JJJ vs. BJJ: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Ari Bolden Sensei, president of the Jiu-jitsu BC Society and owner of 10th Planet Jiu-jitsu Victoria (both a BJJ & a Japanese Jiu-jitsu school), recently expressed his frustration at the many grapplers/ MMA-ers out there who give him attitude about Japanese styles of Jiu-jitsu. He wrote an article called “Understanding Japanese Jiu-jitsu” about it on I hope lots and lots of people read his article and broaden their minds on the topic.

“The problem with the majority of the public is that they don’t understand the principles behind Japanese JuJutsu because all they see are BJJ schools or grappling in a MMA setting,” Bolden says.

It’s true. Sadly, self-defense doesn’t compete against grappling styles in a world in which more value is placed on things featured in public arenas. But just because the capitalist world isn’t rewarding self-defense oriented dojos doesn’t mean they provide nothing of value.

I know there are a lot of grapplers/ MMA-ers who are more enlightened and open-minded, but I can tell you from moderating my blog that there are a lot of squeaky wheels out there and many of the ones with whom I’ve come in contact on my blog are from that subset of martial artists. I can understand where the attitude comes from. These are people who measure a martial art’s worth by its effectiveness in the ring, however, there is no safe public forum for measuring a martial art’s street effectiveness.

“Make sure you know what you are taking and WHY you are taking it!” Bolden suggests at the close of his article. “If you think that all you need is spinning back kicks in a real fight you’ll be toast pretty quick when a real fight comes your way. If you want to study GI BJJ and want to compete-GREAT! If you want to study PURE self defense-AWESOME. But remember, doing well in one medium (the ring/mat) doesn’t mean it will translate well into another arena (the street). The same goes for JJJ stylists who think they can roll around with BJJ BB and come out on top playing the BJJ player’s game.”

Well put, Ari. If we all just lose the ignorant, pretentious attitudes and realize we are all just on our own paths of self-actualization, no matter what we’re studying, the martial arts world will be a better place. One in which we can all learn from each other.

Comments (9)

9 thoughts on “JJJ vs. BJJ: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

  1. It is a shame when people decide for themselves that one art is better than the other. karate, vs kickboxing, judo vs BJJ, muay thai vs taekwondo etc etc. It is pathetic that people dont just train with each other, regardless of what style they do and learn whatever they can.

  2. I was a bouncer for 5 years… the last few I had a few knuckle heads claiming that they better watch out cause they were MMA or Cage fighters. They all learned a valuable lesson… MMA is a sport… In fighting anything goes.

  3. At my karate school, there is also a jiu-jitsu guy who teaches. He has his own program. He just runs it in our dojo. Anyway, I took a seminar from him a few years back. He teaches traditional Japanese Jiu-jitsu and it was so cool. There wasn’t a single thing I learned in that class that I didn’t come home, try out on my much bigger husband, and have work remarkably well. I can definitely see some similarities between BJJ and JJJ regarding joint locks, etc. But overall, it’s a different ball game. I think it’s especially cool that one of the main founding guys, whose name completely escapes me now, taught in Hawaii and was under a lot of scrutiny for teaching women. However, he came up with 20 different self defense moves every woman should know and the JJJ guy teaches them. He wants to start a kids program and my daughter is interested in switching. I’m anxious to see what she thinks when we watch a class next week. I think I’m off topic and way long, but I just wanted to put that out there. I think JJJ is awesome and very effective from what I’ve seen of it.

  4. I’ve never “bought” into the distinctions in we see Jiu-jitsu. Its a little like “….Po*ta”to verses Pa*ta”to…” argument has morphed into the martial arts world and is encased “EGOs”. From my perspective Jiu-jitsu begat Judo, which begat Brazian Jiu-jitsu. Am I the only person who sees JJ includes aspects of JJJ, BJJ and Judo? —That a well trained JJ martial artist should have included ground work, throwing, kicking and striking into their arsenal. A complete training cirriculum.

  5. I agree. In my dojo, we develop skills in all areas, striving to teach a complete arsenal for self-defense.

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