, chokeholds, and limited grappling. Armlocks and chokeholds are used to submit an opponent.
This form of jiu-jitsu was developed in Brazil in the early 20th century by Geo Omori. BJJ emphasizes groundwork more than Judo and is designed to help smaller, and weaker practitioners defend themselves against larger opponents.
While it may not seem very exciting, you can see here that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a great way to defend yourself:
Marcus Buchecha vs. Bernardo Faria in 2013:
Which Is Better – BJJ vs Judo?
As you can probably guess, both Judo and BJJ have far more similarities than differences. Since both martial arts are based on groundwork and takedowns, they influence each other. You’ll learn Judo moves like the osoto-gari (a simple takedown) in BJJ and vice versa.
I like BJJ because I prefer to focus more on a grappling martial art rather than takedowns and throws.
Will Judo Help my BJJ?
The true spirit of martial arts is to learn as much as you can and open yourself to knowledge. Closing yourself to any style can be detrimental. So, yes, Judo can help your BJJ. In fact, according to Neil Adams, a decorated Judoka, training BJJ with Judo can help you transition into the ground game by getting better at takedowns and throws.
Judo Gi vs. BJJ Gi
The gi of both Judo and BJJ are quite different.
The Judo gi tends to be more traditional, which means that your color of choice is typically white with little to no patches.
A typical BJJ gis has sturdier collars because of the pushing and pulling involved. BJJ gis can come in much more flashy colors and designs than Judo gis.
The hard dropping, rolling and pulling characteristic of BJJ techniques require a very tough gi. Modern BJJ gis feature rip-stop pants and extra stitching with polymer and cotton blends which helps durability.
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu vs. Judo
Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu may not sound related to you, but they are.
Which Came First: Japanese Jiu-Jitsu or Judo?/Is Judo and Jiu-Jitsu the Same Thing?
Japanese Jiu-jitsu can be traced back nearly 2500 years by some accounts, with some records dating back to 880 AD. Samurai learned jiu-jitsu as an unarmed supplement.
The practice was more aggressive because soldiers were taught to kill and injure rather than to disarm. It was developed to be more of a last resort than a stand-alone style.
However, in the 1880s, as samurais were dying out, Judo was born. It took selected techniques from Japanese Jiu-jitsu and further developed them.
A traditional fight between Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu in 1912:
How Is Judo Different From Jiu-Jitsu?
The main difference between the two philosophically is that Judo is a way (do) and Jiu-Jitsu is a war art (Jitsu). Jiu-jitsu means gentle art which was designed for warriors to fight without weapons. Judo came about as a way to revive and modernize Jiu-Jitsu techniques.
Did Jiu-Jitsu Come From Judo?
No, Judo came from traditional jiu-jitsu as a way to adapt to changing times.
Which Is Better – Judo or Japanese/Traditional Jiu-Jitsu?
By definition, the art of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is more aggressive because it was developed for soldiers at war, while Judo was developed as a sport. However, since Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has undergone far more development in the last hundred years, it’s considered a more modern martial art. BJJ techniques are proven to be successful in MMA matches.
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu still relies on the techniques that were handed down through generations. This has made the art stale and much more prone to countering. Martial arts are made resilient by their evolution through different times.
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
If you know a little bit about martial arts history, you’ll know that Japanese Jiu-jitsu inspired Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, when it came to BJJ, the techniques of groundwork were much more emphasized. The Gracie Family, credited with the development of BJJ, were not large people with big muscles. Hence, they worked on using positioning and leverage rather than brute strength.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also more about the ground game than the other styles.
What’s the Difference Between Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is a far more aggressive form of martial arts. It was meant to aid the Japanese Samurai in unarmed combat. Hence, it was much more offensive. However, BJJ was meant to overpower a much more physically intimidating opponent. Since that wasn’t possible through sheer strength training, technique, leverage, and positioning received more emphasis.
Is Jiu-Jitsu the Most Effective Martial Art?
This is a debate that will rage on until time immemorial. However, both martial arts have their weak and strong points.
BJJ is more popular, and there are more places to train BJJ compared to traditional Jiu-Jitsu.
Further, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu hasn’t evolved through time. Most practitioners teach their students techniques that developed hundreds of years ago.
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu 2013 Baku Championship:
Is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Good for Self-Defense?
The Gracie family is considered to be the first family of BJJ. They developed BJJ into what it is today. BJJ can be great for one on one self-defense.
In a street fight, being on the ground with someone that has friends around can end poorly for you.
You can train BJJ either for self-defense, competition, or both. Talk to your professor (teacher) and visit different schools to see what’s better for your needs.
Is Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Good for Self Defense?
You may find several arguments for and against traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu as a practical self-defense art. While many agree that it was great for its time, critics have emerged over time saying that the techniques have become stale. The reason behind it is a lack of innovation and development over time.
Why I chose BJJ
I knew that all three would be comparable for self-defense and getting back into shape. Between the three, I think both BJJ and Judo are the most practical.
I chose BJJ because:
- It’s more popular, which makes it easier to find schools. The professors, coaches, and community at each school are different, and it’s important to try several to see which one fits you.
- I wanted a martial art where I could apply the techniques without getting injured too severely. Of course, you can still get hurt (I sprained my shoulders). But, one of the great things about BJJ is that you can roll (practice) live with different people without getting punched or kicked.
- People of all ages, sizes, and body types can use BJJ techniques. I plan to train for a long time.