Judo vs BJJ – Differences | Which is better?

Judo vs BJJ

Choosing a martial art– may be as challenging as the training itself. BJJ and Judo are incredible fighting styles– that provide plenty of benefits to their trainees. Let’s examine their differences and similarities. 

Judo and BJJ’s primary similarity is that they both utilize grappling techniques as their direct style. However, Judo uses throwing movements, while BJJ utilizes ground techniques. Moreover, their ranking system is different, while Japan’s origin is the same. 

Nonetheless, they both provide similar physical and mental benefits. For instance, your physical condition will improve if you constantly show up to training. I wrote an article discussing this precisely. If you’re interested in reading more, follow the link. 

This article will demonstrate many of the differences and similarities between the two martial arts. Additionally, if you’re having difficulty choosing one to learn- I’ll discuss which one will be most suitable for whom.

ProsSuitable for self-defense
Utilizes throwing grappling
Provides mental and physical benefits
Suitable for self-defense
Utilizes ground grappling
Provides mental and physical benefits
ConsDifficult to learnDifficult to learn (less than Judo)
BenefitsIncreases self-esteem
Improves confidence
Reduces stress
Reduces overall aggression levels
Improves physical condition
Grants more well-being related benefits
Teaches self-defense
Reduces overall aggression levels
Improves physical condition
Grants more well-being related benefits
The characteristics of Judo and BJJ

Primary differences between Judo and BJJ

Learning any martial art- is a wise choice since it can provide many benefits, physical and mental. However, when picking one, you must consider its aspects to choose one suitable for your desires. If you avoid doing so, you won’t enjoy the training as much. 

Thus, knowing the differences between Judo and BJJ will help when trying to choose one. The following section will discuss the differences between the two and their meaning. 

They use different grappling techniques.

The fighting movements each martial art uses- can provide various insights into whether you should learn it. For example, when I began my fighting journey, I chose Boxing since I fancied the simplicity of training. Consequently, I stayed consistent for a couple of years and still rolling. 

Although both Judo and BJJ use grappling techniques, they use them in different varieties. For example, while Judo utilizes throwing movements, the latter incorporates ground ones. As a result, they both use other movements. 

Image by BedexpStock from Pixabay

To emphasize- how vital knowing it is; I quit Kung fu since I didn’t know what to expect from the training. I began doing Kung fu since I believed it could change my entire fighting career. Yet, I was wrong because I quit after two sessions. 

Thus knowing what you’ll learn will adapt your expectations. Therefore, odds are you won’t quit since you’ll be eager to study and practice more. 

Ranking (belt) system

Although it shouldn’t impact your decision, knowing this difference- may assist you in understanding the two styles better. But, eventually, the ranking system doesn’t provide any concrete details on the style itself. So, let’s examine the belt systems of Judo and BJJ. 


The following image is Judo’s belt progression system. As you can see, it’s not as complicated as some put it to be. You’ll notice some differences when we present Jiu-Jitsu’s ranking system.


The following is BJJ’s belt progression system. You can already notice and examine some differences in the two systems.

You’ll notice a few differences between the two systems. Overall, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to them. Instead, begin by knowing what they are, so you can understand the two martial arts to better depth.

They include different fighting techniques.

All martial arts teach different fighting techniques. While some may have the same name, their execution will be different. For instance, Kickboxing and Muay-Thai both teach kicking and punching. Yet, the style in which each teaches its trainees will be other. 

Judo and BJJ utilize the same group of fighting techniques, which is grappling. However, while Judo teaches its trainees throwing grappling movements, BJJ teaches ground grappling. As a result, both are incredibly different in fights and have other benefits and uses.

To choose one to learn, I recommend thinking about what you prefer to learn. For example, practicing ground movements was more suitable for my style. Because of that, I decided to learn Jiu-Jitsu. Hence I stayed consistent while enjoying training. 

Yourself, you can think about which style you would instead learn. For example, would you prefer to practice throwing or ground grappling movements? Although you may not have an answer, it may assist you in choosing one. 

Similarities between Judo and BJJ

While all fighting styles are different, they have some similarities. While they’re all unique, they share the same principles, values, and goals. Next, we’ll look at how Judo and BJJ are similar.

Their origin

The first similarity between Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is their origin. While the source of the style shouldn’t bother you, it may characterize some aspects. Thus when two fighting types are from the same place, they’ll have various similar features and movements. 

