Karate vs. Jiu Jitsu: Some Major Differences Between Them

Karate has for a long time remained one of the most popular combat sports across the entire planet.

However, the entry of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) into the combat world in the recent years has stirred things up.

And the whole world is now debating on which of the two sports is better than the other.

I’ve decided to weigh in on this topic to help you make a more informed decision.

To do that, I’ll take you through a list of well-researched, KEY differences existing between Karate and BJJ.

(Hopefully, this info will go a long way in helping you make a better choice).

Discover the major differences below…


While both sports base their root in Japan, they were developed at entirely different periods.

Talking of the Jiu Jitsu, it was heavily influenced by Judo (or Kano Jujitsu). In simpler words, it was developed when Mitsuyo Maeda, a Judo master, traveled all the way to Brazil to train Carlos and Helio Gracie. Then the two went ahead to create the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Karate drew its influence from the Chinese martial arts and was developed during the cultural exchange between Japan and China.

Fighting Style/Tactics/Techniques

The two fighting sports also heavily differ regarding fighting style or technique.

BJJ mainly focuses on the grappling art. As a BJJ artist, you’ll mostly learn submission and take down techniques such as sweeps, choke-holds, joint locks, etc., to bring your opponent from a standing position to submission (or tapping out, if you like).

In the world of karate, you’ll mainly focus on striking. It involves stand-up fighting plus distance stances. You’ll learn proper techniques for punching, kicking, elbow and knee striking, with the aim of putting your opponent on the mat.

Suitability for Self-defense

I’m assuming that any age or gender would like to take some self-defense classes. In that sense, it’s also worth discussing how the two sports compare when it comes to self-defense.

One thing you’ll learn about karate is that it mainly focuses on hard strikes and power to help you damage your opponent. This is to mean that you’ll need to have strength and power if you’ve to rely on karate for self-defense.

BJJ, on the other hand, involves using strategy and technique (and not brute strength) to help you take down an opponent. It’ll help you use less effort and energy to take down a large opponent. For this reason, most kids, teens, women, and men alike tend to choose BJJ for self-defense.

An added advantage of using BJJ for self-dense is that it grants you more control in a real-life situation. It lets you easily control your aggressor and put them in a position where they’re unable to attack until they calm down, give up, or help comes by.

A word of CAUTION: BJJ can be deadly if need be, but I don’t see any reason why you’d want to throw a punch that throws someone’s life and put you in serious consequences.

Final Verdict

Now that you know the key differences between Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I believe you’re in a better position to pick the one that best suits your needs, goals, and expectations.

Whichever sport you pick, however, make sure you look for an authentic, experienced trainer to take you through the lessons. This will significantly contribute to your overall learning success while ensuring you learn from the best.

  • April 26, 2018
  • BJJ
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