Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: Unveiling the Differences, Effectiveness, and Philosophy

When the discussion revolves around martial arts, the comparisons between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Judo often surface. Both arts have their unique strengths and fascinating histories, catering to various aspects of self-defense, competition, and personal growth. But what sets them apart, and how do they overlap? Let’s delve into the intricate world of Jiu-Jitsu vs. Judo to decipher their differences, effectiveness, training philosophies, and more.

Table of Contents

What’s the main difference between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo?

Both Jiu-Jitsu and Judo stem from traditional Japanese martial arts but diverge in their primary focuses. Judo primarily centers on throws and takedowns, aiming to immobilize opponents. On the other hand, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is renowned for its ground fighting, focusing on submissions and positional dominance, derived from Judo but evolving into its distinct form over time through the Gracie family in Brazil.

Which is more effective for self-defense, Jiu-Jitsu, or Judo?

For self-defense, the effectiveness of both Judo and BJJ depends on the situation. Judo’s throws and takedowns can be useful in quickly neutralizing an attacker, while BJJ’s ground fighting and submissions become advantageous when the confrontation goes to the ground. Ultimately, the effectiveness of self-defense techniques relies on the practitioner’s skill and adaptability to different scenarios. Both can be very effective in self-defense scenarios when learned and practiced proficiently

Is Judo or Jiu-Jitsu better for ground fighting?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has a more extensive focus on ground fighting compared to Judo. BJJ practitioners are adept at controlling opponents on the ground, seeking advantageous positions for submissions, while Judo primarily emphasizes standing techniques and groundwork to a lesser extent.

Was Judo or BJJ first and What are the origins of both?

  • Judo precedes BJJ; it was founded by Jigoro Kano in the late 19th century as a modification of traditional Jiu-Jitsu, aiming to make it more sportive and accessible.
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu evolved later, stemming from Judo’s groundwork, further refined and popularized by the Gracie family in Brazil.

Which martial art is easier to learn, Judo, or Jiu-Jitsu?

Judo is often considered more straightforward to pick up due to its emphasis on stand-up techniques, making it more accessible for beginners. However, the depth of mastery in either art takes considerable time and effort.

BJJ’s learning curve may involve understanding leverage, body positioning, and executing various joint locks and chokeholds.

The perception of which martial art is “easier” can also depend on personal preferences and individual strengths. For some, the more gradual progression of techniques in BJJ might be easier to grasp, while others might find the more explosive nature of Judo’s throws more accessible.

Are there differences in techniques between Jiu-Jitsu and Judo?

While both arts share fundamental principles, they differ in techniques. Judo predominantly focuses on throws and takedowns, emphasizing rapid immobilization of opponents. BJJ places more emphasis on ground grappling, involving joint locks and chokes from various positions. Here are some of the key differences:

  1. Throws and Takedowns: Judo places a strong emphasis on throws and takedowns, aiming to quickly and decisively take an opponent to the ground. Judo practitioners spend a substantial amount of time perfecting throwing techniques, which are often executed explosively. In contrast, Jiu-Jitsu focuses more on ground work and submissions, so throws are less central to the art.
  2. Ground Grappling: Judo includes ground grappling, but it typically focuses on pinning an opponent and potentially transitioning into a winning position (like an immobilizing pin) rather than the extensive ground control and submission techniques found in Jiu-Jitsu.
  3. Submissions: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is renowned for its wide array of submissions, including joint locks and chokeholds. BJJ practitioners develop a deep understanding of how to control and submit an opponent on the ground, often employing intricate techniques and strategies. Judo, while it includes some submissions, doesn’t delve as deeply into this aspect of ground fighting.
  4. Positional Dominance: In Jiu-Jitsu, achieving and maintaining dominant positions on the ground, such as mount, back control, and side control, is crucial. These positions allow BJJ practitioners to control and submit their opponents effectively. Judo emphasizes pinning techniques to secure victories, but it may not emphasize the same range of positional control as BJJ.
  5. Rules and Scoring: Judo and Jiu-Jitsu have different rules and scoring systems, with Judo focusing on throws and pins for scoring points in competition and Jiu-Jitsu primarily awarding points for positional control and submissions.
  6. Gi (Uniform) Usage: Both arts typically use a gi (uniform), but the grips and grips strategies differ. Judo practitioners often use more explosive and dynamic grips for throws, while BJJ practitioners use a more diverse range of grips for control and submissions on the ground.

Do Judo and BJJ have different training philosophies?

Yes, the training philosophies differ. Judo’s philosophy revolves around maximum efficiency with minimal effort (Jita Kyoei), while Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu emphasizes technique, leverage, and strategy to overcome larger opponents.