Judo and BJJ are both from Japan. As a result, people who master both will notice various similarities between the two. For example, both fighting styles utilize grappling techniques exclusively, although they’re different at their core. 

But again, the origin shouldn’t bother you as long as you desire to learn the skills these arts teach. 

Tori Japan
Image by Jordy Meow from Pixabay

Both Judo and BJJ are effective for self-defense.

The primary aspect of martial arts is teaching people to use their bodies with physical force. Consequently, using this force for fighting purposes, such as street fights- is only natural. 

Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are effective for self-defense because they teach movements- suitable for such purposes. Grappling techniques will be practical and beneficial to know in all of their forms. Therefore, both fighting styles teach it, which we’re looking to get. 

Most fighting styles are efficient for self-defense and overall fighting purposes. Therefore, studying these martial arts (follow the link to read the best martial arts for self-defense) will grant you the ability to use self-defense properly. 

However, you ought to stay away from useless fighting styles, which are all around us. Follow the link to find out which are they. 

They both use grappling.

One of the more suitable movements for self-defense is the grapple. Most people are familiar with kicking and punching to knock out the attacker or opponent. Yet, that’s entirely inaccurate. For instance, many punching techniques won’t work in actual dangerous situations.

Both Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu use grappling as their primary fighting movement. As a result, because it’s highly effective for fighting purposes, learning these fighting styles- is incredibly fittable for self-defense and any fighting pursuit. 

Often, knowing to punch powerfully isn’t enough to win a fight. However, being familiar with maneuvering your opponent on the ground or standing up has more chances of leading you to victory.  

The following video demonstrates a police officer using Jiu-Jitsu to stop a hostile. I recommend watching the video to its fullest and then returning to read the following sections, as there’s plenty more to discuss. 

Eventually, you can learn both Judo and BJJ for self-defense purposes because grappling is their central self-defense move. Consequently, they’re fighting styles with plenty of benefits and practicality. 

Both Judo and BJJ use Gi (training suit)

Although that may not interest you as much as the other points, both Judo and BJJ use Gi, which is a training suit, in their training. The following image is a Gi.

Gi training suit (Judo and BJJ)
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 

They both provide mental and physical benefits.

I’m a big fan of martial arts since they can provide many benefits which improve one’s overall quality of life. Because of that, learning them consistently will provide such results in the long term. For instance, one can expect to improve one’s physical condition by participating in any fighting style.

Judo, like many other martial arts, combines physical activity, self-defence skills, and discipline. Judo is an excellent sport for children to learn for many different reasons, including to make children more physically healthy, mentally well, and build confidence, self-esteem, and respect for others.


In summary, BJJ training may be an appropriate public health intervention considering its social climate and emphasis on developing resilience and its mitigating effect on aggression.


These studies show typical results. That means that anyone who stays consistent with one’s training can notice such benefits in oneself. Consequently, learning these martial arts doesn’t only teach self-defense and various fighting techniques. Instead, it also improves one mental and physical capabilities and overall well-being.

Should you learn Judo or BJJ first?

The question of which martial art to learn first has always been at the top of the priority list. Unfortunately, I got asked this question plenty of times since people aren’t familiar with what to expect from each one. I’ll give you the answer I always say. But, it may not lead you to any concrete decisions. 

If you prefer learning throwing techniques while standing up, you should learn Judo. However, if you rather study ground techniques, which are meant to maneuver one’s opponent while on the ground, Jiu-Jitsu is more suitable. 

That’s the answer I always say whenever I get asked this question. Although it may not lead you anywhere, that’s what you should know. Myself, for example, being on the ground and maneuvring my opponent seemed more attractive and enjoyable to me. Thus I learned BJJ first. 

You may not have an answer in your mind- and that’s fine. However, it’ll help if you think deeply about this subject since it will decide which martial art you’ll learn. As I told you previously, such a choice is incredibly critical to your future self and how much you’ll enjoy the fighting style itself. 

Which is harder to learn, Judo or BJJ?

Studying martial arts is incredibly demanding. As a result, you would have to stay consistent, even if you learn an “easy” fighting style, such as Tai chi. So let’s examine which is more complicated.

Judo is more difficult to learn than BJJ since it emphasizes balance and throwing people off their balance. As a result, it’ll be more challenging to study. For instance, Jiu-Jitsu will be more intuitive than the first. Consequently, it’ll be more manageable to practice and learn the basics. 

