Differences between Japanese (traditional) Jiu-Jitsu and BJJ

The origin of various martial arts is a fascinating subject to ponder over. And the case of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no exception to this. There are many people that would like to know the exact lineage of BJJ. Well, BJJ stems from the incorporation and the refinement of various Judo techniques. And at the essence of Judo is the grandfather of all grappling techniques – Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. Since Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu only differ in terms of their names by virtue of the country they represent – many people are interested if there are any similarities and differences between these martial arts.

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu evolved as a life-or-death system of skills and techniques. They were originally created back in the day of the Samurai warriors and the ninjas. As you may expect, these were people that frequently went to battle in which they risked losing their lives to their opponents. So, it’s clear that they needed a martial arts system that they could use for unarmed combat. And Japanese Jiu-Jitsu was borne out of this need.

Today Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is taught in a much more traditional martial arts setting. The traditional values of discipline and hierarchy take precedence. Moreover, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu practitioners learn their craft through solo drills and drills with their partners in low-resistance drills and in medium-resistance drills.

Due to this traditional base – Japanese Jiu-Jitsu hasn’t really evolved a lot through time. The masters of this craft are focused on teaching the techniques to their students as best as they can. They aren’t focused at all to inventing new things and new techniques that they can effectively implement in their system.

The Japanese Jiu-Jitsu techniques are much better utilized in a real fight scenario. They will give you the biggest return for the smallest investment. These techniques are very effective to use in scenarios when you have to act quickly and deal with your opponent as quickly as possible.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was developed in great ways by the Gracie family of Brazil. In fact, there are people that still call this martial art Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instead of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu due to immense contribution that this family has on developing the craft. One of the strongest points of this martial art is that even a physically weaker person can use its techniques against a more powerful, stronger opponent – with devastating effectiveness. One of the founders of BJJ, Helio Gracie himself, was known to be a person with a very small-frame and physically weak. So, he had to work around this issue and he started to refine the various Judo techniques and make them work for a person of a smaller stature and frame – like himself. To that end, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu won’t give you any significant advantage over a stronger opponent – unlike BJJ.

One of the biggest differences between Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and BJJ is in the method of training. As we have mentioned before, the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu practitioners mostly favor the approach of hierarchy and stability. This is not to say that there is no hierarchy or stability in BJJ. However, the evolution of BJJ is much more volatile. Even white belts are known to try things out and develop new techniques that are then successfully implemented even at higher levels. And even a true black belt is known to have been caught sleeping for a moment and tap to a white belt’s unexpected new flashy move.

There is a much bigger focus in sparring when it comes to BJJ. And we’re talking about full-speed, full-force sparring. What you will see on the BJJ mats is unlike what you will see in many of the other martial arts. If you train BJJ, then you will get a lot more chances to try new techniques in highly-volatile settings. So, if something consistently works for you in hectic BJJ rolling sessions against different opponents – then you will know that it’s a solid, legit technique.

Finally, BJJ at its core was developed as a set of self-defense tactics and techniques. And to that end – it’s a highly effective martial art in a real fight, even against stronger and more powerful opponents. However, there is a huge focus on BJJ as a sport. There are many techniques that are being developed for BJJ that won’t work in a real fight – but that will get you points and guard-passes and even submissions in a sports setting.

In conclusion

At the very least, we must mention that there are many similarities between BJJ and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, too. Both of these martial arts use locks, pins, and chokes. And BJJ comes as a descendant of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. By now you’ve learned about some of the most important differences between these two martial arts. We hope that this will help you improve your knowledge and skills in martial arts in general.

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