BJJ vs Judo: Difference Between Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

BJJ vs Judo: Difference Between Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

What is the difference between Judo and Jiu Jitsu? To an untrained eye, they can look identical in nature. But if you study the arts a little more closely, there are key distinguishing features that sets them apart from each other. In this article, we take a look at some of the similarities and differences between BJJ vs Judo and their benefits to each other.

Bjj vs Judo

Origin of Judo and Jiu Jitu

Before we jump right in, let’s first take a look at the origins of the two sports. Both martial arts stemmed from the same martial art – Ju Jutsu. The art of Ju Jutsu, or what it is commonly known to as Japanese Jiu Jitsu, is an art form that was developed as a self-defense tactic for the samurai. The earliest forms of Ju Jutsu involved weapons and hand to hand combat. And if that was rendered ineffective, the goal was to close the gap and use joint locking techniques, strikes, and throws to defeat their opponent.

Over the years, hundreds of Ju Jutsu styles have manifested and evolved the art form. It became less dependent on weapons and relied more on strikes, throws, evasions, and restraining movements. The original way was a little too aggressive and wasn’t suited in sports competition. Through the 1800s, the quality of Ju Jutsu was on a heavy decline. With its loss in popularity, Jigoro Kano developed a new style – Judo.

As a long practitioner of Ju Jutsu himself, Kano believed that the revised version of the sport will provide a much safer practice. Traditional Ju Jutsu was very dangerous and many of the schools taught techniques that can cause grave bodily harm. With the modified version of the sport, Judo has drastically increased in popularity. It even reached all the way to Brazil!

Jigoro Kano - Father of Judo

One of Kano’s star pupils, Mitsuyo Maeda, was tasked to share the knowledge of Judo to the modern world. It was in Brazil where Maeda spread the knowledge of Judo or Kano’s Jiu Jitsu as it was referred to back then. It was the Gracie family that then popularized the sport from his teachings and developed it to what we know today as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Difference Between Judo and Jiu Jitsu

With Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sharing the same origins, it isn’t surprising that they share common moves. A lot of BJJ submissions like the Ezekiel, Arm Triangle, and several guard techniques actually originated from the newaza ground fighting from Judo. So, what makes them different? Which martial art is better BJJ vs Judo? Hard to say, both martial arts are excellent depending on your preference! Each have advantages and disadvantages over the other. Though they may share many similarities, they also have several distinguishing differences. Here is the difference between Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Rules Differences BJJ vs Judo

The most important difference between Judo and Jiu Jitsu has to be the ruleset. The major difference between the two sports is that Judo concentrates more on the standing aspect to trip and throw their opponents to the ground. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, focuses more on the ground fighting tactics to dominate and submit opponents on the ground.

Judo Rules Explained

The primary goal of Judo is to throw the opponent down to the ground. This is known as Ippon (one full point). Once you score an Ippon, you automatically win the match. There are three ways you can score an Ippon:

  • 1
    Forcefully throw your opponent down on their back
  • 2
    Hold or pin your opponent down for 20 seconds
  • 3
    Submission by arm lock or strangulation

Another way a player can score is through a lesser powerful throw known as a Waza-Ari (half-point). This includes weaker trips and less dominant throws. You can also score a Waza-Ari if you manage to hold your opponent down for 10 seconds.

A typical Judo match lasts for a period of 4 minutes. The match starts from a standing position on the center of the mats. Once the competitors bow and tag hands, the match begins. If no Ippon has been awarded at the end of the time limit, the player with the most Waza-Ari wins the match. Here’s a video that explains in detail the Judo Rules in detail.

BJJ Rules Explained

The primary goal of BJJ is to submit your opponent. The secondary objective is to score more points than your opponent before the allotted time expires. You can typically score by improving your position by passing your opponent’s guard, sweeping your opponent, or by getting into a more dominant position.

The BJJ scoring system is based off improving the dominance of your position. Here’s a breakdown for the scoring system:

  • Take Down/Throw - 2 Points 
  • Sweep - 2 Points
  • Passing the Guard - 3 Points 
  • Knee Mount - 2 Points
  • Back Mount - 4 Points
  • Full Mount - 4 Points

A BJJ match lasts anywhere from 4 minutes to 10 minutes depending on your belt class or which tournament organization you join. The match starts out with both opponents standing at the center of the mat just like you would in Judo. A throw, trip, or takedown will score you 2 points. Unlike Judo, this doesn’t win you the match, but it does give you a head start to win the match as you are up in points. Alternatively, you can pull your opponent down to your guard but this doesn’t score you any points. Next is to either outscore your opponent by getting into a dominant position or by submitting your opponent.

