Jiu-jitsu is a great way to submit a huge aggressive opponent who believes he’ll piece you up on the ground because of his size. But if someone asks you, “which style is better, Brazilian jiu-jitsu or Japanese jiu-jitsu,” the answer heavily depends on your goal and what would you like to achieve?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu will work when you’re taken down. It focuses on submissions, working off your back, and forcing the opponent to surrender. On the other hand, Japanese jiu-jitsu (some say Jujutsu) is excellent for quick finishes and street combat, as it’s known mainly for joint manipulation and throws.
Both martial arts can work well. But, hey, would you like to defend against attackers, or do you plan to compete and win medals? Would you like to transition to MMA or some other martial art in the future?
You will learn a lot about the good and bad sides of Brazilian and Japanese jiu-jitsu in the sections below. Therefore, you will get some helpful insights to choose which discipline works better for you.
Is There a Difference Between Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Japanese and Brazilian jiu-jitsu are different martial arts with several differences, such as fighting style, etc.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a sports discipline with competitions and a strict ruleset. For example, most BJJ moves are focused on submission grappling and ground games. On the other hand, Japanese Jujutsu focuses on joint manipulation and throwing foes, allowing strikes, stand-up games, takedowns, and fighting on the ground.
Furthermore, in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the ground game is close-range hand-to-hand combat where fighters try to win the bout via submission. It starts from stand-up with the intent to take down your opponent as soon as possible to the mat.
On the other hand, there are three stages of the bout in Japanese jiu-jitsu. First, the game kicks off with fighters exchanging strikes on the feet. At this point, they are allowed to grab each other and take the boat to the ground. Then, the opponents can go for submissions, joint locks, chokes, and strangulations– each attack brings a specific number of points.
Another significant difference is the goal of each martial art. Yes, BJJ fighters learn to defend themselves against attackers, but, for example, they can’t use life-threatening techniques and slams are illegal. On the other hand, the ultimate goal of Japanese jiu-jitsu is defense by any means necessary, so it works well in street combat.
Also, you’ll rarely see a Japanese jiu-jitsu specialist going for a submission switch attempt because it wastes a lot of energy. The masters of this martial art would instead give advantage to throws, strikes, and finishing moves.
Is There a Similarity Between Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Yes, both martial arts have similarities with “Kodokan Judo.” They are indirectly related to it. Also, let’s pinpoint similar techniques – armlocks, leglocks, chokeholds, and some joint manipulations.
There is another similarity – you can quickly deal with a bigger and stronger opponent. Size doesn’t play a critical role; technique matters.
You can use both fighting styles to defend yourself or participate in the competition. However, if you fundamentally come from BJJ or Japanese jiu-jitsu, you have the potential to develop into a great mixed martial artist later.
Do Japanese And Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Teach Grappling Techniques?
Both martial arts teach chokes, arm and leg locks, and strangulations. In addition, both fighting styles include sweeps, top and bottom control, transitions, and submission switches.
But Japanese jiu-jitsu allows joint manipulations and way more dangerous moves. For example, the majority of joint locks, and especially life-threatening moves, are illegal in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Do Japanese And Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Have Striking?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu doesn’t allow strikes. The bout transitions to the ground as soon as the fighters touch each other. If you hit your opponent, the referee might deduct a point or disqualify you.
Japanese jiu-jitsu includes striking from all kinds of positions. There is long-range, mid-range, even a clinch strike with open and closed palm. In addition, fighters can throw combos, counters, and tricky shots (for example, lead arm feint to a rear leg low kick).
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Vs Japanese Jiu-Jitsu – Which One Is More Effective?
We have to answer with a question – what do you mean by effectiveness? Let’s describe specific situations.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter is more dangerous on the ground. This is because he’s trained to fight off his back and finish the battle from any position. But Japanese jiu-jitsu lets you throw elbows and fists from the top or bottom position, which gives you greater chances to win. Yet, when a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt gets a hold of you, you’ll probably have to tap quickly.
Japanese jiu-jitsu is more effective for the fight without rules. The masters of Japanese fighting style will feel comfortable on the feet, in the clinch, and on the ground. Also, they can quickly improvise and slip out of the position with a wrist manipulation or another dirty move (strictly prohibited by BJJ rules).
Which Is Better for Self-Defense, Japanese or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
The answer is – Japanese jiu-jitsu. BJJ can help you against one attacker, but you’ll leave yourself open for cheap shots from behind as soon as you end up on the canvas with your foe. When you’re dealing with multiple attackers, bullies could soccer kick or foot stomp you. You could lose that fight quickly. But it works very well for one-on-one battles, especially against bigger enemies.
Japanese Jujutsu is pretty effective against multiple opponents. There is no need to go down. You can break the attacker’s wrist, disable him via throw, and focus on the next attacker. There are so many great ways to defeat more than one bully. Also, it works in one-on-one exchanges because you will feel comfortable everywhere against any opponent.
