September 4, 2022

BJJ Vs Boxing: Which One’s Better?

For anyone who dreamed of perfecting themselves in professional combat sports, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and boxing have been among top choices. While one-dimensional boxing can serve up lethal punches, the methodical BJJ holds its reputation as the formidable art of rendering enemies immobile. 

All in all, BJJ can take up the mantle as an allrounder in terms of offense and defense, simply thanks to its array of defensive move-sets that can defeat an enemy without raising an arm. 

These street-smart and calculative combat techniques go a long way, shaping out the world of self-defense. While both have distinctive attributions, BJJ and boxing are beginner-friendly, defensive, and lethal in their menacing ways. 

The historical journeys of both boxing and BJJ are similar in terms of having the ring as their starting grounds. 

The Rings that Started it All

Boxing as a historical sport, had a variety of identities and playing style, till it became what all know today.

During the 7th Century, boxing was a known Olympic sport, the oldest trace of which dates back to 3000 BC Egypt where boxers used leather covers on their arms and palms. 

Centuries and years later, Rome brought up boxing, exchanging leather hides for metal-studded gloves known as Cestus. 

However, boxing gradually became unpopular among gladiators as plenty lost their lives during a competitive sports match. This was of course, mostly due to the bloody outcome of using studded gloves to throw punches. 

After the fall of the Roman Empire, boxing began losing its relevancy, resurfacing for the 3rd time in 17th century England.

Brazilian Jiujitsu fighters fighting in the gym

England was the birthplace of Organized Ameture Boxing in the 1880s, known for variety in weight-class from Bantam (54 Kgs.) to Heavy (Above 75 kgs.).

Around 1904 boxing completed a full-circle, making its Olympic debut in St. Louis, USA. The country also held the name for taking all the medals, beginning its journey as the Boxing heart. 

After the change in rules at around 1980, boxing has been evolving into a serious combative sport, attracting millions world-wide to spectate the brawling. 

On the other hand, the birth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was through the hands of Jigoro Kano, a trainer adept in the style of Japanese- Jiu-Jitsu. 

As the principles of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu served the military with swift strikes and deadly attacks, Kano wished to salvage the defensive forms that could help the public know about self-defense. 

He hence skimmed the Japanese format into a more methodical and calculative approach, safe for practice combats. His goal was to promote the art-form to everyone, disregarding their height, weight, and age. 

Thus, Kano had invented Judo. Later on, his disciple Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese Mixed-Martial artist under Kano began his global tour, landing in Brazil. 

In Brazil, Maeda had the luck of meeting the Gracie family who took on Kano’s mantle to polish it further into what we know now as the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

The BJJ combative format relies on takedowns, grapples, chokes, and the enemy’s immobility. The ground is their strong point as a fighter performs their best tactics on the ground to pin down an enemy from further offensive moves. 

Moreover, Kano’s principle of gentle art makes BJJ a purely defensive format that relies on close combat rather than strikes and throw-backs. 

Techniques & Training

The first and most vital thing to remember is that BJJ is a martial art, while boxing is a contact sport. Their approaches to self-defense follow distinctive patterns. 

While the former depends on methodical steps to takedowns, the latter goes straight to throwdowns. Hence, differences in techniques depend on proximity vs. distance. 

And this grappling vs. striking concept can be best understood through observing their techniques during a fight. 

Male boxer training on sandbag in a gym


As a boxer, you will only have the provision to use your fists for offensive moves. Strikes, punches, and blocks are all under consideration, given that you move around and stay away from becoming the target. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the opposite spectrum where you, as a Jiu-Jitsuka will be able to use your arms, legs, and the ground to defeat an opponent. The ground is where the fight begins. Your aim hence would be to close the gap between you and the opponent and use their proximity against them. 

Combat Rules

The rules of boxing are simple, and straight to the point. Here, you will need to remember to:

  • Use closed fists for strikes and hits
  • Keep your attacks limited to the front, making sure to hit between the forehead and the guts. 
  • Nullify the chances of the opponent hitting you back, by landing multiple punches within a short period. 
  • Win the match with 3 knock-outs or KO’s against the opponent. 

Similarly, BJJ combats also follow a set of rules, mainly:

  • Control the opponent to immobilize them on the ground.
  • Keep away from hitting the opponent with your arms or legs.  
  • Have the opponent submit, through strangulation, joint locks, and more. 
  • Avoid disqualification by staying away from prohibited zones

The Connection to MMA

Mixed martial art requires full-body usage. It is a blend of various gentle and deadly martial arts, which in unison can take down an opponent in no time. 

Now, here is where boxing takes a backseat due to its limit on using only the upper body to attack, mainly fists. This can also turn problematic for when the boxer falls to the ground, due to reduced escape routes. 

Hence, the techniques of boxing can be a disadvantage for those who wish to get into competitive MMA. 

However, BJJ’s tactics include hands, arms, legs, and almost the entire body to take down an opponent and submit them. As a Jiu-Jitsuka, you will be performing moves such as the side or back mounts, chokeholds, and more to pin the enemy. 

Moreover if grounded, BJJ tactics are not short of helping you get into a more dominating position on the ground, all with the help of proximity. 

Hence, BJJ can be suitable through its techniques as an MMA. 

Which One is More Effective?

In recent times, daily work schedules can create a hassle in maintaining perfect practice sessions for both the fighting forms. With both BJJ and boxing being the pinnacles of self-defense, time stands as the focal factor in mastering the arts. 

