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Judo vs Japanese Jiu-Jitsu (Is It The Same?)

Judo Vs (Japanese) Jiu Jitsu

Judo Vs Japanese Jiu Jitsu – What’s the difference? Are they realted? Do they share any techniques?

There’s a lot of confusion out there about the differences between Judo and Japanese jiu-jitsu.

Judo is one of the most popular competitive grappling based martials arts that has proven its effectiveness both in a controlled competition setting and in the world of mixed martial arts.

Japanese Jiu-jitsu is labelled as the martial art that spawned both Judo and moden day Brazilian Jiu Jitsu among many others (see image below), but is Japanese Jiu Jitsu still practed and effective today?

Modern-day Japanese jiu-jitsu is likely not very effective. In the present day, it is not often taught based on effective techniques for real-life self-defense scenarios. Additionally, it does not promote live sparring so there is no proof that the actual techniques are effective.

Additionally, both disciplines still share some similarities and differences. So, we’ll clear things up for you. 

First of all, let’s start with the basics:

  • both judo and jiu-jitsu are forms of martial art that involve grappling and throwing techniques.
  • In addition, both disciplines use joint locks and some times strangulationto defend against an opponent.

However, there are some key differences between the two that make them distinctly different.

  • For example, judo is more offensive in nature, while jiu-jitsu is more defensive. 
  • Japanese Jiu-jitsu not only involes grappling but also:
    • striking
    • weapons

Generally, judo is a martial art that uses throws and immobilization techniques to defeat an opponent. It usually follows a precise scoring system involving the speed, force, and position of ground throw to determine who wins the match.

On the other hand, Japanese jiu-jitsu (considered the godfather of many martial arts such as judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Aikido) was made to be an all encompassing martial art used by samurais in the battle field as a last resort martial art for self defense.

What Is Japanese Jiu Jitsu

Japanese Jiu Jitsu has roots that stretch back centuries.

The art of Jiu-Jitsu evolved from traditional unarmed combat techniques used by samurai warriors to defend themselves against their enemies.

Originating in Japan, it is has now become more prominate in its most popular, current form knowm as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is practiced all over the world and is considered a very effective form of self-defense.

However, modern day Japanese Jiu Jitsu is no where near as prevelant as bjj (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). It is very hard to find a reputable school that teaches and practices Japanese Jiu Jitsu.

In fact, it seems that Japanese Jiu Jitsu (due to its lack of live sparring on fully resisting opponents) may have faltered into the realm of non-effective and more traditional martial arts which is a shame since it spawned such amazing and effective martial arts.

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu vs Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most ancient forms of martial arts in the world. In fact, it became an inspiration for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you see today.

Below is a graph of Japanese Jiu-Jitus and the most popular martial arts that it helped spawn:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. The style was developed in Brazil in the early 20th century and uses techniques that allow smaller people to defend themselves against larger opponents.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu came from Judo. Kodokan Goshinjutsu, as mentioned earlier, included both striking techniques and grappling methods. But, it did not focus on submissions involving chokes or joint locks as much as BJJ does today.

History of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo

Both Judo and Jiu Jitsu have their roots in ancient Japan. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo have a long history and share many similarities. However, there are some key differences that set the two martial arts apart.

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu (Jujutsu) is a traditional martial art that bloomed from an idea of an unarmed fighter defeating bigger and stronger opponents through grappling techniques. The term “Jiu-Jitsu” first appears in print in 1532, when Hisamori Tenenuchi formally created the first school of Jiu-Jitsu in Japan.

It was formally developed in Japan by the samurai in the 15th century and later became popularized by peasants who used it as a way to defend themselves against stronger armed opponents.

Jujutsu is the predecessor of modern Japanese martial arts, including Judo and Aikido.

Judo was created by Japanese educator Kano Jigoro Shihan in Japan during the late 19th century. Kano studied several different styles of jujutsu largely because of his diminutive frame and slender body. After studying, he then created his own version called Kodokan Goshinjutsu.

Judo focused on throwing opponents to the ground while Jiu Jitsu emphasized using grappling techniques to defeat an opponent. Over time, the two disciplines have evolved into their own unique forms of martial arts with both possessing their own strengths and weaknesses.

Despite their differences, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo share a lot of common roots which makes them an interesting pairing for practitioners of both disciplines.

Judo Rules and Goals:

In judo, scoring points is key to winning a match. You can score points or end a match by throwing an opponent perfectly, gaining an advantage in position to submit, and pinning the opponent for a certain period.

There are three different types of scores in judo; ippon, waza-ari, and yuko.


  • A full-ground throw in which an opponent lands largely on his back with considerable force and speed.
  • Hold down (immobilize) your opponent for 20 seconds.
  • Submission or force him to tap out.
  • Equivalent to 100 points.


  • A throw that exhibits force and authority but isn’t clear enough to be an ippon.
  • Immobilizes an opponent for 15-19 seconds.
  • Two Waza-aris end the match. 
  • Equivalent to 10 points.


  • Only one of the three ippon elements apply; force and speed of the throw, and putting the opponent on his back.
  • Immobilizing an opponent (hold) for 10-14 seconds.
  • Equivalent to a point.

If no ippon is issued during the match and all minutes are played, the winner is determined by which judoka has amassed the highest quality score.

If the point totals and penalty count are equal, the winner is determined by a “golden score,” which is effectively sudden death over time. The clocks are reset, and the individual who scores first wins.

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Rules and Goals

The basic combat principle behind Jiu-Jitsu is “submission”, which means forcing your opponent to submit by physically controlling them or forcing them to quit by inflicting physical harm. In order to achieve submission, you must first neutralize your opponent’s ability to resist by immobilizing their joints, ruling out escape routes, and using effective strikes and chokes.

Once an opponent is immobilized, you can start applying holds and techniques until they are forced to give up.

There are three primary techniques used in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu: striking, some weapons usage, grappling, and throwing.

Note that in modern Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there is no striking and no use of weapons.

Grappling techniques involve using hands and arms to hold and control your opponent while striking allowing you to attack with fists, elbows, knees, or feet. Throws allow you to take your opponent down or move them out of the way.

Jiu Jitsu is a very versatile art that can be used in a variety of situations. It is particularly effective against opponents who are larger and stronger than the practitioner.

Because Jiu-Jitsu relies on leverage and positioning, it is difficult for opponents to execute effective strikes. This makes Jiu-Jitsu ideal for defending against ground attacks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Useless?

As you know, Japanese jiu-jitsu went on to influence and become different forms of martial arts such as judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Unfortunately, Japanese jiu-jitsu is rarely taught today. If it does, it’s quite difficult to find a legitimate Japanese jiu-jitsu school that teaches effective techniques.

In reality, traditional (i.e. pre-Judo) Japanese Jujutsu methods are more focused on assaults and situations more common in pre-20th century Japan than in the modern age. They are also styled in a way that may require some translation for modern usage. This means that they are likely ineffective for modern purposes.

Is Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Effective?

Modern-day Japanese jiu-jitsu is likely not very effective. In the present day, it is not often taught based on effective techniques for real-life self-defense scenarios. Additionally, it does not promote live sparring so there is no proof that the actual techniques are effective.

Yes, Japanese jiu-jitsu may be effective with multiple attackers, but the fact is that it has not been adequately proven in the realm of live sparring or even in MMA. Japane Jiu-jitsu may make the claim that it is effective again multiple attackers or an attacker with a weapon.

However, no martial art is truly able to deal with multiple attackers or all the variables that may occure in a street fight scenario. Japanese Jujutsu just isn’t an ideal self defense system for real-world, comprehensive self-defense.

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