Japanese vs Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

I was asked this question the other day, "Which is better, Japanese JuJitsu or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?" Here are my thoughts on the subject.

I don't think it's really a question of which one is better. I think what it comes down to is the individual practitioner. I believe it's easy for some to question the differences in the two simply because of the wealth of misinformation out there about Japanese JuJitsu. Such as it is with many disciplines of martial arts, there are varying styles of each. When one attempts to pigeon hole Japanese JuJitsu as being one thing versus what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is perceived to be, I believe they're forming those opinions based on incomplete or erroneous information.

I came across an article about Brazilian Vs Japanese Jiu Jitsu. The author talked about the difference being that BJJ focuses on the ground while JJJ focuses on stand up techniques and self-defense, and how there are rarely competitions in traditional Dojos, but in BJJ they are likely to be commonplace.

I respectfully disagree with this. That's certainly not the Jiu-Jitsu I practice and my Jiu-Jitsu was handed down from Roseberry Shihan who brought it back from Japan.

I'm not intimately knowledgeable about all the different styles of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, but have trained in Daitoryu Aikijujitsu. That discipline is not all about stand-up techniques either. Even with the knowledge I have, I wouldn't even want to begin to assume what other disciplines focus on, let alone throw out such a bold statement as to say that Japanese JuJitsu focuses on stand-up techniques.

I've seen other sites that say "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an advanced form of Japanese JuJitsu."

As it is with many aspects of pop culture, the popularity of one thing over another is not so much driven by reality, but rather by perception. I don't think anyone would deny that BJJ is in. The down side is that fewer people truly understand where it came from, but that's an entirely different story.

Focusing on the subject at hand, is it even possible to answer the question? Let's take Kazushi Sakuraba as an example. Here's a clip of the fight between Sakuraba and Carlos Newton in a 1998 Pride 3 fight.

Can you answer the question yet? By the way, neither of these two world class fighters practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Let's bring it home for a moment. How many of our fighters have either won or placed at a tournament?

Open Mat at its finest:

My final thought is this. Don't get sucked into a debate over which style is better. If you absolutely, positively must know the answer, you must find the answer for yourself through the personal experience of learning.


Brent said...

bravo! standing ovation! if i can add 2 cents here . . .
i have trained both bjj and jjj. although neither has been at the advanced level (1 year w/ bjj and 1 year with jjj), as i am still rather new.
but with that experience i believe that there is not a difference. they are the same techniques.
i see nothing in bjj that is not studied here at srsk.
it seems to me that the person who has probably made the biggest advancements in the art after the japanese is eddie bravo. however i realize my knowledge and experience is limited. but these are my thoughts.
in essence, i hope i don't seem harsh toward any perspective or any tradition, but i am certain that the notion that one tradition is more advanced than another is, i believe, a stretch.
i have rolled with those that study bjj (even recently-a few months ago) and those that study jjj. i'm fairly certain that Conan is the most technical grappler i've rolled with.
i love the bit about the nature of popular culture, by the way-very very savvy.

garrett said...

I am really not sold yet that we study JJJ. wouldn't it be closer to say newaza from Judo? The reason I ask this is because everybody else I talk to that has done jjj has a completely different experience. One of my good friends from davenport is a black belt in jjj and he said they were more about street self defense and had a lot of standing techniques. They also did a lot of disarming of guns and plastic knives, and strikes.
A guy that trains with me down here trained jjj for a long time before he started bjj, and he said jjj was more about throws with strikes.

garrett said...

as for which one is better, I think the proof is in the pudding. The early UFC's pretty much established that you need a ground game to compete. In those early tournaments, there were guys that were black belts in jjj that didn't do anything on the ground.
Now everyone in the UFC studies BJJ. Even the japanese fighters study bjj

I am training in brazilian juijitsu now and the simularities between what I am doing now and what we do in lincoln are huge. The differences are about what you would expect when going from one bjj instructor to another. If I found a JJJ school and started classes there, I would expect it to be something completely new to me

One of the things that the ufc has done is evolve martial arts faster than we have seen it evolved in years. Now we have the best athelets training full time to face off in the ring. Now just about every fighter studies BJJ. I can't even think of a single fighter that studies JJJ.

Jerad said...

Based on the lack of editing and general clarity in the article, I believe that the author has little authority to speak about the subject at hand. He may not have ever learned that there is more to research than simply reading Wikipedia. Styles vary from teacher to teacher, and there is no doubt our style is based in the JJJ that Shihan brought from Japan. It has also evolved based on techniques, pulled from other disciplines, which I believe to be a strength of our particular form. Some "purists" (or simply uninformed people) might see our form as a dilution of "true" JJJ. Our roots are what they are, and like any style, it evolves.

J said...

Good article Conan, and good videos as well. I always loved watching Newton and Skuraba fight. It's funny how during the fight you can see neither of them are looking for strikes at all. Good display of jits in MMA. As for JJJ vs BJJ and Hybrids thereof, I would have to agree it breaks down to individual instructors and students. You can be great at JJ and if you don't know how to traslate how you see what you see to others then you are not a good instructor. On the student side you have to be dedicated and train hard to be one of the best. If those two things come together, thats when the magic happens.