Taekwondo vs BJJ – Differences & Similarities


Learning any martial art– will provide numerous mental and physical benefits. However, various of them exist. So, it may not be apparent to choose one. This article will demonstrate the differences between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ and Taekwondo. If you’re struggling to choose one to learn, this post will influence your decision. 

While Taekwondo is fast-paced and utilizes punching and kicking, BJJ is a martial art that focuses on ground grappling. Both martial arts are suitable for self-defense. However, their origin, fighting techniques, pace, and rules- are different. 

By doing both fighting styles, you’ll improve your well-being. In fact, many studies have shown the amount of influence learning to fight can have on your life. You can improve your physical condition and self-confidence while learning to fight. I don’t know what about you, but that sounds like an opportunity I would take. 

I’ve been training in martial arts for a couple of years. Thus I know what you can expect from your training routine. If you’re interested in improving many aspects of your life, I encourage you to learn one. 

Now that we’re done talking about the benefits of martial arts let’s dive specifically into what you ought to learn. If you encountered this article, you’re most likely struggling between Taekwondo and BJJ. But first, let’s examine their differences and similarities. 

Differences between Taekwondo and BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Taekwondo are different, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Nonetheless, you might not be as familiar with the gaps between them. As a result, choosing which one to learn- may seem incredibly complex. However, it’s not as hard as you think.

First, let’s dive into their differences. If you’re unfamiliar with them, I reckon this is the most vital section for your knowledge. But, on the other hand, if you know the differences, you can make a wiser choice for which one to learn. 

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

#1- Their origin

All martial arts originate from an area. Although that shouldn’t influence your decision as much as the following differences, knowing it- is helpful. The origin of the fighting style dictates how it’s going to look. 

Jiu-Jitsu originates from Japan. As a result, it will seem somewhat similar to other martial arts from the same area, such as Karate. On the other hand, Taekwondo is a Korean fighting style. 

But again, that shouldn’t influence your decision as much as the other differences. Yet, knowing it- is helpful for your knowledge. 

#2- Their fighting techniques

While the origin of the two martial arts shouldn’t affect your decision as much, the fighting techniques they teach- are vital to know. In fact, that was the metric I followed in choosing which one to learn. For your information, I chose boxing. Let’s continue. 

While Taekwondo focuses primarily on kicking with a touch of punching, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu utilizes ground grappling. As a result, if you’re looking to learn a martial art that uses grappling, BJJ is most suitable. However, if you desire to learn kicking and punching, consider Taekwondo. 

Nevertheless, all martial arts focus on different techniques. For instance, boxing is the art of punching, and Judo focuses on throwing grappling. Because of that, think with yourself about which fighting technique you’d instead learn.

If you’re unfamiliar with how grappling looks and feels, here’s a video you can watch to comprehend. 

For your information, kicking, punching, and grappling are effective for self-defense and any fighting purpose. Hence they can disable anyone in seconds. However, they’re incredibly different. 

For instance, while punching and kicking heavily rely on weight, anyone can use grappling techniques regardless of their opponent’s size. Thus it may be more effective. 

#3- Taekwondo is fast-paced compared to BJJ.

The pace of the martial art influences the style of the martial art. For instance, Karate is slower-paced compared to other fighting styles. However, MMA is more fast-paced than the average sort. 

Taekwondo utilizes swift movements to catch the opponent off-guard. On the other hand, BJJ is a slower pace compared to it. Regardless, that doesn’t mean that the first is better than the latter. Instead, these martial arts use different fighting approaches. 

To further clarify my point, here’s a video demonstrating Taekwondo’s fast-paced nature.

#4- The rules

The last difference is somewhat apparent. Yet, mentioning it- is crucial. Because Taekwondo and BJJ are different, their competitive rules will differ. So, let’s examine some of the limitations each one presents. 


  • No punching or kicking
  • The fight ceases when one fighter taps out
  • You can’t slam your opponent
  • You can’t leave the mat to escape a submission


  • You score points by landing fatal blows.
  • No escaping the mat
  • No grappling or clinching

Mainly, the rules follow the fighting techniques. For instance, because Taekwondo focuses on punching and kicking, you can’t use any grappling. On the other hand, because BJJ utilizes ground grappling, there’s no use for any other grappling, punching, or kicking. 

Now that you’re familiar with their differences let’s continue with their present similarities. Frankly, knowing the differences is more crucial for making a choice. However, the similarities present an opportunity to comprehend these martial arts altogether. Let’s dive in. 

