Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Japanese Jiu-Jitsu: What’s The Difference?

Is there any difference between Japanese Jiu-Jitsu (JJJ) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)?

If you watch superficially then you will say ‘No’ they both are the same but if you observe these arts more closely then only you would be able to distinguish between them.

Basically, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is inherited from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.  Japanese Jiu-Jitsu can be called the father of all grappling arts. 

Before going to discuss the difference between two we will briefly discuss the origin of both BJJ and JJJ. 

Origin of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Origin of both BJJ and JJJ is Ju Jutsu. Ju Jutsu is also known as Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. 

JJJ was basically developed as a self-defense technique from the Japanese Samurai and Ninja Warriors. 

The idea behind this technique is that any strike from unarmed combat will be ineffective due to the warrior’s armory. 

To overcome this problem a grappling method that includes throws and joint lock art was introduced by Japanese and named this art JJJ i.e. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. 

The traditional Jiu-Jitsu was very dangerous and sometimes it was very harmful to the body also.

Because of its aggressive approach, it was not suitable to use it in sports competition. Gradually the popularity of JJJ declined immensely. 

Dr. Jigoro Kano who had been associated with Ju Jutsu for a long time introduced a safer version of JJJ and called it Judo. This modified version gained much popularity as a sport.

Mitsuyo Maeda who was the star pupil of Dr. Kano asked to spread these sports all over the world.

Maeda spread the knowledge of Judo in Brazil and introduced this art of Judo to Carlos Gracie, Sr. Gracie and his brother, who was not physically very strong, especially Helio, who was very weak and delicate.

They started practicing Judo and gained strength and agility. This motivated sports lovers and they popularized Judo in Brazil.  Later on, with some modification in techniques done by Helio, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came into existence.

Important Difference Between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

Difference Between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

Both the BJJ and JJJ are competitive sports in today’s scenario with different disciplines and set of rules. However, BJJ’s popularity is much more than JJJ.

JJJ is more into keeping the tradition of Ju Jutsu while its many other versions like Judo and Aikido, etc. carry the flag in most of the sports tournaments. 

BJJ focuses on ground fighting techniques of grappling to control and submit the opponent. On the other hand, JJJ concentrates on the standing position and control the opponent by tripping and throwing him on the ground. 

The major points of difference between BJJ and JJJ are in the training method and the use of techniques.

The scoring rules of JJJ and BJJ are completely different from each other. With the explanation below, you can easily understand the difference in these scoring rules.

Scoring Rules of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

japanese jiu-jitsu

The major focus in JJJ is on throwing. Therefore, the focus of the points system is around throwing. The following are the scoring rules of JJJ.

The attacker gets Total or Clear victory

  1. Total throw or the knock which causes the opponent to fall down on the back while the player is still standing on his feet
  2. Knockout
  3. Hold causing excessive pain
  4. Scoring 12 points to nil
  5. Strangling indicated by tapping by the opponent

The attacker earns 4 points if,

  1. Throw or takedown causing the attacker to fall down on the side while the thrower remains standing
  2. Throw causing the opponent to fall down on the back and the attacker falls down as well
  3. Holding/Pinning the opponent for 20 seconds
  4. Knocking down the opponent

The attacker earns 2 points when,

  1. Throw causing the opponent to fall on the side while attacker falling as well
  2. Throw causing the opponent to fall on the shoulder, waist, and chest, etc., while the player is remaining standing
  3. If the defender’s hands or the knees were already on the ground at the time of the throw and he falls on the back while the attacker does not fall
  4. Warning to the rival for the second time
  5. Pinning for less than 20 seconds while exceeding 10 seconds

The attacker earns 1 point

  1. Throw causing both the players to fall with the opponent falling as in point 2 above
  2. Throw causing both the players to fall with the opponent in similar condition as in 3 above
  3. Warning to the rival for the first time

“A” i.e. Activity Point

  1. Throw causing the opponent to fall on the knees while the player remaining on his feet


A maximum total of 4 points are credited for holding/ pinning in one bout.

If the defender stops the bout during the pinning/ holding, the attacker,

  1. Gets Clear victory in case of submission by the defender
  2. Earns 4 points  if the remaining duration of the match is equal to or more than 20 seconds
  3. Gets 2 points  if the remaining duration of the match is more than 10 seconds and under 20 seconds

Scoring Rules of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Scoring

The main aim in BJJ is a forceful submission of the opponent.

There are various BJJ techniques such as by-passing positions, guards, sweeping the opponent, etc through which you can score more points during the match. 

Throw or take down the opponent to the ground and sweep the opponent, you get 2 points for each. Every time you pass the guard, you get 3 points. And for Black and Full Mount, you get 4 points.

Normally, the duration of BJJ is 4 to 10 minutes depending upon the belt level or the respective organization’s rules. The fight starts the same way as JJJ from the center of the mat with both players bowing down. 

You get maximum score when you do the forceful submission of your opponent. In case of no submission till the end of the match then the player with the higher score will win the match.

But if there is a tie then the count of advantages and penalties plays a very important role to decide the winner.

Final Words

Now it is clear that the BJJ and JJJ are excellent martial arts with some very basic similarities. 

It is obvious, for the fact that the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu finds its origin in the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu only.

Both of them have very different sets of rules. While JJJ scoring rules are focused on throwing, BJJ’s focus lies in grappling techniques.

Moreover, the difference also lies in the fact that the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is the traditional martial arts while the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most recent martial art forms.

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