August 18, 2022

Krav Maga vs Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Which One’s Better?

Krav Maga and BJJ are two of the most formidable defensive art forms when it comes to real-life combats. The development of both disciplines has similar approaches towards dominating the enemy through immobilization. 

Krav Maga has the upper hand when it comes to hostility involved in stunning the enemy to submission. It is more of a combat sport system, establishing straightforward moves that aim at survivability. 

Krav Maga concentrates on striking, leaving no room for movement legality. On the other hand, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu involves set-rules that allow the fighter to block, grapple, and choke the enemy. The main focus remains on taking advantage of the attacks, than to counterattack. 

Therefore, one of the striking contrasts between the disciplines lies in the aggression levels to overpower an opponent. 

The Discipline Roots

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu hails from a well-known Japanese Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, Jigoro-Kano who wished to refine the aggressive approach for a more inclusive and friendly practice among the common men. 

He aimed to diversify the discipline for those who are physically weaker and might require more than muscle-mass to take on burly opponents. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came into being through Kano’s disciple, Mitsuyo Maeda, whose travel brought the martial art form to Brazil. Here, the Gracie Family took in the defensive approach to popularise among enthusiasts for training and competitions. 

Krav Maga fighting duo sparring during training session

Krav Maga, on the other hand, is a relatively new strategic defensive system from the 1930s, developed in Eastern Europe. It is a go-to approach for Israeli militants for self-defense and fighting techniques. 

Krav Maga was formulated by ex-wrestler and boxer, Imrich Lichtenfeld who blended in various martial art disciplines such as Judo, Boxing, and Aikido. His main focus was to design a combat style that trains the soldiers for a battlefield. 

The system also consists of BJJ move-sets for grappling and choking enemies to submission. The focus, of course, stays on close-range fighting and assault. 

Techniques & Training (Differences)

For self-defense, positioning and leverage are key factors of effectiveness. Here, Krav Maga and BJJ fare well when it comes to dominating through the positional defense. 

The variations in both help them utilize a variety of MMA-combat skills to immobilize the enemies. 


Krav maga imbibes a powerful combination of aggressive offense and defense. The combat system is meant for battlefield brawls and overall endurance. 

The offensive moves include strikes, punches, gut-kicks, elbowing, and more. Grappling, choking, and blocking tactics form the defensive moves. These moves focus on offensive impacts more than simple defensive maneuvers. 

By training through the Krav Maga system, you will be able to polish your balance and footwork, helping against an attacker from pushing you to the ground. Here, quickness and impactful hits are the vital points of forcing an enemy to submission. 

BJJ on the other hand defines groundwork and positional dominance that renders the attacker immobilized and prone. Pinning the attacker on the floor through grapples, joint-blocks, and strangulation results in the fighter winning without a strike. 

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu discipline relies on competitive precision in timing and delivery, prohibiting the opponent from throwing hits or kicks that can disbalance the fighter. 

Jiu Jitsu battle on training

Fight Style and Legality

Krav Maga does not limit the movements on morality. There are purely aggressive, explosive, and threatening moves that can draw blood without a second thought. 

A Krav Maga fighter will deliver groin strikes, gauge eyes, hit the throat, or even break an opponent’s arm without requiring to see legality over the combat. 

The system’s design encourages dirty brawling which can accumulate foul points in a competition. However, being a discipline of survival, there are no set rules. 

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu combat style, on the other hand, encourages fair play and safety during competitive matches. The art emphasizes self-defense that relies on positioning and grapples. It also related combat Jitsu format.

As the art defines itself as the polished version of its aggressive predecessor, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, BJJ motivates the players to discover the weak-spots over recklessness.

Which one is better for Street Fights? 

The essence of humility helps in choosing your fighting style. This essence and discipline are of value to a BJJ practitioner. 

But during street combat, there are no rules. You can take on an enemy by hitting foul points for survival, as there are no referees. 

But discipline is of value. Hence, Krav Maga follows one base rule, save your skin. Krav Maga’s principle is to overwhelm the enemy, leaving no room for doubts in the capability to paralyze them through fear and pain. 

Hence, when it comes to street fights, Krav Maga reigns supreme

Effective Moves

Krav Maga follows basic methods to neutralize the threat. The hand and footwork in Krav maga are continuous, explosive, and fearsome, overwhelming an enemy to their vulnerability. 

The offensive move-sets in the Krav Maga combat system include striking and blocking simultaneously. Here, counter attacking through blocks aids in defending the ground from where the fighter can lash out unpredictably.

Additionally, the combat style encourages the use of weapons of opportunity. During the street fight, you might not possess a sharp knife or a pocket gun. Here, weapons can be keys to slash, pens to pierce, and even garments such as belts to strike or violently choke an enemy. 

Young man being mugged in a dark tunnel

For BJJ, professionalism during combat is key. While it is suitable for self-defense, the realistic platform of a street-fight might not sync well with a positional controlling. 

BJJ is well-known for disregarding an opponent’s size and aiming for dominating them to their immobility. Here, transitioning from strikes to from pinning the opponent requires impeccable timing and precision. 

