Are There Different Types of Jiu-Jitsu? (Old Vs. New)

minute/s reading time

Learning self-defense is an essential skill that is valuable in any stage of someone’s life. For example, it is critical for children, both physically and emotionally. Jiu-Jitsu can serve as a life-challenging self-defense practice to protect them in difficult situations. If you ever find your child facing bullies, Jiu-Jitsu serves as a proactive tool to put bullies where they belong. 

It offers several opportunities to deescalate any situation without causing any grievous damage while protecting yourself from any physical confrontation. It’s a unique type of martial art that is usable, especially in close combat. Generally, there are different types of Jiu-Jitsu, but the most common are the Japanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Several individuals have confused themselves with these two types of Jiu-Jitsu throughout the years.

This article will explore the different types of Jiu-Jitsu, their similarities, and which of the different types you should learn. You will learn everything about this martial art and how you can utilize it when faced with a difficult situation. Without further ado, let’s unveil everything possible about Jiu-Jitsu. 

Understanding the Different Types of Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu is unique. As mentioned, a critical distinction between the Japanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that they offer different ways to attack. Besides this, the other differences are also quite significant. Interestingly, it is evident to see the significant distinction based on their equipment, clothes, belt systems, and training. To make it easier, we will look at these differences, showcasing how they differ from one another.   

Different rules

The Brazilian and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu offers different rules. The significant difference is that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t involve strikes, whereas Japanese Jiu-Jitsu requires strikes. Let’s take a critical look at the rules to familiarize yourself with this martial art.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Rules

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the most popular as it focuses on self-defense. It uses two techniques – grappling and ground fighting. However, what is grappling and ground fighting in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Both terms are interchangeably used in different scenarios but are not the same.

Normally, ground fighting involves hand-to-hand combat when two fighters fight on the ground. The fighting takes place at a close range on the ground. On the other hand, grappling involves gripping the opponent on the ground. Unlike ground fighting, grappling doesn’t require any form of striking but uses several moves to cause harm to an enemy or opponent. 

Let’s look at a typical illustration of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Both combatants remain standing before the match begins. Once it starts, they take the fight to the ground and use different moves to acquire points. Once there is a submission, the battle ends. A submission occurs when one opponent accepts defeat after the other party has taken control of them using chokes, joint locks, and specific holds.

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, points are scored in different ways. Here is a rundown of the points.

  • Takedowns – 2 points
  • Sweeps – 2 points 
  • Knee-on-belly position – 2 points
  • Guard pass – 3 points
  • Back control – 4 points
  • Mount – 4 points

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Rules

The Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is the oldest form of martial art. It focuses on self-defense through several techniques such as joint manipulation and throwing opponents. In addition, it uses different strategies, including blocking, choking, striking, and strangling. Traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu comprises three stages: ground fighting, grabbing, and striking.

To understand Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, let’s look at a better illustration. The match usually begins with both parties fighting with strikes alone. After a short while, combatants stop using strikes and only use grabbing to fight. At this stage, they try to take one another down. 

The final stage is the ground fighting, where they can use several techniques such as strangling and joint locks to make the opponent accept defeat or submit. Each move during this process has points allocated and rewarded to each party.

Opportunities Brazilian and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Offer 

Although both Jiu-Jitsu is martial arts, they offer different opportunities to learners. This section will explore a few of these opportunities for each art.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is primarily used for two purposes. Firstly, it offers an opportunity to compete in competitions, which comes with many benefits. Besides the competition aspect, it motivates individuals to reach a higher level as it offers more lessons in the course of fighting a more experienced competitor.

Secondly, it is used for self-defense purposes and helps in physical and workout fitness. Nowadays, some schools create gyms for their students interested in learning self-defense. Overall, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is more suitable when it comes to sport. 

On the other hand, the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu offers minimal opportunity as it was designed for self-defense purposes. Therefore it is more applicable in real-life situations where the individual is under challenging situations. 

Progression and Belt System of Jiu-Jitsu (Brazilian and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu)

Another significant difference between the Brazilian and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu martial art is the belt system and progression. In the Brazilian system, there are 8 belts, having the following order.

  • White
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Red and black belt
  • Red and white belt 
  • Red belt

Moreover, how an individual earns these belts depends on several factors, including sparring level, technical knowledge, and time spent. How fast someone can progress depends on the instructors because most of these levels require demonstration before translating to the next level. A grading system is used to determine when someone should move to the next level in certain situations.

On the other hand, the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu system uses a different belt system that begins with a white belt and ends with a blue one. Some school starts with the red belt before moving to the next stage. It all depends on what the school adopts. However, here is the ranking or belt system for the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu martial art.

  • Red – (only in a few places) 
  • White – (most schools begin by awarding white belts)
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black

The difference in Uniform between Brazilian and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

Both martial arts use similar uniforms but those come with slight variations. The main difference is the clothes’ weight. The cloth is usually called Gis. The Brazilian Gis is heavier compared to those of karate. Likewise, the Japanese Gis is lighter than the karate gis.

Combatants in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu use mouth guards to protect themselves when rolling. Nevertheless, Japanese Ju-Jitsu mostly uses groin guards because of strikes. 

