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Difference Between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo

When classifying certain martial arts, they usually fall into two very distinctive categories: grappling and striking. Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fall into the grappling side of martial arts, and they share a lot of similarities. Even though they are under the same category they are different in a few ways as well. Each sport and the way you are awarded wins defines the differences mainly in the rules of each.


Judo came first in the history of the two and was founded in Japan in the 1800s. It is also officially an Olympic sport, which started in 1964. Competitively there are a few ways to win a match within the rules. The main way to win is to throw your opponent with enough force on his back to gain something called an “Ippon”. An Ippon is a match-winning point that is only awarded when the former move is completed. You may earn other points that don’t result in an instant win, which is when you throw your opponent but he doesn’t land on his back or with enough force. There is also winning by submission from pinning. Patience is key in judo, waiting for your opponent to make a move for you to capitalize on. Judo uses the patience to find leverage on your opponent and uses throws from the standing position.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was formed later in 1909, just like the name implies, in Brazil. BJJ is mainly fought while on the ground. There are strikes and grapples involved but most of the fighting is while you are on your back. There are different ways to win but mainly by scoring points that are awarded by completing different moves on your opponent. You can also win by submission from pins or holds as well. While it is not an Olympic sport, there are plenty of tournaments to take part in across the world.

So in parting, you can see there are a few differences between the two. While BJJ comes from Judo, the key differences come from the style or positions. Judo brings the standing aspect of martial arts while BJJ has the ground portion. This is where the confusion comes from, where the similarities match between them. With the beginning of each match starting from standing positions, but the way the match progresses and win conditions are set to stand different from each other.

History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


One of the most important aspects of learning mixed martial arts is understanding the roots and development of the sport. By knowing the history, we are able to better comprehend the meanings and teaching that the art has to offer. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has an interesting historical background and a unique way of incorporating its past into its present teachings.




To fully comprehend the history of BJJ, one must first know about the roots that it has in the art of Judo. Judo was created by Jigoro Kano in Japan. Kano refined some of the techniques that he had learned from other arts and made them his own. As he began developing Judo he made sure that all the teachings were set in a realistic scenario. Many ancient arts before Judo focused on “pre-arranged sequences of attacks.” Kano realized these unrealistic situations were unlikely to assist in a true battle. He began focusing on free sparring and less on the rehearsed skills. As Kano continued spreading his teachings across Japan, many prodigal students came through his system. One of these students, Mitsuyu Maeda flourished and become one of Judo’s greatest fighters. Having remained undefeated in the sport, Maeda was sent by Kano on a journey around the world to show people the powerful art of Judo.


Gracie Family


Those within the BJJ community undoubtedly know a great deal about the Gracie family. Around 1917, a young man named Carlos Gracie was in attendance at one of Mitsuyo Maeda’s Judo demonstrations in Brazil. In awe of his performance and abilities, Carlos wanted to learn the art, so he enrolled in Maeda’s school. Passing on his knowledge to his brothers, Carlos had no idea that he was in the midst of building a BJJ empire.. In 1925 the Gracie family opened their first Jiu-Jitsu school where they continued teaching Maeda’s lessons of Judo with their own adaptations to the techniques. Carlos’ brother, Helio begun practicing the art and is now credited as the main reason for Jiu-Jitsu’s rapid spread around Brazil. Helio gained his own realm of fame when he began traveling around the country, willing to fight anyone who offered up a challenge. Upon the opening of the school, he also welcomed anyone to come through his doors and face him. At gyms around the world, you can expect many people to reference this gesture the “Gracie Challenge.”


In the 1980s members of the Gracie family began to migrate from Brazil to the United States. Though popular around the world, the art didn’t see its American fame until the 1990s when Royce Gracie, Helio’s son, dominated the first ever UFC match using his BJJ skills. The Gracies began proving to the world that kicking and punching is not always the best fighting tactic.



As Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has continued developing and adapting throughout the years, its history and roots remain the core teachings of the art. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has and always will continue promoting safe fighting techniques, physical well-being, and character building.


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