BJJ vs. Karate | Which one is better?


Learning a martial art- is a fantastic choice since it provides many benefits. However, you may get confused with the variety of martial arts- currently available. Because of that, this article will explain the differences between Karate and BJJ and which one you should learn. 

While Karate focuses on fast-paced kicking, punching, and clinching, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) utilizes ground grappling with maneuvering the opponent while on the ground. Nonetheless, both Karate and BJJ originate from Japan, which is why they’re somewhat similar. 

As such, some people may find Karate more suitable than BJJ. However, the opposite applies to others. As a result, before you begin your training, it’ll be best if you understand which is more suitable. 

As a result, staying consistent- becomes effortless, as you enjoy the training more than if you were to choose the other. Hence you’ll notice more results sooner and enjoy the process more. 

The following list is the differences between Karate and BJJ

  • Karate is fast-paced compared to BJJ
  • BJJ teaches ground grappling- while Karate utilizes punching, kicking, and clinching
  • Their ranking system
  • The rules

Following this, we’ll examine the two martial arts separately. Later, we’ll compare them to ensure you know the most suitable for your needs. 

What is BJJ?

Like many other martial arts, BJJ’s purpose is to teach people self-defense using their bodies. As a result, many begin studying it to enhance and develop their fighting skills. It’s not uncommon for a Jiu-Jitsu trainee to see results after a single-digit number of sessions. 

First, from Japan, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a worldwide sport- that utilizes ground grappling techniques from the martial art- Jiu-Jitsu. The techniques the trainees learn and develop are highly effective and relevant for today’s world and self-defense. 

martial arts
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Secondly, BJJ provides countless physical and mental benefits, such as confidence, self-esteem, better physical shape, and even enhanced mental health. As a result, many people study it to experience some of these benefits.

I want to emphasize how much of a difference learning Jiu-Jitsu can have on a person. Your well-being can drastically improve by going through a few sessions of BJJ. For example, wouldn’t you begin training starting today if I told you that you could learn to fight while attainting highly desirable personality traits? 

What is Karate?

Karate has become one of the most popular martial arts globally. Because of that, it’s a household name that most everyone knows. However, what is Karate, and where did it come from?

Karate is a martial art that originates from Okinawa island in Japan. The people of Okinawa wanted to teach its population proper self-defense. As a result, they constructed a fighting style that involves kicking, punching, and some grappling. Today, this style is what we all know as Karate. 

Like BJJ, Karate provides countless benefits, such as improved well-being. Because of that, learning it- goes beyond learning to fight. Instead, people can better their lifestyle by staying consistent with training. 

Should I learn Karate or BJJ?

Choosing which martial art to learn- can be incredibly difficult. I myself have seen more trouble choosing one to study than the training itself. Thus this section will explain which one you should learn based on your goals or preferences.

You should learn Karate if you want to learn punching and kicking with various traditional movements- highly effective for self-defense. On the other, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is for you if you desire to practice ground game techniques, such as various grappling submissions or chokes. 

Nonetheless, whether you choose Karate or BJJ, you’ll reap the many benefits they can provide in both martial arts. For instance, you’ll experience your physical shape improving once you’re sore- post the first workout. 

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

That said, some of the results will come later in your journey. For example, I’ve witnessed my self-esteem rise whenever I achieved various concrete pursuits of mine, such as learning a technique and using it properly. 

You’ll experience similar thoughts. In fact, you’ll notice yourself learning to fight faster than ever if you dedicate yourself. There isn’t a part in me that thinks you won’t progress if you truly desire to. Thus I encourage you to simply begin training in either if you’re still struggling in choosing one to learn. Both martial arts will make you a solid and capable fighter. 

Which is better for self-defense, Karate or BJJ?

Most martial arts are suitable for self-defense because they teach effective fighting techniques. However, some are better than others. Let’s examine which is better for self-defense, BJJ or Karate.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is better than Karate for self-defense because it teaches ground grappling techniques, which are incredibly effective. Additionally, these grappling movements can disable an opponent in seconds- and you can use them regardless of your size.

