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Judo vs Jiu Jitsu: Why BJJ Has the Edge Over Judo

Judo emphasizes throws and takedowns, focusing on leverage and balance with minimal grappling on the ground. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu which evolved from Judo does include throws and takedowns but prioritizes ground fighting and submission techniques.

In this post we’ll go over some key details on the similarities and differences between judo and bjj, which one may be better for self defense, as well as some basic rules and techniques from each martial art (spoiler alert: I may be a little biased if the website name didn’t give it away).

Judo vs BJJ – Key Takeaways

  • Training: Judo training tends to be more formal and straightforward, focusing primarily on takedowns. It includes ground-fighting techniques but is less submission-focused compared to BJJ, which is considered more complex due to the myriad of ground scenarios and techniques.
  • Training Attire: BJJ schools often provide both gi and no-gi training options, whereas Judo is traditionally practiced in a gi.
  • Physical Intensity: Judo is seen as more physically intense, with an emphasis on throws and stand-up fighting, which can be quite explosive and physically draining. Conversely, BJJ, while still physically demanding, is perceived as less intense in terms of stand-up exchanges, focusing more on groundwork and grappling.
  • Injury Risk: Judo has a higher risk of injury compared to BJJ, partly due to the nature of the throws and the impact of being taken down.
  • Self-Defense and Street Fighting: For serious self-defense scenarios, Judo is often preferred due to its effective throws and the ability to neutralize opponents while staying on your feet, which is crucial in multiple-attacker situations or when the ground poses additional risks.
  • Cross-Training: Judo practitioners may find it easier to transition to BJJ due to the groundwork foundation in Judo. BJJ practitioners, on the other hand, often find Judo throws intimidating.
  • Time to Black Belt: Achieving a black belt in Judo can take around 3-5 years with dedicated training, while in BJJ it typically takes around 10 years, reflecting the depth and complexity of the art.
  • Starting Martial Art: For beginners, BJJ is recommended due to the lower intensity and injury risk, making it a more accessible entry point into grappling sports.

Related: Is BJJ Dangerous?

AspectJudoBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
Primary FocusThrows and takedownsGround fighting and submissions with some takedowns
Competition ScoringPoints for throws, wins via ippon (perfect throw), pins, and submissions)Points for positions, submission wins
Training EmphasisStanding techniques, balanceGround techniques, leverage
Gi UsageAlways competes in a GiCompetes in both Gi and No-Gi
Olympic SportYes, since 1964No, not an Olympic sport

Why Consider Training Brazilan Jiu Jitsu over Judo

Brazilian jiu jitsu overall is more accessible, has less physical impact, and can be better for someone less athletic.

Jiu jitsu teaches takedowns and throws as well as a wealth of techniques that deal specifically with grappling when both practitioners are on the ground. We have broken down the skills taught in bjj to the below pie chart:

Whereas, Judo teaches very little techniques when both players are on the ground. Judo has become more and more focused on stand up grappling and in competitive matches they limit the amount of time spent on the ground for practitioners.

Note: Judo does include some grappling on the ground or ground fighting (known as “Ne-waza”) and depending on the judo gym they may train more or less of it.

Both have their own advantages and drawbacks, but many experts believe that Jiu-Jitsu has the edge over Judo.

Jiu-Jitsu simply provides a more well-round education in martial arts with a much broader range of techniques.

BJJ pulls techniques from judo as well as wrestling to teach students a fully grappling system. In jiu jitsu, you have to take your opponent down > control them > and finally submit them.

What’s Judo Training Like

In my judo training (*judo classes at my MMA gym*), the focus is primarily on throws and groundwork which includes pins, control holds, arm locks, and strangles.

The structure of an average judo class generally includes some form of the below:

  • Warm-up and stretching: 15 minutes
  • Ukemi (falling practices): 10 minutes
  • Nage-waza (throwing techniques): 30 minutes
    • Practice: Both static and moving
  • Ne-waza (groundwork): 20 minutes
    • Pins, joint locks, and strangles
  • Randori (sparring): 15 minutes
    • Applying techniques in live practice

Basic Judo Techniques and Throws

In Judo, the array of techniques and throws form the foundation of this martial art. They are usually categorized into standing techniques (tachi-waza) and sacrifice techniques (sutemi-waza).

If we had to pick the most frequent and effective takedowns include Uchi Mata, Tai Otoshi, Osoto gari, Ouchi gari, Deashi Harai, and Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi.

Standing Techniques (Tachi-Waza):

  • O Goshi (Major Hip Throw): One of my favorite and is often labeled as a hip throw with a sleeve grip, it is initiated by stepping in close, wrapping my arm around my opponent’s waist, and lifting them over my hip.
  • Seoi Nage (Shoulder Throw): This was the first throw i was taught – it is performed by turning quickly, drawing my opponent onto my back, then flip them over my shoulder with arm control
  • Osoto Gari (Large Outer Reaping): This is also know as an outside trip – here, I reap my opponent’s leg from the outside while pushing them backward.

Sacrifice Techniques (Sutemi-Waza):

  • Tomoe Nage (Circle Throw): I place my foot on my opponent’s stomach and fall backwards, propelling them over me (you may have seen Ryu do this through over and over again in Street Fighter)
  • Yoko Otoshi (Side Drop):: By dropping sideways, I use my body as a fulcrum to throw my opponent over me/my leg. This can be one of the more dangerous throws that can cause damage to your opponents knee if not done carefully

Ippon (one full point) is what I aim for with these throws in competition, striving for a throw that is forceful, controlled, and lands the opponent predominantly on their back.

