Judo vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: What's the Difference?

Judo vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: What's the Difference?

Martial arts have captivated enthusiasts worldwide for centuries, offering a rich tapestry of disciplines that embody tradition, athleticism, and self-defense.

When it comes to martial arts, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) are two popular disciplines that often pique people's interest. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences that set them apart. 

Judo vs Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

In this blog, we will explore the contrasting features of Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to help you understand the unique aspects of each discipline. 

Let's dive right in! 

Origins and Philosophies


The martial art of Judo, with its origins deeply rooted in Japanese culture, emerged during the late 19th century under the visionary leadership of Kono Jigoro. Translated as the "gentle way" in Japanese, Judo embodies a unique philosophy and approach to combat. Kano sought to create a martial art that not only encompassed physical techniques but also emphasized mental and moral development.

Judo draws inspiration from various traditional Japanese martial arts, including jujutsu, a method of unarmed combat that dates back centuries. However, Kano revolutionized these ancient practices by introducing a philosophy that placed great importance on the concept of using an opponent's strength and momentum against them. By harnessing these forces, a Judo practitioner could subdue a more formidable adversary, highlighting the art's inherent efficiency.

judoga's training

Central to the principles of Judo is the notion of maximum efficiency with minimal effort. Rather than relying solely on brute strength, Judo encourages practitioners to employ precise techniques and well-timed movements to achieve victory. This philosophy fosters a deep understanding of body mechanics, balance, and leverage. It enables practitioners to redirect an opponent's energy, using it to their advantage and effectively neutralizing attacks.

Judo practitioners strive not only to excel in the art but also to embody its values in their daily lives.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Originating from the foundations of Kodokan Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) represents a distinct evolution of the martial arts landscape. BJJ's development took place in Brazil, where the Gracie family, particularly Helio and Carlos Gracie, played a pivotal role in its growth and refinement. Through their dedication and innovation, BJJ became renowned for its ground fighting techniques and a unique focus on submission holds.

BJJ distinguishes itself by its pragmatic approach to combat, particularly in scenarios where a practitioner may encounter a larger, stronger opponent. The art's fundamental philosophy revolves around the idea that technique and leverage can overcome sheer physical power. By mastering intricate grappling techniques and exploiting an opponent's vulnerabilities, BJJ empowers individuals of smaller stature or limited strength to prevail in combat situations.

BJJ Session

Ground fighting serves as a cornerstone of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. BJJ practitioners excel at controlling an adversary from close quarters, utilizing joint locks, chokes, and other submission holds to immobilize or force an opponent into submission. The art's ground-based nature demands a high level of technical proficiency, strategic thinking, and adaptability, as practitioners must navigate an intricate web of positions and transitions to secure advantageous positions or apply submission techniques.

One of the key elements that distinguishes BJJ from other martial arts is its competitive aspect.  BJJ competitions give practitioners a chance to test their abilities against competitors with different backgrounds and degrees of expertise. This competitive environment fosters growth, allowing practitioners to refine their techniques, develop their physical attributes, and enhance their mental fortitude.

Techniques and Focus


Judo primarily emphasizes throwing and grappling techniques. Practitioners, known as judokas, aim to throw their opponents to the ground using various throws and takedowns. 

Once on the ground, judokas can transition into submission holds or pins to secure victory. Judo also incorporates strikes, joint locks, and chokes, but these techniques are more limited compared to BJJ.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ is renowned for its ground fighting techniques and submission holds. The main objective of BJJ is to gain a dominant position on the ground and submit the opponent using joint locks or chokes. 

BJJ practitioners focus on controlling their opponent, maintaining advantageous positions, and utilizing leverage and technique to overcome strength and size disadvantages.

Training Methods and Competition


Judo training typically involves a combination of technical drills, randori (sparring), and kata (prearranged forms). Randori allows judokas to practice their techniques in a live, dynamic setting. 

judo fighters greeting eachother

Judo competitions are governed by the International Judo Federation (IJF), and matches are won through throws, pins, or submissions. Points are awarded based on the effectiveness of the technique executed.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ training includes various drills, positional sparring, and live rolling sessions. Rolling is similar to randori in Judo, where practitioners engage in live grappling with resistance. 

Judoga's Sparring

BJJ competitions often follow a submission-only or points-based format. In submission-only tournaments, the aim is to force the opponent to tap out using joint locks or chokes. Points-based competitions award points for successful takedowns, passes, and submissions.

Gi and No-Gi Training


Traditionally, Judo training is done wearing a gi, which is a heavy cotton uniform consisting of a jacket and pants. The gi provides grips for throws and grappling techniques. Judokas are also trained in no-gi Judo, which is performed without the traditional uniform, allowing for a different range of grips and techniques.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ training can be done in both gi and no-gi formats. The gi offers numerous gripping options and encourages a more technical approach. On the other hand, no-gi training focuses on grappling without the gi, requiring practitioners to adapt their techniques and rely more on body control and positioning.


While Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu share some common ground regarding their Japanese roots and emphasis on grappling, they diverge in their techniques, training methods, and philosophies. Judo places a significant emphasis on throws and incorporates limited striking, while BJJ focuses on ground fighting and submission holds. Judo's competitive format emphasizes throws, pins, and submissions, while BJJ competitions emphasize submissions and positional dominance.

Green Hill Judogi

Both martial arts offer unique benefits, such as physical fitness, self-defense skills, and mental discipline. Whether you prefer the dynamic throws of Judo or the intricate ground game of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, both disciplines provide valuable learning experiences and promote personal growth.

If you're interested in exploring these martial arts further, visit Green Hill Sports for a wide range of high-quality Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu equipment and gear. Our products are designed to enhance your training experience and help you reach your full potential.

Take the first step towards mastering these disciplines by equipping yourself with the right gear from Green Hill Sports today!