Nonetheless, Karate is suitable for self-defense, as it teaches effective fighting techniques, mainly kicking and punching. As such, Karate trainees are capable of disabling and opponents while simultaneously defending themselves. As a result, their fighting capabilities are up there. 

Eventually, all martial arts are suitable for self-defense and other fighting purposes, even Tai Chi. However, some may be better than others, as they teach more effective and dominant fighting techniques, such as grappling. 

The last piece of information I want you to know is that many elite fighters combine 2-martial arts to create a more dynamic style. BJJ is one fighting style you can learn and integrate with others, such as boxing, kickboxing, Muay-Thai, and even Karate. 

To completely understand my point, consider watching the following video to see why BJJ is as effective as it is for self-defense situations. 

Which is better for fitness, BJJ or Karate?

Learning any martial art- is practical for improving your physical shape. Additionally, your body composition will change according to how dedicated you are. As a result, if you dedicate yourself to training, you can expect to build muscle and even lose body fat while learning to fight. 

For fitness purposes, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is better than Karate, as it uses more muscles more intensely. As a result, BJJ trainees will both burn more calories and use more muscles than Karate trainees. For example, you can burn up to 1100 calories in BJJ sparring in an hour-long session.

One of the more prominent reasons people learn martial arts is for fitness purposes. In fact, all fighting styles will better your physical appearance and composition. 

Moreover, if you haven’t started your martial arts journey yet, you can expect to feel sore after the first session. Feeling sore is a sign that you used your muscles intensely the previous workout. As a result, you have bettered your physical shape, even after a single workout. 

Benefits of BJJ

One of the reasons BJJ is as valuable as it is- is because it provides many benefits. To clarify, it gives its trainees countless physical and mental benefits, such as reduced stress and confidence.

The 2-following sections will examine 2-prominent benefits BJJ has to offer. If you’re interested in attaining them, it’ll be best if you’re ready to dedicate yourself to training. As such, you’ll notice more results sooner. 

Better physical shape

Improving your physical shape correlates with many health benefits and better mental health. As a result, bettering your physical condition- is incredibly desirable in today’s world. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu betters physical shape since its training uses many muscle groups, such as legs, arms, and even your back. As a result, burning many calories- is not uncommon. For example, you can burn up to 1100 calories per hour of BJJ, which is exceptionally high. 

Improved confidence

BJJ improves its trainees’ confidence since it gives them the platform to overcome numerous obstacles throughout their training. As a result, they’ll feel more capable the more they keep training. For instance, reaching the blue belt is an incredible achievement. 

Participants report that the therapeutic benefits of BJJ practice include assertiveness, self-confidence, self-control, patience, empathy, empowerment, improved sleep, and mindfulnessSource

Benefits of Karate

Karate is one of the best martial arts one can learn since it provides its trainees with countless mental and physical benefits, such as reduced stress and aggression levels. You can expect to improve your mental health by staying consistent with your training. 

The 2-following sections will discuss some of the significant benefits Karate offers. If you’re interested in attaining these, I encourage you to read the following article about tips for martial arts beginners (to progress faster).


In my perspective, staying consistent with projects that require your constant effort distinguishes between the successful and unsuccessful. Now, what can we call this ability? The answer is discipline. 

Karate builds and improves its trainees’ discipline since it provides them with a platform to stay consistent and invest their effort in. Additionally, in all martial arts- you won’t see any concrete results until you overcome the beginners’ phase. As a result, if you do so, your discipline will skyrocket. 

Image by chiplanay from Pixabay

Eventually, if you can improve your discipline, the world is yours. Attaining any goal you set your eyes to becomes effortless. Moreover, your mental health will improve with your discipline, leading us to our next section. 

Better self-esteem and well-being

Karate betters self-esteem and overall well-being by allowing the trainee to overcome numerous obstacles throughout their training. For instance, waking up and going to Karate training instead of indulging in instant-pleasures activities- will improve your well-being and self-esteem. 

But, you don’t have to take my word for it. Instead, let’s examine a study I’ve quoted plenty of times on my website. 

