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Judo Vs Aikido (Which Is Better?)

Judo Vs Aikido (Which Is Better?)

Judo vs Aikido – Which of the two martial arts, is more effective and which one should you learn?


Judo is a competitive martial art that includes live sparring and techniques used against fully resisting partners. It focuses on standing throws, sweeps, and take downs with some ground work submissions. It is very effective for self defense.

Modern Aikido is a non-competitive martial art that has not been proven to be effective as a martial art or as a self defense system. Aikido training involves practicing movements like throws and holds on a willing partner and does not involve any live sparring.


In our opinion, Judo is a better, more effective, practical martial art.

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is known to have inspired several martial arts, including Judo, Aikido, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

So there are many resemblances between all three, but when comparing the current form of these martial arts and their training you will quickly realize that some martial arts may not be as effective as others.

Here, we will discuss the distinctions between the two types of art, Judo and Aikido, and a breakdown of their respective histories, purposes, and advantages.

Judo vs Aikido – What’s the Difference?

The most significant contrast between Judo and Aikido is that the first emphasizes attack, while the latter focuses on defense. 

Aikido’s goal is to use the attacker’s energy against them to guard and protect themselves with some value in training movements and as a traditional martial art.


Again, Judo is a grappling martial art that is very effective both as a martial art and for self defense. It requires intense training and includes frequent live sparring against a fully resisting opponent.

Aikido is a non-competitive martial art that has not been proven to be effective as a martial art or as a self defense system. Aikido training involves practicing movements on a willing partner and does not involve any live sparring.


Judo physically demands that one needs to attack their opponent to win. It is an Olympic sport that requires aggressiveness, agility, and high-level techniques.

Several Aikido techniques are executed when standing, such as take downs and throws, in contrast to Judo, which is more on grappling and ground fights.

In terms of goals, practicing Aikido improves physical and mental health. Unlike Judo, this sport is competed in at the Olympics and included in tournaments for martial arts.

JUDOAIKIDO
Uses take downs, throws, and grappling techniquesMostly on take downs and throws
Focused on attacksFocused on defense
Physically demandingUses the opponent’s energy against them
Can be used for self-defense outside of JudoNot fit for self-defense outside of Aikido
Olympic SportNot an Olympic Sport
Does not involve the use of weaponsCan involve using weapons

What is Aikido?

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a non-competitive Japanese martial art which emphasizes avoiding, pacing, and using the opponent’s motion and energy to throw or hold them. Thus, the translation of the Japanese word Aikido means “way of gathering energy.”

For the most part, Aikido is a peaceful martial art. It promotes peacefulness and the preceding violence. That is why it is only when the offensive move gives the defensive side new options to counter.

Aikido also incorporates weapon training to foster awareness and understanding of such tools.

For a better understanding, here is a video that explains how Aikido works:

History of Aikido

Created by Morihei Ueshiba, Aikido is his combined expertise in martial arts with his philosophical and spiritual outlook. Ueshiba wanted to establish a kind of self-defense that would be safer.

Behind this is his story as a child when he saw his father beaten up on several instances because of his political beliefs. Because of this, he decided to strengthen himself to seek vengeance.

His focus then shifted to the study of martial arts. Although he was physically and martially strong, he was still not content with it. While continuing his martial arts training, he explored religions in search of life’s meaning.

Then, he developed Aikido martial art by integrating his training in several forms of martial arts with his beliefs.

Goals of Aikido

Aikido teaches that achieving success or being the winner is not the most important thing. The development of aggressive or violent tendencies is not the point. Instead, the objective is to learn how to overcome one’s weaknesses.

Aikido’s physical training is extensive and diverse, including essential mind and body conditioning and applying various advanced techniques. The particular tactics for attack consist of grabs and blows. At the same time, the specialized methods for defense comprise throws, take downs, and pinning moves.

Common Aikido Techniques

Though Aikido is a martial art that emphasizes non-aggression, the methods and techniques have the potential for effectiveness.

Here are some of the techniques used in Aikido:

  • Ikkyo – elbow and wrist lock
  • Nikyo – wrist lock
  • Gokyo – elbow lock
  • Soy Undo – backward throw
  • Katate Dori – one-hand grab

Additionally, pressure is applied to essential nerve centers.

Benefits of Aikido

Aikido teaches its students to become physically fit (through lifting), flexible, and calm.

It promotes self-discipline, coordination, and trust among themselves.

Aikido trains its students to think and act differently to think. It also makes you realize how things are interconnected and become aware of everything.

This style is also suitable for introducing other martial arts training and class structure.

