Is It Okay To Train Both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu And Judo?

BJJ came from Judo and they are very similar martial arts, as Judo came from the Japanese martial art Jujutsu, but can you train them together, do they have overlap? I decided to find out.

BJJ and Judo come from the same martial art but they have very different rules, and use different techniques with Judo focussing more on takedowns and BJJ the ground game.

They both can be trained together and work well with each other as all the techniques you learn in Judo can be used in BJJ.

Why You Can Cross Train BJJJ And Judo

Unlike cross-training striking arts, BJJ and Judo are both grappling arts and don’t hurt or interfere with each other. With Striking I wouldn’t encourage someone to cross-train Muay Thai with Boxing as the stances are too different if you want to know more see my article on the topic here.

However whilst you can use all your Judo techniques in BJJ it is not true the other way round as since 2010 the internal Judo federation banned all leg attacks so no leg locks for you!

For general tips on cross training both martial arts check the above video by Judo black belt Idean Salehyan for tips on what you should expect.

Benefits Of Cross Training Judo And BJJ

Judo Has A Strong Standup Game

One problem with BJJ is takedowns have become more and more unimportant as the martial art moves away it’s self-defense roots and becomes more like a sport.

I’ve seen this first hand when I first trained grappling I did wrestling and BJJ at the same time and found my stand up grappling game was a lot better than experienced blue belts in the gym, I couldn’t believe it!

In BJJ competitions, only two points are awarded for a takedown, with three for a guard pass and four for a back take or a mount position. Since takedowns and throws are harder to do BJJ competitors tend to pull guard and start the fight from the bottom, so the takedowns are naturally less trained.

The problem I have with this, is can you pull guard in a street fight? No, you cannot, and doing so will put you in a very dangerous situation as you cannot see multiple attackers or a possible attack from behind.

Training Judo gives you a superb standup grappling game with numerous throws known as nage waza in Japanese taught at white belt level.

Whilst difficult to execute without proper technique these throws will excel your BJJ game and they can leave your opponent in a poor position such as side control or knee in belly scores you a lot of points in BJJ.

Learning Judo will improve your standing grappling defense, as the best way to defend against techniques is to learn how to use them. Throws against you in sparring will happen less frequently and this extends to MMA as well.

Ashwiaza or Judo foot techniques are VERY effective against BJJ players you might have seen Ronda Rousey or other MMA fighters use this technique in the clinch. Unlike throws, these are easier to pull off and after you mastered this technique you will land it easily in sparring.

If your a BJJ white belt learning takedowns whether wresting single/double legs or Judo throws will improve your game drastically. In a self-defense situation, how do you use your BJJ?

You MUST put your opponent to ground so Judo allows you to utilize your BJJ ground game and put your opponent in a bad position after they are thrown. A win-win!

Can Compete In Both Judo & BJJ

Unlike competing in both striking and grappling events, when you train one you are training the other as they are sister sports. You don’t even have to buy new equipment as you use your Gi in Judo and your Judo Gi in BJJ, If you need a Gi you can get the Sanabul Gi on Amazon here.

However, it changes when you’re in a tournament. A Judo Gi will be legal in a BJJ tournament that follows IBJJF rules(see rules here) whilst you will not be allowed to wear a BJJ at a Judo tournament that follows IJF rules(rules here).

Training both will fix holes present in both martial arts. In Judo people will have a hard time pinning and submitting you, since your experience in reversing and escaping attacks on the ground from BJJ.

Judo teaches you how to break falls repeatedly, something that is important for injury prevention that BJJ doesn’t spend much time on

In BJJ you have a big advantage in stand up and if you pull off a throw, it is easy to get a high scoring position such as knee on belly or side mount. Identifying poor BJJ standup technique and punishing it with a throw will be easy for someone who cross-trains both arts.

Judo sacrifice throws which involve throws that put you in a bad position to execute the throw usually being on the ground, are far safer in BJJ as you can pull guard compared to Judo which carries a risk of getting pinned.

Training Judo will give you superb balance which is great for BJJ and every sport imaginable, the mat drills. you learn in both sports can be used interchangeably.

Improves Your Self-Defence

Judo is especially devastating in self-defense situations, as to imagine throwing someone directly into concrete! I don’t condone using your techniques unless it is absolutely necessary but improving your grappling stand up game could save your life!

The issue with modern sports BJJ is playing guard is dangerous in a street fight situation, and even if you have the best BJJ in the world if you have no taken down ability how can you use your ground game in a self-defense situation?

Crossing training BJJ and Judo will make you highly effective in a street scenario, add some kickboxing to the mix and you are a highly effective martial artist that no one would want to mess with!

I recommend learning Muay Thai and it involves all 8 limbs, check out the complete guide to learning Muay Thai by yourself in this link.

Downsides Of Cross-Training BJJ & Judo

Is It Okay To Train Both BJJ And Judo?

It’s Hard To Train Two Sports

Face it, you only have so much power in a day, and saying yes to something is saying no to something else. It will take far longer to get good at both arts if you split your time between them, and you can burn out from doing both sports.

I train BJJ and Muay Thai and since they are so different I cannot get burnt out as they are so different and continue to be interesting. Since Judo & BJJ are so similar specially Gi BJJ I could see someone getting bored more easily.

Just like training Boxing will give you bad habits when you start Muay Thai(see my post here), you will get bad habit training both sports. Like going for single legs or illegal submissions in Judo or turtling.

Not ALL Techiques Are Effective In BJJ & Judo

We already spoke about no leg attacks in Judo but you can’t learn one technique in Judo and immediately expect to use it in rolling next week!

Some Judo throws don’t work well in no Gi and MMA and your skill at performing single and double leg takedowns and takedown defense will be lacking until you reach a higher level of grappling.

Learning wrestling is a great alternative that would make your takedowns high level which is great for MMA.

Judo throws are very difficult to learn and the best more advanced throws are not taught until an advanced level with the beginner throws are not that useful in BJJ.

It takes until a Judo brown belt before you can use your specialized throws like Ashiwaza and sacrifice throws whilst they are super effective in BJJ, it takes many years to refine them before the techniques are consistent in Sparring.

It takes around 3-6 years to achieve a Judo black belt depending on your commitment to the sport if you want to know how it takes to get a black belt in each martial please check my post here.

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