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Is Jiu-Jitsu Better Than Karate?

Posted: May 27, 2022

There are fundamental differences that draw apart jiu-jitsu and karate despite them both being core practices within martial arts. A question commonly asked is - is jiu-jitsu better than karate?

This blog aims to delve into both practices and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both to decide, which is best.

Is Jiu-Jitsu Better Than Karate?

At first glance, this question needs more than just a simple answer. Both jiu-jitsu and karate offer different techniques for self-defence training. Jiu-Jitsu originates from Brazil and karate from East Asia.

In many ways, the two practices are similar, in others, they host stark differences. But fundamentally, which is better?

The Difference Between Jiu-Jitsu And Karate

As well as the key difference of origin, there are a number of strategic differences between jiu-jitsu and karate.

They are opposite in their styles; karate teaches traditional striking-based martial art techniques and jiu-jitsu, on the other hand, follows a combat system, practising grappling-based martial art techniques.

Both are versatile martial art practices – jiu-jitsu practices a number of complex techniques such as positions, joint locks and chokes. Karate displays dozens of techniques like, punches, kicks and throws. The best way to describe the difference is that jiu-jitsu focuses on closing the distance between opponents and fighting for a dominant position ending on the ground. Karate’s main goal is to use limbs as weapons and strike the opponent.

Jiu-jitsu strength training focuses on the dominance of the upper body; however, karate focuses on the strength of the lower body.

Is Jiu-Jitsu Or Karate Better For Self Defence?

Due to jiu-jitsu’s dominant nature, it is argued that this practice is better used for the need for self-defence. Karate focuses on light contact and strikes, which is a self-defence situation and is not the most effective form of combat.

Jiu-jitsu is a grappling style martial art. Most ‘ordinary people aren’t trained in grappling and so jiu-jitsu is better when establishing dominance in a ‘real life’ fight.

It’s important to note that jiu-jitsu is also most effective for women in self-defence. It is the only martial art in which a smaller person can beat a bigger attacker. Smaller built women, who are often attacked by more physically powerful individuals can beat their opponents with the techniques of jiu-jitsu.

Karate teaches a lot of practical techniques for self-defence. But mirroring the techniques to a real fighting situation, the speed, light contact, and precision will most likely not be as effective.

Pros And Cons Of Jiu-Jitsu

So far, jiu-jitsu is looking like the most effective form of martial art. To develop a real conclusion as to whether it is better than karate, it’s important to outweigh its advantages and disadvantages.


  • Jiu-jitsu has proved its effectiveness in MMA fights.
  • It is more likely to be successful in a self-defence situation.
  • The martial art hosts a variety of physical and mental health benefits in terms of strength and resilience.


  • The lack of striking techniques means that jiu-jitsu cannot be regarded as a complete fighting system
  • Jiu-jitsu is often taught as a sport for competition as opposed to self-defence which can result in injury if applied in a real-life altercation.
  • Jiu-jitsu typically requires a partner

Karate Pros And Cons

It’s also important to note both the pros and cons of jiu-jitsu’s opponent in this article, karate.


  • The striking based techniques can be used effectively in self-defence situations.
  • Like jiu-jitsu, karate carries many mental and physical health benefits.
  • Karate is a brilliant martial art for children to learn, keeping them active and mentally stimulated.
  • You can train in karate on your own.


  • Lack of ground techniques – many karate schools do not teach ground techniques which could be useful for self-defence.
  • Focus on light contact isn’t effective in real life-fighting situations.

The Final Score

The answer to ‘which is better is difficult to conclude. Both forms of martial arts offer specific advantages. Depending on what specifically the individual wants to achieve, both martial arts techniques can offer huge benefits.

Get In Touch

Think jiu-jitsu is the martial art for you? Want to find out more about the art? Get in touch!

Our team at Ellis Academy are available to answer any questions and inform you about our classes.

Call 01737 761999 today!

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