Judo vs BJJ (The Final Debate)

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Judō (柔道, jūdō) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ the gentle art) are two of the most popular martial arts in the world. They are both combat sports that use grappling and ground fighting techniques. But which one is better? In this blog post, we will compare Judo vs BJJ and break down the pros and cons of each martial art. Stay tuned to find out which one is best for you!

Judo vs. BJJ: What Is The Difference?

History of Judo

Judo was founded in Japan by Jigaro Kano. It became an official sport at the Olympic Games in 1964 and has grown in popularity ever since.

History of BJJ

Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or BJJ for short, traces its roots back to Judo. The martial art was created when Brazilian judoka (judo practitioners) started to train with Japanese jiu-jitsu masters in the early 1900s. BJJ eventually became its own martial art, with a focus on ground fighting and submission holds.

So, what is the difference between judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu?


Judo relies primarily on throws and takedowns to defeat an opponent. Once an opponent is down, judoka will use a variety of submission holds, chokes, and joint locks to force them to tap out.

Judo Techniques:

  • Hand throwing techniques
  • Hip throwing
  • Foot throwing
  • Rear sacrifice projections
  • Pins and Mat-holds
  • Chokes or Strangles
  • Joint Locks
  • Arm Striking

BJJ also uses throws and takedowns, but the focus is on ground fighting. BJJ practitioners will try to take their opponent to the ground and then use a variety of chokes, joint locks, and submission holds to secure victory.

BJJ Techniques:

  • Standing Techniques
  • Takedowns and throws
  • Sweeps
  • Ground Techniques
  • Submission holds
  • Chokes and joint locks


Judo Rules:

  • Safety
  • Intentionally harming an opponent is abandoned.
  • One cannot punch or kick his opponent.
  • You cannot touch the opponent’s face.
  • Attacking the joints other than the elbows is not allowed.
  • Head dives are also not permitted.
  • Some techniques like Kawazu gake and Kami basami are not allowed.
  • Neither of the competitors is allowed to wear any hard metallic object during the competition.
  • Stage
  • It must be played upon a stage of having a minimum size of 14×14 meters. The rules also say that the stage must be built from the tatami. It is a mat that is used for the flooring purpose of the traditional martial arts of Japan.
  • Penalties
  • Shido: If a competitor doesn’t attack for a longer period, they are given a shido. After two warnings, one shido is awarded. The number of shidos decides the winner if the match ends in a tie.
  • Four warnings will result in a disqualification known as hansoku. If someone gets disqualified, it may be because of a major rule violation. There is also a chance that he/she will get disqualified from the tournament.


  • BJJ competitions tend to be less structured, with more emphasis on submissions and ground control.
  • A few BJJ rules include:
  • You Have a Time Limit to Tie Your Belt
  • You Can’t Leave the Mat
  • Sweeps Always Involve Using your Legs
  • Side Control isn’t Worth Points
  • Neck Cranks Aren’t Allowed
  • No Slamming
  • Don’t Talk to the Ref
  • No Stalling
  • Not All Throws are Legal
  • You Have to Pass the Guard


Judo Training

Because judo focuses more on throws and takedowns, it requires a lot of training in the standing position – including punching, kicking, blocking, clinching, and footwork. Judo throws, judo grips, judo demonstrations are also part of training

BJJ Training

BJJ training also includes stand-up techniques, but the focus is on ground fighting. This means that a lot of time is spent training on the ground, learning how to control and submit an opponent.

Belt System

Judo Belt System

Judo has a more traditional belt/grading system, with colors progressing from white to yellow, orange, green belt, blue, and brown. A black belt is the highest rank that can be achieved in judo.

BJJ Belt System

BJJ also uses a color-coded belt system, but there are fewer BJJ belts. Colors progress from white belt to bjj blue belt, purple, brown, and bjj black belt. There are also degrees within each belt – meaning that a black belt in BJJ is not necessarily the highest level of skill.



Traditional Judo practitioners need a judo kimono or gi. The gi consists of a jacket and pants, made from a heavy cotton fabric. A belt is also worn, which indicates the rank of the judoka. For most Judo schools, you can use these for your first Judo classes.


BJJ practitioners can wear a BJJ Gi or no-gi attire. If they choose to wear a bjj gi, it will be similar to the one worn in judo – but with some differences. For example, BJJ gis tends to be lighter and have shorter jackets.

No-gi practitioners will usually wear shorts and a rash guard. This type of clothing is designed to prevent opponents from getting a grip on your clothes. You can use either or for your first BJJ classes.

