Aikido and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) are two incredible martial art forms that developed from the same land – Japan – but took on different physical and philosophical pathways. The article explores the origins, history, and current state of each martial art to help you decide upon which one to study.
Aikido is a martial art form that incorporates philosophical elements into combat. Aikido is on the newer side of martial art history as it was formed in the early 1900s. You’ll find that Aikido is founded upon mitigation more than active aggression. What this means in practice is the ability to redirect another person’s attack into a method of neutralizing them. Aikido is all about practice and philosophy – not so much being able to demolish someone.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Origins
Don’t let the name fool you – BJJ got its start in Japan. The true beginnings of BJJ are up for debate among martial arts scholars. However, what we know to be true is that the Gracie family took up Jiu-Jitsu in the early 20th century. Mitsuyo Maeda, a very prodigious fighter brought Jiu-Jitsu to Brazil once he aligned the art with the realities of street fighting. Carlos Gracie, Maeda’s student further developed BJJ with other members of his family. Each family member added something into now what has evolved into one of the foremost martial arts in MMA. BJJ came to the U.S. in the 1990s and the Gracie family is still active in BJJ to this day.
Aikido vs BJJ Differences
The biggest and most notable difference between Aikido and BJJ is that BJJ concentrates primarily on grappling techniques while Aikido practitioners fight on their feet using wrist locks and throws. The differences between Aikido and BJJ range from techniques, philosophy, fighting styles, and more.
Aikido places a large emphasis on its philosophical nature and goal of reducing harm by redirecting the enemy’s attack. Aikido is not about perfecting the technique – it is more about assimilating to the motions of the attacker and redirecting the attack. When you think of Aikido, think of physical prowess that meets mental energy. In fact, the translation of Aikido in English is “the way of harmony of the spirit”. Seems rather fitting, right?
BJJ is founded on fending off large attackers through effective combat. The goal of BJJ is always to get your opponent to submit. BJJ focuses heavily on mental strength but in a different manner and intention than Aikido.