Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs Japanese Jiu Jitsu: What’s the difference?

The key similarities and differences between these two popular martial arts

brazilian Jiu Jitsu and japanese Jiu Jitsu frequently get confused with each early. While they share some similarities in techniques and history, they are besides different in many ways. This steer will explain these similarities and differences to help you choose which one is correct for you .
Read on to find out the full list of similarities, differences, and more below .

Table of contents

The key technical and strategy differences between BJJ and Japanese jiu jitsu

brazilian Jiu Jitsu focuses entirely on cope and largely takes plaza on the ground. BJJ practitioners use chokes, strangles and joint locks to submit their opponents, largely from a sports perspective .
japanese Jiu Jitsu largely focuses on throwing opponents, joint manipulation, striking and blocking and some chokes and strangulations – all from a self-defense perspective. Some styles besides include traditional japanese weapons in their train.


In BJJ, practitioners use takedowns to move their opponents onto the ground, and then focus on trying to establish dominant allele positions to control and submit their adversary .
A alone place in BJJ is the “ guard ”. The guard is an umbrella term referring to a variety of positions where a practitioner is on their back or buttocks with their legs defensively in front of or around their opposition. There are five other key positions in BJJ, with thousands of likely techniques for moving to and escaping positions, and submitting opponents .

BJJ has a very active sports community with many competitions around the universe each year. As a result, most gymnasium focus on teaching BJJ geared towards competitions rather than self defense, which was primitively a bigger part of the BJJ course of study .
BJJ includes lots of sparring in every class, and as a result practitioners are able to test each proficiency to ensure it works against a resist opposition. Because BJJ doesn ’ t include hit, sparring can be regularly practiced without fear of serious injuries, although there are still injuries in BJJ .
There aren ’ thyroxine multiple styles of brazilian Jiu Jitsu like there are with japanese Jiu Jitsu, although unlike BJJ gymnasium frequently naturally specialize in sealed techniques or positions versus others .
Below is a BJJ sparring round between two gamey flat practitioners :

Jiu Jitsu

traditional japanese Jiu jitsu or Jujutsu focuses on defeating an unarmed opposition by using their own strength and momentum against them .
Jiu jitsu practitioners learn how to defend against an attacker in a kind of ways and then incapacitate them through strikes or submissions. They practice their techniques using a collaborator in diverse scenarios. They might block an attacker ’ s initial punches and then apply a joint lock, or throw them and then finish the fight with a joint attack or hit. Jujuts besides includes some defense mechanism against weapons, including disarming techniques .
While modern BJJ focuses by and large on sport, Jiu Jitsu is largely preserved from its custom as a self defense arrangement for unarmed samurai. train focuses on partner interactions where the practitioner attacks or defends depending on the technique being practiced. There are some modern sports ju-jitsu schools which compete in competitions run by the Ju-Jitsu International Federation ( JJIF ) .
japanese Jiu jitsu is taught differently in unlike schools. traditional schools include Takenouchi-ryu, and newer schools include the World Ju-Jitsu Federation ( WJJF ) .
You can see an model of one type of traditional jiu jitsu below :

History and origins

Jiu jitsu

traditional jiu jitsu is one of the oldest soldierly arts, with roots dating bet on to american samoa early as 780AD – 1200AD. By the early 1300s it was used as a way for samurai to defend themselves against heavily armed and armoured opponents on the battlefield if they lost their chief weapons .
During the seventeenth century Edo period in Japan, hand-to-hand fight systems like jujutsu grew in popularity. At around this time these grappling arts started to be known jointly as jujutsu .
In the recently 1800s, a jujutsu practitioner named Jigoro Kano modified the art and focused it by and large on the throws and submissions of jiu jitsu. He called the modern art “ Kodokan Judo ” and taught it at the Kodokan Institute in Tokyo, frankincense giving birth to modern judo .


brazilian Jiu Jitsu ’ s story begins after judo was created. Some judo experts began to travel around the earth, with some finding themselves in Brazil. One such technical was Mitsuyo Maeda, a judo master and prizefighter who travelled around the nation in the 1910s and 1920s challenging practitioners of other fighting arts at public circuses .
Maeda, besides known as Conde Koma, finally crossed paths with Carlos Gracie, who he may have instructed. Maeda besides taught others in Brazil, who besides may have been responsible for teaching Carlos. Regardless of how he was exposed to early jiu jitsu, Carlos, and finally his new brother Hélio, adapted what they knew and started specializing in groundwork techniques. Carlos finally opened a gymnasium in the mid-1920s, and brazilian Jiu Jitsu was born. It would finally be taken to modern heights when Hélio became the teacher in the 1930s .
finally BJJ reached the universe stage after the first Ultimate Fighting Championship ( UFC ) in 1993. Hélio ’ s son Royce Gracie entered and showed the power of BJJ by defeating three opponents from unlike martial arts including boxing, wrestle and savate. Nowadays BJJ is a foundational martial artwork used by mix martial artists, and has become very popular around the world .
Read the full moon history of brazilian Jiu Jitsu in our complete guidebook .