If there are no submissions by the end of time limit, the competitor with the higher score wins. If it’s a tie, the referee looks at the number of advantages and penalties each player has to determine the winner. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the BJJ Rules.

BJJ vs Judo GI Uniforms

One difference between BJJ and Judo that isn’t as obvious is the uniform. They look almost identical from a quick glance. They both have a thicker fabric material compared to a Karate gi to allow for better gripping. Is there much of a difference between the two? Couldn’t you get away with using a BJJ Gi on a Judo Tournament? You’d be surprised! It isn’t unlikely that you could get turned away from a Judo tournament if you didn’t have the proper Gi attire.

As you know, the goal of BJJ and Judo is different in nature, so its only natural that their Gi Uniforms will be designed differently. A BJJ gi is designed with ground grappling in mind while Judogis are designed with grip fighting and throws in mind.


A typical Judogi is much looser and longer than your traditional BJJ gi. This looseness allows for the opponent to be able to grip sleeves much easier. BJJ Gi’s are designed to conform to the user’s body. It has a much nicer tapered fit. You don’t want your opponent to have too much control your movements when your rolling on the mats.

Another distinguishing factor between Gi uniforms is the fabric. Many BJJ Gis nowadays are featured with reinforced stitching for maximum durability. Although a Judogi might have a much thicker feel to the touch, the type of fabric isn’t as heavy and durable as a BJJ gi.

Lastly the major difference between a BJJ vs Judo Gi uniform is the style. The colors of a Judogi is kept as a simple plain blue or white. Traditional BJJ Gi also keep the same colors but the newer styles include several other colors like gray, black, and green. Some BJJ gis are much flashier too, with plenty of patches and designs.

Strategic Difference Between Judo and Jiu Jitsu

There is a huge difference in strategies when it comes to Judo and Jiu Jitsu. With Judo focusing more on the throwing aspect of the sport and BJJ focusing more on the groundwork and submission, it makes a very big difference.

The strategy of judo will primarily focus on the throwing aspect as performing a perfect throw declares you the victor of the match. Judo is all about having a firm grip on your opponent, throwing them off balance, and flooring them with a throw or trip. The person who has the better grips and control of the opponent’s movement will typically have the advantage winning the match.

One thing to keep in mind that ground fighting isn’t as focused on in Judo. You only get 25-30 seconds if the match ends up on the ground to pin or submit your opponent before it is restarted back to standing.

The strategy of BJJ will be focused more on the ground. Since about 90% of the matches are on the ground or will end up on the ground, your focus will be more on ground techniques and submissions. In fact, most BJJ schools will let you start on the ground for safety reasons. However, keep in mind that in tournaments you start off standing, so you shouldn’t fully neglect the standup game either.

Your goal in BJJ is more on learning to dominate your opponent on the ground by controlling their movement and going for the submission.

Bjj vs Judo

Benefits of Cross Training Judo and BJJ

Now that we know the main difference between Judo and Jiu Jitsu, we can talk about the benefits of cross training between the two. It has been a classic debate: Judo vs BJJ. Who wins? Which martial art should you take up?

Well the answer is simple. If you are BJJ practitioner with little stand up experience, you will get floored by an experienced Judoka. Judo specializes in throwing and taking opponents down as part of their daily regimen. On the flipside, a Judoka doesn’t typically do as much groundwork as a BJJ player. With the countless hours of rolls a BJJ blackbelt has over a Judoka, there’s no question they would dominate the match. When the match hits the mats, it’s the BJJ player’s game.

The question shouldn’t be which martial art is better, it should be: what are the benefits of cross training Judo and BJJ. Truth is that they are mutually benefiting to each other.

If you learn to improve your Judo techniques, you will control the standup game in a BJJ tournament. You can control your opponent with superior grip fighting techniques and throw them down with ease! You control the momentum of the match and you might even land in a dominant position or even straight to a submission position!

For Judo, if you practice rolling with BJJ experts, you will gain plenty of techniques that you may not learn in a regular Judo training regimen. As Judo doesn’t focus too much on groundwork, you will have the advantage for sure. When the match ends in the newaza ground game, you can easily dominate!


Although Brazilian Jiu Jitsu may have been derived from Judo, and Judo coming from Japanese Jiu Jitsu before that, the two martial arts couldn’t be any more different. They do have their similarities coming from the same origins, but they share quite a bit of differences as well. They are both excellent martial arts to learn. It’s great to know what the difference between Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. As you know the main key difference between the two, you can see how mutually beneficial they are to each other.

It’s likely that you will choose one art over the other depending on your preference. But one thing to keep in mind is that they are two sides of the same coin. They mutually benefit each other at the end of the day. Practice both and become the ultimate grappler! Train hard! Roll Safe!