Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: Which is Right for You?

brazilian jiu jitsu vs judo

Asking the age-old question of which martial art is the best can be a drawn-out topic and silly in many ways but nonetheless, it is important. Discovering which martial art is best for you and your specific body type is best done through physical experience. While we believe that BJJ is truly a martial art for everyone, many could argue the same about Judo. In this article, we will compare Brazilian jiu-jitsu vs Judo and help you decide which is right.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: Which is Right for You?

One of the biggest discussions around the martial arts community is what is better for self-defense, Judo or Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and which is best for you to train. To many people new to martial arts, Judo and BJJ will look similar.

Both BJJ and Judo involve practitioners wearing a kimono known as a Gi and working in a standing position on a mat.

One of the major differences between Judo and BJJ is that Judo focuses more on throwing techniques with very little emphasis on groundwork and BJJ focuses almost entirely on ground work with very little stand-up, throwing, or takedown techniques.

Which one is more popular? Should you do BJJ, Judo, or train both?

Read on to find the answers!

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What is the Difference Between Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

The main difference between Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be understood further when looking at the following list below. 


Judo and BJJ share many similar techniques like joint locks, chokes, and throws. The main difference is how these moves are executed. Judo is more focused on throwing techniques and getting their opponent off balance to get them to the ground, in BJJ you are more focused on chasing after submissions and groundwork.

In Judo, when you forcefully throw someone to their back and their shoulders are on the ground you have effectively won the match, this is known as an ippon. Many of you train BJJ already and know that this is not the case in Brazilian Jiu-JItsu, there is a whole scoring system in place if a submission is not locked in and if someone taps out the match is over. The only way to get someone to tap is to lock in some kind of submission that forces it upon your opponent.

90% of BJJ matches are on the ground or end up on the ground at some point. In fact, in many sparring sessions practitioners will opt to start on the ground to make the rolling environment safer for those around them to work on specific positions.

brazilian jiu jitsu vs judo


With two separate martial arts one could imagine that the rules sets are different. Lets take a further look at the rule sets of the two respective art forms:

Judo Rules

In Judo you win a fight by ippon which is:

  1. Throwing your opponent with considerable force onto their back
  2. Forcing a tap out
  3. Holding an opponent down for 20 seconds

Judokas win points through a system called waza-ari this is:

  1. When you throw an opponent on their back but not enough force 
  2. Holding an opponent down for 10 – 19 seconds

BJJ Rules

In Brazilian Jiu-jitsu the goal it to get your opponent to submit and tap out. Points are an effective way to win the match and these are the common objectives of scoring:

  • 2 Points are scored for a takedown
  • 2 points are scored for a sweep
  • 3 points are scored for passing an opponent’s guard
  • 4 points are scored if you get into a mounted position
  • 2 points are scored if you get a knee-on-belly
  • 4 points are scored if you get control of the back (with hooks)

If someone taps out the match is over. BJJ has many more submission techniques than Judo that include leg locks, chokes, arm bars, and much more.

judo belt system
Judo Belt System


Judo’s progression system is similar to Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s but there are noticeable differences. In judo, there are 6 belts before reaching your black belt and two more after that, for a grand total of eight belts in the system.

BJJ has a similar color scheme but just less amount of belts to reach along the way.


As stated earlier in the article, both BJJ and Judo train in uniforms known as the Gi but Brazilian jiu-jitsu has a new budding form known as no-gi where practitioners train in uniforms more similar to what is common in wrestling. The no-gi uniform is simply a rash guard and BJJ shorts

The kimono in Judo is slightly heavier and is built to withstand throwing and gripping.

BJJ practitioners have more colors to choose from when it comes to their uniform whereas Judo’s Gi is only white.

Should I learn Brazilian Jiu-Jistu and Judo at the Same Time?

This question is easily answered by going inward and looking at personal preference and your goals as a martial artist. It does not hurt to train in both martial arts as long as you have the budget and time to dedicate yourself to the sports.

Many high-level competitors or long-time martial artists go on to train in multiple different forms of martial arts. This only makes you better. Many techniques from Judo can be applied to BJJ without breaking rules and following the objective of the matches so if you are looking to be a better overall BJJ practitioner, it may be worthwhile to have some experience in Judo.

Choosing the best martial art for you is fairly simple when you look at the objectives and differences between sports. In this article, we compared Judo vs Brazilian jiu-jitsu and tried to pinpoint the noticeable differences.

Martial arts as a whole introduce people to a whole new way of looking at life and in many ways transform people for the better. Training Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not only a fun experience but a great way to reshape your mind, body, and spirit!

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