5 Easy Ways To Spot The Difference Between Judo and BJJ

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Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are easy to confuse due to their similarities. But what’s the difference between Judo and BJJ? Judo is more about leverage and throwing your opponent, while BJJ emphasizes ground fighting in grappling.

BJJ also uses joint locks and chokes in the same manner Judo does, but not to the extent that Judo does. While both are martial arts, they rely on different principles of technique and strategy.

Judo seeks to put you out of balance or at a disadvantage to set up throws or takedowns, whereas BJJ follows an emphasis on grappling using all of your opponent’s limbs against them for best results, mainly on the ground.




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1)Historical Differences Between The Origins of Judo And BJJ

Jigoro Kano founded Judo in Japan in 1882. To create Judo, Kano had to compile and modify several techniques from Jiu-Jitsu that he had learned in schools, such as Tenjin Shinyo Ryu and later Kito Ryu.

Judo, as mentioned above, is a grappling style of martial art, which means that its techniques do not include punches or kicks, except for some traditional katas where they are practiced.

Therefore, in common judo practice, all movements are based on the grips, throws, holds, strangle, and lever techniques if we exclude the katas.

The Gracie Family

In The early 20th century, many Asians, especially Japanese, came to Brazil. Amid this wave of immigration came the great judoka Mitsuyo Maeda, who had a diplomatic mission.

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Koma, a student of Kano of the school Kodokan, settled in the city of Belém by the state of Pará, where he began to teach some judo, one of these was Carlos Gracie.

After some time, Gracie became independent and opened his dojo near Rio de Janeiro. With the help of his brother Helio Gracie, he experimented and developed new techniques, using the knowledge received from Maeda, creating the contemporary martial art Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, later named Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

With Maeda’s influence on Carlos and Helio Gracie, it’s impossible to declare that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has no relation with Judo.

2)How Different are Judo and BJJ Techniques

In both arts, there are two types of fighting. In Judo, there is tachi-waza (fighting standing) and ne-waza (fighting on the ground).

In Judo, the emphasis is more on the tachi-waza. The Ne-waza is also trained, but the priority is in the standing fight. 

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the opposite. It is heavily focused on the ground rather than standing techniques. 

Similar Techniques Different Goals

The main goal of a BBJ player is to take the fight to the ground. Where it feels is more straightforward to defeat an opponent than when fighting in a standing position. Therefore, there are more techniques on the ground in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu than in Judo, and with fewer restrictions.

On the other hand, and since Judo focuses more on fighting in the standing position, there are many strategies, combinations typical of this sport that evolve from tachi-waza and are often not as well mastered by BJJ practitioners as by Judokas.

Although a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor can easily and even successfully participate in a Judo competition (like Rigan Machado or BJ Penn), a Judoka can also participate in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament. Each of them has to adapt to the rules of the competition.

3)What’s The Difference Between Judo And BJJ Competition Rules

BJJ also has some rules that differ from Judo. Let’s take a look at the fundamental differences between BJJ and judo rules.

Competition rules for Judo

Judo became an official discipline for the Olympic Games in 1964. Since then, the rules have changed quite a bit. However, the basic rules have remained relatively the same. To win a Judo match, you have these possibilities:

  • A whole point or ippon is awarded when the opponent falls with his entire back on the mat (tatami). This is considered a direct victory, and the fight ends. 
  • If only half the back hits the floor, this is called a waza-ari and counts as half an ippon. Two Waza-ari also lead to victory.
  • Holding the opponent immobile on the floor for 20 seconds is also an ippon. If it is 10 seconds and the rival can free himself, it counts as a waza-ari.
  • Also, an ippon is if the opponent is choked on the ground or a lever movement is made, forcing him to give up.

Although it is possible, as in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament, to get a victory by contorting or choking in ground fighting, Judo focuses more on stand-up grappling combat or tachi-waza. Once the fighters go down, they must perform the actions very quickly, or the referee will have them back on their feet.

competition Rules in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The competition history of BJJ is much younger than that of Judo. Besides, Judo is an Olympic discipline, BJJ is not.

The rules in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are very different. Points are awarded in the following scenarios:

  • 2 points: If you take your opponent down, sweep from the guard, or get knee-on belly control.
  • 3 points: When you pass the opponent’s guard.
  • 4 points: When you get on the full mount or take the back of the opponent.

*Taking the back, remember to put your hooks in; otherwise, you score no points.

Ending The Fight By Submission 

Buchecha competing - BJJ rules

The fight can end directly with a “finish,” which consists of imposing a dislocation or strangulation technique on the opponent so that he is forced to surrender. Luxations (dislocations) are allowed in joints that are not in Judo, for example, the ankles.

In case neither of the two opponents wins a fight, the participant with the highest score wins. 

If you practice one of the two martial arts and want to compete in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Judo, you must consider the rules in each case. You must change your fighting strategy because you may be disqualified or lose points if you are not aware of the rules.

4)Are Judo and BJJ Gis The Same?

In Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, practitioners wear a gi or kimono, consisting of three parts: jacket, pants, and belt.

The BJJ and Judo kimonos (also called Judogis) are made of cotton. Two colors are standard in Judo: white and blue, there are hardly any large patches, and often the brand logos are kept small and inconspicuous. Well-known brand names for judogis are Adidas or Mizuno with excellent models like the Mizuno Yusho IJF or the Adidas Judogi.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Kimonos are at first sight very similar to those for Judo. Still, the main difference is, in BJJ Kimonos, there are a lot of different designs with a lot of patches or embroidery in different colors or colored lining.  

Another difference that is not immediately obvious but stands out is the tighter fit of the kimonos for BJJ. They fit closer to the body than the judogis for Judo.

BJJ Gi Colors

In addition to the primary colors, as in Judo white and blue, there is also the color black. These colors are allowed for competitions, but there are many color variations like dark blue, navy green, or even camouflage for training. But be careful! Some trainers don’t like these color variations at all.

The main difference is that the BJJ kimonos and the color variations also have large and eye-catching patches. Some examples are the Storm Stealth Bolo or the Fuji All Around Camo. 

don’t miss the Best bjj GIS

5)The Popularity of Judo Vs. BJJ

Judo is extremely popular around the world. There are approximately 50 million practitioners of Judo in over 200 countries around the world, according to the International Judo Federation (IJF).

In BJJ, it’s harder to come up with an accurate estimate due to the lack of a centralized ruling body in the sport. Sure, you have the IBJJF, which reported 1,324 registered schools in 2019. But, there’s a bunch of other organizations out there.

However, there are also non-IBJJF schools in the UAE, which had 76,000 students by 2016. Regardless of the statistics, it’s safe to assume that Judo is more popular overall than BJJ.

It’s also feasible that BJJ will keep growing in popularity worldwide thanks to the UFC and other large MMA promotions giving exposure to world-class grapplers. Judo is still more popular than Jiu-Jitsu, but the gap is getting smaller each.

Judo or BJJ, which one it’s better?

Choosing Judo or BJJ depends on your goals. Which is better? It all depends on what you desire to achieve. If you’re going to get in shape, learn self-defense, exercise, and have fun, both martial arts are good options. But if you want to compete and become an expert, it’s a little more challenging to decide which one is best for you.

Stick to the one that makes you feel more comfortable. You don’t even need to decide right away. Maybe you should try both martial arts and see which one better suits your body type, endurance, personality, and other essential criteria.

They are two different martial arts with two different approaches, but both will make you a well-rounded fighter. Learn more about Judo in our Judo Beginners Guide.

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