Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Techniques Versus Aikido Techniques - Similar or Different?

Aikido Techniques: Kokyunage

Kokyunage - An Aikido Technique which redirects the momentum of an attack into a momentum throw.
Kokyunage - An Aikido Technique which redirects the momentum of an attack into a momentum throw.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Techniques vs Aikido - In Differences We Find Similarities

Is BJJ Similar to Aikido? - At first blush Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques and those of Aikido may seem worlds apart. Yet, a closer look finds as many similarities as differences. In fact, the Aikido’s roots trace back to Jiu Jitsu in Japan.

Similarities - The Goal is Control - Many of the submission techniques applied in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) are based on the same principles as Aikido, which are to apply force to tendons, ligaments, or joints in such as to create pain. The while the application within each of the arts is different, the goal of both arts is the same – control of the opponent. The BJJ practitioner achieves a successful outcome through the accumulation of points with throws, superior position, or the ultimate submission of the opponent by “tap out”. In Aikido the joint locks or throws are used to achieve control by bringing the opponent (uke) to the ground and neutralizing the attack

Aikido Techniques Video

Aikido And Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Continued...

Similarities and Differences Between The Two


Takedowns- Hip throws (called "koshi nage") are utilized in both arts. Aikido practitioners tend to favor a simple hip throw, whereas many Jiu Jitsu practitioners use a wide range of Judo throws from the popular "uchi mata" (inner thigh throw) to single and double leg takedowns (popular in wrestling).


Focus of the Martial Arts - In Aikido there are no tournaments. Advancement is achieved through a testing process with predefined elements. Jiu Jitsu, like Judo and wrestling, pits one individual against another in a timed match or tournament. Points are accumulated and the ultimate goal is submission often through one of many arm / leg locks or chokes. The opponent signals submission by tapping out.

Conclusion - Despite the many obvious differences in application and training, Aikido and Jiu Jitsu posses similarities from their roots to execution of many techniques. Both are excellent choices for those interested in martial arts and each has virtues that can provide benefit.

Comments 25 comments

GreatTattoosNow profile image

GreatTattoosNow 8 years ago from San Jose

Hey There Aikidk01-

This is a great hub I really enjoyed reading your insights about aikido and the similariteis of aikido and BJJ.

jkudo23 profile image

jkudo23 8 years ago from Carlsbad, California

Very interesting article! BJJ and Aikido both have their roots in Judo. Nice!

zcat8 profile image

zcat8 8 years ago

This is a great article because these two arts have similar roots. Morihei Ueshiba studied aiki-jujitsu and BJJ derived from Japan. Both arts have changed somewhat from their original styles, but still maintain effective techniques. A good wristlock or elbow lock was effective 100 years ago and is still effective today. It is good to see different (in some cases, not so different) arts working together in harmony.

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 8 years ago Author

zcat8 - It is very interesting how many martial arts share properties and how there is a common thread that moves through all of them. You are so right about the wrist lock as well. Get one of those cranked on and it will certainly get you where you live as will a powerfully applied Nikkyo. Sounds as though you have had a good amount of grounding in these arts. Kind regards...

Kristin 8 years ago

Great article. Very interesting to see how similar they really are!

JMall profile image

JMall 8 years ago

Nice layout for the article and I appreciate your thoughts.

I have to say that jkudo23 has it backwards though. Judo was created by Kano who live from 1860-1938. Jiu Jitsu on the other hand goes back to Japan's Feudal history dating back before the 1500's.

Kano was a jiu jitsu practitioner who modified the art and took out the "lethal" techniques so that it could be practiced by the general public.

The term judo existed before Kano made it famous in the 1800's.

"The facts maam. Only the facts"

JMall profile image

JMall 8 years ago

I just realized that this page is speaking about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so I have to apologize to jkudo23. He's right BJJ did develop out of Judo. My fault.

"Forgiveness is next to godliness"

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 8 years ago Author

JMall - Points well taken. Judo is one of the "newer" arts and is an offshoot of Jiu Jitsu. The Brazilians did a great job of refining and improving on what they were taught so many years ago.

