Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has its roots in early 20th century Judo, but has developed independently as a distinct martial art focused on groundwork in the century since then.

It maintains a number of historical techniques which have long been removed from competitive judo for injury concerns (e.g. leglocks, wristlocks, necklocks ("neck cranks"), leg-scissors (do-jime)).

However a number of techniques which I had assumed were BJJ innovations also appear to have judo roots:

Technique Example⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
basic guard passes
basic sweeps
(hadaka- / hasami- / kagato-jime)
(ashi- / hiza-gatame)
enter image description here enter image description here
loop choke
(ude-shibori / kote-jime)
enter image description hereenter image description here

What are the major ways in which BJJ has innovated since departing from Judo?
In terms of techniques and/or strategy etc.


1 Answer 1


I think it's important to make a distinction between "someone, somewhere in the Judo community has used this at some point" and "this is widely known and used in mainstream or competition Judo". There have been Judo practitioners and training groups that focused heavily on groundwork - in particular, the Kosen Judo substyle. Just through convergent evolution, you can expect them to have come up with many of the same techniques and approaches that BJJ players use. That doesn't necessarily mean that one copied directly from the other, and it doesn't mean that you can expect to learn that stuff if you walk into your local Judo dojo.

That said, as far as I see, the approach to groundwork is different in the following aspects:

  • Judo focuses on pins. That doesn't exist as a concept in BJJ - the concepts there are control and positional dominance. The back mount is seen as the pinnacle of control and dominance in BJJ, and it's worth squat under Judo rules, so techniques for taking the back and attacking from there are underdeveloped. Also, in BJJ, there's a greater urgency to keep looking for submissions when you have something that would just start the pin clock in a judo match.
  • BJJ focuses on the guard a lot more than Judo, and has much greater depth when it comes to chaining submission attempts with sweeps, even from positions that would be considered purely defensive, like halfguard. Owing to the rules, "open guard" (one standing, one on his back) is not really a thing in Judo, and a huge field in BJJ. Funky positions like upside-down guard, 50/50 guard etc are likewise developments that arose from sports BJJ, as are the ways to deal with them (Berimbolos etc).
  • BJJ has a ton of variations on choking techniques that are either frowned upon or outright banned in Judo. Guillotines in all their variations, triangle finishes that involve pulling the head, Peruvian neckties etc..
  • 1
    Your first point is a fair one, and why I only included examples of techniques I could see being taught systematically in the early 20th century, as opposed to later techniques by individual judoka which may not have a direct history (e.g. "the Gerbi choke"/Peruvian necktie). Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 10:07
  • 1
    I suggest that closed guard (in the bottom position, legs closed around opponent) is far less developed in sport judo than open guard. Closed guard is basically a stalling position in judo, whereas open guard allows you to progress fast enough to satisfy referees. When a Japanese instructor visited the US club where I train, his basics groundwork instruction for kids started from open guard.
    – mattm
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 12:58
  • @mattm: okay, that may be the case - I had not seen that with the judoka I used to train with, but my experience is possibly not be representative. So what is the focus of open guard work in Judo? Rapid passing to a pin? And to what extent are sweeps and submissions from the back trained? Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 13:27
  • 2
    Top: pass to pin or disengage Bottom: sweep to pin, choke, or armlock; these are simply the judo ways you can win on the ground. Good judo mat players are familiar with playing from the guard. I would estimate this is ~20%. This is not, however, a requirement for rank (in the US at least), so many can get by without developing their groundwork. It's also not necessary to play judo internationally; you can see horrid groundwork at major tournaments.
    – mattm
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 15:34
  • I'd like to add that ashi-gatame (staight leg entanglement lock) from open guard is part of Judo's groundfight kata (katame-no-kata). Commented Aug 16, 2022 at 20:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.