  1. Training Methods:
    • Judo training often involves repetitive practice of throws and falling techniques (ukemi) to ensure safety during high-impact throws.
    • BJJ training often incorporates live sparring sessions (rolling) from various positions, allowing practitioners to test their skills in realistic scenarios. This “rolling” is a significant part of BJJ training.
  2. Training Objectives:
    • In Judo, the primary training objectives often include developing explosive power, balance, and precision in executing throws.
    • In BJJ, the focus is on developing positional awareness, control, and the ability to submit opponents from various positions on the ground.
  3. Philosophy of Victory:
    • Judo emphasizes the idea of decisive victory through throws and pins. Matches are often decided by clear, dominant techniques.
    • BJJ places a strong emphasis on the concept that a smaller, weaker opponent can defeat a larger, stronger one through technical skill and submissions, allowing for more gradual and strategic victories.

These differences in training philosophies and approaches are a result of the distinct historical and competitive backgrounds of Judo and BJJ.

What are the main similarities between Jiu-Jitsu and Judo?

Despite their differences, Jiu-Jitsu (specifically Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and Judo share several key similarities due to their historical connections and shared roots in traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. Here are some of the main similarities between Jiu-Jitsu and Judo:

  1. Origins: Both Jiu-Jitsu and Judo trace their origins back to traditional Japanese martial arts. Judo evolved from Jiu-Jitsu when Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, reformed and systematized the techniques to create a sport with a focus on throwing and groundwork.
  2. Grappling and Throwing Techniques: Both martial arts involve extensive grappling and throwing techniques. While their emphasis differs, they share a foundation in techniques designed for close combat, including joint locks, throws, pins, and ground control.
  3. Gi (Uniform) Usage: Both arts typically use a gi (uniform) in training and competition. The gi is used for gripping, controlling opponents, and executing techniques.
  4. Focus on Control and Technique: Both Jiu-Jitsu and Judo emphasize the importance of technique, leverage, and control over brute strength. They prioritize using an opponent’s energy and movements against them, allowing practitioners to overcome larger and stronger opponents.
  5. Training Principles: Both martial arts emphasize discipline, respect, and the development of physical and mental attributes. They promote the principles of humility, perseverance, and continuous improvement.
  6. Competition and Sport: Both Jiu-Jitsu and Judo have established competitive formats. Judo competitions typically involve throwing an opponent or pinning them to win, while Jiu-Jitsu competitions focus on positional control, submissions, and points for various techniques.
  7. Self-Defense Applications: Both arts have practical self-defense applications, teaching practitioners how to defend themselves in real-life situations, whether standing or on the ground.
  8. Training Drills and Sparring: Both Jiu-Jitsu and Judo use various training drills and sparring sessions (known as rolling or randori) to develop and test techniques in a live, dynamic environment.

Which martial art is more suitable for competition, Judo, or Jiu-Jitsu?

Both sports have their unique competitive formats, but the number of BJJ competitions has significantly increased in recent years. Judo offers more standing and throwing elements, while BJJ competitions revolve around ground fighting.

How do Judo and Jiu-Jitsu differ in terms of throws and submissions?

Judo emphasizes throws and takedowns, aiming to score an immediate victory. In contrast, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on ground grappling, seeking to control opponents and secure submissions using joint locks and chokes.


  • Judo: Judo places a strong emphasis on throwing techniques (nage-waza). It involves a wide array of dynamic, explosive throws that aim to off-balance and throw an opponent to the ground. Judo practitioners focus on executing these throws with precision, timing, and control. Judo’s throws are an integral part of the art and are often the primary way to score points in competition.
  • Jiu-Jitsu: While Jiu-Jitsu does include throwing techniques, its focus isn’t primarily on throws. Jiu-Jitsu practitioners may learn some throws, but the art’s emphasis lies more in ground fighting, positional control, and submissions. The throwing techniques in Jiu-Jitsu might be fewer in number and less emphasized compared to Judo.


  • Judo: Judo includes some submission techniques (ne-waza), but they are not as extensive or central to the art as they are in Jiu-Jitsu. Judo’s submissions often involve joint locks, strangles, and other techniques primarily aimed at immobilizing or submitting an opponent on the ground after a throw.
  • Jiu-Jitsu: BJJ is renowned for its extensive array of submissions. Practitioners of BJJ focus on controlling an opponent on the ground, seeking to achieve dominant positions that allow for the application of joint locks, chokeholds, and various submissions to force an opponent to submit or concede defeat.

Are there specific scenarios where Judo is more practical than Jiu-Jitsu, or vice versa?

In self-defense scenarios where standing techniques are crucial, Judo’s throws and takedowns can be more practical. On the ground, in a one-on-one altercation, BJJ’s emphasis on ground control and submissions becomes more advantageous.

Which is more widely practiced, Jiu-Jitsu, or Judo?

