Aikido VS Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: What’s the Difference? The Debate Ends Here

A lot of people that do not practice martial arts are not really sure what the difference is in the different schools. For example, the concept of Jiu Jitsu vs Aikido is often confused.

While they are similar there is a definite difference between Aikido and Jiu Jitsu.

They both hail from Japan but one broke off and became associated with a complete different country. Like all form of martial arts each of these two schools of training offer a union of mind, body and spirit.


Many people mistakenly think of martial arts as a form of defensive training and while that is true it can help you to defend yourself, ultimately the goal is much greater than simply self-defense. 

Martial arts have a spiritual aspect and a mind aspect as well as a physical aspect.

In other words, true martial arts teachings are not just limited to building your physical prowess but addresses your entire lifestyle. Martial arts can be used as a catalyst to live a happier, healthier life by addressing your mind, body and spirit.

Both Aikido and Jiu Jitsu like all martial arts focus on balance and wellness between the body, mind and spirit.

Let’s take a look at Aikido vs Jiu Jitsu, their brief history, and then compare the two so that you can get a better idea of what they are and how they compare.

What is Aikido – Japanese Martial Art

Aikido is considered a “modern martial art” because it was not truly developed until the early 1900’s unlike other martial arts that have been around since the 11th century or even earlier.

Morihei Ueshiba created Aikido in the 1920’s and became the Doshu of the school which has been handed down to his son and his grandson respectively.

Aikido is not about perfecting the technique it is more about blending with the motions that the attacker is using and redirecting the attack instead of dealing with the attacker with blows.

Aikido focuses on training one’s character to work with the forces of nature.  It is an art that combines physical prowess with mental energy.


A great deal of focus is placed on movements that are derived from Kenjitsu and Jiu Jitsu. A great deal of emphasis is placed on motion and understanding the movements.

Aikido focuses on harmony and balance, as a matter of fact, one translation of the word “Aikido” into English is “the way of harmony of the spirit”.

The goal of O Sensei Ueshiba was to create a martial art that promoted peace and harmony while allowing for self-defense.

Aikido is established in over 130 countries worldwide. Dedicated followers meet at Dojos for training. As the news of Aikido spread thanks to the students that studied under O Sensei Ueshiba different styles evolved.

Each student that opened their own Dojo brought a different twist to Aikido based on their own interpretation of the art. While each is still based on the same basic tenets there are some slight differences among the schools.

What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

BJJ also got its start in Japan-according to some historians- but has become famous as a Brazilian sport martial art.

The story of Jiu Jitsu has many different origins and most scholars will be the first to admit that it can be nearly impossible to track down its true roots.

Some historians argue that it hails from Shaolin China, others hint at the idea that it came from India and Buddha himself was the master, others look to Japan. Bruce Lee himself called the history of Jiu Jitsu the “classical confusion”.

You can pick which story you like!

jiu jitsu

Ultimately in modern history, the story is that the Gracie family in Brazil is created with making Jiu Jitsu what it is today.  In 1914 as the story goes the Gracie family was introduced to Jiu Jitsu by a visitor from Japan Esai Maeda who shared his knowledge of Jiu Jitsu.

The youngest son Helio was frail and unable to participate in the training.

The Gracie brothers opened a training center for Jiu Jitsu but young Helio was unable to do more than watch because of his frail state and the tiring physical maneuvering.

Eventually, Helio put his own spin on the martial art and was able to develop the BJJ which would allow him to beat competitors that outweighed him in strength and size. BJJ was born, more specifically the Gracie BJJ style.

The BJJ today is often associated with MMA fighting. It is fought on the ground.

It focuses on take down, submission techniques and fighting on the back.

The goal of BJJ is always to get your opponent to submit.

There are many different schools of thought that have evolved over the years and different styles have emerged but the goals of each training style have remained the same. Subdue an opponent without killing them.

Aikido vs Jiu Jitsu – The Differences

Now you know the basics and it should be easy to see the differences between Aikido vs BJJ.

Fighting StyleDeflect attacks, fighting upright on both feet, focus on deflecting opponent’s movesSubduing opponents, fighting on the floor preferably on the back
Aggression levelLowHigh
Focus on meditationHighLow
Focus on bringing mind, body, spirit togetherVery highModerate
Level of showLowhigh


Each of these martial arts serves a different purpose.

They both hopefully will provide you with the training to be the victor in matches. They have some similar aspects in that they both have the same goals to be victorious and to be able to intercept an opponent’s attack.

Martial arts are a great way to get in shape, build confidence and protect yourself.

Now that you have the training backstory on Jiu Jitsu vs Aikido you can easily choose the one that will best serve your purposes.