Jiu Jitsu Vs Judo: What Is the Difference? (A Closer Look)

Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are two grappling martial arts with significant differences. Judo emphasizes takedowns, while Jiu-Jitsu focuses on ground fighting.

In Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, you win by submissions, points, or a referee decision. In Judo contests, you win by obtaining “ippon,” “waza-ari,” or accumulating more points.

We’ll explore their differences in fighting styles, competition rules, status at the Olympics, presence in MMA, self-defense suitability, and popularity.

Differences in Fighting Styles Between Jiu-Jitsu and Judo

Examining their fighting styles is the first step in comparing jiu-jitsu and Judo. Although they may appear similar to the untrained eye, there are distinct differences between the two martial arts.

Neither involves striking, and both begin standing before taking the opponent to the ground.

Judo is always practiced while wearing a gi (kimono), while Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be done with or without one.

Otherwise, Judo focuses mainly on throws and takedowns, and the match can end after the opponent is taken to the mat. In contrast, in jiu-jitsu, the fight only starts after the opponent is brought to the ground.

Judo practitioners rarely use ground techniques, whereas jiu-jitsu practitioners primarily focus on them. These techniques include closed and Dela Riva guards, submissions such as triangle chokes, kimuras, armbars, and sweep techniques.

Jiu-Jitsu Vs Judo: Competition Rules Differences

Assessing the differences between jiu-jitsu and judo competitions is easier because the rules are more explicitly distinct.

However, these two martial arts share similarities, such as the prohibition of striking, starting matches from a standing position, and generally aiming to bring the opponent to the ground.

Jiu-jitsu uses a scoring system that assigns points based on achieving specific objectives, such as passing the guard (3 points), successful takedown (2 points), knee on belly (2 points), reaching the mount position (4 points), and so on.

Nonetheless, most BJJ matches end when a contestant submits their opponent using techniques such as painful hyperextension (armbars, etc.), shoulder and joint locks (kimuras, etc.), chokes, and more.

In contrast, Judo competitions allow contestants to win in multiple ways. This includes submissions in the form of armlocks and chokes, as well as throwing the opponent on their back with sufficient force, holding or pinning them continuously, or by a referee’s decision.

Our Jiu-Jitsu and Judo Olympic Sports?

Judo has been a sport at the Summer Olympics since 1964, missing only the 1968 games since its inclusion.

At the last 2020 Olympics, the sport comprised 15 events, with an equal number for men and women and a single mixed-gender event. Japan won 9 of these 15 events, holding onto their record as the overall winner in Olympic Judo.

On the other hand, jiu-jitsu has never been an Olympic sport. That’s a point for Judo in the jiu-jitsu vs. judo debate, but that might not always be true.

The Olympic Committee is constantly expanding the scope of sports in the games. The list for 2024 has been finalized, but we may still see jiu-jitsu at the Olympics.

Presences of Jiu-Jitsu and Judo in MMA

Best Grappling Martial Arts for MMA

Jiu-jitsu occupies an essential niche within MMA. The central focus within Brazilian jiu-jitsu is on grappling and ground fighting, which is missing from the other disciplines that often go into a mixed martial arts training regimen.

This combines with the striking techniques usually incorporated from boxing or kickboxing. Still, the jiu-jitsu vs judo debate isn’t quite settled there.

Judo’s presence within MMA is more challenging to assess, but it is not absent. Judo’s takedowns are more suitable for MMA than those from jiu-jitsu.

Many MMA fighters have been judokas, including Ronda Rousey. Two years before moving to mixed martial arts, she won a bronze medal in a judo event at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Jiu-Jitsu and Judo in Street Fights and Self-Defense

Jiu-jitsu is slightly better than Judo in practical scenarios, but Judo techniques are not ineffective. Judo’s limitations in preparing practitioners for street fights include uniform practice and formal attack rules.

In contrast, Brazilian jiu-jitsu trains improvisation, making it more adaptable for self-defense.

Eddie Bravo created combat jiu-jitsu in 2013. This advantageous variation of jiu-jitsu incorporates strikes and is more practical and realistic for self-defense.

Popularities of Jiu-Jitsu and Judo

Brazilian jiu-jitsu gained popularity in the US in 1993 when Royce Gracie won the first Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Judo, developed in the 1920s, has been practiced in the US since the end of the Second World War and became an Olympic sport in 1964.

Although Judo is more popular globally, particularly in Europe and Asia, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is more prevalent in the US.

Recommended: Most takedowns are brutal, putting a lot of strain on the knees. As a result, practitioners must carry reliable knee pads to protect their joints and avoid injury. Click here to learn more!


Jiu-jitsu and Judo are similar but have some differences. Choosing the best one can be difficult.

Both are great martial arts that offer many benefits, including teaching techniques for self-defense, improving fitness and body resistance, enhancing self-confidence and problem-solving skills, and providing opportunities for competition and career development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Jiu Jitsu the Same as Judo?

Jiu-jitsu and Judo are different Japanese martial arts.

Judo focuses on throws and takedowns, while jiu-jitsu emphasizes ground grappling techniques, such as joint locks, throws, and chokes, and it also includes standing techniques.

Judo is an Olympic sport with defined principles and weight divisions. Jiu-jitsu has several rule sets, weight classes, and forms.

Which Is Easier to Learn, Judo or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Judo is generally more straightforward to learn than BJJ because it has a more organized curriculum with fewer techniques.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu has a more diverse curriculum with more techniques, which requires more attention to flexibility and body control.

Both martial arts take time and dedication to master, so it’s best to try both and see which one you enjoy learning.

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