Judo Training vs Aikido Training

When comparing Judo with Aikido, the training methods are the significant difference.

The majority of your Judo training will include sparring against a single opponent. You prepare for one-on-one combat because that’s what most Judoka do for recreational and mainly for competitions.

Academies and gyms for Judo or martial arts are where they train and get trained.

Dojos are the traditional training venues for Aikido. But it can be performed in any facility or location designed specifically for its execution.

Unlike in Judo, where two people fight, when you train with another person in Aikido, you don’t typically have a partner resistant to your attacks. 

Judo Competition vs Aikido Competition 

Judo was the first martial art recognized as eligible for competition in the Olympic Games. There is a multitude of regulations that practitioners must follow to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

In contrast, Aikido is not often practiced in competitive settings.

Which Is Better for Self-Defense?

Since it uses force and skills to your advantage, Judo is an excellent technique for self-defense, even against a considerably bigger opponent.

Those who study Judo focus on their throws, ground fight, and strength.

Even more so, considering that most attackers are not knowledgeable and able to grapple or ground combat, it is an advantage.

In modern times, many Aikido practitioners place more emphasis on defense than attack. As a result, many people wait for their opponents to act before deciding what to do next.

 There might be better self-defense situations in the real world and unexpected situations.

Judo vs Aikido – Which is Better?

Judo is a great place to hone fighting skills and spirit, a  positive trait that, if directed appropriately, may aid in developing well-being. The focus is on competing, although one can utilize some of the skills for self-defense.

In Judo, you should invade your opponent’s space to take him by unexpectedly and throw him to the ground. In Aikido, if there is no threat of invasion, then defensive measures are unnecessary. This reason is for lasting change and harmony, the goal of this martial art.

A  practitioner of Aikido does not learn to hurt or damage their opponents but rather to prevent them from attacking and fighting.

Judo vs Jiu-Jitsu vs Aikido (can briefly break down each martial art)

To compare the three martial art forms, let us break down their differences one by one to reach them. 

An Infographic comparison of Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and Aikido

The three styles are all recognized to be Japanese martial arts. However, Jujitsu is a combat art; the goal is to quickly and efficiently make the opponent submit.

Judo, though it has its roots in Jiu-Jitsu, is accurately described as a sport and employs the component of Jiu-Jitsu that involves throws and take downs.

Aikido is likewise directly derived from Jiu-Jitsu, but the religion-based origins of the art entail the exclusion of any potentially harmful or violent aspects of the style.

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

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Judo Effective in a Street Fight?

Yes, Judo is effective in a street fight. Even without striking, given all the throws, take downs, and submission techniques it possesses, you can take down your attacker ad make them submit to you. 

Is Judo the Hardest Martial Art?

It is hard to choose which is the most challenging martial art. But Judo training and competition can be very rigorous and intense. So it should be listed among the most brutal martial arts, such as Sambo, Wrestling, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What Can Beat Aikido?

Likely, any martial art that contains frequent live sparring can beat Aikido. Aikido is not an effective form of self-defense.

Why is Jiu-Jitsu Better than Aikido?

Jiu-Jitsu training revolves around frequent live sparring against a fully resisting opponent, proving these techniques work in the training room and in a self-defense scenario. Aikido techniques are performed against a willing partner, and there is now sparring in the martial art. 

Can Aikido Defend Against a Knife?

No martial art is truly equipped to defend against a knife attack. Any martial art that claims otherwise may not be entirely legitimate. In a street fight or self-defense situation, running away is always the best outcome, no matter what. 

Aikido vs Karate

The two martial art styles are similar in that they stress coordinated movement of the whole body. In a battle, you can’t execute your methods effectively unless you and your opponent are on the same page.

In Karate, the primary emphasis is on striking and attacking the opponent to render them defenseless as quickly as possible.

Defending oneself is central to the Aikido philosophy. Hence the art’s techniques are defensive. Instead of blocking, as in Karate, the focus is on redirecting and channeling the attacker’s energy so they may use it for them.

Aikido uses standing techniques in holds and locks, blocks, and applying pressure on nerves.

Karate movements include elbow, knee, punch, and kick strikes.

Here is a video demonstration of a fight between karate and aikido fighters:  

Judo Vs Aikido (Which Is Better?) – Conclusion

Both judo and Aikido are effective martial arts for self-defense, but there are some key differences between the two. 

Judo is more focused on throws and take downs, while aikido concentrates on joint locks and pins. 

In general, judo is better suited for self-defense in a real-world situation since it relies less on the cooperation of the attacker. 

If you’re interested in learning either martial art, we offer free discovery calls to help you choose the right one for you. Contact us today to get started!

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