Following a bit of studying, I have found that I am interested in learning Judo, as it matches my life philosophies of being gentle but not defenseless.

However the schools of Judo accessible to me focus mainly on the Olympic sport of Judo, which in turn focuses mostly on throws, rather than balance striking, throwing and grappling.


I am looking for another martial art that is known to synergize well with Judo in it's stances, philosophies and general approach to reach a well-balanced, adaptable fighting style.


  • Balance and adaptability
  • Self-defense
  • Proficiency in striking, grappling and throwing
  • Mastery of hand-to-hand, mostly defensive combat


Striking is important to integrate in the suggestion as unfortunately, some situations are better suited to offensive defense.

Time I can invest in the martial art

I can invest several hour per week for an unlimited time, as long as I enjoy myself.

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    In mixed martial arts, unless I'm mistaken, you're practicing few things of many different martial arts. As when practicing two seperate arts individually, you would get the core and structure of each art. That's how I see it.
    – Louis
    Aug 19, 2018 at 4:22
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    First, thank you very much indeed for revisiting your question. It helps make the site better. Sadly, to myself, your question is still unclear. What are your goals? We must know those before we can recommend something. Currently, I could write two equally valid answer why you should mix judo with Aikido and another with Capoeira. If you are looking for "combat versatility", I suggest learning how to shoot and call in air strikes… Aug 20, 2018 at 13:43
  • After reading through meta I have re-modified my question with a fresh, clearer idea of how to properly ask it. I hope this modification can help show my intent.
    – Louis
    Aug 22, 2018 at 13:26
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    Having spent many hours these past few days reading and studying, I have come to realize I am no longer interested in learning a second martial art. I felt the need to delete my question for that reason, but it remains a valid one, wondering if there is another martial art that combines well with Judo, plus, people put time and effort in their answers. I will try to better edit my question to clarify further and answer in case anyone in the future seeks an answer to that same question.
    – Louis
    Aug 23, 2018 at 18:02
  • Other grappling arts blend well with Judo: Jiujitsu (Classical & Brazillian), Greco & Catch Wrestling also compliment Judo well. Classical jiujitsu might help bridge the gap into striking more than the others.
    – admcfajn
    Jan 4, 2019 at 17:14

4 Answers 4


Judo is about liveness

Judo's success is due to its free-play (randori) training model, where partners practice with each other in a non-prearranged manner with varying levels of resistance up to full force. Judo dominated the contemporary jujutsu because randori was more effective than the prearranged form (kata) exercises that were then common. Judo's selection of competition techniques was originally for techniques that could be trained with full force safely.

Regardless of whether you compete in the official sport competition (shiai) aspect, randori is an essential judo training element. Competition can be useful as an official, organized way of training with partners outside your school/club.

Judo standing/groundwork ratio is instructor dependent

Although I agree with the stereotype that judo ignores groundwork in favor of throwing, this is just a stereotype. My personal experience is that the ratio ranges from 90% standing/10% groundwork to 50% standing/50% groundwork. I argue that it is far easier to find a teacher with a 50%/50% mix than either a Freestyle judo or Kosen judo instructor.

Judo is nominally supposed to train striking

Striking (atemi) is part of judo kata training. The thinking was basically that a complete system needs striking, but striking is too dangerous to practice full force in randori. Tadao Otaki and Donn Draeger described the relation of shiai, randori, and kata over time in Judo Formal Techniques, which is covered in this answer by Philip Klöcking. Sport competition was never intended to be the central element of training.

My opinion is judo's striking training is mostly useless for the following reasons:

  1. Kata is already secondary within judo training
  2. Kata attacks are large and telegraphed
  3. No one spends any time improving these attacks

Even in clubs where kata is practiced frequently, I think the quality of attacks is far below what you would expect from someone trained in striking.

Combining martial arts is non-trivial

Notionally, it makes sense to take a throwing art and a striking art and stick them together to get the best of both worlds. The problem is that martial arts disagree about things like:

  1. How do you generate force? For example, do you shift your weight forward while striking? Striking-only martial arts can do this without penalty, but this invites throws.
  2. How much injury risk is acceptable? Getting hit in the head regularly is well determined to put you at risk for brain injury.
  3. What should the fighting stance look like?

Mixed-martial arts has been successful combining the ground work of Brazilian jiu jitsu with the stand-up elements of Muay Thai and boxing. I argue this is because BJJ basically has no standing game and Muay Thai and boxing officially have no ground game.

Judo has overlap with both ground and standing techniques, so it's more complicated to integrate.

Things judo does not do well

  1. striking
  2. solo practice
  3. some elements of body development: flexibility, breathing, and mobility in the spine to improve posture

My personal choice for covering these elements and "physical mastery" is bagua, but I started this after many years of judo.