Jet 7 years ago

I believe there are worlds of difference between aikido and BJJ. Aikido is more for spiritual and personal development and the sport and self-defence aspect is a secondary byproduct. BJJ is entirely focused on sport and self-defence and has little to do with spiritual development. Aikido has little to no ground grappling; not even in suwari waza techniques. BJJ's strength and philosophy of fighting is embedded in its superior ground techniques. BJJ is highly efficient in its techniques and training methodology and one can apply them in a real situation after only a couple of months of training. However, and I may raise a lot of ire with this comment, aikido is very inefficient in its self-defence techniques because the founder, Ueshiba Moriheai (O Sensei), purposely toned down the martial aspects and removing many of the lethal and dangerous moves of Daito ryu aiki jujitsu. It could take years and decades to apply just some of its techniques in a real combat situation as it is taught by rote. Even its randori/jiyu waza is NOT as realistic as BJJ's live "rolling". Therefore in aikido you have exercises, if you will, that uses the framework of martial arts but whose purpose is to take the physical concepts of non-resistance, compliance, and going-with-the-flow and transcending them into the mental and spiritual of non-confrontation, compromise, harmony and peace. The fact that aikido is not a combat oriented martial art does not take away from its important contribution in the world of MA. But let's be purposeful when comparing BJJ and aikido. We shouldn't try to make aikido into something it is not. That would be an insult to both arts, and its respective founders.

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 6 years ago Author

Jet - Your points are well taken. The purpose of the article is not to compare the two arts from the specific perspective of combat or street fighting. Each art has benefits and limitations. If Aikido techniques are used in exactly the way that training occurs on the mat, I agree there are definite limitations. Just as there are limitations to BJJ in the face of multiple attackers. As an example, a competent BJJ artist can take a single opponent down with a single or double leg, but once on the ground the individual is open to attack by the other opponents even though he may be initiating a choke or arm bar on the attacker taken down. On the other hand, if instead of an open handed atemi directed at the face of an opponent an eye gouge was employed. It is not part of the mat training, yet is can be a very effective way of thinning out the number of attackers.

As stated previously, different techniques would be used in a real situation. Each technique has its virtues and limitations if practices in precisely the way it was taught. In reality, any martial art from Judo to BJJ to Karate to Aikido can be effective in the hands of a skillful practitioner.

Jet, your points are well taken.

Jet 6 years ago

Yes, I would agree that BJJ is not a panacea for self-defence nor would I ever recommend it against multiple attackers although one must remember that BJJ is not just the ground game. It includes clinching, and standing sweeps, throws, and takedowns. Still, there's no denying that defence against multiple attacks is not BJJ's forte.

But philosophically, one could argue that if you take aikido out of its context of its traditional Hombu training methods (which is mostly practiced repetitiously through two person katas), and start to emphasize offensive striking, then it is no longer aikido as conveyed by O Sensei. It then becomes a brand of aiki jiujitsu, or a derivative of Daito-ryu like Hapkido or Shorinji Kempo. Not a bad's just no longer aikido since aikido's physical practice is inseparable from its spiritual and philosophical meanings. Just a devil's advocate opinion and I dont claim to be right.

Then again, maybe it's time that aikido evolve and incorporate from other martial arts. It is still possible to do this and still maintain the spirit and philosophy of aikido although I'm sure Honbu dojo would be pretty upset.

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 6 years ago Author

Jet - It is wonderful to have this dialog with you. I believe that your careful and considered thoughts are spot-on.

The key to the each individual's journey is his/her goal in the art. If one's desire is to take the art specifically for street fighting or practical self-defense, then a combination or mixing of the disciplines would be a good idea. Perhaps, learning BJJ, some of the principles of Aikido, a form of karate and some form of weapons training.

My personal goal is to focus on Aikido principles while acknowledging that a practical response involves something more. Aikido applications for me help to create a calmness and help with day-to-day interactions. Finally, kiatsu is the aspect of Aikido that helps improve health through ki extension.

I practice and teach Aikido for the philosophy. I prepare for what I hope should never happen by accepting the limitations of each art and applying what I believe will be effective in a "real" situation. In truth, though, O'Sensei's philosophy is that the true essence of self-defense is to become self-aware so that you can recognize and avoid dangerous situations.

