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The Distinctive Characteristics of Grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Updated: 3 days ago

Grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) are closely related, but they have some distinct differences:


  • Grappling: This is a general term for martial arts and combat sports that focus on clinch and ground fighting with the aim of obtaining a submission using submission holds. It encompasses a range of techniques from various disciplines, such as wrestling, judo, and BJJ.

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ): Our martial art evolved from Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. BJJ focuses heavily on ground fighting and submission techniques, emphasizing leverage and technique over brute strength.


  • Grappling: In grappling, practitioners use a variety of techniques from different martial arts. It includes throws, takedowns, joint locks, pins, and chokeholds. The approach can vary widely depending on the background of the practitioner (e.g., a wrestler vs. a judoka).

  • BJJ: BJJ specializes in ground fighting and submission. Our students learn to control their opponents on the ground and use joint locks and chokeholds to force a submission. There is a strong emphasis on positional strategy, like achieving and maintaining dominant positions.


  • Grappling: Rules can vary significantly depending on the specific discipline or style of the tournament. Some grappling competitions may allow more wrestling-style techniques, while others may be closer to judo or BJJ in terms of allowed moves.

  • BJJ: BJJ competitions have specific rules that prioritize ground fighting. Points are awarded for achieving and maintaining dominant positions, and matches can be won by submission. Certain techniques are forbidden, especially at lower belt levels, for safety reasons.


  • Grappling: The uniform depends on the specific style. Wrestlers wear singlets, judokas wear judo-gis, and in some no-gi grappling competitions, athletes wear shorts and rash guards.

  • BJJ: Our students typically wear a gi, similar to a judo-gi but often with some differences in material and cut. There are also no-gi BJJ competitions, where athletes wear shorts and rash guards.


  • Grappling: As a general term, grappling doesn't have a unified philosophy. The approach to training and combat can vary greatly depending on the specific discipline within grappling, such as wrestling, judo, or Sambo.

  • BJJ: We emphasize the concept of "technique over strength," focusing on the ability of a smaller, weaker person to defend against a larger opponent by using leverage and proper technique. Training usually involves learning techniques, practicing them in a controlled environment, and live sparring (rolling).

While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a form of grappling, not all grappling is BJJ. BJJ is more specialized, primarily focusing on ground fighting and submissions, with a specific set of rules and a distinct philosophy, while grappling is a broader term that encompasses a variety of ground fighting techniques and disciplines. Come and join Urbana Academy this 2024 and experience this great journey.

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