If you were to match up two martial arts that had very little in common, this would be it. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Taekwondo - they were developed on opposite sides of the world and share very little.
Let’s break down the similarities and differences between Jiu-Jitsu and Taekwondo. We’ll detail their origins, similarities, differences, and decide which martial art is superior.
Origins of Jiu-Jitsu
You probably already know the origin story of Jiu-Jitsu, but here is a little refresher for this breakdown. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu began being developed from the teachings of Judo in the early 1900s.
Two of the most credited martial artists that developed BJJ were the Gracie brothers, Carlos and Hélio.
Carlos was one of the first students of master Judoka Mitsuyo Maeda that emigrated to Brazil to teach Judo. Gracie trained under Maeda, as well as a few others before he began showing his brother Hélio some Judo techniques.
Hélio had trouble with these techniques being a smaller person with not a lot of strength. So, the brothers began tweaking the techniques and began developing some of their own.
What they came up with would later be known as "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu". The brothers then began to gradually grow their martial arts. Challenging other martial artists to test their skills and prove the effectiveness of their fighting form.
By the late 1970s, Hélio’s son Rorion moved to California and began teaching Jiu-Jitsu. A decade later he would release the Gracie in Action tapes and it helped to create the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In the last century, Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most effective martial arts in the world. Today, it continues to grow with BJJ schools on just about every continent.
Origins of Taekwondo
You may not know this, but Taekwondo is a young martial art. Even younger than Jiu-Jitsu by a few decades. Though the martial arts itself is fairly young, the techniques within the art are not.
The techniques of Taekwondo have developed over a thousand years ago when Korea was unified by Dangun. Soldiers of the early kingdoms practiced an early form of Taekwondo that was also heavily kick-based.
Unfortunately for Korea, the country was occupied by Japan from 1910 until 1945. This was a dark time in Korea as Japan would attempt to systematically erase its history. Anything Korean-based like martial arts was forbidden and punishable by death.
When the occupation ended in 1945, Korea looked to create its own identity again. One of the first things they would do is bring back their styles of martial arts.
Taekwondo was created from the Korean martial art Taekyyon and Oh Do Kwan Karate. It took the kwans(martial arts schools) over 20 years to agree on the name and create a governing body.
It was in 1972 that the South Korean government created the “Kukkiwon” or World Taekwondo Academy. Then a year later, the World Taekwondo Federation was formed.
The world was introduced to Taekwondo at the Seoul Olympic games in 1988, where it was a demonstration. It later became an Olympic sport in 2000 and in that spread across the world
Today it is still one of the most practiced martial arts with an estimated 70 million students worldwide!
Similarities between Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo
When you compare Jiu-Jitsu and Taekwondo, they only have three similarities – the uniform, self-defense, and the mental discipline they both provide.
As with the majority of martial arts, Gi’s are primarily worn as the uniform, along with belts tied along the waist, signifying the practitioner’s rank.
Both arts also provide a good grasp of basic self-defense and also provide a good sense of discipline. With these two reasons alone, many parents enroll their children in martial arts to provide them with discipline and self-confidence.
Rules of each competition
A Jiu-Jitsu match can be anywhere between 5-10 minutes depending on rank. You can either win by submission or points.
Points of a Jiu-Jitsu match includes:
- 4 points for mount/back mount
- 3 points for guard passes
- 2 points for takedowns, sweeps, and knee on belly
Sport Taekwondo matches that you see in the Olympics consist of 3 x 2-minute rounds with 1-minute rest in between.
Points in a Taekwondo match include:
- 3 points for a kick to the head
- 2 points for a spinning kick to the body
- 1 point for basic strikes to the body
The Benefits of cross training between BJJ and Taekwondo
Cross-training between these two martial arts is extremely beneficial if you train within MMA. Training in these two martial arts together will make you efficient at fighting from standing and on the ground.
Numerous top MMA fighters have trained in both disciplines. Names like Raymond Daniels, Michael “Venom” Page, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, and Anderson Silva.
Jiu Jitsu vs Taekwondo - Which is better?
We don’t want to take anything away from Taekwondo. It has great striking techniques, but it has almost no ground techniques in its curriculum.
It’s nearly the same scenario as we went over in our Jiu-Jitsu vs Karate breakdown. A Taekwondo practitioner has no way of stopping a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner from taking them down.
That is why we have to give it to Jiu-Jitsu in this matchup.
Even though we feel Jiu-Jitsu beats Taekwondo in this matchup, it doesn't take away from the positive aspects of Taekwondo. It has had a tremendous positive impact on many practitioners!
Training in both martial arts will make you all-around. Being able to land highly technical strikes from your feet is great, but as your opponent closes the distance, you’ll be glad you know how to grapple. Your opponent will be in for one heck of a surprise as you dump them on their head and choke them out!