Jiu Jitsu vs. Krav Maga

What's the Difference?

Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga are both highly effective martial arts disciplines, but they differ in their origins and focus. Jiu Jitsu, originating from Japan, emphasizes grappling techniques and ground fighting, utilizing joint locks and chokeholds to subdue opponents. It focuses on leverage and technique rather than brute strength. On the other hand, Krav Maga, developed in Israel, is a self-defense system that combines elements of various martial arts. It prioritizes practicality and real-world scenarios, teaching students to quickly neutralize threats using strikes, kicks, and defensive tactics. While Jiu Jitsu is more suitable for controlled environments like competitions, Krav Maga is designed for self-defense in real-life situations.


AttributeJiu JitsuKrav Maga
FocusGrappling and ground fightingSelf-defense and hand-to-hand combat
TechniquesJoint locks, chokes, and submissionsStrikes, kicks, and defensive techniques
TrainingEmphasizes sparring and live rollingIncludes scenario-based training and simulations
UniformGi (traditional uniform)No specific uniform required
CompetitionRegularly holds tournaments and competitionsLess focused on competitive aspect
PhilosophyEmphasizes technique, leverage, and strategyFocuses on practical and efficient self-defense

Further Detail


Martial arts have been practiced for centuries, offering individuals a means of self-defense, physical fitness, and personal growth. Two popular martial arts disciplines that have gained significant recognition are Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga. While both focus on self-defense techniques, they differ in their origins, training methods, and philosophies. In this article, we will explore the attributes of Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga, highlighting their unique characteristics and benefits.

Origins and History

Jiu Jitsu, also known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), traces its roots back to Japan. It evolved from traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu and was further developed by the Gracie family in Brazil. Jiu Jitsu emphasizes ground fighting, joint locks, and submissions, making it highly effective for self-defense in close-quarters combat.

Krav Maga, on the other hand, originated in Israel and was developed as a practical self-defense system for the Israeli military. It was created by Imi Lichtenfeld, who combined his street fighting experience with various martial arts techniques. Krav Maga focuses on real-world scenarios, teaching students how to defend themselves against armed and unarmed attackers in the most efficient way possible.

Training Methods

Jiu Jitsu training primarily takes place on the mat, with practitioners engaging in sparring sessions known as "rolling." These sessions involve grappling, submissions, and positional control. Jiu Jitsu practitioners often wear a gi (a traditional uniform) during training, which allows for a wide range of techniques utilizing grips and leverage.

Krav Maga, on the other hand, focuses on practical self-defense techniques that can be quickly learned and applied. Training sessions involve intense and realistic scenarios, simulating real-life attacks. Krav Maga practitioners train in both armed and unarmed combat, learning to defend against various weapons and multiple attackers.

Techniques and Focus

Jiu Jitsu places a strong emphasis on ground fighting and submissions. Practitioners learn how to control an opponent on the ground, using leverage and technique to overcome size and strength disadvantages. The goal is to immobilize or submit the opponent through joint locks or chokes. Jiu Jitsu also teaches self-defense techniques from standing positions, including throws and takedowns.

Krav Maga, on the other hand, focuses on practical and efficient techniques that can be used in real-life situations. It incorporates strikes, kicks, knees, and elbows, targeting vulnerable areas of the body. Krav Maga also teaches defenses against common attacks such as grabs, chokes, and weapon threats. The techniques are designed to neutralize the threat quickly and allow the practitioner to escape safely.

Philosophy and Mindset

Jiu Jitsu promotes the concept of "technique over strength." It teaches practitioners to use leverage and proper technique to overcome larger and stronger opponents. Jiu Jitsu also emphasizes patience, discipline, and respect for one's training partners. It is often seen as a martial art that fosters personal growth, humility, and mental fortitude.

Krav Maga, on the other hand, has a more pragmatic and aggressive approach. It focuses on neutralizing threats as quickly and efficiently as possible, without relying on size or strength. Krav Maga practitioners are trained to be mentally prepared for real-life confrontations, developing a mindset that prioritizes survival and the protection of oneself and others.

Benefits and Applications

Jiu Jitsu offers numerous benefits, both physical and mental. It provides a full-body workout, improving strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance. Jiu Jitsu techniques can be applied in self-defense situations, making it a practical martial art for real-life encounters. Additionally, Jiu Jitsu promotes problem-solving skills, adaptability, and mental resilience.

Krav Maga, on the other hand, focuses on practical self-defense skills that can be quickly learned and applied. It provides an intense cardiovascular workout, improving overall fitness and conditioning. Krav Maga techniques are designed to be effective in real-life scenarios, making it a valuable martial art for personal safety. Moreover, Krav Maga training enhances situational awareness, self-confidence, and the ability to handle high-stress situations.


While both Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga are effective martial arts disciplines, they differ in their origins, training methods, techniques, and philosophies. Jiu Jitsu emphasizes ground fighting, joint locks, and submissions, promoting personal growth and mental fortitude. Krav Maga, on the other hand, focuses on practical self-defense techniques that can be quickly learned and applied in real-life situations, prioritizing survival and efficient neutralization of threats.

Ultimately, the choice between Jiu Jitsu and Krav Maga depends on an individual's goals, preferences, and priorities. Whether one seeks personal growth, physical fitness, or practical self-defense skills, both martial arts offer unique attributes that can benefit practitioners in various ways.

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