When I first got into MMA, I had a big question – Which martial arts is the best? There are so many to pick from! Karate, judo, Thai boxing… the list goes on.

Today, we will talk about two big ones: Jiu Jitsu vs Kung Fu. When I was deciding what to focus on, I had the same question you might have: Which one is better?

In the end, I picked Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Stick around, and I’ll tell you why it was the best choice for me.

TopicBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)Kung Fu
What it Focuses OnGround fighting, submissionsLeg and arm strikes
Training Drilling, positional sparring, rollingMostly drilling, light sparring
TechniquesSubmissions, joint locks, takedowns, pins,Chi, boxing strikes, leg kicks
Self-DefenseStrong, especially on the groundLacks ground techniques
UniformGi and Rash GuardsIntricate knots & embroidery
Real-Life EffectivenessHigh, especially on the groundCan leave openings
SparringYes, every practice (“rolling”)Less frequent
TournamentsFocused on submissionsPoint scoring
My OpinionBetter for self-defenseNeeds more ground techniques
Jiu Jitsu vs Kung Fu: Comparison

Is BJJ Or Kung Fu Better For Self Defense?

Jiu-Jitsu For Self Defense

If you want to protect yourself, Jiu-Jitsu has your back. BJJ teaches you practical techniques for self-defense. Here, you learn how to take someone down, pin them, and use submission moves like chokes and joint locks.

The whole idea is to control the situation. You’ll know what to do even if someone bigger and stronger is attacking you. I have seen Jiu Jitsu Players submit opponents twice the size of them.

Kung Fu For Self Defense

Kung Fu is also good self-defense, but it’s different. It’s got striking and is not focused on what to do if you end up on the ground. I find some techniques to be too flashy. They look cool, but there are openings that a boxer or a kickboxer could expose.

Is Kung Fu Or BJJ Better For Self Defense?

I think BJJ is the clear winner here. You’re out of luck with Kung Fu if you get taken down since it doesn’t have much for ground fighting.

BJJ, on the other hand, lives for the ground game. It even teaches you how to take someone down, so you’re not stuck standing and trading punches if you don’t want to.

Kung Fu is not as responsible as other striking martial arts when it comes to defense. It might look cool in movies, but there are many openings that someone could use against you. So, if you want to defend yourself, go for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Be aware though, that there’s no striking taught in BJJ – so if you are a BJJ Player, you want to take the fight to the ground as soon as possible.

Should You Choose BJJ or Kung Fu?

Why BJJ Is Effective in Real-Life Situations

If keeping yourself safe is your top goal, BJJ is the way. It teaches you how to handle yourself on the ground. You learn how to control the other guy. With Kung Fu, you are in trouble if somebody takes you down.

Also, the only real reason why you should ever engage in a street fight is if somebody grabs you. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teaches you exactly what to do in these situations. Kung Fu does not.

Do You Like Stand-Up or Ground Fighting?

So, are you a stand-up fighter or a ground warrior? If you love throwing punches and kicks, Kung Fu is for you. But if wrestling and takedowns are more your style, you’ll love BJJ. It really comes down to what you enjoy more.

Personally, I love grappling. It’s more technical, more fun, and I feel like I can have more control in a fight than with striking martial arts.

Do You Like Sparring?

Here’s another thing. In Kung Fu, you won’t spar as much. If you like testing your moves, think twice. On the flip side, in BJJ, you spar all the time. It’s called “rolling.” You can try out what you learned from a real person on the mat.

These rolling sessions will prepare you for real life. We sparr so much in Jiu-Jitsu that I am used to putting myself in high-stress situations.

In Kung Fu, you rarely do so. And the reality is that in a street fight, it often comes down to who is comfortable and confident in these situations.

Why I Chose BJJ

BJJ is like the best video game ever, but in real life. It’s just so much fun. Every practice is a new adventure. You’re always learning something cool and different.

Kung Fu consists of a lot of drilling – you want to test your skills in life scenarios that often. Unlike BJJ – here we test what we have learned in each training session.

I love BJJ, and I am sure you’ll too.

What Makes BJJ And Kung Fu Different?