Similarities between Taekwondo and BJJ

All martial arts have some similarities between them. Mainly, their goals are the same. Before fighting styles existed, people needed to know self-defense. The people of Okinawa Island in Japan were required to learn to use their bodies for self-defense. As a result, they invented a new style- which you may know as of today’s Karate

Taekwondo and BJJ are also similar. Frankly, the differences matter more. As a result, I’ll keep it relatively brief compared to the previous sections. 

#1- They’re suitable for self-defense.

All martial arts serve the same purpose; to teach people to use self-defense appropriately. For instance, the people of Okinawa constructed Karate to ensure everyone knows how to use self-defense. Because of that, the case is no different with our martial arts. 

Taekwondo and BJJ are both suitable for self-defense because they teach practical and effective fighting techniques. As a result, trainees can use them to quickly and swiftly disable their opponents. For instance, incapacitating a person with a single fatal kick- isn’t far-fetched. 

These martial arts serve a purpose. Today, many people learn to fight for different reasons. For instance, while you may study so, you’ll learn to fight, the other practices for self-improvement. However, the results are the same regardless of your initial goal. 

In fact, they both provide numerous mental and physical benefits, which we’ll discuss in the following sections. Nonetheless, you’ll become a solid fighter by learning both martial arts. Numerous cases prove the same conclusion; martial arts are the ultimate way to learn fighting

If you want to know how to fight, both styles serve the same purpose. As a result, don’t stress yourself too much if that’s your goal. 

#2- BJJ and Taekwondo provide mental and physical benefits.

The most popular reason people begin to train in martial arts is that they want to learn how to fight. However, others wish to improve their well-being. Because of that, they use it as a platform for self-improvement. 

BJJ and Taekwondo provide countless mental and physical benefits. As a result, their trainees will improve their well-being in correlation with their dedication levels. For instance, studies showed that confidence, self-esteem, and overall well-being would increase in the long term. 

In my experience, you’ll notice improvements after the first session. Although it may sound too good to be true, it isn’t. However, that’s not the challenging part. The problematic phase is staying consistent with training- while not noticing as many results. Like everything in life, most people quit in this phase (I like to call it the ghost town phase).

However, please don’t take my word for it. Here are two studies that proved what I claimed to be true. That said, listening to others’ experiences and results can also benefit you. 

Training in martial arts has been shown to alter experiences of control and vulnerability, self-esteem, self-concept, fitness, confidence, and relaxation. As a result, some researchers characterize martial arts practice as a form of self-help. 


All participants initially displayed symptoms of PTSD, which significantly reduced over the course of the study. Participants report that the therapeutic benefits of BJJ practice include assertiveness, self-confidence, self-control, patience, empathy, empowerment, improved sleep, and mindfulness


As you can see, professional studies have proved the same conclusion; martial arts are a suitable way to improve your well-being. Thus training in them- is fantastic and a wise choice. 

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

Now that we have discussed the differences and similarities, you’re more familiar with these fighting styles. Therefore, you may have a preference in your mind for which you will study. However, there’s more to know prior to making your choice. 

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is more suitable than Taekwondo for self-defense since grappling is more effective than punching and kicking. As a result, you can disable an attacker more effectively, for example, if you were to use grappling instead of kicking and punching. 

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For self-defense, our goal changes from fighting in the most efficient way to how can we disable the attacker in the fastest way? Eventually, although kicking and punching are effective, grappling is more suitable for such purposes. Consequently, you can use it to disable your opponents swiftly. 

Nonetheless, knowing Taekwondo will come in handy for self-defense situations. In fact, if you catch your opponent off-guard, a single straight punch can finish a fight. However, defending against such attacks is often easier than others, like grappling. 

Most people don’t know how to defend against grappling techniques. As a result, you can use them with a higher success rate than if you were to utilize other fighting movements. Thus it’s more effective and practical. 

Is Taekwondo effective in a real fight?

Knowing any martial art, even Tai chi or Sumo is helpful for real fights. Because of that, a fighting style like Taekwondo will be even more valuable. 

Taekwondo is effective in real fights since it teaches punching and kicking- both offensive and defensive. As a result, using them for fighting scenarios- will come naturally. Eventually, these movements are effective and practical- thus, you can disable an attacker swiftly- while using them. 

Is BJJ effective in a real fight?

Like the last section, people first constructed fighting styles to teach people how to fight. Hence they’ll be effective for such a purpose. For instance, the people of Okinawa first created Karate since they didn’t know how to use self-defense.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is effective in a real fight since it teaches valuable fighting techniques, which are grappling. As a result, disabling your opponents using this movement- is suitable. For instance, a well-executed grappling technique can surrender an opponent in seconds. 

Here’s a demonstration of a grappling technique. The person executing it is a BJJ trainee, and thus he knows how to fight. 

