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Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Vs BJJ – Similarities and Differences Explained

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Vs BJJ

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu vs BJJ – What’s the difference between the two? Well, technically, both are very similar or atleast spawned from the same martial arts. But there are some modern day differences.

Let’s clarify, the Gracie family had the largest impact in shaping Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for what we now know it in the present day –

However, when we hear the term Gracie Jiu-Jitsu you should understand that this is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu being trained exactly how the Gracie family intened that it be practiced.


Gracie Jiu Jitsu represents Brazilian Jiu Jitsu trained and taught the way that the Gracie family originally intended. It has a strong focus on self defense and less focus on sport or competition based Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.


For example, GJJ is to prepare its students for any type of street fight as a form of self-defense. It teaches them not to be limited by their size, age, gender, or fitness.

Furthermore, GJJ targets larger, stronger, and inexperienced members of the public. Thus, students must be ready for a street fight.

They must be:

  • energy efficient
  • employ natural movements, and
  • usable in everyday situations.

On the contrary, BJJ focuses more on Jiu-Jitsu’s sporting aspects. Students still learn self-defense. But they learn more about grappling. Students train to submit their opponents in a rule-based competitive environment.

Also, there are some techniques in BJJ that is not acceptable in GJJ. Why? Because Gracie practitioners think of these techniques as not realistic in everyday situations.

Self Defense Jiu Jitsu Vs Sport Jiu Jitsu

There are two types of Jiu Jitsu.

  • self-defense jiu-jitsu, and 
  • sport jiu-jitsu.

Both are legitimate forms of martial arts. But their techniques and emphasis differ.

For instance, self-defense jiu-jitsu is exactly what it sounds like. It focuses on teaching students how to defend themselves in a real-world setting.

This means that the techniques are highly effective against a larger, stronger opponent. Even those who may be armed with a weapon.

On the other hand, sports Jiu-jitsu focuses on competition. The techniques used are against another trained fighter in a controlled environment.

So, instead of simply incapacitating an attacker, this style of jiu-jitsu emphasizes submissions and points.

Is Gracie JJ Better Than BJJ?

There is much debate in the martial arts community about which style is better. Is it Gracie jiu-jitsu or Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

As discussed earlier, both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. And that’s what makes one approach more suitable for someone than the other.

But remember, it comes down to what works best for each individual. If you’re looking for a self-defense-focused style, Gracie JJ might be a better fit.

However, BJJ may be a better choice if you want a style that focuses on grappling and ground fighting.

Which One is Better in a Self-Defense Scenario?

There is no single answer to this question as it depends on a variety of factors.

That includes,

  • specific situation
  • skills and experience of the fighters, and
  • personal preferences.

Furthermore, Only BJJ can defeat itself in a sport setting. Thus, the environment of point gaining and stalling strategies does not suit Gracie JJ.

On the other hand, Gracie JJ is ideal for a street fight. BJJ would still be useful. But with such a diverse arsenal, it would be far less effective in a pure self-defense scenario.

How Effective is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

There are numerous martial arts schools. Each with its own set of advantages.

However, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has consistently proven to be one of the most effective systems. Especially for self-defense and combat sports.

it’s an effective self-defense technique. The Gracie family developed this approach in Brazil.

And now, law enforcement and military personnel all over the world are also using Gracie JJ. Its techniques help someone defend themselves against a larger and stronger opponent.

The training also aids in the development of coordination, balance, and timing. And all of them are beneficial in other aspects of life.

Is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu the Same as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

These two may look very similar. But the answer is no. They are not exactly the same.

Both are types of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu focuses on self-defense and practicality. Thus putting self defense first and how you can apply it in real life situations.

On the other hand, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu while it does have large self defense aspects it also focuses on competition and sport. Thus strengthening their grappling skills in training for competition.

What is Modern BJJ or Sport BJJ?

Modern BJJ, also known as Sport BJJ, is a competition-oriented branch of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

Traditional BJJ has still its place in the martial arts world. However, modern BJJ also evolved into its own distinct martial art.

Sport BJJ practitioners train with the goal of winning matches in tournament settings. So the techniques and strategies used are frequently different from those used in self-defense situations.

What Are Gracie Combatives?

The Gracie Combatives are a collection of self-defense techniques developed by the Gracie family. This system teaches students how to defend themselves in street fighting situations.

The techniques are simple and effective. And anyone can use it regardless of size or strength.

Additionally, the program includes 36 techniques that are taught step by step. The first 12 techniques cover how to get out of common chokes and headlocks.

The following 12 techniques teach students how to defend themselves against punches and kicks. Then the final 12 techniques are all about ground fighting and submissions.

No doubt this program has helped thousands of people around the world. Thus, learning how to defend themselves in dangerous situations.

Training Differences Between Gracie Jiu Jitsu and BJJ

When it comes to training, both GJJ and BJJ have their own unique approaches to training. Let’s consider some key differences between the two.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu:

  • Focuses on self-defense, rather than sport
  • Uses techniques that can be applicable in a real-world situation
  • Offers a more relaxed and informal training atmosphere

Additionally, students in GJJ will practice their techniques in a ‘fight simulation.’ It is neither ethical nor realistic to use their techniques in real-life situations .

As a result, one student will use Gracie techniques against another student who has been given the advantage of extra weight and boxing gloves. Essentially, the opponent will be free to fight in any way they see fit in order to win.

On the other hand, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

  • Focuses on competition and sport
  • Uses techniques specifically designed for competition
  • Has a more structured and formal training environment

BJJ revolves around rules and structure. There are also some techniques that are ‘illegal’ to use.

So the student understands that these are not options. Thus, they will fight their opponent accordingly.

Similar Techniques

The two styles share many similarities. For one, both place an emphasis on grappling and ground fighting, rather than striking.

This is because, as BJJ founder Helio Gracie once said, “The ground is the mother of all fights.”

Both styles also emphasize the use of leverage, instead of brute strength, to submit an opponent.

This makes the styles particularly well-suited for smaller individuals. Especially those who may be at a disadvantage in a fight against a larger and stronger opponent.

Both styles also place an emphasis on self-defense. BJJ became increasingly popular as a sport in recent years. Even so, the focus is still very much on using the techniques for self-defense purposes.

Moreover, the two styles also use the following:

  • Mounts
  • Chokes
  • arm bars
  • Locks
  • Bridges
  • Triangles and others

Which Academies Teach Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?

The answer varies depending on who you ask. But when thinking about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, there are a few key academies that come to mind.

Here are some of them:

  • Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil.
  • Gracie Barra Academies.
  • Renzo Gracie Academies
  • Royce Gracie Academy in Los Angeles.

There are also a number of smaller, local academies that offer GJJ classes.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Vs Gracie Jiu Jitsu – Which One Should You Pick?

The fact is, it is your personal choice. As shown in this article earlier, it’s a matter of personal preference.

Therefore, you must consider what you value in your training. Think also why you want to learn Jiu-Jitsu. Consider which one suits you best.

Think of which of the two styles is the most fun for you. Also, take time to consider which one is more beneficial for you.

If you are more ready to adopt a new way of life, then GJJ may be of interest to you. This is also a good option if your primary goal is to defend yourself or your family.

However, if you’re more open to learning Jiu-Jitsu as a sport, then BJJ is probably a better option.

Whichever it is you choose, keep in mind that both have advantages. Both also are extremely rewarding to train in.