These throws require a blend of precision and strength, and mastering the timing and execution is crucial for success in Judo.

Why Is Judo Cheaper than BJJ?

One thing we should point out is that judo is generally less expensive than Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), and there are several reasons for this.

Related: Why Is BJJ So Expensive

The main factors that likely influence BJJ to be more expensive than Judo are:

  1. Market Demand: BJJ has gained significant popularity and is much more popular than Judo. This demand can drive up the cost of classes.
  2. Instructor Expertise: BJJ instructors are often highly specialized and may charge more for their expertise. BJJ black belts take a long time to earn (~10 yrs to BJJ black belt vs ~5 years to Judo black belt), and this level of expertise is factored into the pricing.
  3. Facility Costs: BJJ gyms might offer more amenities or different types of classes (my gym which is mainly BJJ focused offers Muay Thai, Boxing, MMA, Wrestling, Judo, and Strength and Conditioning)
  4. Profit Model: Unlike Judo, which is frequently taught in community centers or as part of non-profit organizations, BJJ schools are often for-profit businesses.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training

What’s An Average Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Match Like?

An average BJJ match typically lasts between 5 to 10 minutes, with the duration varying based on the , organization that is holding the competition, competition level, and belt rank.

As we mentioned, athletes score points by securing dominant positions like mount, back control, or passing the guard, with the ultimate goal being to win by submission through strangles or joint locks.

There are two formats of bjj matches:

  • ‘Gi’, which involves wearing the traditional kimono (similar to judo gi’s but usually made of thinner, more breathable materials) and allows for gripping the opponent’s clothing
  • ‘No-Gi’, which is without the kimono and thus alters the strategies due to the lack of fabric grips.

Is BJJ Good for Self Defense?

BJJ is highly effective for self-defense. It teaches how to control an opponent and end an altercation quickly, using leverage over brute strength. This makes BJJ suitable for anyone, regardless of their physical capabilities.

Judo vs BJJ Comparison

Jiu Jitsu vs Judo – Why Jiu Jitsu Is Considered a Fuller Martial Art

Jiu-jitsu is often considered to be a fuller, more in-depth martial art when compared to Judo.

Here are just some of the reasons why:

1. It includes all the takedowns found in judo as well as extensive (if not endless techniques) for ground fighting

2. Regardless of strength or size, jiu-jitsu is suitable for everyone. In reality, anyone can learn how to do it successfully through consistent training

3. It is more popular and accessible since it’s very easy to find BJJ gym

4.  Its methods are always changing and evolving, jiu jitsu always evolves by adopting new, effective techniques and leaving behind ineffective ones (unlike some other more traditional martial arts)

5. It works very well with other martial arts, and aspiring MMA fighter must be very experienced in BJJ

Which Is More Effective Against an Untrained Attacker?

While both martial arts are effective, Judo’s emphasis on throws and takedowns could be more immediate against an untrained attacker.

Realistically either martial art would do very well against an untrained attacker

The principle of using an opponent’s force against them is central to Judo, which can be advantageous in real-world altercations. However, BJJ’s superior ground fighting provides an advantage if the conflict goes to the ground.

Which Is Easier to Learn for Beginners?

Judo can often be seen as more challenging initially due to the complex throwing techniques and the need for excellent balance and timing.

In our opinion, BJJ is easier to learn for beginners in martial arts and requires less athletic ability.

On the other hand, the basics of BJJ might be more accessible for beginners, offering a gentler learning curve with immediate practical applications.

Which One Should You Train First?

Choosing whether to start with Judo or BJJ will always depend on your own personal interest and the goals you have in mind.

If you’re younger and more athletic and interested in a stand-up game and throwing techniques, starting with Judo could provide a solid foundation.

Conversely, if you’re more drawn to ground fighting and submission grappling with a slower, more controlled pace, then BJJ might be the right choice.

I’d even argue that training in BJJ initially can give a new martial artist foundational skills that are applicable across many styles of grappling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key differences between Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Judo emphasizes throws and takedowns, focusing on leverage and balance with minimal grappling on the ground. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu which evolved from Judo does include throws and takedowns but prioritizes ground fighting and submission techniques.

Which is more effective for self-defense: Judo or BJJ?

Both Judo and BJJ can be effective for self-defense, but the effectiveness ultimately depends on the individual practitioner. Judo’s emphasis on throws and takedowns can be useful in real-life situations, while BJJ’s focus on ground fighting and submissions can be effective in close-quarters combat.

How does the ground fighting in Judo compare with that in BJJ?

While both Judo and BJJ have ground fighting components, the techniques and strategies used are different. Judo’s ground fighting focuses more on pinning and transitioning to a submission hold, while BJJ’s ground fighting emphasizes submission holds and using the guard position to control and submit opponents.

Can Judo techniques be successfully applied against a BJJ practitioner?

Judo techniques can be effective against BJJ practitioners, but it depends on the specific situation and the skill level of the individuals involved. BJJ practitioners may be more familiar with ground fighting and submissions, but Judo practitioners may have an advantage in throws and takedowns.

What are the benefits of training in Judo over BJJ for a beginner?

Judo can be a great choice for beginners because it emphasizes fundamentals such as balance, coordination, and timing. Judo’s focus on throws and takedowns can also be a good way to build confidence and learn how to control an opponent. Additionally, Judo can be a great way to stay active and improve physical fitness.

In a self-defense scenario, which is more practical: Judo or BJJ, and why?

For self-defense, both martial arts are practical; Judo offers effective ways to neutralize threats quickly through throws, while BJJ’s larger focus on ground control can be highly advantageous if a confrontation goes to the ground.