Judo vs. Jujitsu

What's the Difference?

Judo and Jujitsu are both martial arts that originated in Japan and share some similarities, but they also have distinct differences. Judo, meaning "gentle way," focuses on using an opponent's strength and momentum against them, emphasizing throws and grappling techniques. It is a sport-oriented martial art that aims to subdue an opponent without causing harm. On the other hand, Jujitsu, meaning "gentle art," is a broader term encompassing various styles and techniques. It includes strikes, joint locks, and throws, with a greater emphasis on self-defense and practical application in real-life situations. While Judo is more structured and competitive, Jujitsu is more versatile and adaptable, making it suitable for both sport and self-defense purposes.


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Meaning"Gentle way""Gentle art"
FocusThrows and grapplingJoint locks and submissions
CompetitionOlympic sportNot an Olympic sport
Ranking systemDan and KyuDan and Kyu
Training emphasisThrows and groundworkSelf-defense and groundwork
PhilosophyMutual welfare and benefitEfficiency and adaptability
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Further Detail


Martial arts have been practiced for centuries, with various styles and techniques developed across different cultures. Judo and Jujitsu are two popular martial arts that originated in Japan. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct differences in terms of techniques, philosophy, and training methods. In this article, we will explore the attributes of Judo and Jujitsu, highlighting their unique characteristics and benefits.

Origins and History

Judo, meaning "gentle way," was founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882. Kano aimed to create a martial art that focused on using an opponent's strength against them, emphasizing technique and leverage over brute force. Judo became an Olympic sport in 1964 and is now practiced worldwide.

Jujitsu, on the other hand, is an ancient martial art that dates back to feudal Japan. It was developed by samurai warriors as a means of self-defense in close combat situations. Jujitsu encompasses a wide range of techniques, including strikes, joint locks, throws, and ground fighting. Over time, different styles of Jujitsu emerged, each with its own unique approach and emphasis.

Techniques and Focus

Judo primarily focuses on throws and grappling techniques. Practitioners aim to off-balance their opponents and use their momentum to execute powerful throws. Judo techniques often involve using an opponent's own force against them, making it an effective martial art for self-defense. Ground fighting, known as ne-waza, is also an essential component of Judo, with practitioners utilizing pins, chokes, and joint locks to immobilize or submit their opponents.

Jujitsu, on the other hand, encompasses a broader range of techniques. It includes strikes, kicks, joint locks, throws, and ground fighting. Jujitsu practitioners learn to adapt to various combat situations, whether standing or on the ground. While Jujitsu also emphasizes throws and grappling, it places a greater emphasis on strikes and submissions, making it a more versatile martial art in terms of self-defense.

Training and Philosophy

Judo training typically involves practicing techniques with a partner, known as randori, and participating in competitive matches, known as shiai. Judo practitioners learn to develop balance, timing, and precision in their movements. The philosophy of Judo revolves around the concept of mutual welfare and benefit, with practitioners striving for personal growth and the betterment of society through the practice of martial arts.

Jujitsu training, on the other hand, varies depending on the style and school. Some schools focus on traditional techniques and kata, which are pre-arranged forms, while others emphasize practical self-defense scenarios and sparring. Jujitsu practitioners learn to adapt to unpredictable situations and develop a deep understanding of body mechanics and leverage. The philosophy of Jujitsu often emphasizes the concept of "ju," meaning flexibility or adaptability, as practitioners aim to overcome stronger opponents through technique and strategy.

Uniform and Ranking System

In Judo, practitioners wear a traditional uniform called a judogi, consisting of a jacket and pants, often made of heavy cotton. The judogi is designed to withstand the rigors of training and provides a grip for throwing techniques. Judo practitioners are ranked through a belt system, starting with white belt for beginners and progressing through various colored belts, with black belt being the highest achievable rank.

Jujitsu practitioners typically wear a gi, similar to the judogi, or a rash guard and shorts for training. The gi allows for a better grip during grappling techniques. The ranking system in Jujitsu varies between styles and schools, but it often includes colored belts similar to Judo. Some Jujitsu schools also incorporate stripes on belts to indicate progress between belt ranks.

Competition and Self-Defense

Judo has a well-established competitive aspect, with tournaments held at local, national, and international levels. Judo competitions focus on throwing techniques, pins, and submissions, with the goal of scoring points or achieving a decisive victory. While Judo competitions provide a platform for practitioners to test their skills, it's important to note that the ruleset may limit certain techniques or strategies that could be used in a real-life self-defense situation.

Jujitsu, on the other hand, has a more diverse approach to competition. Some Jujitsu tournaments focus on specific aspects, such as grappling or striking, while others incorporate a broader range of techniques. Jujitsu competitions often simulate real-life self-defense scenarios, allowing practitioners to showcase their skills in a controlled environment. This aspect of Jujitsu competition makes it more applicable to self-defense situations, as practitioners are exposed to a wider range of techniques and scenarios.


Both Judo and Jujitsu are rich martial arts with their own unique attributes and benefits. Judo emphasizes throws, grappling, and the concept of using an opponent's strength against them. Jujitsu, on the other hand, encompasses a broader range of techniques, including strikes, throws, joint locks, and ground fighting. While Judo has a more established competitive aspect, Jujitsu offers a more versatile approach to self-defense, with a focus on adaptability and practical application. Ultimately, the choice between Judo and Jujitsu depends on personal preferences, goals, and the desired approach to martial arts training.

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