Just start with something. Learn some, then adjust once you know more.

  • This is a very nice rundown of what I would face for a new initiate to Martial Arts, thank you very much. And a the quality and versatility of instruction I will get will no doubt depend on the school right?
    – Louis
    Aug 21, 2018 at 11:43
  • @Louis Obviously, yes.
    – mattm
    Aug 21, 2018 at 11:52
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    I am wondering why you write that body development was something that "Judo" does not do well? Besides the fact that this is - again - very much instructor-specific (I've seen very good and very bad examples), I'd say that due to its aliveness, it is generally much better and less one-sided for body development than MOST sports (martial or otherwise). The general athleticism and versatility of well-trained judoka are seldom topped by other sportsmen with similar training time per week according to my experience. I explicitly exclude the overdoing of high-performance sport (injuries) here. Aug 21, 2018 at 13:30
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    I have accepted this answer, although not directly answering the question I get a very clear idea of what to expect combining other martial arts with Judo. The final advice also makes me realize that it is silly to plan combining martial arts without starting one in the first place. Thank you for the richness and clarity of your answer.
    – Louis
    Aug 21, 2018 at 14:10

Shukokai Karate is a great mix with Judo. The Karate stances are short compared to most other Karate styles so it fit well with the Judo stance. I have trained in both for 35 years and I teach self-defence using techniques for mixing both arts. I started in Judo and achieved my first Dan before starting Karate. I think to start both at the same time would be to confusing. The hardest thing to work out is distances and when and where to use kicking, striking, and grappling. Judo also helped unlock some of the joint locks and throwing techniques in the karate kata that have not been passed down over the years.

  • These are super interesting points you bring up and more closely answer my question. When time will permit, I will do a bit of studying on Shukokai Karate and see what is what. Thanks for contributing!
    – Louis
    Dec 31, 2018 at 17:54

Olympic Judo is very throw-centric. Ground fighting is almost an afterthought and not nearly as developed as their throws are. And many of the most useful throws (for fighting) have been gradually removed from the style over time. All of this follows naturally from their sport rules.

It's not wrong to say Olympic Judo has been seriously compromised as a martial art. That is why BJJ has thrived in recent years and Judo has almost vanished relatively speaking.

There are different styles of Judo out there, though, besides Olympic style Judo. They don't have the sport emphasis, and certainly not Olympic Judo rules. If I were you, I'd look into: Brazilian Jiujitsu, Sambo, Freestyle Judo, and Kosen Judo. If you really want to branch out, you might check out Hapkido, Shuai-Jiao, or Catch Wrestling as well. One of these should give you what you want.

There's nothing wrong with Olympic style for what it gives you, if you understand why you're doing it that way. They develop the stand-up game to a high level. Their throws are the most developed of any other martial art, due to the level of competition and popularity of the art. BJJ schools often invite Judo players to come in and teach throws. So there is value in it for martial arts and learning how to fight.

Hope that helps.

  • It definitely does. So you're saying that asides from Olympic style Judo there is Freestyle and Kosen Judo. Would these ones also focus their attention on throws or do they have some ground fighting in them?
    – Louis
    Aug 18, 2018 at 23:37
  • @Louis Kosen Judo is very similar to BJJ. A huge emphasis on the ground. Freestyle Judo is more balanced. And unlike Olympic Judo, it doesn’t have a time limit on the ground, which means players actually have to learn both throws and ground fighting. Freestyle also retains all of the throws which were banned in Olympic Judo. Freestyle bills itself as “Judo the way it was meant to be. “ Aug 19, 2018 at 0:32
  • The proper name for Olympic judo is Kodokan Judo. Freestyle Judo is essentially Kodokan Judo before the 2010(?) rule changes, which means that a Kodokan Judo instructor with ~15 years experience will be capable of instructing you in Freestyle Judo. Throws that were banned at that time due to safety remain banned in Freestyle (kani basami, kawazu gake). My understanding of Kosen Judo is that it is a small niche in Japan; if you want an intensely ground focused system, BJJ is usually available while Kosen judo is almost certainly not.
    – mattm
    Aug 19, 2018 at 13:12
  • Yup. That’s why I say “Olympic Judo”. There are Kodokan groups that continue to practice older versions of Kodokan, even from before the Olympics altogether. It’s easier just to say “Olympic “ Judo. I thought Freestyle had throws from earlier Judo as well, going back to the 1920’s, but I could be wrong. The major change for them is the elimination of the time limit on the ground. That motivates players to develop their ground game a lot more. Aug 19, 2018 at 13:31

Karate, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do.

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    Welcome to the site, and thank you for your contribution! This would be much better received if you could expand on why these arts specifically are good answers to the question.
    – JohnP
    Sep 24, 2020 at 15:58

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