My compliments to you on your well considered and very well informed response, Jet. I hope that your training provides the spiritual satisfaction that mine has. My best to you.

wademcmaster profile image

wademcmaster 6 years ago from Australia

Interesting Article and responses! Aikido & Jiu Jitsu are very similar conceptually I agree, more the initial entry into the move that has a great difference (apart from a few movements), with Aikido I notice there is more small digit manipulation and smaller joints (ie wrist locks,etc are usually not trained a lot of BJJ Clubs). But having said that I lot of principles of movement can be similar in a wide range of the arts, even between grappling and striking. Simple use of hips, posture and balance. It's all very interesting to Martial Arts Practitioner.

ConsciousDreamer 6 years ago

I have/still train Aikido for 10 years, and did Brazilian Juijitsu regularly for 3 years, and occassionally after that for the last 3 years. I have also practiced qi gong for the last 6 years.

Aikido and BJJ use very similar "feels". Non- resistance, fluidity, leading the attacker, use of space and superior position. Mixed together jujitsu's technical skill set the "feel" acquired in Aikido waza become extremely effect juijitsu submissions.

Looking just at technique they are like cousin's really. They are very different in their uses of joint manipulations and position.

What the author says is very much right, both are about control, non-resistance, spontaneous technique, throw, joint/weight/center manipulations, spacial awareness and present non-violent options (and both have much more if the need arises). Jujitsu is clearly a very well designed, well rounded modern self defense (especially if one adds in striking training) and the methodical free rolling in training all the time makes it extremely applicable. If your looking purely at modern effective use juijitu excels far beyond Aikido technically and in actual use. . but there is much more to look at when looking at Aikido.

Aikido is as much as anything primary purpose is as a practice of self developement, not a of self defense- yet buried within it's deeper understandings are the keys to extremely effective embodiment of any martial technique (and some would say though self developement your life may well shine in a thousand beautiful ways).

Movement/space, flow, blend, leading, center/ground/base, extension, entering, turning, sensitivity and reading people's intension, opening to larger energies dimensions are the principles that appear in all martial arts and much more. . spiritual/personal growth and refinement are alsothe true gems of Aikido's embodimentO'Senei was no joke- he was a real flesh and blood man who was neigh untouchable by the best martial artist. But how he got there was not through martial technique, it was through a fundemental understanding of the Universe embodied as a martial form. . it can take any form, and that path was what he was creating techniques of refinement for.

"Do" means "Way of". . as in "Way of Being"

"Jitsu" means "Art of". . as in carpentry, or skill set.

Many people who are proficient in Aikido's "feel" when they train other martial arts often do very well and quickly can add any new techniques in to develope effective martial skills.

I actually find the more free moving juijitsu training to have helped my aikido a lot by really getting to feel the flow of comabt. . in addition aikido's sensitivity, centeredness and spacial connection all have made me do very well in learning and applying BJJ. In the end now I just turn it on and let it just flow out of me. . and it works very well and decisively.

ConsciousDreamer 6 years ago

Side note: BJJ is a heck of a lot of fun too, its like chess. It really teaches you how to relax under pressure, what its like to really effectively attack and finish someone, and is very athletic. It works very very well, and I prefer it's positions and submissions for finishing someone once I have closed the distance and either thrown, applied a joint immobilization, or taken them down. BJJ's standing clinch game is also very effective and works well at shutting down most stikers who haven't prepared for it. There is always the option of adding in strikes as well, especially to lead or open a person up to a throw or submission.

BJJ was necessary for me as a marital artist to train in my opinion; to put tools designed for effective use in my tool box.

It works extremely well against most other martial arts as well by simply putting the entire thing on the ground so effectively. One of the only ways to counter a pure grappler's attack is to study counter techniques from grappling itself (take down defense and clinch breaks).

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 6 years ago Author


What wonderful, and insightful commentary. It seems that there are so many passionate practitioners of the martial arts and I love such thoughtful analysis.

GordonCampbell profile image

GordonCampbell 6 years ago

Great hub mate. I train in BJJ and Thai, been wanting to try Aikido for a while.