However, for armed fights, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu might not fare as well as there are higher chances of backfiring due to the discipline’s overall defensive structure. 

Which one is more Effective?

The application of Krav Maga requires brutality. During a street fight, it is the survival of the fittest. In modern times, a spar does not limit to hands but extends towards sharp weapons. 

And here is where BJJ can prove to be futile for a practitioner. BJJ requires years of skill-learning, practice, and execution. As it stems from a traditional martial art form, there is room for errors, even in the intermediary learning stages. 

Krav Maga on the other hand can be of utility from the first session. The methods apply best to realistic situations which range from attacks on the roads or even while reading inside a library. The execution fits all assaults. 

Hence, a Krav Maga practitioner can utilize the initial practices from the first few sessions, whereas a BJJ enthusiast might require long-term training to be able to ground an enemy to submission. 

There are, of course, the practitioner’s attributes that define the combat style suitable for them:


Confident aggression is of priority for Krav Maga techniques. As a practitioner, you will need to hone your mental state to accept the gore. Meaning, you must not flinch before breaking a bone or stabbing and attacking the enemy with a pen. 

But if you are predominantly a calmer individual, you can improve your efficiency through sequential techniques to dominate an attacker. Hence, BJJ fares well for those who do not wish to resort to aggression for impactful harm.


When training for Krav Maga, you will need to maintain your agility and strength. Krav Maga specializes in quick and impactful damage that results in a deadly blend of stunning and gravely harming the attacker. 

Hence, the system requires practitioners to be fit and healthy in all situations. 

However, for a BJJ trainee, leverage and positioning are the benefits. Here, the user’s physique does not play a vital role in subduing an enemy to immobility. 

While this can be of an advantage for the masses, group combats and weaponed assaults might turn out to be more dangerous. 

Which one is better for Self-Defense?

Krav Baga and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu counterbalance techniques and can be formidable if utilized as a cross-combat system. 

Both disciplines encourage close-combat and positioning. The key distinction lies in the base. While a Krav Maga practitioner will train on getting back on their feet, a BJJ fighter will benefit the most on the ground. 

Hence BJJ is a suitable choice for combative self-defense

Unique Defensive Tactics

There is limited emphasis on choking, joint-locks, and grapples after throwing an enemy off-balance. This is as Krav Maga directs towards a quicker escape than to engage further. Here, the focus is on distracting the enemy by crippling them for a prolonged period. 

omen's self-defense

For the BJJ move-sets, the primary aim is to bring an enemy down on the ground, utilize strikes for vulnerability, and lock them down through pinning. The key is to bring the enemy physically closer to leave no room for escape. Hence, as a defensive art, BJJ hails to be more effective. 

Training Methodologies

In recent times, Krav Maga is a vastly-evolved version of what Israel soldiers had trained on, during the initial times. 

There are aspects of Kick-boxing, MMA, BJJ and Krav Maga itself, creating a confusing conglomeration. While most training centers can grasp the refined blend for the semi-offensive system, various trainers are unable to comprehend the intricacies of this aggressive combat form. 

Krav Maga hence requires thorough research and practice for one to learn its ultimate defensive discipline. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, on the other hand, relies on evolving. It is a molded martial art form, retaining move-sets from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu as well as Judo. 

BJJ hence, allows practitioners to train on combative-self defense, which emphasizes steady and continuous maneuvers that leave the opponent with no choice but to comply and surrender. 

Combative BJJ differs from sports BJJ based on fundamental techniques to immobilize the enemy outside of an arena. 

Cost Comparison

Various Krav Maga institutes offer paid trial classes for students to understand the basics of this aggressive system. There is no formal attire requirement. 

The practitioners can wear street clothes or work-out ensembles, which is helpful for free-movements. 

Krav Maga Trial sessions fees are for approximately $15. If you wish to opt for full-time training, the amount will stand between the range of $120 – $135 a year. 

Mastering Krav Maga takes 7 years on average. Meaning, a full course will require you to spend $893. 

Not to forget, First Responders, military, and law enforcers can opt for discounted packages for their training. 

A complete aptitude in BJJ requires 4-5 years of thorough and disciplined learning. Throughout this time, a practitioner will need to divide their training based on language proficiency, sequential-techniques, and constant practice. 

It is advisable to train for 3 days a week, to gain maximum benefits of combative Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

The fees for 1 month accumulates to $170. Hence, one year of training would require $2k. If you add in the years to gain complete expertise, the lifetime session fees would come to $10.2k.

Which One Should I learn?

The most intriguing part of learning martial arts is the ability to protect yourself and your loved ones from brutal attacks. 

And if you wish to paralyze or exhaust your enemy through explosive and brutal offensive strikes, Krav Maga is right up your alley. 

While BJJ requires thoughtful approaches towards dominating an enemy, Krav maga aims directly at bodily harm and quick escape. 

While both the defensive forms encourage close contact, Krav Maga’s ultimatum is to escape the risk by subduing it completely. 

The ability to do so comes from gaining the courage to inflict bloody gashes, punches, and aggressive hits that traumatizes the enemy with shock and pain. 

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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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