BJJ vs Judo – Differences and Similarites

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo are two of the most popular martial arts in existence. There are hundreds of thousands of practitioners of these martial arts all around the world. However, to the novice eye – these two martial arts may seem alike. And this is not that far from the truth, to begin with. There are many similarities between BJJ and Judo. This article will mention some of the similarities and differences between these two martial arts. If you’re interested in learning more about Bjj vs Judo – you’re welcome to read the rest of this article.

The strategy of BJJ

We’ll begin with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The most important thing that a BJJ practitioner can do is submit their opponent in the bout. This is done by employing a highly-advanced repertoire of kill-moves that can choke out one’s opponent or tear one’s opponent limbs. BJJ bouts start with the two opponents standing up but the goal is to get to the ground. Most of the work in BJJ happens while the two players are on the ground. The stand-up portion of the game is important as well – it’s just not that important as the ground game for the BJJ practitioners. In BJJ, getting down to the ground is just the beginning of the match. It’s here where the true technique and skills of the individual practitioners get to shine. This aspect of the bout can culminate with the aforementioned submissions.

The strategy of Judo

The Judo matches start with the players standing up as well. However, the main strategy in Judo is to grab your opponent as best as you can. Then you will give your best to destabilize him and make him unable to resist your techniques or counter them. After this, you will need to throw your opponent to the ground. The similarity to BJJ here is that you can use these exact same set of moves to throw your opponent to the ground both in Judo and in BJJ. However, if you do this in Judo, then the match ends and you are the victor. If you do it in BJJ, then the match is just beginning and you only get some points.

There is also a ground game aspect of Judo. The Judokas will first try to throw their opponent to the ground. If the throw is executed with solid technique – then the match ends. However, if there is sloppiness and the two Judokas fall to the ground – then one of them will need to submit the other. If the Judokas fail to do this, then the referee may stand them up again. So, in this sense, the critical point of focus for Judokas is the stand-up game where they get to try and throw their opponent to the ground. But they also implement some ground game techniques such as chokes and armbars.

BJJ vs Judo – Differences


  • Focus on throws–  Partial points are given if opponents don’t land on the back, or not hard enough. If opponent land on the back with enough force and speed, the ippon is awarded and the match ends in favor of the athlete who scored it. Grabbing legs is forbidden, so techniques like double and single leg are not allowed.
  • Limited Ground game – Submissions like armlocks and chokes are allowed in judo, but the time you can spend on the ground is usually limited around 20-30 seconds. Leg locks are not allowed in Judo. In Judo you can win by pinning opponent on the ground for more  25 seconds, but if the pin is broken after less then 25 and more then 10 seconds, partial points are awarded.


  • Trows and takedowns are much less important– This can be seen my number of points given for a takedown which is 2. Unlike judo, in BJJ fight is far from over after you lend a takedown. You can use all sorts of techniques from Judo and wrestling and there are no limitations like in Judo.
  • Ground/submission focus – Best way to finish the fight in BJJ is with submissions. There are a lot of ways to submit your opponent, like chokes, arm locks, and leg locks. Positions are also awarded for positions depending on how dominant is that position (mount and back 4 points, Guard pass 3 etc.). Also in BJJ, you can’t win by simply pining opponent for 25 seconds, on the contrary, if you stay too long in the same position it can be considered stalling.

The culture of BJJ and Judo

The Gracies are known as pioneers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, there are many people that call this martial art “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu”. What the Gracies have done is set a challenge, inviting the top martial artists of the world to test their mettle against the Gracie family. The Gracies have won many of these matches by using the techniques of BJJ. So, in essence, the culture of BJJ is that the practitioners will look for new challenges all the time and try to get the victory by any means.

Judo is, in turn, a Japanese martial art. This is a martial art where there is a high level of focus placed on things that are beyond the martial art. We’re talking about things like hierarchy, humility, and respect. It may be a bit of an oversimplification, but there is a saying that Judo is like fine wine while BJJ is like a beer.

The point is that both of these martial arts have their good sides and bad sides. If you visit YouTube, then you will find out many matches between expert BJJ practitioners and Judokas. The smartest thing in our opinion is to learn from both of these martial arts. You will get to learn many important things both from BJJ and from Judo as well. If we were to simplify things – we will tell you the following – if you wish to improve your stand-up throwing game, then train Judo. If you wish to improve your ground game, then train BJJ.

In conclusion

What remains now is for you to select which one of these martial arts will be your preferred choice. This is not obligatory, however – you can train both if you want to. But most people will have a drive towards one or the other. See a few BJJ and Judo matches. Perhaps even try them out for yourself and see what they are all about. Then you will be able to make your Bjj vs Judo choice as to which style suits you better.

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