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 6 years ago Author

Gordon - I know you must be enjoying your BJJ/Thai training. Aikido has a slightly different focus but I believe the arts have similarities and can complement each other. There is also a tremendous spiritual dimension associated with Aikido philosophy that might appeal to you. Enjoy your training!

justaguy 6 years ago

I've trained in both Aikido and BJJ. Here's what I've found.

Before I continue I want to clear up some common misconceptions about Aikido and emphasize that Aikido contains strikes in almost every technique. People seem to think that Aikido is all love and peace, that's the goal but each technique contains a way to kill your attacker, plain and simple. Your teacher probably won't reveal these secrets but they are there in every Aikido technique. Still the goal of Aikido is to overcome your own aggression and achieve a high level of skill so you don't have to harm your attacker in order to neutralize(submit) him/her. This is also the goal of BJJ. So they are really a good complimentary skillset, like everyone is saying.

Of the two, Aikido has more techniques and is more aggressive and a more complete martial art, in my opinion. Some define a martial art as a group of techniques that can be trained and applied with weapons and without weapons, not just without weapons. Aikido has hundreds of standing techniques, hundreds of weapons techniques, striking techniques, and kneeling/ground techniques. The standing aspect of Aikido make it more dangerous to train and this why the soft, cooperative training attitude exists. BJJ has less techniques taught on average, which makes it easier to learn and apply. Also, Aikido players are better at taking falls than BJJ, on average.

BJJ is easier to learn and more effective initially because of the smaller number of techniques offered at most schools and because of the realistic full force live training(rolling) practiced. You will also see many people train Aikido who have no wish to train realistically and who just want to feel the principles of Aikido (how to harmonize with your attacker) and apply these Aikido principles in daily life. However many schools, like Steven Seagal's, require black belts to survive a realistic full force attack from multiple persons for a fixed time period in order to get a black belt. This still doesn't equal the day in day out full force live training found in BJJ. Having said this, there are secret trainings at many Aikido dojos where they go all out, no holding back, and most high level Aikido black belts train against full force attacks from time to time.

Don't forget that time after time, older and weaker internal martial artists win matches over younger and stronger martial artists in real competitions. Internal arts mean arts such as Tai Chi, some Kung Fu, Bagua, Aikido, etc. External martial arts mean Karate, Boxing, Wresting, Taekwando, BJJ (and sometimes Aikido) where nothing is taught of Ki or Chi or how to cultivate and use it.

The difference between Aikido and BJJ is actually where the two arts compliment each other. Aikido is all about the first second of the attack where BJJ is about what happens after the first second if you fail your standing technique. If you fail your Aikido application then you may end up on the ground in a grappling match where BJJ techniques can be more useful than Aikido. If the Aikido technique works then everything is great and you have the choice to kill, maim, or practice true Aikido and harmonize with your attacker.

The old Aikido schools used to be subject to frequent full contact, full force challenges and had to prove their arts effectiveness. Just read Roy Suenaka's book on Aikido for some interesting stories about him opening his Aikido school in the middle of Karate's home town of Okinawa and the challenges he faced.

Average Aikido vs average BJJ in a match will probably favor the BJJ player 7 times out of 10 due to their day in day out full force training and lower body entanglement techniques. You'll probably see the Aikido player in a tight mess in no time tapping out. Master Aikido vs Master BJJ will lean to the favor of the Aikido master due to the small join movements, strikes and overall quickness and power of Aikido techniques. The BJJ player faces the possibility of not walking away at all (death) if they don't know how to take a high fall at full speed (95% BJJ players don't know how to roll or fall properly from my observations) or atemi(punch,elbow,poke,kick,knee,slap) to the face/nose/head/ribs/groin. Traditional Aikijujitsu teaches to kill with one strike.

I often wonder what a match would be like between my Aikido teacher and my BJJ teacher. My Aikido teacher did say that "you wouldn't want to wind up on the ground with one of those (BJJ) guys." But my Aikido teacher can probably kill most people in 2 seconds, literally, and wields a real samuri sword, so I don't think he is worried.

Here is where you run in to a problem with Aikido. How do you train full force when full speed Aikido is designed to kill or break the bones the attacker? Aikido is of little use when applied half speed against a full speed attack.