You can see how an officer that’s collected and calm can finish a dangerous scenario with minimal deadly force. If it were an untrained cop, one might have used firearms to end the situation quickly. However, since the officer knew BJJ, he used it to swiftly and effectively disable the hostile. 

Which is harder to learn, BJJ or Taekwondo

Comparing the difficulties of two martial arts- is as challenging as the task itself. However, I’ll use a single metric to answer this question uncomplicatedly. 

BJJ is harder to learn than Taekwondo since it’s less intuitive. As a result, learning its basics- will require more time than Taekwondo. To clarify, punching and kicking come naturally to everyone. However, various grappling techniques are incredibly challenging to learn and comprehend. 

Nonetheless, while you may have more trouble learning BJJ, others may find Taekwondo complex. Consequently, the answer may change with how the person’s knowledge and background in fighting and martial arts. 

Should I learn BJJ or Taekwondo

If you have reached this far and are still unsure which fighting style you should learn, they’re both suitable for you. First, however, let’s answer this question with an uncomplicated answer. Then, who knows, you may read it and make your choice. 

If you desire to learn a fast-paced martial art that utilizes punching and kicking, Taekwondo is for you. However, consider Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu if you wish to practice a fighting style that uses ground grappling- disabling an opponent quickly and effectively. 

Now you can see how different these fighting styles are. If you’re still having trouble making up your mind, I encourage you to pick one and roll with it. 

You’ll find that with experience and progression, you’ll fancy any martial art. As a result, it doesn’t matter which one you pick as long as you begin training as soon as possible. 

In fact, if there’s a single action I want you to take, begin training. By noticing results as soon as possible, your motivation will spike similarly to when you started your training. Thus staying consistent- becomes somewhat effortless and natural. 

Which is better for fitness, Taekwondo or BJJ?

Both Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provide many physical benefits. If that’s your desire, you should begin to learn any of them since they’re somewhat similar. However, there’s a clear winner; let’s see which. 

BJJ is better for fitness than Taekwondo since you can burn more calories and utilize more muscles. As a result, you’ll train more body parts, which leads to burning more calories. For comparison, you can burn up to 1100 calories in Jiu-Jitsu and 937 in Taekwondo.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Nonetheless, both martial arts serve as a platform to better your physical shape. As a result, it doesn’t matter as much which one you do- since they’re both suitable. 

Benefits of BJJ

I’ve previously cited a study about the benefits of BJJ. However, I’ll quote it again- since it holds great power. If you understand the benefits you can receive from BJJ training, your motivation will spike to an all-time high. 

Assertiveness, self-confidence, self-control, patience, empathy, empowerment, improved sleep, and mindfulness


As you can tell, these traits are highly desirable in today’s world. Many people would change their entire perspective of their lives to improve these aspects in themselves. As a result, if you can do so while learning to fight, there’s no losing. 

Eventually, you’ll experience more results from consistent BJJ training, such as less stress and aggression, less violence, more fulfillment, improved well-being, and better situational awareness. These are all extremely desirable. 

Benefits of Taekwondo

Many don’t see Taekwondo as a self-improvement platform. However, there isn’t a single part of my body that thinks that way. Instead, you’ll receive countless benefits and results from it. Here’s a study that proves my point. 

The majority of Taekwondo students reported positive perceptions of Taekwondo and perceived self-improvement in self-control and physical fitness. Results suggest that Taekwondo is an exercise program that improves cognitive functioning and is both feasible and acceptable to implement in a public school setting. 


One of the significant results this study shows is an improvement in dedication and physical condition. These two are what many people are missing in their lives. Thus, if you can improve these aspects while learning to fight, you’ll drastically improve your well-being.

Additionally, you might experience all of the benefits I mentioned in BJJ’s section. For instance, you’ll notice less stress and aggression, improved well-being, and better situational awareness. I wish you all my luck in your training. 

Final words

Martial arts are a fantastic way for you to improve yourself. They provide many mental and physical benefits that you can use to improve yourself. For instance, many fighting styles grant their trainees less stress in high anxiety situations. Such traits are highly desirable, and thus learning to fight- is wise. 

Eventually, BJJ and Taekwondo are similar in their purpose. However, they have apparent gaps that differentiate them. For instance, the fighting techniques they teach- are different. While BJJ utilizes ground grappling, Taekwondo uses punching and kicking. 

If you’re struggling to make your choice, I’ve been there and know your pain. Unfortunately, choosing which martial art to learn is often more demanding than training. As a result, I wrote an article on the best martial arts you should learn. I highly encourage you to read it. 

Additionally, if you’re interested in learning to fight at home, I wrote a complete guide for it. You can read it by following the link.


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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