Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Vs. Boxing – Which One You Should Learn?

Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing are two of the most well-known martial arts out there. One is a highly technical striking discipline. The other is a highly technical grappling discipline.

If you’re a newcomer to martial arts, it can be enticing to learn both disciplines especially if time and the budget permits. As many martial artists will tell you though, focusing on one area is a good idea as you’ll be able to dedicate yourself to mastering that discipline.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What are Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing
  • Which is better for self-defense
  • Which is better for MMA
  • The pros and cons of each disciple

Let’s continue!

What Is Jiu-Jitsu?

bjj vs boxing

Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling discipline that originated in Japan under its founder Mitsuyo Maeda. When Maeda brought martial art to Brazil in the 1920s, it was adapted by the Gracie Family who in turn developed their own system which resulted in the development of Brazilan Jiu-Jitsu.

For the most part, Jiu-Jitsu grew underground. The majority of the world was mostly unaware of the discipline until Royce Gracie entered the first UFC show and was able to beat physically imposing opponents using techniques.

Jiu-Jitsu focuses more on chokeholds and joint locks, takedowns, sweeps, and positioning. There are two forms of Jiu-Jitsu – gi and no gi, with the latter being the base of MMA techniques.

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Pros And Cons Of Jiu-Jitsu


  • Techniques off and on your feet – The common misconception about Jiu-Jitsu is that its techniques are purely ground-based. However, Jiu-Jitsu also teaches submissions, takedowns, trips, and clinch techniques which are effective while standing up.
  • Develops Entire Body – Jiu-Jitsu requires the use of every part of your body to secure submissions and hold your opponents down. It’s a good way to get toned and healthy.
  • Very Accessible – The growing love for Jiu-Jitsu worldwide has made it one of the most accessible martial arts out there. In fact, there might even be a gym offering it near you.


  • Close Quarters Combat – If you’re looking for a martial art for self-defense, Jiu-Jitsu is a good choice. However, bear in mind that it will require really close contact with attackers which could be dangerous at times.
  • Complex Techniques – Jiu-Jitsu’s techniques are complex. To combat this, most gyms will let you follow a curriculum to teach you the ins and outs of the sport. Still, if you want a sport that’s easy to learn, it isn’t Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Equipment Can Be Expensive And High Maintenance – Prices of Jiu-Jitsu classes can vary but there are affordable options out there. However, the equipment you’ll need can be expensive. Gis can cost upwards of $200. Aside from the price, gis can also be hard to maintain and require constant washing.

What Is Boxing?

Boxing is often dubbed the sweet science. It’s the art of hitting without getting hit. Unlike most striking disciplines, boxing focuses purely on turning your hands into capable weapons.

Of course, Boxing is just as technical about defense as it is about defense. Aside from blocking, excellent footwork and head movement are what make a boxer dangerous. Boxing develops great hand-eye coordination, as well as stamina and reaction speed.

In the martial arts world, Boxers are often feared for the power that they have within each punch.

Pros And Cons Of Boxing


  • Very Accessible – Like Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing is a popular martial art that you can learn from a wide selection of gyms. Another reason why it’s so accessible is that Boxing is a lot easier to learn.
  • Develops Hand-Eye Coordination And Reaction Time – Jiu-Jitsu is all about timing and accuracy. As such, a lot of the techniques and training routines are geared toward helping you develop your reaction time.
  • Develops Cardio – Boxers aren’t just known for their insane power, they also have gas tanks to boot. That said, this is one of the martial arts that can push you to your physical limits.


  • Limited Techniques For Close And Ground Combat – Boxing teaches very few techniques when it comes to close contact engagement. Clinching Boxing does exist but this isn’t always a good route during self-defense scenarios. As for ground techniques, Boxing teaches you nothing about it.
  • Injuries Are Common – Believe it or not, injuries are common in Boxing. Your knuckles and wrists are at the most risk during boxing. This problem can be remedied by proper guided training at least.
  • It’s A Dangerous Sport – What makes Boxing one of the most dangerous sports out there is that your head takes the brunt of the damage. This can lead to serious long-term brain injuries that can affect your quality of life.

Which Is Better For MMA?

Standard Training Routines

The answer to this is simple – you need both. MMA is a blend of ground and striking techniques after all. A well-rounded martial artist is a lot more dangerous than those who excel at specifically one discipline.

Fights start on your feet and Boxing is a good base for striking. It teaches you the proper blocking and dodging techniques. There’s also no questioning how helpful the power and cardio you get in Boxing are when it comes to MMA.

On the other hand, Jiu-Jitsu teaches you to become as dangerous on your back just as you are on your feet. It’s not just fellow Jiu-Jitsu practitioners that you’ll be able to beat. You’ll also have a chance against wrestlers too.

Both are essential parts of MMA. If you dream of becoming a professional fighter one day, it’s vital that you become as well-rounded as possible.

Which Is Better For Self-Defense?

Now, when it comes to self-defense, many will argue that Jiu-Jitsu is the better martial art to learn. This is because Jiu-Jitsu is more about subduing or controlling your opponent. 

Let’s look at a real-life scenario. Say you’re about to be attacked by an aggressor on the streets. With Jiu-Jitsu skills, you can easily take the aggressor down. You can either hold them there until the police arrive or if no help is coming, you can put them to sleep temporarily.

While Boxing is a good self-defense martial art, it can still put you in harm’s way. It requires you to take opponents head-on. Striking with someone on the streets can be a dangerous game as all it really takes to knock someone out is one shot. If that person bangs their head on the pavement while falling down, that’s could lead to serious – often fatal consequences.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Vs. Boxing – Final Word

Boxing and Jiu-Jitsu are incomparable as martial arts. They’re both essential when it comes to MMA. However, if we’re talking about how they would fare during self-defense scenarios, there’s no doubt that Jiu-Jitsu is the better choice.

If you want to learn more about various types of martial arts, don’t hesitate to check out more of what we have here at MMAWhisperer.

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