brazilian Jiu Jitsu and japanese Jiu Jitsu differ greatly when it comes to rules. Unlike BJJ which has many competitions around the populace each year, japanese Jiu Jitsu doesn ’ thyroxine generally have a hard sports component apart from some modern forms like german Ju-Jutsu. Read on to see how the rules differ between the two .


brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions broadly start with both practitioners standing. They then try to take each other down, or move directly into the guard ( known as pulling guard ) .
once on the ground, practitioners try to submit their adversary or get dominant positions to earn points. If a practitioner successfully submits their adversary they are instantaneously victorious. If no submissions are successfully completed, the match is decided based on points. Points in BJJ are earned for versatile positions and techniques including :

  • Takedowns – 2 points
  • Knee-on-belly position – 2 points
  • Guard pass – 3 points
  • Sweeps – 2 points
  • Mount – 4 points
  • Back control – 4 points

There are a number of organizations which run BJJ and submission wrestle competitions each year. Each has their own predominate set – although the rules are largely similar. The largest is the International brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation ( IBJJF ), but there ’ mho besides Grappling Industries, ADCC, United Arab Emirates Jiu Jitsu Federation ( UAEJJF ), Sport Jiu-Jitsu International Federation ( SJJIF ) and the Jiu Jitsu World League ( JJWL ) .
You can see highlights from competitive BJJ below :

Japanese Jiu Jitsu

traditional japanese jiu jitsu generally doesn ’ t have a strong sports competition scene like BJJ, but there are some modern offshoots like the Ju-Jitsu International Federation ( JJIF ) which do. JJIF competitions have three events :

  1. Duo. A pair of practitioners perform self-defense techniques randomly called by a referee, being judged on criteria like power, reality, control and more.
  2. Fighting. This is a three part competition where competitors first fight using strikes. Next, once one practitioner grabs onto another, strikes are no longer allowed and the competitors try to take each other down. Once the fight reaches the ground, the competitors try to submit each other using joint locks or strangulations. Points are earned for various techniques during the match.
  3. Ne-waza. This is closer to a BJJ competition match, and pits two practitioners against each other from standing, with no strikes allowed. Practitioners then try to get their opponent on the ground and submit them with a joint lock or strangulation, with points also awarded for throws, takedowns and dominant positions. 

You can see highlights from the 2018 World Championships below :

Belt system and progression


brazilian Jiu Jitsu uses a belt system with eight belts :

  • White
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Red and black belt (7th degree black belt)
  • Red and white belt (8th degree black belt)
  • Red belt (9th and 10th degree black belt)

Each belt below black swath has four stripes which demonstrate skill level within a swath .
Belt and stripe promotions are granted by a practitioner ’ s teacher. Each gymnasium can have its own policies on progressing students. Some might require students to grade for their stripes or belts by demonstrating techniques and spar .
Others might entirely rely on the teacher to decide when they feel a student is cook to progress .
broadly speaking, earning your next swath requires a mixture of technical cognition, sparring proficiency and clock.

Read our scout to BJJ belt levels to find out everything about what you ’ ll learn at each belt .

Japanese Jiu Jitsu

different japanese Jiu Jitsu schools can have unlike belt systems. Below is a general guide to the belts in japanese jiu jitsu :

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black

Some schools may start beginners with a red knock before the egg white belt out, and others may have “ tips ” between belts .
japanese Jiu Jitsu schools generally require students to participate in a formal grading to progress to the adjacent belt. The claim techniques a practitioner will need to know will depend on the school .
Some schools like the World Ju-Jitsu Federation in Ireland command students to know and demonstrate a sealed number of techniques, know a small sum of human body, and know some japanese terminology .

How long does it take to get a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs Japanese Jiu Jitsu?

Earning a black belt in brazilian Jiu Jitsu broadly takes between 8 – 12 years, whereas earning a black belt in japanese Jiu Jitsu is by and large thought to take approximately 5 years .

What are the differences in knowledge between a BJJ black belt and a Japanese Jiu Jitsu black belt?

A black belt out in brazilian Jiu Jitsu should have an expert cognition of ground grappling including positions, movements and submissions. According to BJJ experts like Dave Kama, Rickson Gracie and John Danaher, they should besides be adept in self-defense, be able to attack opponents across the hale torso, and dominate and control brown belts .
A black swath in japanese Jiu Jitsu should have adept cognition of throws, joint manipulations, submissions and self-defense techniques .

Classes, gyms and schools

The average BJJ class is about 1 – 1.5 hours hanker and is normally made up of :

  • A short warm up (10 – 15 minutes)
  • Learning and drilling a technique or set of techniques (45 minutes)
  • Several rounds of sparring (30 minutes)

What you ’ ll teach in japanese Jiu Jitsu will depend on the school, but an exercise of a distinctive Can-Ryu class is below :

  • Warm up and strength exercises
  • Striking and blocking training
  • Breakfall training
  • Self defence technique training and partner application
  • Stretching

What’s the average cost of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs Japanese Jiu Jitsu classes?

On average, you ’ ll pay $ 175 USD / $ 160 AUD / £100 per month for BJJ classes depending on where you live. brazilian Jiu Jitsu gymnasium normally offer unlimited classes for this monthly fee .
The cost of japanese Jiu Jitsu classes can vary depending on the school, with some charging $ 50 – $ 75 per calendar month .

