BJJ Vs Judo: Which is Better? For MMA, Street & Grappling

BJJ Vs Judo: which is better for grappling, MMA, and self defense? In this post I explain the differences between Judo and BJJ and who would win in different settings.

Contents of this article

BJJ Vs Judo: BJJ is better at the UFC

What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

BJJ is a martial art that teaches the art of grappling and wrestling. It was originally developed in the late 19th century in Brazil to teach street fighting to the poor. It was popularized by its effectiveness in the early UFC events. The Japanese word “ju” or “jiu” means “gentle way,” and “jitsu” means “art” or “science”, which makes “jiu jitsu” the gentle art.

What is Judo?

Judo is a martial art in which the goal is to throw an opponent to the ground, pin them in a hold, or force them to submit with a choke. Judo was developed in Japan and is a sport that is governed by the International Judo Federation. The Japanese word “ju” means “gentle way,” “do” means “way of life” which makes “judo” the gentle way of life.

Differences between BJJ and Judo

These are the main differences between BJJ and Judo:

  1. The main difference is that the focus of BJJ is on ground fighting while the focus of Judo is on throws and takedowns.
  2. The BJJ belt promotion is earned through skill, rolling, and class participation while the Judo belt promotion is earned by passing an exam.
  3. The objective of Judo is to throw your opponent to the ground and pin them to win the match while the objective of BJJ is to submit your opponent.
  4. BJJ uses 5 belts: white, blue, purple, brown, and black belt. Judo uses 6 belts: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown an black belt.
  5. In BJJ it takes longer to get a black belt than in Judo.
  6. Judo is an Olympic sport, BJJ is not.
  7. BJJ allows many submissions that are illegal in Judo.

However, there are also important similarities between Judo and BJJ.

Similarities between BJJ and Judo

These are the main similarities between BJJ and Judo:

  1. Both are grappling styles.
  2. Both styles started out as a means of combat for the use of smaller individuals against larger opponents.
  3. Both styles use a gi or kimono, which makes Judo and BJJ different from wrestling
  4. Both styles use the same weight classes in competition.
  5. Both sports use many of the same techniques.
  6. Both are good for self defense
  7. Both are good for MMA
  8. Both teach mental toughness

So now that we know about the differences and similarities between Judo and BJJ, we can consider which is better.

What’s better: BJJ or Judo?

We could never give one conclusive answer to this question, because it depends on the context and what you want to use it for.

Let me break down some scenarios in which judo is better than BJJ and some scenarios in which BJJ is better than judo.

BJJ Vs Judo for Grappling

Whether BJJ or judo is better for grappling depends completely on the grappling ruleset.

If it’s a judo match, judo beats BJJ every time.

If it’s a BJJ match, BJJ beats Judo every time.

So what’s the difference?

Interestingly we know that BJJ beats judo in the ADCC: a tournament in which all submissions are allowed and you can only win on points after 10 minutes.

The reason for this is that I cannot hold off BJJ Fighters for more than 10 minutes. Instead they always get submitted within 10 minutes and that’s why Judo loses to BJJ if all submissions are allowed.

BJJ Vs Judo for self defense and street fights

BJJ and Judo are both fantastic for self-defence and street fighting.

Both sports incorporate techniques and strategies that are intended to disable or neutralise an assailant so that you can get away.

Both arts are based on the principle of leverage and use of the human body as a weapon.

The great thing about both of these arts is that they are based on the opponents’ force against you. This makes them more suitable for smaller people.

If you can effectively use the opponents’ strength against him, you will win. 

That being said, I think judo has a small advantage in terms of self-defence. 

Because in most self-defense situations you would want to throw your opponent and control him.

In most cases there is no need to actually submit them.

It doesn’t really matter because both to get to and judo will enable you to control untrained opponents,  but in the end judo meets the requirements of a street fight a little bit better.

Is Judo good for self defense?

BJJ vs Judo for MMA

The answer to that question is there is no right or wrong answer. Each sport has its own strengths and weaknesses. A lot depends on the individual who’s practicing it.

If you want to be more of a position best MMA fighter,  judo might be better for you. you can use judo to take your opponent down and dominate them from top.

If you would want to be a submission best fighter BJJ could be better for you. you could use it to submit opponents from top or bottom.

Historically judo hasn’t done very well in MMA, while BJJ has. But this could also be because Judo has better career paths available than BJJ.

Juo is an olympic sport and it’s more popular globally than BJJ. So Judoka might not need to go into MMA to make a living, instead they could teach at a local dojo. 

Why is Judo Underrepresented in Grappling?

BJJ Vs Judo injuries

A major difference between the two arts is the risk of injury. 

Both are full contact sports and can lead to injury.

But Judo leads to more injuries than BJJ because the kinetic energy that you can produce while standing and throwing people is far greater than most things you do in BJJ.

This difference is especially pronounced if we compare judo to BJJ schools that focus on ground fighting rather than takedowns.

So which is better: Judo or BJJ?

There is no definite answer to the question: BJJ vs judo, which is better? It all depends on the context.

I hope I helped you understand in which situations judo is better than BJJ and in which situations BJJ is better than judo.