The Differences Between Judo vs BJJ
One of the most common questions for a person who begins to learn BJJ: “Where does BJJ come from? Or better yet, what are the differences between Judo vs BJJ?”
As you know, over the past 25 years, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) has taken the world by storm. Granted 25 years sounds like a long time but it really isn’t. Not with the sort of transformation we are talking about. It’s exciting, it’s fluid and most importantly, it is different.
In one of our previous posts, Judo and Jiu-jitsu: a perfect extension, tackled the history between the two martial arts. However there is no mention of BJJ anywhere in that article. Which is weird because they all seem to be similar.
Now, let’s answer the questions above.
Judo In Practice
In order to recap the last article, judo is a grappling art focused on using your opponent’s strength and momentum against him. Its main techniques consist of throws (nage waza), pins and joint locks.
You can easily argue that Judo is responsible for the way we look at many eastern martial arts today.
The grading system, the heavy sport inclination and the fact that it’s a properly run institution. These are all elements that Judo brought to fighting sports. Other martial arts did similar things but not with the wide ranging effect that judo had.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu In Practice
BJJ evolved from Kodokan judo taught by Mitsuyo Maeda to Brazilians in the first half of the 20th century. But BJJ evolved into a completely different fighting system. Its techniques focus on grappling with an opponent and finishing the fight on the ground. In addition to pins and joint lock it also has many types of chokes. There is a much softer emphasis on standing grappling than judo. Ideally speaking a student is taught how to defend himself from strikes while standing and on the ground.
Just like judo the competitive part of BJJ is very important. This is what has led to the creation of new and varying techniques. Not always practical for self-defense but highly effect in competition.
From a technique stand point, a major difference is that BJJ is even softer than Judo. It takes the concept that ‘soft can control hard’ and refines it even more. This refinement is considered small but it has significant results. The major philosophy in BJJ is that a smaller weaker person can successfully defend against a bigger stronger person.
Judo training and Sport
If you’re looking to get into a fast paced and exciting sport both judo and BJJ are good choices.
In judo you spend about 80% of your time dealing with throws. This also happens to include break-falling. Break-falling is a technique that allows you to fall without getting hurt. If you intend to learn judo this is an essential and will likely be your very first lesson.
In sport judo the rules are complex, but what you need to do to win is simple:
- Grab your standing opponent and throw him on his back. You get points for this or even an Ippon (translates to complete victory).
- Successfully pin your opponent to the ground for 25 seconds.
- Submit your opponent by using either chokes or arm locks (no fancy stuff).
Over the years the sport of judo has been refined so much that throwing and countering throws has changed drastically since it was conceived.
Training in judo will give you extraordinary balance as well as a strong set of core muscles. With core muscles I mean your abdomen, you neck and your pelvic floor. This is an aggressive sport that will help you build endurance and resilience. Having the wind knocked out of you sucks. You’ll go through that time and time again. Before you know it your breathing has improved and your body has hardened.
BJJ training and sport
In BJJ there is fairly little standing grappling. Depending on the competition rules you may even start the match on the ground. So pretty much all you training time will be devoted to learning how to fight on the ground.
Overall the rules to win your match are:
- Submit your opponent.
- Win by points. This are awarded for well executed takedowns, pins and submission attempts.
The rules for black-belts are different than the ones for less experienced practitioners. This can mean that you’re only allowed to use techniques like heel hooks or toe holds starting at a certain level.
There are also gi (uniform) and no-gi competitions. Depending on which you enter and how the event organizers do things the rules can differ.
Because the rules for BJJ competitions are not set in stone it’s always best to inform yourself beforehand. Ask your instructor or better yet, the event staff on what exactly you’re allowed to do.
When training in BJJ you will gain one thing above all. Flexibility.
This one trait will help determine how quickly you adapt to the sport and how fast you move up the ladder.
The founder of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, Eddie Bravo, has only one physical criteria for promoting students to black-belt. They have to be able to go into a lotus position by throwing their legs together without using their hands. The lotus position is the typical ‘meditation’ position you see yoga practitioners do. With both legs crossed above the groin, feet resting on the upper thighs. Obviously it takes a lot more to be a black-belt but flexibility is a must.
Judo vs BJJ, which is better?
This is probably the reason you’re reading this article in the first place. Which is the better martial art, Judo vs BJJ?
As you might have guessed, it depends. The modern styles of both arts are awesome for what they specialize in.
In conclusion, Judo for throwing. BJJ for ground submissions.
If you’re asking which one is more practical consider this. What happens when someone gets thrown on concrete? What happens when someone gets thrown on asphalt? There is no escaping the ferocious nature of judo.
On the other hand, have you ever watched street fight videos? Have you noticed how almost always one of the guys ends up on the ground? The point is that both arts are very effective.
The better question to ask yourself is, “Were would I have the most fun?”
Martial arts training can be hard but it’s all worth it especially if you’re having a great time. I advise you to watch a couple of videos on YouTube. Start with some competition videos. Watch the pros at work for both BJJ and Judo. After that watch a couple of training videos. From them, you will have your own decision of Judo vs BJJ.
See which sport resonates with you. Thinking it’s the right art for you is important. Feeling it’s the right art for you is paramount.
Teaching, Friendly, Young, Passion. Always wanna go up & down. Hey, you gotta live, do you?
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Robert Sterling // Author
Judo vs BJJ. What is the better choice for self defense martial arts? or What are their real differences? These deep sharing might make up your mind