BJJ vs Jiu Jitsu: What’s the difference?

Are BJJ and jiu jitsu the same? Yes and no. It depends on who you ask. Let me tell you exactly what ‘jiu jitsu’ means according to different people in this article, so you can fully understand the difference between jiu jitsu and BJJ.

What does jiu jitsu mean?

There’s 2 sports that call themselves ‘jiu jitsu’:

  • Traditional jiu jitsu / Japanes jiu jitsu: this is a traditional self defense martial art. It includes striking, throws, grappling and weapon defence, but no hard sparring. This sport is more popular among older people.
  • Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) / grappling: this is a sport with hard sparring that includes grappling, some thrown but no strikes. This sport is more popular among young, strong, athletic people.

How different are Japanese and Brazilian jiu jitsu?

Japanese jiu jitsu and BJJ are very different. Even though there’s overlap in the techniques, the culture is completely different.

BJJ focuses on sparring, which means that you fight each other with full resistance (but only grappling).

Japanese jiu jitsu focuses on kata, which are prepared movements that you do together with your partner.

Are BJJ and jiu jitsu the same?

Someone who does BJJ will also say they do jiu jitsu. But if someone says they do jiu jitsu, they might also mean they do traditional jiu jitsu, which is very different.

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