Some big problems with BJJ is that its practice with restrictions on what kind of attacks you can do and its not effective in a crowded and tightly confined area, against more than one attacker, and on the streets. Yes, BJJ has full force live training, but the training is dummied down. You don't learn to defend against punches and you are taught to put yourself in harms way. You can't do this and you can't do that, so many rules and types of attacks that you don't learn about. Lying on your back with your legs spread is a perfect way to get your private parts ripped off and your nose rammed into your brain, not to mention your head punted through the field goals by your attackers friend who you never saw watching from the car. Not to mention, what are you going to do from turtle position when your attacker can knife or strike/elbow the soft parts of your spine, head, and neck. And it doesn't seem like I would want to fall on my back onto concrete or gravel or on top of broken beer bottles or tables and chairs in a bar fight. BJJ is trained as a sport with a special uniform to make chokes and throws easy.

Having said this, both Aikido and BJJ are fun arts to train if you find a good teacher/school. Aikido is not generally taken seriously as a fighting art except for a small group of high level black belts so it could benefit by training harder and learning to deal with the ground entanglement techniques of BJJ. Since the lack of real training in Aikido there is also a lot of times when techniques are not learned properly. This is the case in BJJ until the higher levels when you learn what works in full force live training.

I study both and find them both fun and challenging and that each improves my ability in the other like two pieces of a puzzle. I think the puzzle contains other pieces too, like meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi for balance and fluidity, and Boxing/Karate to learn more powerful strikes. And don't forget acupuncture and Qigong to heal all of your injuries from the arm-bars and wrist locks.

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 5 years ago Author

JustaGuy - Sorry that this response is delayed. Your passion for both arts is evident in your thoughtful analysis. It also appears as though you are well grounded in other martial arts. Thank you very much for including your thoughts in this tread. Kind regards..Dan

justaguy 5 years ago

The more I train both the more I learn (obviously). I see more similarities and differences. One big difference is that BJJ is a sport and it is really less violent than Aikido techniques can potentially be. As a sport you put yourself in harms way in BJJ but its very good for health and sporting, not so much as a practical martial art. If you teach other martial artists the basic strengths that the BJJ have then you can more easily neutralize all the strong points it has and hurt a BJJ fighter with strikes to the soft vital points along the backside and head because BJJ teaches to expose your back and head in positions like turtle and half guard. The main key for people new to BJJ is to avoid the legs. Once you can do this and stay out of the guard it is almost impossible for a BJJ to protect himself without his/her legs.

The other difference is that BJJ encourages more conflict and direct battle where Aikido slips around these direct force to force confrontations and gets to your opponents weak spot right away, but you won't learn this in Aikido or until you get into some sparring (basically wrestling) situations. Then after a while you can see how powerful and also how bad (your) Aikido really is.

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 5 years ago Author

Justaguy - I enjoyed, very much, your thoughtful analysis and obvious knowledge of the subject. The deeper one gets into the martial arts, the more obvious it becomes that our learning has just begun. Kindest regards, Dan

Jet 5 years ago

Just stopping by for a little bit of an aikido anecdote. I was in BJJ class and rolling with a much more experienced opponent; it's ok it's BJJ so we can say "opponent". ;-) We started from our knees with a sleeve and lapel grab start position. After a few fakes to attempt a single leg takedown in kneeling position, I found myself in a very familiar position that just lit up the aikido inside me from a long time ago. I underhooked my left hand underneath my opponent's right armpit, and kept hold of his lapel with my right hand. I gave a nudge and soon as I felt the opponent exert an opposing resistance, I lifted high on the underhook, pulled down on the lapel, tenkaned on my inside knee and vrrrrrrp, the opponent got spun down and I had him in side control. It was just a modified kokyu dosa. Pretty neat, huh?

aikidk01 profile image

aikidk01 5 years ago Author


It is perfectly okay to say "opponent" - a term which I often use since Aikido techniques are, in fact, one of the martial arts. I would not only say it's neat, I would say that you demonstrated that the two arts complement each other. It is also a fact that Aikido finds its roots in jiujitsu. What a wonderful story. I wish you continued success in your martial arts journey, and I hope it is a journey of a lifetime.

profile image

omar21 4 years ago

Beautiful, awesome, useful and simple hub, your words attracted me and your effort is amazing, thank you

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article