Visual inspection showed that four participants improved their global self-esteem. Self-efficacy was improved in three participants whereas the other two had high self-efficacy before participation in the karate program. Source

Eventually, improving your self-esteem in today’s world is rather difficult. Because of that, I don’t see where you can lose if you can do so while learning to fight. I encourage you to jump on the opportunity as early as possible. 

Which is harder to learn, Karate or BJJ?

Numerous factors jump into our equation regarding the amount of effort and time you have to invest in learning a martial art. Because of that, it’ll be best if we look at them to examine the difficulty of which martial art is harder to learn, Karate or BJJ. 

Karate is harder to learn since it involves more complex fighting techniques, such as punching, kicking, and clinching. Moreover, many trainees dedicate their life to understanding the Karate style- and still cannot manage to do so. 

If you think that you won’t have to invest effort or time to learn a specific martial art- you’re on the wrong path. As a result, be ready to dedicate yourself and some of your time to learning the martial art you wish to learn.

Nonetheless, when discussing BJJ and Karate, one may find it easier to learn the basics of Jiu-Jitsu than the latter. As a result, if that’s one of your metrics for choosing a martial art to learn, consider the previous answer.

Karate vs. BJJ- who wins?

Comparing two martial arts is more difficult than it may sound. In fact, some will argue that it’s impossible, as each brings unique value and benefits. So, as a result, how can we compare between BJJ and Karate? Well, let’s take a specific occasion to compare them. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is better than Karate because it teaches more effective techniques for fighting purposes, mainly ground grappling. As a result, Jiu-Jitsu trainees can use them to disable opponents, even Karate trainees, swiftly; thus, it’s more valuable to know. 

boxing fight
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Nevertheless, learning Karate can be more suitable for others since they may prefer to learn the techniques it teaches. Primarily, many rather learn to punch and kick instead of grappling, which is valid. For them, Karate is more suitable and practical to learn. 

I want to point out that if you’re struggling to choose which one to learn even after reading this article, both are suitable for your needs. For example, you might wish to learn to fight. Therefore, both martial arts are ideal for your needs. Consequently, it’ll be best to choose a random one and begin training. 

Is Karate suitable for street fighting?

Karate is suitable for street fighting since it teaches effective fighting techniques like kicking and punching. As a result, its trainees can use them to ensure they disable their opponents quickly. Moreover, it teaches offensive and defensive moves, making them more capable fighters. 

For street fights, you can’t be afraid of your opponent. If you are, you’ll find yourself in a world of trouble, as you won’t be able to cause massive damage. Contrary, your opponent will be capable of closing your distance, which allows him to come out on top. 

Because of that, martial arts that involve sparring- are better than those that don’t. In addition, Karate incorporates many sparring sessions, leading to the fear factor being minimized in real life. 

Is BJJ suitable for street fighting?

BJJ is suitable for street fighting because it teaches ground grappling, which is highly effective for self-defense. Moreover, it involves many sparring sessions in training itself. As a result, you won’t be afraid to attack and defend when the fight isn’t in training but in real life. 

Final words

I’m a big fan of all martial arts, as they teach people how to use physical force appropriately. Because of that, people become capable of using their bodies as means of self-defense, allowing them to take responsibility for themselves and others around them. 

BJJ and Karate are both fantastic martial arts- suitable for street fighting and self-defense. Moreover, they provide their trainees countless mental and physical results, such as confidence, self-esteem, better physical shape, and reduced stress and aggression levels.

As a result, learning either will allow you to better your well-being the more you dedicate yourself to training. 

While BJJ utilizes ground grappling techniques, Karate involves a broader set of skills, such as kicking and punching. Because of that, if that’s your interest, consider Karate. However, BJJ is better than the first for self-defense, as it teaches incredibly effective techniques for self-defense. 

If you’re interested in training BJJ at home, I encourage you to buy a grappling dummy. Follow the link to land on an article I wrote on the complete buyer’s guide for grappling dummies and how to fill them. 


I've served in the military as a special forces operator for 4-years. In that period, I've trained in many martial arts, including karate, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and even Krav Maga. I want to share my passion with you, so here it is!

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