Hence, the effectiveness depends on the time required by trainees to grab the basic knowledge of either. And in that scenario, boxing has a quicker footing. 

Initial Training Duration

If you, as a trainee can invest 2 days a week for practice sessions for 7-10 months, it is enough to grasp an intermediate understanding of the defensive tactic. 

For example, maintaining a proper guard is the key tactic for combative self-defense in boxing. Similarly, strong bodywork and footwork for effective strikes are the basics and vital learning grounds. 

Moreover, due to its celebrity status, boxing is a known concept to every child and adult. It’s the mental presence that helps the initial process to be quick and more effective. 

Grappling however takes more time due to it’s a steady yet slower learning process. The methodical steps, sequential moves, and predominantly defensive tactics require years to practice. 

A trainee needs to professional in different fields such as:

  • Dominating moves to submit the opponent. 
  • Guarding against an enemy. 
  • Swift and powerful takedowns that can immobilize the enemy.
  • Using the ground to gain more leverage over an opponent. 
  • Remembering sequential offensive moves and executing them without taking any extra time.

Hence, the training period speaks volumes on the martial arts’ value as an effective learning process for self-defense courses. 

Which One is Better for Street Fight?

When halted by an enemy on the streets, we need to think with our heads and our bodies. And here is where Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu scores winning points over boxing. 

If we take in the recent view, boxing holds a celebrity status, while BJJ maintains a silent yet deadly reputation as a defensive technique. 

While these distinctions are minute, they sure can pack a punch in clearing up these confusions:

The Benefit of Proximity Over Distance

At times, we underestimate the advantageous position of an opponent’s closeness. Boxing’s main goal is to distance the enemy from self. Hence, a boxer needs to be active on their feet and not hold one position. 

But BJJ removes these extra tasks by providing the benefit of proximity. This is a key self-defense element, missing in boxing. 

A BJJ Jiu-Jitsuka can take control of a fight even after being thrown to the ground. Here, foot and groundwork are equally important, unlike the predominant footwork for a boxer. 

The Arms’ Usage

The arm’s importance varies for a boxer and a Jiu-Jitsuka. 

A boxer will be able to use their arms and dish-out clean-cut and menacing moves such as a hook or an upper-cut. These are throw down moves that can stun the enemy. 

However, a boxer does not need to work this hard to keep their distance. Rather, they use the rash opponent’s proximity to take down an enemy and also use arms as a shield against hits. 

An enemy’s rashness turns against them when a Jiu-Jitsuka can grapple, choke-hold, and immobilize an enemy within seconds. 

Which One is Better for Self-Defense?

While boxing might be the first choice that comes in mind, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu turns out more menacing for self-defense. 

Now, this does come as a shock. But let us think about it further.

During a street fight, for example, an opponent can be larger, overtly-hostile, and also careless. 

All three of these elements make up for the perfect opportunity to subdue the attacker. 

Now, the Boxing style is monotonous with punches and strikes, the absence of which leaves the boxer unprotected. 

However, the array of steps in BJJ can synchronize with any given brawling situation.


There is a severe lack of proper guarding when it comes to boxing. Being a predominantly offensive fighting-form, boxing provides limited aid in protecting self when on the ground.

This is where BJJ fares higher scores as a self-defense approach. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training prides itself on a variety of movements on the floor. 

The floor is a Jiu-Jitsuka’s playground where they control the second half of a fight. Grappling and joint-locks can nullify an attacker’s best effort to counter-attack. 

And this vital tactic is missing in boxing training. A boxer will be vulnerable in street fights if they land on the ground. 

Rash Vs. Professional Opponent

Now an opponent can be careless or highly methodical. In most cases, it is unpredictable. But if so, the scene will play out differently for a boxer and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsuka. 

For a boxer whether a reckless opponent or a learned enemy, the aim still stays on punching and striking the enemy to increase the distance between the two. 

But, there is always a multitude of fighting styles for a Jiu-Jitsuka. They can

  • Take an enemy to the ground
  • Have the opponent vulnerable through grappling and now joint locks. 
  • Practice an array of move-sets that can help a Jiu-Jitsuka escape various submissive control tactics. 

Cost Comparison

The cost of learning either boxing or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu depends primarily on the training period. For example, Boxing takes up less time than BJJ in terms of quicker understanding and lesser formalities. 

Boxing Costs

The initial and intermediate levels are covered within the first 6 months, especially if you can reserve an hour slot for 3 weekly training days. 

Now keeping this weekly schedule in mind, an hour’s training would cost around 30$ an hour. Hence, $90 a week for sessions can finally accumulate to $2160 for the first 6 months. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Costs

Similarly, 3 days a week for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can sharpen the skills and prompt continuous practice for smooth fighting styles. 

BJJ portrays steady progress where within the first 6 months, trainees are required to learn everything about the BJJ dialect. 

And within the next 4-5 years, a Jiu-Jitsuka can master the discipline for fights, in and out of the ring. 

Per lesson, the approximate fees stand at $14.2, hence an overall $170 per month.

Which One Should I Learn?

As an MMA enthusiast, you might be looking for a quicker route to success. However, BJJ’s superior grappling techniques, paired with fool-proof dominating move-sets render it useful for trainees of all ages. 

As a fan-favorite among competitions, Boxing is quick but can lack vital self-defense methods to stay longer on their feet. 

Therefore, you can take up BJJ to gather an all-round knowledge of self-defense through an array of multiple move-sets.

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