Difference Between Judo and Jiu-Jitsu

Difference Between Judo and Jiu-Jitsu

The average person that does not practice any forms of martial arts may believe that Judo and Jui-Jitsu are the same thing. This is probably because they sound, and sometimes look, very similar. But, in fact, Judo and Jui-Jitsu are two different types of martial arts.


Jui-Jitsu was a fighting style that was developed by Samurai warriors. It is considered to be one of the oldest Japanese martial arts and was developed out of necessity during the Feudal period. The first records of an unarmed martial art that is similar to Jui-Jitsu is in the Chronicles of Japan. They speak of the creation of unarmed combat arts in the country of Japan. One of the first stories of a warrior using Jui-Jitso was of the warrior Nomi no Izumo. Izumo defeated Tajima no Kehaya in front of Emperor Suinin using throws, strikes, and restraining movements.

Those that practiced this style of fighting called it nihon koryu jujutsu. Other names started emerging, such as kogusoku, kumiuchi, hakuda, and yawara. These styles of martial art were not meant to be used without any weapons. On the contrary, this style of fighting was meant to enhance fighting, and to give a warrior who was fighting with only a few weapons a chance against an opponent who was heavily armored. Many of the samurai took it one step further and would find it unnecessary to unsheathe their weapons.

The martial art continued to develop, becoming less and less dependant on weapons. The art relied on striking, throwing, restraining, evading, bending, and escaping. A weighted chain, a dagger, or a weapon called a helmet smasher were used with the martial art to enhance the Samurai’s chance of winning in a battle.


Kano Jigoro was a very small man. He was born small and was always very frail and picked on by those larger than he was. When he was 17, he tried to find a master to teach him the unpopular art of Jui-Jitsu, but had a difficult time finding one. A year after he started searching, Jigoro found Fukuda Hachinosuke. Hachinosuke, however, died a year after he began teaching Jigoro. Jigoro then found Iso Masatomo, who was a much different style of teacher than Hachinosuke was. Hachinosuke put more emphasis on technique, while Masatomo put more emphasis on forms, or katas, than Hachinosuke had.

Jigoro moved up the ranks quickly and became a master instructor and direct assistant to Masatomo when he was 21. Masatomo became ill, however, soon after Jigoro was promoted, so he went to another master. This time his master, Tsunetoshi Iikubo, taught him to focus on free practice and on throwing techniques.

Jigoro had learned a lot from all of his teachers, and at 22 he was finishing up his degree at the University and took some students on his own. He began creating different moves, such as the shoulder wheel and the floating hip, both moves which are practiced in the modern day Judo. Jigoro realized that he could change Jiu-Jitsu to make it more appealing to the population, especially since Jui-Jitsu was a dying martial art. Unlike Jui-Jitsu, this new form, dubbed “judo”, was a much more practical approach to martial arts. It did not focus on full contact wrestling and strikes, but instead focused on throwing the opponent off balance so that they could be tossed to the ground. In theory, the sport can be used successfully for defense against an attacker. Once the attacker is down, the person defending themselves can run away.

Even though those practicing Judo do not use strikes, they are trained to protect against them. They are taught to anticipate that their attacker will use strikes, and learn how to deflect and use their opponent’s strikes to their advantage. Judo throughout the years all over the world has remained the same. Meaning the rules and regulations. In certain countries they may train differently and use subtle different techniques, but when it come to competition point are all scored the same throughout the world. A famous Judoka known throughout the world is Rusty Kanokogi. She introduced women’s Judo into the Olympics. She was also one of the first ladies to ever train at the Kodokan (judo training center in Japan). Rusty has been an inspiration to many throughout the world when it comes to Judo.

Jiu-Jitsu is the father of Judo, but both types of martial art are still practiced. A Judo teacher, however, can often be found much more easily than a Jiu-Jitsu teacher can, but often a traditional old school instructor that teaches Judo will be trained well enough in Jiu-Jitsu to give lessons on that martial art as well. Another current aspect is the uniform jui-jitsu fighters wear. They like the gi more snug to the body so that it's head to grab. Whereas the Judo uniform, the player may wear is a bit more loose so that the opponent has a chance to score with a good grip.

These days now ju-jitsu has evoled into a more complex art. There are different form of Jujitsu such as Brazilian jui-jitsu, Small circle jui-jitsu, Vee Arnis Jujitsu, Samurai Aiki-jujitsu, & Sanuces Ryu. All these variations still come from the same roots that the Samurai warrior from Japan trained in. One thing is for certain: both martial arts require a lot of physical moving and throwing, and both can cause a lot of injury when necessary.