Jujutsu will work against the armed enemy; BJJ won’t. In Japanese jiu-jitsu, one can learn to counter all kinds of attacks as weapon fighting is part of the discipline. It is a self-defensive martial art, like Krav Maga or Aikido. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert would hardly counter a knife or a baseball bat attack.
Related article: Is Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Suitable for Self Defense? (Solved!)
Which Is More Effective In MMA, Japanese or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
This is a tricky question. In the early stages of the UFC, BJJ fighter Royce Gracie won three out of four tournaments thanks to his superb submission skills. A 180-pound grappling specialist choked out many Heavyweight names – Dan Severn, Keith Hackney, Art Jimmerson…
In old-school UFC style vs style match-ups, the Octagon warriors were not prepared for the secrets of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Today, there are many excellent BJJ fighters, but they know to land or defend strikes. Some of the most famous names at the moment are Jacare Souza, Demian Maia, Fabricio Werdum, Bibiano Fernandes, Leonardo Santos…
But remember – BJJ without striking makes no sense inside the Octagon as your enemy will piece you up on the feet. The master of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is dangerous as soon as the battle gets dragged on the canvas.
Yet, most top-notch MMA coaches say that “it is tough to transition to ground fighting because top 15 guys are very skillful in takedown defense”. For example, Court McGee tried to drag Sean Strickland to the ground 13 times at UFC Fight Night 120, but “Tarzan” successfully defended every takedown attempt.
Also, an opponent could easily counter you via knee. The battle between Mirko Cro Cop and Kazuyuki Fujita proves it. You can also look at Cory Sandhagen’s flying knee knockout against Frankie Edgar (UFC Vegas 18).
Nowadays, the sport has evolved. Everybody knows to strike, grapple, and take part in clinch exchanges. So the modified Jujutsu would work well in an MMA bout. But here’s the problem – the MMA rules prohibit some techniques, so a master of this martial would have to make modifications.
Related article: Is Japanese Jiu-Jitsu effective in MMA? (Solved!)
Does Brazilian and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Have Different Belts Ranking System?
Yes, they do. In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you’ll kick off with a white belt. You can see the order of progression and the list of belts below:
- White belt
- Blue belt
- Purple belt
- Brown belt
- Black belt
- Red and black belt
- Red and white belt
- Red belt.
In BJJ, the color of your belt depends a lot on technical knowledge, the time spent in the dojo, and your sparring skills.
Japanese jiu-jitsu’s ranking system is different, as some dojos start with a red belt. But originally, there are eight levels of knowledge:
- Red belt (some dojos).
- White belt.
- Yellow belt.
- Orange belt.
- Green belt.
- Blue belt.
- Purple belt.
- Brown belt.
Which Is More Effective for Weight-Loss, Japanese or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
BJJ training sessions mostly last for 60-90 minutes. There are many difficult moves, and a novice might have a hard time adjusting to, for example, shrimps and rolls. You don’t have much time for rest. The majority of workouts are HIIT (high-intensity interval training).
Japanese jiu-jitsu sessions are different. You work on striking, grappling, throws, but there is a lot of self-defense and technicality. The periods of rest are more extended, which means your body will waste fewer calories. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu works better for cutting extra pounds.
Is Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Better Than Brazilian for Beginners Practitioners?
Yes, absolutely. A practitioner who has never trained a martial art before will learn various techniques that will help him defend himself if he gets into trouble. But, of course, for beginners, self-defense comes first. But, again, if you decide to compete, BJJ’s rules are stricter, and you can focus on mastering the specific set of moves.
Brazilian and Japanese jiu-jitsu are valuable workout activities. However, while BJJ gains millions of fans and followers all around the globe, the Jujutsu turns you into a ninja warrior ready to defend in any situation.
We’ve learned a lot in this post to help you know the differences and similarities, good and bad sides of Brazilian and Japanese jiu-jitsu. Here’s a brief recap of our findings:
- BJJ is a sports combat discipline, while Japanese jiu-jitsu puts self-defense in the first place.
- Both martial arts can help you lose weight, but Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a better choice for cutting pounds.
- There are similarities between grappling techniques. Yet, Japanese jiu-jitsu allows striking and way more dangerous joint manipulations.
- Jujutsu works better in a street fight, and it leaves you with more options. Bullies will have a hard time sucker-punching the master of Japanese martial art.
- If possible, you should train both Brazilian and Japanese jiu-jitsu. If you plan to transition to MMA, we bet you’ll find this advice very helpful. You’ll get more knowledge and be able to defend yourself from every position.
We hope this article helped you understand the differences between Japanese and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Please tell us which one you would choose and why in the comments below. Also, if you liked the article, please help us by sharing it on your social media!
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