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Judo vs. Jiu Jitsu: Key Differences and SIMILARITIES in the Martial Arts

judo vs. jiu jitsu

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Judo and Jiu-jitsu are both grappling-based fighting styles that are widely popular around the world. Arguably, these are the two most famous grappling martial arts due to their popularity in the Olympics and the Rise of organizations like the UFC. Judo and BJJ are similar in the sense that the fights will clinch with opponents, work for takedowns, and submit their competition. In this article, we will take a further look at Judo vs. Jiu Jitsu.

Judo vs. Jiu-Jitsu: Key Differences

Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu are two of the more famous grappling arts in martial arts. BJJ and Judo are arts that can be used for self-defense purposes and have many things in common with one another when looking on the outside.

But as we dive deeper into the two martial arts, we find that there are key differences that separate the art forms in a way that most novice martial artists would not pick up. 

To begin Judo is a martial art that primarily focuses on throwing techniques and stand-up game. The goal of a Judoka in competition or any match is to successfully throw your opponent on their back in a forceful manner. This process wins you a match, gives the person who did the action a full point and has a name called an ippon. 

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is entirely different in its approach to how matches are won. Like Judo, BJJ is a grappling-based martial art but primarily focuses on grappling, ground techniques, and finding the optimal solution to get your opponent to submit to your techniques. 

BJJ and Judo share some similarities in regard to the techniques that are present in the sport but for now let’s dive further into what separates the two martial arts by looking at the differences in their rules and scoring systems.

judo vs. jiu jitsu

Scoring System: Judo

The rules and regulations of Judo are governed by a federation known as the IJF (International Judo Federation). Majority of the rules for competitions are fostered by this group and regularly updated when the time is needed.

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

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

Scoring System: Jiu-Jitsu

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, including leg locks, chokes, arm bars, etc.

combat jiu jitsu

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.

The rules and the scoring system of judo go hand and hand. To win matches you must successfully get your opponent of their back in a forceful manner or dominate them and control positions.

Rules: Brazilian 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.

Depending on the competition one finds themselves competing in the ruleset will change. For example, if you are competing in ADCC, JJWL, or IBJJF tournaments the rules will vary very slightly but most things are the same. It is important to read up on exactly what is allowed and what is not allowed when you decide to compete.

Similarities: Judo and Jiu Jitsu

After looking at the differences of the two grappling-based martial arts, it is much easier to see the similarities that the two have.

It is very common for Judokas and practitioners of BJJ to be well-trained in both martial arts because in a lot of ways the two complement each other. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu mixed with Judo and wrestling makes you a formidable opponent to anyone. Being well-rounded in the art of taking people to the floor and being able to control any situation is an underrated skill.

We know plenty of people we personally train with that do this and are leaps and bounds ahead of those around them.

judo vs brazilian jiu-jitsu


Both in BJJ and Judo you will find people wearing traditional kimonos known as a Gi. The Judo Gi usually only comes in one color, white, and is slightly less durable when compared to the BJJ gi which was built to withstand a lot more action.

The Best Grappling Arts: Jiu-Jitsu and Judo

It is very easy to see that the two best grappling arts are BJJ and Judo. Implementing Judo into your BJJ game will make you much more effective at getting people to the ground and ultimately controlling a match.

Whether you are training for self-defense purposes or just because you enjoy improving yourself in this way, BJJ and Judo are two of the best grappling arts that any beginner could pick up!

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