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Jiu Jitsu vs Aikido: Which One is Better for Self-Defense

If you are looking for the best martial art for self-defense, this post will provide you with a comprehensive discussion about  Jiu-Jitsu vs Aikido:  Which one is better for self-defense.

When I was younger, I took it upon myself to try several differen martial arts with my younger brother.

We studied Aikido for almost a year before eventually finding brazilian jiu jitsu and continuously training it for over 5 years.


  • originated from Japan with strong ties to Judo.
  • it was brought to Brazil by Japanese immigirants, specifically by famous judoka,Mitsuyo Maeda
  • it was evolved further by the Gracie family before spreading internally through its success in the UFC

Now, it is widely practiced all over the world and has become one of the most popular martial arts particularly because it is extremely effective and emphasises live sparring against a fully resisting opponents.

The main goal of brazilian jiu jitu is to control and submit an opponent using joint locks and chokeholds.


  • also originated in Japan.
  • focuses on throws and takedowns with minimal use of hand strikes and some joint locks

The main goal of Aikido is to use an opponent’s momentum against them to by defending strikes and attacks with your own counter attacks.

So, which one is better for self-defense?

Jiu Jitsu vs Aikido

Jiu jitsu vs aikido – what are the differences and similiarities?

Jiu jitsu is often considered

  • more beneficial for self-defense
  • effective at controlling an opponent

Most practitioners learn how to control an opponent using immobilizing techniques like pins, joint locks, and strangles.

Furthermore, frequent sparring sessions are part of regular jiu jitsu training, which may help individuals prepare for genuine dangerous self-defense scenarios.

Live sparring against a resisting opponent also guarantees total effectiveness of a martial art.

Aikido should not be wholey discounted as a self-defense art.

Aikido practitioners demonstrate how to control an opponent using throws and takedowns. And while Aikido doesn’t typically include sparring sessions, the training can still be beneficial for learning fundamentals of martial arts such as:

  • balance
  • awareness
  • movement
  • distance management

Aikido training does involve drilling technqiues and positions. However, these techniques are practiced on willing opponents.

This type of drilling is good for learning a technique initally, but without live sparring it is very difficult to say if a martial is actually effective in real life.

What Is BJJ?

BJJ is an acronym for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was created in Brazil by Carlos and Hélio Gracie, and it derives from Judo.

Though Judo was already popular in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century, when Mitsuyo Maeda taught it to the Gracie brothers, Judo wasn’t well known outside of japan.

The Gracie brothers named their jiu-jitsu “Gracie Jiu-jitsu”, and which then evolved into “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”. The Brothers made it their personal missions to share their effectiveness of the martial art to the world.

Within Brazil they would hold frequent challenge matches, in which they would invite any practitioner of another martial art to come to their gym to test its effectiveness against bjj.

These brutal often bare knuckle challenges, while bloody, often sorely exposed the weaknesses of other martial arts:

Eventually, these challenge matches grew to a a new stage, the UFC.

The UFC was started by Art Davie and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu martial artist Rorion Gracie.

During the first UFC events, the world was exposed to the undenieable effectiveness of jiu jitsu when put up against any other martil art.

 Is Aikido Effective?

Since Aikido is founded on the principles of non-resistance and harmonious movement, its techniques are designed to redirect an attacker’s energy rather than meet it with force.

The element of surprise is often key in Aikido – rather than trying to overpower an attacker, the practitioners will attempt to use their opponent’s momentum against them.

Does this philosophy make Aikido effective in a real-world setting?

The effectivenes of aikido in a real world setting are quite debatable as seen here by an aikido practitioner versing an MMA trained opponent for the first time:

Though, real world application may be debatable, Aikido training can be useful in getting a practitioner used to martial arts training if they have no prior experience

 Does Aikido Work?

So, does Aikido work?

The answer is both yes and no.

While it is certainly possible to use Aikido techniques and certain join locks to control an opponent, it is also important to remember that Aikido is a martial art and not a fighting system and shouldn’t be used in a real life self defense scenario.

In a real-world scenario, there are no rules or officials to referee the fight; anything goes. This implies that an attacker may not assault you in such a manner in which you can utilize your Aikido abilities effectively.

Aikido vs MMA – Why Don’t We See Aikido in MMA

Aikido vs MMA – these are two very different martial arts.

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that focuses on using an opponent’s energy against them, whereas MMA is a more brutal sport that involves punches, kicks, and takedowns.

So why don’t we see Aikido in MMA?

There are a few reasons. Check this out!

  • First, Aikido is not a very efficient way to physically fight an opponent.
  • Second, it is not a very popular martial art, so there are not many people who practice it at a high level.
  • Finally, the techniques used in Aikido are not tested in live sparring on a resisting opponent. So the odds that it will effective in an MMA scenario are very unlikely

BJJ vs Aikido – Conclusion

BJJ vs Aikido – which one is better to learn for self defense?

Well, it really depends on what you’re looking for in martial art.

If you’re interested in self-defense, then BJJ is probably your best bet.

BJJ is very practical martial art that can help you control and disable an attacker quickly and efficiently.

However, if you’re more interested in the mental and spiritual aspects of martial arts, then Aikido may be a better choice for you. It’s a very graceful and elegant martial art that emphasizes control and balance.

Ultimately, the decision of which martial art to choose is a personal one. It really depends on your own goals and preferences.

Whichever art you choose, make sure to stick with it and put in the hard work – martial arts are incredibly rewarding pursuits that can change your life for the better in many ways.

Thanks for reading and see you in the next one!

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