Jiu-Jitsu and Ground Fighting

In BJJ, you’ll spend a lot of time learning how to wrestle your opponent to the ground and keep them in a place where you have a dominant position over them. Once down there, it’s about using joint locks and choke holds to make your opponent tap out. That’s called submission, and it’s a big part of the sport. 

The idea is to use leverage to your advantage. So you can still win even if you’re not the biggest or strongest person in the room.

Kung Fu and Leg Strikes

This martial art is about stand-up fighting – using arm and leg strikes. Kung Fu got a lot of leg strikes. Some Kung Fu styles even have techniques. That mimic animal actions. Ever seen someone do a crane kick? That’s Kung Fu.

So in Kung Fu, you’ll learn how to kick somebody. In BJJ, you’ll learn how to smush them on the ground.

What Are The Key Techniques?

Submission and Joint Locks in Jiu-Jitsu

2 men doing jiu jitsu

In Jiu-Jitsu, you want to make the other person tap out. You do this through executing submissions.

These can be choke holds, where you go for the neck, or joint locks, where you target the elbows or knees. Here, you don’t have to be super strong to make these moves work. 

You just have to know the right way to apply pressure. So, even if you’re smaller than your opponent, you are able to submit the larger, stronger guy.

But that’s not all. You’ll learn how to take somebody down, how to escape bad positions on the ground, how to reverse position, and how to control somebody on the ground.

The rule in Jiu-Jitsu is: Control before submission.

Young adult doing a Kung Fu move

Kung Fu Techniques and Chi

Kung Fu has a lot of different techniques. Here, you work with kicks and punches.

By the time you reach your black belt, you’ll be a kicking expert.

Some Kung Fu practitioners say controlling your chi can help you in fights and in other parts of life. It’s tied into the philosophy of Kung Fu.

What Are The Uniforms In BJJ And Kung Fu?


Jiu-Jitsu and the Gi

Okay, let’s talk clothes. In Jiu-Jitsu, you’ll wear gi. It’s a thick, sturdy jacket and pants combo made to handle all the grabbing and pulling you’ll do. The Gi is super important in training.

You learn how to grab it the right way to control your opponent. It teaches you how to grab somebody’s clothes, take them down, control them, and submit. 

There’s also a newer version of BJJ called no-gi jiu jitsu. Here, you wear rash guards designed for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Here, you don’t rely on clothing. 

Kung Fu and Its Knot Fasteners and Embroidery

The uniforms here are also called Gi. But they are different from the BJJ Gis. They are like works of art. They have knot fasteners and embroidery. How the uniform is designed is part of the Kung Fu philosophy. It’s a mix of function and tradition.

Tournaments and Competitions

BJJ Tournaments

BJJ has big tournaments where you go a 100%. Here, it’s about submitting your opponent or winning by points. You’ll face off against others on the same belt level as you, so it’s always a fair fight. It’s high-energy and super fun to both watch and be in.

I love going to BJJ competitions. Both to watch and to compete. It’s fun and the risk of getting injured is low. This is if you tap out early enough of course.

Kung Fu Competition

Kung Fu is a bit different when it comes to showing off in a match. You won’t see much of the full-contact sparring like you do in BJJ.

Instead, Kung Fu focuses on forms and technique. You get points for how well you do your moves. It’s cool in its own way, but don’t expect the rough and tumble you get in BJJ.

Jiu Jitsu vs Kung Fu: Conclusion

BJJ and Kung Fu are both beautiful martial arts. But if you’re asking me, I lean toward BJJ. I haven’t trained much in Kung Fu, so keep that in mind. But here’s the deal: if a BJJ black belt and a Kung Fu black belt had a face-off, my money’s on the BJJ pro.

BJJ is about ground fighting. And most fights end up there. Kung Fu is great, but doesn’t give you the tools to sit on the mat. Plus, in BJJ, you get to “roll” every practice. That’s real-world practice right there!

But you do you. The best martial art for you is the one you’ll stick with. So maybe give both a try and see what fits. After all, the most important thing is that you’re learning and having fun.

So, to wrap it up, if you’re looking for something effective in real-life stuff, like self-defense, I’d recommend BJJ. But try ’em both out and see for yourself.

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