Judo boasts a larger global following due to its Olympics inclusion and historical prevalence. However, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has experienced a surge in popularity, particularly in the West, due to its effectiveness in mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions.

Table: Comparison of Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques

TechniquesJudoBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Primary FocusThrows, takedownsGround grappling, submissions
Competition StyleEmphasizes standing elementsFocuses on ground fighting
Training PhilosophyMaximum efficiency, minimal effort (Jita Kyoei)Technique, leverage, strategy
OriginsFounded in late 19th century by Jigoro KanoEvolved from Judo, popularized by Gracies

What are the main benefits of practicing Judo compared to Jiu-Jitsu, and vice versa?

Judo hones one’s agility, timing, and reflexes due to its emphasis on standing techniques, offering a well-rounded physical development. Conversely, BJJ strengthens one’s mental discipline and ground control, enhancing strategic and analytical thinking.

Are there different styles or variations within Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that people should be aware of?

Both Judo and BJJ have various styles and interpretations. Judo includes traditional and contemporary styles, while BJJ incorporates different schools or lineages with distinct teaching methodologies and technical approaches.

How do Judo and Jiu-Jitsu differ in their use of the Gi (uniform) and its importance in training?

The use of the Gi differs in their practices. Judo heavily relies on the Gi for grips and throws, while BJJ utilizes the Gi for both grips and submissions, emphasizing control and adaptation without the Gi as well.


  • Importance of Gi in Judo: The gi plays a significant role in Judo training. Gripping the opponent’s gi is a fundamental aspect of Judo, especially in executing throws and maintaining control during standing and groundwork. Practitioners use the gi to establish grips, off-balance opponents, and execute techniques like throws and sweeps. The fabric of the gi allows for specific gripping strategies that are crucial in Judo techniques.
  • Design of Gi for Judo: The gi used in Judo is typically heavier and more durable compared to some other martial arts uniforms. This design choice is meant to withstand the rigors of Judo training, particularly the pulling, pushing, and gripping involved in throwing techniques.


  • Importance of Gi in Jiu-Jitsu: While the gi is also used in Jiu-Jitsu training, its significance might differ from Judo. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), the gi is an integral part of training and competitions, but its usage may vary based on the specific techniques and strategies employed. The gi is used for grips, control, and executing submissions. However, some BJJ practitioners also train in no-gi scenarios to prepare for different environments and competitions where the traditional gi might not be worn.
  • Gi Gripping in BJJ: BJJ practitioners use the gi for gripping, controlling an opponent, and executing various techniques, including chokes, joint locks, and sweeps. Grips on the gi’s collar, sleeves, and pants are commonly used for control and submissions.

Is Judo useless without a GI?

Judo practitioners are accustomed to training with the Gi, but it’s not rendered useless without it. The Gi offers specific advantages, but techniques can be adapted for no-Gi scenarios, enabling effective practical application.

What are the primary goals or objectives when learning Judo or Jiu-Jitsu?

The primary objectives in both Judo and BJJ involve physical fitness, self-defense proficiency, mental discipline, and personal development. Judo emphasizes throws and takedowns for immediate victory, while BJJ focuses on ground control and submissions.

Are there age or physical fitness considerations when choosing between Judo and Jiu-Jitsu?

Both arts are adaptable to different ages and physical abilities. Judo, with its emphasis on throws, might require more physical fitness, while BJJ, with its ground techniques, might suit those seeking a less physically demanding art.

Are there any famous practitioners or champions in Judo or Jiu-Jitsu that showcase the arts’ effectiveness?

Judo legends like Yasuhiro Yamashita and BJJ icons like Rickson Gracie showcase the unparalleled effectiveness of these martial arts in their respective domains, demonstrating their mastery and skill.

Can BJJ defeat Judo?

In a one-on-one scenario, BJJ can neutralize Judo’s advantages with ground control and submissions. However, the effectiveness ultimately depends on the practitioners’ skill level and adaptability to the situation.

Is BJJ or Judo harder on the body?

Judo might be more physically demanding due to its emphasis on throwing techniques and the need for agility and quick reflexes, whereas BJJ’s focus on ground grappling might lead to fewer immediate physical strains.

Is Judo or BJJ better for small people?

Both arts offer advantages for smaller practitioners. BJJ, with its focus on leverage and technique over strength, might be particularly advantageous for smaller individuals in controlling larger opponents.

In conclusion, the choice between Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu depends on individual preferences, goals, and situations. Both arts offer unique benefits and cater to diverse aspects of martial arts, self-defense, and personal development.

Remember, when choosing between Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, it’s vital to consider personal goals, physical abilities, and the aspects of martial arts that resonate most deeply. Both arts offer rich, diverse, and rewarding paths for those willing to embark on the journey.

Enable registration in settings - general