What's the difference between Judo and Jiu Jitsu?

Judo and Jiu Jitsu are both martial arts that originated in Japan and have similarities but also notable differences. In this article we’re going to try to answer the question “What’s the difference between Judo and Jiu Jitsu?” and provides a comparison of Judo vs Jiu Jitsu in an easy to read table. In a future article we may take a look at Judo vs BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu).

Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: Origins and Philosophy

Judo was developed in the late 19th century by Jigoro Kano and focuses on using an opponent’s energy and momentum against them. It emphasizes throws and grappling techniques. Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, is an ancient martial art that originated in Japan and was later refined in Brazil. It focuses on ground fighting and submissions, aiming to overcome an opponent through technique and leverage.

Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: Techniques

Judo primarily emphasizes throwing techniques, including sweeps, trips, and hip throws. It also incorporates groundwork, but the main objective is to score points through effective throws. Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, focuses on ground fighting, joint locks, and chokes, aiming to submit an opponent or gain a dominant position.

Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: Sport vs. Self-Defense

Judo is recognized as an Olympic sport and has a strong emphasis on competition. Jiu Jitsu, while it also has competitive aspects, places a greater emphasis on self-defense and practical application in real-life situations.

Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: Gi (Uniform)

Both Judo and Jiu Jitsu practitioners commonly wear a gi (uniform), but the styles may differ. Judo gis tend to be heavier and looser, allowing for better grip during throws. Jiu Jitsu gis are often more fitted and lighter, allowing for greater maneuverability during ground techniques.

Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: Belt System

Both arts utilize a belt ranking system to signify progress and skill level. However, Judo typically has a more structured and standardized belt progression system, while Jiu Jitsu belt promotions can vary between different schools and organizations.

It’s worth noting that there are different styles and variations within Judo and Jiu Jitsu, so practices may differ between schools and instructors.

Jiu Jitsu vs Judo: A side-by-side comparison

The following table presents Jiu Jitsu vs Judo in a side-by-side comparison with 25 interesting differences:

Jiu JitsuJudo
Originated in Japan and refined in BrazilDeveloped in Japan by Jigoro Kano
Groundwork is a central aspectGroundwork is a part, but not the primary focus
Emphasizes joint locks and chokesFocuses on throws and takedowns
Greater emphasis on self-defenseStrong emphasis on competition
Utilizes gi (uniform) for training and competitionUtilizes gi for training and competition
Belt ranking system for skill progressionBelt ranking system for skill progression
Techniques focus on leverage and techniqueTechniques focus on using opponent’s energy
Various guard positions in ground fightingLimited ground positions, more focused on throws
Grappling and control techniquesTechniques for scoring points and pins
Incorporates both offensive and defensive techniquesEmphasizes defensive techniques
Submission holds and joint manipulationSweeps, trips, and hip throws
High focus on positional dominanceFocus on effective throws and holds
Strategies for fighting from disadvantageous positionsStrategies for throwing and pinning opponents
Uses momentum and redirection effectivelyUtilizes an opponent’s energy against them
Multiple variations and stylesVarious styles and techniques within Judo
More emphasis on individual expressionStrong adherence to traditional techniques
Can be more fluid and improvisationalCan be more structured and rigid in approach
Can involve more groundwork transitionsTransitioning from standing to groundwork
Greater emphasis on submission finishesPoints awarded for throws and holds
Flexible and adaptable to different body types and sizesRequires physical strength and agility
Ground control and positional dominanceStrategic throwing for dominance
Focuses on strategy and timingFocuses on timing and technique
More emphasis on smaller joint manipulationFocuses on larger joint and body manipulation
Applications for self-defense and sportApplications for self-defense and sport

Note that this table provides a general overview, and there may be variations and exceptions within different schools, styles, and individual practitioners of Jiu Jitsu and Judo.