Image by sellanja from Pixabay

Although that’s accurate, you may find it more demanding to learn BJJ. Because of that, while the use of balance makes Judo harder to study, some individuals may find it more intuitive than others. Hence, understanding the first will be easier for these people than the latter. 

The primary obstacle in fighting classes is staying consistent. Many will quit before harvesting the seeds they planted; that applies to everything. Therefore, it’ll be best to stay consistent and keep working on yourself.

Another piece of advice I can give you from experience is setting small milestones. For instance, when I first began this website, my goal was to publish 10-articles in a month. I didn’t put myself for failure by setting a goal of 120-pieces in a year since that would lead to significant discouragement. 

Finally, learning both Judo and Jiu-Jitsu will be incredibly challenging. For your information, for many people, staying consistent with martial arts training- is more demanding than keeping up with a regular training routine.

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

As previously mentioned, when discussing self-defense, our goal changes. We shouldn’t want to become the best fighter since it may not aid as much as the following; we desire to disable the attacker as quickly as possible. Consequently, chances are- we’ll disable the hostile before one can cause damage to anyone. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is more suitable for self-defense than Judo because most fights will end on the ground. Now, while Judo is fantastic when you begin standing up, the following of the encounter will be more demanding to manage since you’ll both be on the ground- struggling. 

You want to maneuver the attacker while both of you are on the ground. If you’re familiar with fundamental BJJ, you’ll be capable of disabling the unfriendly’s ability to respond and cause damage. As a result, finishing the fight- is easier if you know ground grappling (Jiu-Jitsu). 

Yet, Judo is incredibly suitable for self-defense as well. In fact, it’s one of the most influential martial arts for such a purpose. Because of that, learning it for self-defense- is wiser than you may initially think. 

Yet, BJJ has proved itself time after time. The following video demonstrates the techniques you’ll learn in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and how they help us in self-defense scenarios. 

This channel is one of the best ones for learning Jiu-Jitsu online. I wrote an article on whether one can learn martial arts by watching videos, and I recommend reading it since it correlates with this post. 

Judo vs. BJJ, who wins?

I saved the two most complicated questions to answer for last since this entire post was the background and common knowledge you should have before choosing which martial art to learn or which one wins. 

Judo and BJJ are both similar martial arts since they utilize grappling movements as their primary technique. However, because they use different activities (ground or throwing techniques), there’s no saying who’ll win in a fight between them. Therefore, comparing them- is demanding. 

To clarify, both use grappling techniques. Yet, each uses a different version of the grapple. Because of that, they excel at different stages in the fight. For example, the Judo practitioner excels while standing up, and the opposite applies to the BJJ one. 

Consequently, comparing them is more complicated than choosing one to learn. Unlike when comparing two fighting styles, such as MMA and Karate, it’s impossible to say even if they were both Judo and BJJ fighters were to be equally skilled.

Should I learn Judo or BJJ?

Learning any martial art- is beneficial since it provides both physical and mental benefits. For instance, one can expect to improve confidence and self-esteem by staying consistent with fighting training

If you desire to learn a fighting style that utilizes throwing movements while standing up, consider Judo as your primary style. Ont the other hand, if you want to study a martial art that uses ground grappling techniques, BJJ is most suitable. 

“A study of active-duty service members who participated in a 5 month BJJ program found that the participants had meaningful improvements in their PTSD symptoms as well as improvements to depression and anxiety.” Source

As you can tell, that is a mere example of one of the benefits one can expect to receive from any martial arts training. For context, I wrote an article listing the different results one can expect to have from consistent training. I encourage reading it since iI backed it by plenty of studies. 

Eventually, both Judo and BJJ are fantastic martial arts, suitable for self-defense and as a sport. Consequently, it’ll help if you consider their differences, which I listed at the beginning of this article. Thus you’ll make a wiser decision and enjoy the learning process more than if you were to choose the less suitable. 

Final words

I genuinely admire martial arts training because anyone who desires to learn it can enjoy the many benefits that begin to flow with the effort you invest. 

It doesn’t matter which one you’ll learn. Instead, what impacts the process is that one stays consistent with one’s training. As a result, benefits and effects, both physical and mental, will begin flowing naturally. 

Both Judo and BJJ are fantastic martial arts, suitable for self-defense and sports. Because of that, it doesn’t matter as much which one you’ll learn compared to you staying consistent with training and noticing the results we previously discussed. 

They both use grappling techniques, which are highly effective for self-defense. Since that’s the case, you can enjoy the world of fighting and self-defense in both cases. 


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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