August 18, 2022

Judo Vs Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ): Which One’s Better?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo have vastly similar moves, stances as well as techniques that have been passed down from generations of samurais, ninjas, and royal guardsmen. But to the observant eye, the minute distinctions are what sets these traditional martial arts apart. One thing, of course, remember the root. 

The origin of both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is none other than Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, a self-defense tactic imbibing a powerful blend of deadly strikes with positional submission. Judo, of course, takes the superior call as a powerfully offensive school of learning that yields strike to render the opponent immobile for future attacks. 

Although both schools of learning are mutually beneficial as defensive martial art forms, their unique qualities in standing throws and groundwork set them apart. 

The History that Made Both

Both Judo and BJJ fabricated from the hands of one man, Jigoro Kano. Although Judo was his brainchild, BJJ was the inspiration through his followers’ global reach. He had single-handedly revised the aggressiveness of Jiu-Jitsu to modify it away from the traditional, harmful methods that aimed for the opponent’s demise. 

The earliest Jiu-Jitsu approach involved predominantly hand-to-hand combats, adding in joint-locks and strikes whenever necessary. 

The style slowly manifested into a more rash and hostile art form that threatened competitive or sporty fights. While Japanese Jiu-Jitsu began losing its edge during the 1800s, Jigoro Kano, a Jiu-Jitsu trainer, polished the art to create the more practice-safe Judo. 

Judo Fighters Training
Judo Fighters Training

Judo rose in popularity among practitioners who wished to train or teach a school of martial art that allowed all to engage in the sport than to fear the traditional aggressive form. 

Kano’s pupil, Mitsuyo Maeda had begun traveling around the world to spread the knowledge and had brought it to Brazil. From here, the Gracie Family welcomed in Kano’s Jiu-Jitsu or Judo and promoted the sport as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. And through decades of upgrades, molding, and structure, Judo and BJJ now hail as two of the most sought-after martial art schools of learning. 

Techniques & Training

Bjj follows the route of effective take-downs. But when it comes to immobilizing an enemy within a few seconds, Judo stands superior. 

The techniques and training differ in terms of standing groundwork. While a Judo expert can utilize grips and force to bring an enemy down on the ground, BJJ makes use of submission and vulnerability. These are quicker to learn from the point system in both during competitive matches:

The Focus of a Fight

During a Judo match, your aim should be to trip and throw an opponent to the ground. You will, of course, need to execute the next move with precision. If you can pin down the opponent for 20 seconds, limiting their mobility, you can achieve Ippon. Ippon is possible through arm-locks and safe-strangulation. 

An opponent’s immobility period is under 20 seconds but over the 10-seconds mark is considered the Waza-Ari. With Waza-Ari, you can score half of the cumulative Ippon points. 

Judo practitioner throwing his sparring partner on to a tatami mat during a duel

However, during BJJ training, it is about testing the mettle. Endurance and the ability to throw down an opponent with steady moves stay in focus. 

Here, throws and takedowns are of lesser importance. The focus should always stay on rendering the enemy compliant through your approach. During a match, the number of advantages you can take on, over the opponent, proves your expertise in the competition. A match can go on for 4 to 10 minutes. In the end, the fighter with the most accumulated points from positional dominance acquires the title of the winner

Prohibited Approaches

There is, of course, the prohibition against a double or single-leg block, where during the forced pin-down, the opponent’s legs are off-limit. 

During training sessions, it is important to learn about focus, mutual respect, and personal strength. Strikes, takedowns, and timely footwork rely on the fighter’s ability to observe the opponent’s every move. And here is how Judo differs from the traditional Jiu-Jitsu in terms of an aggressive approach. 

However, for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu matches, various dominant positions are under permission. Unlike during Judo fights, you can leg-lock to immobilize the enemy on the ground. Knee mounts are also part of the rules.Moreover, back mounting, arm locks, and choking are effective ways to defend your position as the winner. 

Which is better for Street Fight?

A street fight is always more realistic, nerve-racking, and practical in terms of proper utilization of martial arts.In terms of one-on-one street fights, the quick and effectively lethal Judo fare to be advantageous as sparring requires lesser time when the enemy has no way to fight back. 

Cross-training is advisable for serious street fights as you, the fighter can render the opponent useless as they stand while taking away their mobility while they are prone.  

aggressive drivers attacked each other with weapons

Let us understand the effectiveness of both under the dire circumstances of a street-fight. 

Mobility Benefits

A fight applying the Judo approach will be over in the blink of an eye. A fighter can toss an opponent to the ground like a leaf with specific quick move-sets that focus on grappling. A judo fighter will keep their aim at destabilizing an enemy off their feet. It is an advantage if the opponent is standing in the opposite direction. 

During the same brawl, if the fighter ends up prone on the ground, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu moves are life-savers. Positional submissions are approaches not limited to being at advantage, but also of utility if the opponent trips the fighter. The ground, for a BJJ brawler, is of the essence to control the enemy’s next moves.


For Judo, the strategy is to concentrate on groundwork and be the first one to throw the other on the floor. Trips and grip-tosses are powerful moves that can have the enemy fall to their vulnerability. From here, pinning them down is a quicker process and requires no extra moves that can distract the fighter’s aim. 

BJJ, on the other hand, allows the fighter to stabilize their bodies on the floor and bring down an enemy to their vulnerability. Through proper strategies and techniques, it takes no time to initiate authoritative groundwork that leaves the opponent with no choice but to comply.

Which one is more Effective?

In terms of effectiveness, Judo implements vigorous and impeccable strikes that throw off an opponent, vulnerable to the next attack phase. Bjj, on the other hand, strategizes on grounding the enemy into submission. Of course, the similarities in approach between the two martial art forms can be quite striking. 