Clothing and equipment

In brazilian Jiu Jitsu and japanese Jiu Jitsu practitioners ’ will normally wear a g or kimono. A g is a cotton jacket and pants, with a cotton belt which shows your social station .
BJJ-specific g are broadly heavier than karate gilbert, but not a heavy as a double waver judo gilbert. They come in a stove of different colors, weights and framework weaves .
acceptable japanese Jiu Jitsu g can broadly range from lighter karate style gilbert to heavier judo dash g depending on the school .
In BJJ most practitioners will besides wear a mouthguard during roll, and groin guards are optional .
In japanese Jiu Jitsu, because of the strike element, some schools may require students to wear a groin guard .

Which is more popular, BJJ or Japanese Jiu Jitsu?

There ’ s no definitive manner to prove how democratic one warlike art is over another. Below is one harsh way of measuring the popularity of BJJ vs japanese Jiu Jitsu using Google Trends data. As you can see, since 2004 until 2020, BJJ has gradually overtaken traditional jiu jitsu in terms when it comes to people searching on Google :

This is just a very roughly appraisal of the popularity of both warlike arts. In reality, one only has to look at the phone number of BJJ schools in a given township or city compared to traditional jiu jitsu schools to see how much more democratic BJJ has become .
One possible reason for this is the explosion in popularity of blend warlike arts ( MMA ) competitions like UFC. This has put BJJ on the populace phase and shown it to be an effective martial art against others .

Is BJJ better than Japanese Jiu Jitsu or vice versa?

As always, there ’ s no one perfective soldierly art, so whether BJJ or japanese Jiu Jitsu is better for you will depend on your goals .

Self defence

mod brazilian Jiu Jitsu tends to be focused on sports, with few gyms teaching students how to use techniques in a self-defense dress. japanese Jiu Jitsu on the other hand tends to by and large focus on self-defense techniques .
BJJ can calm offer practitioners benefits when it comes to self-defense. many cardinal techniques taught in BJJ like takedowns, spinal column takes and escapes are utilitarian for restraining an opposition .


While there ’ s no scientific research yet behind how many calories are burned in BJJ vs japanese Jiu Jitsu, the anecdotic research points to BJJ being a solid fitness option .
We ’ ve estimated in the past that BJJ burns 507 calories for every 30 minutes of sparring. BJJ spar is demanding and unmanageable for both partners, with practitioners needing aerobic power and muscular endurance and strength to last the full round .
japanese Jiu Jitsu doesn ’ thymine by and large incorporate sparring unless it ’ s a sports jiu jitsu school. In traditional japanese Jiu Jitsu, classes can include plenty of physical bodily process including warm ups, better falls, partner drills and more. But without featuring a large sparring component in each class, BJJ could sanely be seen to offer better fitness for practitioners than traditional jiu jitsu .


While some traditional jiu jitsu schools focus on sports, BJJ has a much more train sporting calendar. many big cities around the universe have regular competitions run by the IBJJF and other organizations. There are many events each year, and opportunities for talented athletes to fight for state of matter and national titles in many countries .

Which is the more effective fighting style overall?

It ’ second difficult to pit one warlike art against another in terms of potency. There are many reasons why person will take up a martial art in the first locate, so your reason for wanting to learn should help you decide which will be more effective to you .
In general, if you ’ re looking for a martial art which is physically demanding, very technical, has lots of rival opportunities and no hit, BJJ may be a good option to consider .
If you ’ rhenium looking for a martial art which is more traditional, focuses on self-defense, includes some strikes and is less physically demanding, japanese Jiu Jitsu might be a good choice to consider .

BJJ vs Japanese Jiu Jitsu: Pros and cons



  • Physically demanding and a great workout
  • Large variety of groundwork techniques
  • Regular sparring
  • Lots of competition opportunities


  • No striking
  • Takedowns are generally not as frequently taught as groundwork
  • Minimal/no self defence training

Japanese Jiu Jitsu


  • Self-defence techniques and scenarios
  • Strikes, throws and ground techniques are included 


  • Minimal/no sparring
  • Rare/no sports competition opportunities

BJJ vs Japanese Jiu Jitsu: extra resources and communities

There are plenty of blogs, YouTube channels and other websites for those interested in finding out more about both brazilian Jiu Jitsu and japanese Jiu Jitsu .


Japanese Jiu Jitsu

  • World Ju-Jitsu Federation UK (WJJF). The WJJF is a modern jiu jitsu school started by Robert Clark in 1976. 
  • Ju-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF). The JJIF governs sports jiu jitsu, and its website has the latest information about competitions and rules.
  • Takenouchi-Ryu. One of the oldest styles of traditional jiu jitsu is Takenouchi-Ryu. The website has some information about its history and current news.


As you can see, BJJ and japanese Jiu Jitsu share some similarities and yet have many differences. The soldierly art you should pick should be chosen based on your goals and preferences. Have you studied both of these warlike arts ? Give us your verdict below, or check out our other soldierly arts comparisons .

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