Notable Practitioners

Some notable Judo practitioners include:

  • Kanō Jigorō – the founder of judo
  • Anton Geesink – the first non-Japanese judo black belt
  • Mark Huizinga – Olympic gold medalist

Some notable BJJ players include:

  • Helio Gracie – the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Royce Gracie – UFC Hall of Famer bJJ practitioner
  • Marcelo Garcia – one of the greatest BJJ competitors of all time
  • Xande Ribeiro – 7-time IBJJF World Champion
  • Son Carlos Gracie – founding member of the aforementioned Gracie family


Is Judo or BJJ Better For Self-Defense?

Both Judo and BJJ are effective for self-defense, but they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Judo is better for self-defense situations where you need to take your attacker down quickly. This could be useful if you’re being attacked by a bigger, stronger opponent. Once you’re on the ground, you can use a variety of submission holds to force them to tap out.

BJJ is better for self-defense situations where you need to control your attacker and avoid getting hit. This could be useful if you’re being attacked by multiple opponents or if you’re not comfortable with striking. You can use BJJ to take your attacker to the ground and then use a variety of submission holds to secure victory.

Can You Learn Judo and BJJ At The Same Time?

Yes, you can learn Judo and BJJ at the same time. However, it’s important to understand that these are two very different martial arts. Judo focuses on throws and takedowns, while BJJ focuses on ground control and submissions.

If you’re just starting, we recommend focusing on one art first. Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques of either Judo or BJJ, you can then start to cross-train in the other art. This will give you a well-rounded skill set and help you become a more complete martial artist.

BJJ vs Judo Culture

There is a big difference between the culture of Judo and BJJ. Judo is a traditional martial art that has been around for centuries. As such, it has a very strict code of conduct and etiquette. For example, practitioners must always bow to their opponents before and after a match.

BJJ is a relatively new martial art, having only been developed in the early 20th century. As such, it doesn’t have the same strict code of conduct as Judo. This can be seen in things like the attire worn during training and competition. In Judo, practitioners must wear a gi (traditional uniform), while in BJJ they can choose to wear a gi or no-gi attire.

Is Judo or BJJ Best for MMA?

There is no clear answer as to which martial art is best for MMA. It really depends on the individual fighter and their strengths and weaknesses.

Some MMA fighters who have a background in Judo tend to be very successful in the early stages of the fight. This is because they’re able to use their throws and takedowns to take their opponents down and control them on the ground. However, they may struggle against opponents who have a strong BJJ game.

Other MMA fighters who have a background in BJJ tend to be very successful in the later stages of the fight. This is because they’re able to control their opponents on the ground and look for submissions. However, they may struggle against opponents who have a strong Judo game.

Keeping all of this in mind BJJ tends to be more widely used and more winners train in BJJ.

How long does it take to reach the black belt?

This is a difficult question to answer as it varies from person to person. It usually takes around 10 years to reach a black belt in Judo or BJJ, but this can vary depending on the individual’s natural ability, how often they train, and their dedication to the art.

Some people may be able to reach the black belt in as little as 5 years, while others may take 15 years or more. There is no set time frame for reaching the black belt, so it depends on the individual.

Classes, gyms, and schools

There are a few things you should look for when choosing a Judo or BJJ class, gym, or school. First, you want to make sure that the instructor is experienced and knowledgeable. They should have a black belt in either Judo or BJJ and preferably have experience competing at a high level.

Second, you want to make sure that the class size is small enough so that the instructor can give each student individual attention.

Third, you want to make sure that the gym or school has a good reputation.

And fourth, you want to make sure that the classes are affordable. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that you’re not even sure if you’ll like.

Which is more popular, judo or BJJ?

BJJ is more popular in at least Western culture.

Which is harder to learn, judo or jiu-jitsu?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on the individual’s natural ability, training schedule, and dedication. Some people may find that judo is harder to learn than BJJ, while others may find that BJJ is harder to learn than judo. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what you feel most comfortable with. But in general, BJJ tends to be more technical and complex, whereas judo focuses more on speed and power.

Other related styles include

  • Wrestling techniques are used
  • Muay thai
  • Traditional Japanese jujitsu
  • mixed martial arts
  • Other grappling arts

Final Thoughts

Judo and BJJ are two very different martial arts, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Whether you decide to focus on judo or BJJ is really up to your individual preferences and goals. That being said, both are excellent choices for MMA fighters and can help improve things like strength, speed, technique, and overall fitness. So if you’re looking to take your fighting skills to the next level, be sure to consider taking lessons in judo or BJJ.

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