Grapplers Graveyard

Judo vs Jiu Jitsu: A Breakdown of the Two Martial Arts

judo vs jiu jitsu

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Training martial art is a transformative thing for many people but discovering which one is right for us is a hard decision to make. We firmly believe that choosing a grappling-based martial art (wrestling, BJJ, Judo, Sambo) or a striking-based martial art (boxing, kickboxing) is the way to go, they are the most realistic when it comes to real-world application. BJJ practitioners around the world view their martial art are the most superior because it is one that has stood the test of time. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at the two grappling-based martial arts and comparing them to one another.

Martial Arts: Judo Compared to Jiu Jitsu

Judo and BJJ are two very popular grappling-based martial arts that people mainly use in tandem to become better in mixed martial arts (MMA), other martial arts, and combat sports in general.

In Judo, techniques are much more focused on standing rather than being on the ground like its counterpart in BJJ. In Judo, you will fight your opponents in a standing position and win the match by throwing your opponent to their back. Standup game and mastering the ability to get your opponent on their back are the most important parts of Judo.

When looking at the differences between Judo and jiu-jitsu, the fact that you fight standing seems to be the key difference. In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you will start standing, but most of the matches you have will be done on the ground. Groundwork and ground techniques are the bread abutter of jiu-jitsu and by the time you become a BJJ black belt, ground fighting becomes second nature.

Most of the grappling techniques you will encounter training jiu-jitsu focus on locks or chokes that get your opponents to tap out. Typical BJJ clubs will teach ground fighting techniques such as how to escape if someone mounts you to the ground or how to work a submission if you are in a side-control position.

Judo and BJJ are two martial arts that are great for martial artists to learn together. There are many things that you can take away from Judo that can be directly applied to your BJJ game and make you a more all-around martial artist. Judo requires a different set of skills compared to BJJ, but generally speaking, the steep learning curve of either martial arts gets cut down when you practice one or the other.

Scoring System and Rules of Judo vs Jiu-Jitsu

Some key differences in Judo vs jiu-jitsu will have to be in the scoring system that is in place for both respective grappling arts.

Scoring System: Judo

In Judo competition there are five different ways to secure a victory.

  1. Throw an opponent with considerable force and speed leading to the opponent’s back hitting the ground
  2. Pin and hold your opponent to the ground for 20 seconds
  3. Chokes
  4. Arm and Joint Locks
  5. Referees Decision

Judo competitions rules are by the International Judo Federation (IJF). In Judo you have one goal in the match: scoring an ippon (one full point) or two waza-ari (half point). An ippon is scored by throwing your opponent to the ground in a forceful way but leads to them hitting their back on the ground. Throwing someone on their side results in a half-point (waza-aris).

Scoring System: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

In BJJ, grappling techniques are used to control opponents and score points while on the ground. You can win a match in BJJ in two ways:

  1. Win by points
  2. Win by submission

The point system in BJJ is explained like this:

  • 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)

Rules: Judo

Judo and jiu-jitsu share many similarities although they do have some distinct differences especially when it comes to progression. As a beginner in both martial arts, you will start out with a white belt and work your way up to a black belt.

In Judo, there are a higher number of belts that follow this order: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, and black.

judo belt system

Rules: Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ techniques and rulesets are different than what you will find in Judo. While the progression system is the same you will notice that in BJJ there are fewer belts when compared to Judo.

Typically, Judokas progress through belts by demonstrating a specific set of techniques but it is important to note that the rules of progression depends on the Judo clubs instructor. This is not necessarily the case of how progress is made or shown in a BJJ club.

Competition rules and regulations for BJJ are set by the Internation Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). A BJJ practitioner that finds themselves competing will also find themselves very familiar with the competition rules that is in place by the IBJJF.


Both traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo uniforms look very similar but they have some minor differences that should be noted. Both martial art forms wear a uniform known as a Gi which could be interchangeable with the word kimono.

The Judo gi is slightly heavier and a bit more durable than the standard kimono in other martial arts like Karate since Judo is a martial art that is predicated on throwing and gripping. On the other hand, the BJJ gi is far more durable and heavier than the Judo kimono because there is much more dynamic movement and grip needed in BJJ.

The gear you will wear in BJJ has many more options when compared to Judo. The Judo gi really only comes in one color while the kimono for BJJ comes in colors including blue, black, and white.

judo vs jiu jitsu

Which is better Jiu Jitsu or Judo?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on grappling while Judo emphasizes throwing techniques rather than groundwork. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is dynamic and requires constant movements, unlike Judo. Judo has fewer physical demands.

Which martial art is better can be a silly question to ask in 90% of cases but if you are serious about training and becoming a better overall version of yourself it is something to definitely contemplate. Striking techniques and more defensive techniques are something that both judo and BJJ lack.

If you are serious about your combat training, you will know that having submission techniques, self-defense techniques joint locks, and various chokes in your back pocket only makes you feel more secure.

judo vs jiu jitsu: self defense

Which is better for self-defense judo or BJJ?

Judo works and maybe the better self-defense martial art over BJJ. Unlike Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Judo focuses on getting your opponent to the ground from a standing position. While you could argue that judokas may not know what to do on the ground as well as someone that trains BJJ, it is important to note they also do have some locks and chokes in their back pocket.

Standing techniques are extremely valuable for a self-defense scenario. We will always start on our feet but have a high likelihood of ending up on the ground. Training in some kind of grappling sport is better than not training. Both Judo and BJJ are very valuable skills to know and are great ways to protect yourself and get into excellent physical shape.

Examples of Different Types of Grappling Disciplines

  • Brazilian juju – jujitsu submissions.
  • No-GI Jiu – Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Sumo Russian sambo.
  • Greco-Roman Freestyle Wrestling.
  • Shuachi Chiao.
  • Judo

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Benefits of Learning BJJ

BJJ is one of the most famous martial arts disciplines to learn. This is due to the massive popularity of the UFC and influencers like Joe Rogan talking about the benefits of training. BJJ involves ground fighting techniques and various submissions that include arm locks, leg locks, and chokes.

BJJ is mart art that is credited to teaching many aspects of life to the people that take the sport seriously. BJJ has been proven to lift people out of bad places and completely transform their lives for the better. The gentle art is taught all across the globe and these days finding BJJ schools is just a simple Google search away.

Looking at the differences between judo and BJJ makes the similarities more apparent as well. Both judo and BJJ share the fact that they are grappling-based techniques that help people learn self-defense that can make them feel comfortable in their bodies. When you start training either of the martial art forms you will most likely start off with


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