The Play-Out

Judo’s efficiency lies in the throwing aspect. A fighter’s grip, agility, and focus form an indomitable amalgam that can disbalance an enemy and strike them off their feet in a matter of seconds. The next step involves the ability to pin an opponent for a prolonged period to devoid of the energy to fight back. The opponent must not have a window of opportunity to struggle free. 

During a street fight, these tactics can work well, with both armed and unarmed opponents as they become incapable of harm once vulnerable. However, for a BJJ practitioner or expert, the purpose is to render the enemy defeated. Such is quickly attainable through choke-holds, knee-mounts, back-mounts, and more. 

Similar to Judo, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu approach initiates during a standing stance, from where the fighter strives to dominate the opponent through sequential grapples, sweeps, and the final takedown. These approaches, although fool-proof, can be methodical and slow for street-fights, especially against an armed opponent. The BJJ stances can prove counterproductive against armed enemies as well as gang attacks. 

How it Ends

A fight using Judo martial arts tactics ends with the fighter throwing the opponent and pinning them to the ground. While this is the last step to defeat an opponent, during a BJJ brawl, the throw-off is considered the beginning of the match. 

For a BJJ fight to end, the fighter must utilize seamless groundwork to choke, clasp, and pin down the enemies with vigor enough to temporarily impair the opponent. Timely grapples and submissions are all it takes for a fight to finish. 

Which one is better for self-defense?

Self-defense requires resorting to blocks, grapples, and finally, grounding the enemy to submission. Hence, BJJ is always a superior option when it comes to absolute self-defense. 

Judo, on the other hand, focuses on throws. Additionally, in recent times, there are prohibitions on attacking near the leg area as Judo’s tactics include pinning the opponent’s upper body. But by doing so, the enemy always has a window of opportunity to escape or even strike back. 

Defensive Tactics

The formalities of Judo renders the sequences to be semi-aggressive and overall, safe. The defensive stances are rare especially as strikes and throw-offs leave limited space for blocking an attack.

But for a BJJ practitioner, the tables turn for an offensive opponent. The focus is on the ground and the fighter’s eyes are on the opponent’s knees. Here, the enemy’s submission is the key to self-defense. 

Escape Route

Both BJJ and Judo are about quick take-downs. But a Judo player becomes temporarily prone to attacks if thrown off. Not to forget, there is no stance available for group attacks. 

Hence, becoming vulnerable on the ground can be the worst-case scenario. However, on the ground, a BJJ expert has the upper hand. Here, survivability and maneuver from attacks, eyeing the opponent’s flaws, utilizing them for the grapples and chokes, are the focus. 

Offensive vs. Pure Defense

Judo idolizes offensive moves. The implemented safety can aid with its constant practice. The traditional aggressive tactics remain, which are impactful for street fights. But the defensive aspects remain under shadows of time-honored Jiu-Jitsu. 

On the other, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu maintains the purely defensive sequences, blending in grapples, chokes, and knee-locks to spar with the opponent and bring them pinned to the ground. 

The tactics turn fruitful while handling a brash attacker with no previous training. 

Cost Comparison

The cost of training for either martial arts is affordable and can cover the necessities that include the karate-gi. It is always advisable to purchase safety gear for training and competition purposes. 

Training period and belt-ranks play a vital role in deciding on the schools of martial arts for enrollment. 

A proper Judo training will require an average of 3 to 5 years for obtaining the first black belt. The duration depends on a student’s devotion to training properly. There are in total 10 black belts that a student must acquire through proper training. The average fees per year for Judo sum up to a minimum of $75. meaning, a complete course for the first black belt can add to an average of $300. 

In the case of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, constant training for 3 days a week can sharpen the hold on language, fighting sequences and transitions to self-defense. The collective proficiency in BJJ is attainable within an average of 4 to 5 years. And the fees for one month’s training accumulates to $170. 

Therefore, a complete course until the first black belt in BJJ would come to $10.2k for proper dojo practice and combats. The price of safety gear can be exclusive as well as inclusive of the yearly fees for various dojos. 

Which one should I learn?

As a beginner, you will need to make the decision depending upon your key focus. It is always advisable to opt for the defensive martial art form, to gain proper aptitude in street fights and other real-life combats. 

Hence, taking up Judo can support the dream of gaining expertise in an authoritative martial art form. Not to forget, Judo counts as one of the most sought-after MMA styles for new and practicing karatekas. 

The Idea of Cross-Training

The benefits of cross-training as many. Not only can you gain comprehensive knowledge on the collective evolution of Japanese Jiu-jitsu through Judo and BJJ, but also sync the techniques. Judo focuses more on strikes and holding the ground while destabilizing the opponent. It does not hence, concentrate on groundwork, which is a necessary base for defense. 

Cross-training can help blend in both the excellent schools of art and create waves during combats. For example, falling prone as a Judo practitioner can be of no fear if you have the practice of BJJ grappling and locking in your enemy on the ground.


In the end, your preference reigns over the art forms most suitable to your combat-style ambition. Standing and groundwork is the difference between Judo and BJJ. 

Both stem from the traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, imbibing mutually beneficial tactics that can take down enemies and protect themselves from any harm’s reach if grounded. Hence, keeping the focus on Judo while learning more on BJJ can help gain a dominant hold on combat grounds.

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Eugene Hardy

Eugene is a professional Muay Thai fighter, with several years of experience. Also, a black belt holder. He actively participates in tournaments and provides training to his students. Eugene started this blog to share his experiences with Martial Arts.

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