Another main difference comes in the area of training. The training for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lasts one and a half hours, with many rounds of sparring lasting half an hour. There are also short breaks during training and drilling of techniques. Nevertheless, the Japanese training sections have a predefined process that includes the following.

  • Strikes and blocking
  • Series of stretches
  • Training for self-defense
  • Break fall training

Similarities between Japanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Firstly, both traditional Japanese and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are affiliated with Judo. The Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is a modified form of Judo, whereas the existence of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu results from the knowledge of Judo. Both martial arts are interrelated to each other. 

Besides the fact they are related indirectly, they also possess similar techniques. These techniques include leglocks, pins, armlocks, chokeholds, and joint manipulations. In addition, size isn’t a vital issue for both arts. People with a smaller body can practice and overpower those with a bigger body. Furthermore, both skills can be used for martial combats competition and self-defense.

Brazilian Vs. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu – Which is more effective?

While you can use both martial arts for self-defense, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is preferable for street fights and self-defense. On the other hand, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is useful for a street fight since it involves strikes.

Regarding their effectiveness, it can pose a significant issue deciding what martial art to learn. Nevertheless, before choosing between both martial arts, you should consider the reason for learning them. Besides this, you have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both marital arts. Let’s look at the purpose of learning both art and their benefits attached.

Why learn Brazilian and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu?

The first thing when learning the art is dealing with the reason behind it. Today, people have several reasons to learn both martial arts. Here are a few reasons why we think you might want to learn the art.

Firstly, notwithstanding your age – a kid or an adult, learning martial arts helps build your confidence. Aside from this, it helps improve your self-discipline and flexibility. In addition, it comes in handy when you want to get self-defense skills. You also get benefits such as improving your mental health, social skills, better coordination, relief of stress, better heart rate, and lower blood pressure.

Therefore, why do you want to learn Jiu-Jitsu? Assuming you are interested because of its value in lowering blood pressure, improving flexibility, relieving stress, and building self-defense, then any of the two martial art is suitable. Nevertheless, if your goal is to learn the art without any strike but you rather want something physical and technical, we recommend you opt for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

Peradventure you want less physical training that offers improved self-defense skills and requires strike, your best bet is the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Both Martial Arts

Several factors contribute to the choice of choosing one marital art over the other. Before you decide to take the final decision, let’s explore the strengths and weaknesses of both martial art. This can help you decide what is suitable for your need.

Advantages of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

If you have gone through this article, you will notice that a critical benefit of learning the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu art is that it is suitable for workouts and physically demanding. It allows you to learn different groundwork techniques that are valuable, especially in real-life situations. Furthermore, the art allows you to enjoy intensive training, including partner and situational sparring. 

Disadvantages of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Despite the several benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it has several weaknesses or drawbacks. Firstly, it doesn’t involve any strike, which is not good, especially when learning self-defense. Secondly, takedowns are rarely taught since it focuses on ground fights. Lastly, it doesn’t offer advanced self-defense skills. 

Advantages of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

The Japanese Jiu-Jitsu also has its benefits and weaknesses compared to Brazilian art. However, the key benefit of learning it is that it provides different self-defense skills and techniques. Interestingly, it is applicable in a real-life battle situation since the goal is not to train for any competition.

Furthermore, the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu involves several techniques that come in handy. These techniques include groundworks, strikes, and throws. You can handle any situation with these techniques, especially when faced with a street fight. 

Disadvantages of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

Notwithstanding the numerous advantages of learning Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, it doesn’t mean it is 100 percent perfect. You can decide if it is worth investing in as we look through some of its weaknesses.

Firstly, the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t offer as much sparring training as the Brazilian art. At times, you might not receive any sparring training as the art focuses on low-level training. In addition, it doesn’t offer many opportunities for competition, which is different from what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offers. 

Therefore, if you think Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is what you need to up your martial art game, you might want to consider the several drawbacks before venturing into it. Remember, you won’t get many opportunities to attend competitions when you learn Japanese Jiu-Jitsu art.


Jiu-Jitsu is a unique fighting style that enables people to participate in different competitions. When sparring, it enables you to give your full energy and can be effective in less time. There are different types of Jiu-Jitsu, as illustrated in the article. You can decide to learn Brazilian or Japanese Jiu-Jitsu as they offer unique features.

Furthermore, this article has expounded on the differences and similarities that both martial art offer to everyone. Whatever martial art you decide to choose to improve yourself and build self-defense, it is a valuable skill to have as it can save you from difficult situations.

We do like to hear from you. What Jiu-Jitsu do you think is more preferable for someone starting out? Please, drop your comment in the comment box below.

Origin fighter

Origin Fighter is a blog for athletes and fitness enthusiasts to learn about Jiu-Jitsu, MMA, Wrestling, Boxing, Health & Nutrition, Performance and more. Origin Fighter also provides information on how to train smarter with resources such as workout plans and diets tailored for your goals.

About the Author

I am a huge fan of both BJJ and MMA. Jiu-jitsu is my biggest passion, and I’ve been training it for more than 5 years. I have recently been promoted to a purple belt. In this blog, I will be giving you tips on how to improve and how to choose the best BJJ equipment! Learn More