japanese jiu jitsu

BJJ Vs. Japanese Jiu Jitsu: 5 Key Differences

Learning martial arts is a great way to get fit, discipline your mind, and defend yourself. There are many different martial arts styles to choose from, each with its own unique benefits. Two popular martial arts styles are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Japanese Jiu Jitsu.

Aside from the countries in which they were founded, there are many important differences between BJJ and Japanese Jiu Jitsu. These include differences in strategy and technique, the rules under which each style is practiced, the belt system that each style uses to indicate proficiency, their respective uniforms or outfits, and their training styles and equipment. So, if you’re an aspiring martial artist, learning about these differences can help you decide which style is best suited to your goals and interests.

Fighting Style and Techniques

Let’s start with a comparison of the two styles’ fighting strategies and techniques. Both BJJ and Japanese Jiu Jitsu place an emphasis on using an opponent’s force against them and taking them to the ground. However, there are some important differences in how each style approaches these goals.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

BJJ is a grappling-based martial art that focuses on taking an opponent to the ground and then submitting them using various chokeholds or joint locks. BJJ practitioners are also trained in striking, but this is not the focus of the style.

The main goal of BJJ is to provide its practitioners with an effective self-defense system that can be used against a larger and stronger opponent. To this end, BJJ practitioners use leverage and technique to take their opponents down to the ground, where they can then submit them using chokes or joint locks.

Japanese Jiu Jitsu

Japanese Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, is primarily a stand-up style that focuses on grappling, striking, throws, and joint locks. The main focus of Jiu Jitsu is to defeat an opponent without causing any permanent damage. Thus, Jiu Jitsu practitioners are trained in more controlled movements than BJJ practitioners, who may be encouraged to hold their submissions longer in order to inflict more pain and damage on their opponents.


The rules under which Jiu Jitsu and BJJ are practiced are also quite different.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Ground fighting is typically defined as hand-to-hand combat that takes place between two fighters while they are on the ground. Ground fighting in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu happens when both competitors are at a relatively close range on the ground. Grappling, on the other hand, is largely focused on grabbing and holding the opponent on the ground. This style of fighting does not rely on striking, but rather on a variety of maneuvers to inflict pain on the opponent.

Here’s the points system that’s typically used in BJJ competitions:

  • Back control – 4 points
  • Takedowns – 2 points
  • Sweeps – 2 points
  • Mount – 4 points
  • Knee-on-belly position – 2 points
  • Guard pass – 3 points

Japanese Jiu Jitsu

Japanese Jiu Jitsu is a martial art that emphasizes using leverage and technique to subdue opponents, rather than relying on brute strength or speed. This approach is reflected in the rules of Japanese Jiu Jitsu competitions, which place an emphasis on control and technical mastery over speed and power.

Unlike many other martial arts styles, Jiu Jitsu competitions do not rely on points or knockouts to determine a winner. Instead, matches are typically won by submission, meaning that one fighter is able to force their opponent into a position in which they can no longer escape and must tap out to signal surrender.

Belt System

The belt system is one area where Jiu Jitsu and BJJ differ quite significantly.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belt ranks are done in the following order:

  • White
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Red and black belt
  • Red and white belt
  • Red belt

Obtaining belts is always dependent on a few things, such as the amount of time spent, technical expertise, and level of sparring. When it comes to progressing from one belt system to another, it is entirely up to the discretion of the instructors. The demonstration of procedures will be required by some of them before they can progress to the next level. Others, on the other hand, may employ a grading system.

Japanese Jiu Jitsu

The belt systems used in Japanese Jiu Jitsu are distinct from those used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, though one similarity they have is starting with the white belt.

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Brown
  • Black

There are also red belts given but only applicable to some Japanese Jiu Jitsu schools.

Uniform and Equipment

Jiu Jitsu practitioners all wear a uniform that is similar to one another, known as a Gi. The only difference between the two is the amount of weight the clothes have. Gi costumes for BJJ are frequently heavier than the uniforms for karate. The uniforms worn by Japanese Jiu Jitsu practitioners are always lighter than those worn by martial arts practitioners. In BJJ, practitioners always wear mouthguards to protect themselves from being hit in the mouth when rolling. Practitioners of Japanese Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, primarily wear groin guards to protect themselves from hits throughout their training.

Training Styles

Finally, the training styles of BJJ or Japanese Jiu Jitsu also differ from each other.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

BJJ training sessions always start and end with a brief warm-up and cool-down, respectively. The main objective of BJJ training is to spar with an opponent in a safe and controlled manner.

Sparring sessions in BJJ are typically divided into two types: live training and drilling. Live training refers to sparring with an opponent, while drilling is practicing Jiu Jitsu techniques on a training partner who doesn’t fight back.

Furthermore, a typical BJJ class lasts approximately 1 – 2 hours on average. Also included in this period will be numerous rounds of sparring that could last up to half an hour, the learning and drilling of techniques, as well as short breaks in between sessions of instruction.

Japanese Jiu Jitsu

In contrast to BJJ, Japanese Jiu Jitsu training sessions focus more on developing technique and precision rather than speed and power. The main goal of these classes is to help students master various Jiu Jitsu techniques over time.

As a result, most Jiu Jitsu techniques are first taught in slow motion before being performed at regular speed. Class time is also considerably shorter than BJJ training sessions, lasting for about an hour on average.


These are the five key differences between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Japanese Jiu Jitsu. While both Jiu Jitsu styles share some similarities, they also have their own unique set of techniques, strategies, and training styles that make each one stand out. Whether you are looking to improve your Jiu Jitsu skills or find new martial art to study, these two styles offer a wealth of knowledge and training opportunities.