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BJJ vs Boxing

If you are looking to get into martial arts, you may be wondering which is the best option: Boxing or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)? Both are fan favorites and have their own unique advantages. In this article, we will be discussing the history and origins of these two martial arts, the main differences between them, and which one is better suited to your needs. We will also touch on the role of each when it comes to self-defense, MMA, and safety. So if you are curious about the differences between Boxing and BJJ, as well as aspects like rules, equipment, techniques, and their effectiveness in street fights, read on!

What Is Boxing?

Boxing is a combat sport and martial art that has been around since ancient times. It was first introduced as an official sport at the 23rd Olympiad in 688 BC in Greece and has been part of the Olympic Games ever since. The modern version of boxing emerged with the birth of the famous “Queensberry rules” in 1867. These rules, which still govern the sport today, outline the regulations of professional boxing and dictate how matches should be conducted.

Boxing is a highly competitive sport that involves an athlete using their striking abilities, along with techniques such as ducking and slipping punches, changing levels, and employing fast footwork. Boxers throw various types of punches, including jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, and overhand punches, requiring an incredible balance of speed and power. Boxing is not only a popular combat sport but also a widely practiced martial art for self-defense and fitness. It takes much less time to master compared to some other martial arts, making it an attractive option for those looking to improve their physical and mental health.

What Is BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that focuses on using technique and leverage to defeat opponents. Originating from traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, which was designed for use in military combat, BJJ was modified and brought to Brazil in the 1920s by Mitsuo Maeda. Carlos Gracie, a member of the renowned Gracie family, was one of Maeda’s students and played a significant role in the development of this martial art.

BJJ practitioners use takedown techniques to take the fight to the ground and then employ their knowledge and ability to achieve submissions like choke holds and joint locks. This style of martial arts is highly intense and requires dynamic movements. The core of BJJ is all about controlling an opponent and using transitions to gain dominant positions. This martial art is often compared to other martial arts such as judo, and wrestling, as it has its own unique set of techniques and strategies.

As a sport and martial art, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has gained popularity worldwide, with numerous BJJ competitions and events taking place regularly. The effectiveness of BJJ in self-defense scenarios and its prominence in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has further contributed to its growing popularity.

Key Differences Between Boxing and BJJ

When it comes to Boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), there are several key differences to consider. First and foremost, Boxers are allowed to throw punches while BJJ practitioners are not. Furthermore, Boxers must stay on their feet for the duration of the fight, while BJJ practitioners are highly invested in taking the fight to the ground. Additionally, in BJJ, the goal is to control the opponent on the ground and submit them with joint locks, cranks, and strangulations. On the other hand, Boxing is a striking martial art that uses significant power and technique to land blows to the body and head.

Martial Art or Sport?

Another important difference is that Boxing is more of a sport than a martial art, while BJJ holds values like respect, discipline, and focus close to its practice. Additionally, while it is possible to learn both Boxing and BJJ, it is much easier to become proficient in Boxing with a few months of training. In contrast, BJJ has a steeper learning curve and may take years to master. Ultimately, these key differences must be considered when comparing these two fighting styles.

Self Defense

In terms of self-defense, BJJ is often considered more effective due to its focus on ground fighting and submissions, which can neutralize a larger or stronger opponent. Boxing, however, can also be useful in self-defense scenarios, particularly when it comes to striking and maintaining distance from an attacker. When comparing BJJ vs Boxing for self-defense, it’s essential to consider the individual’s strengths and preferences, as well as the specific situation they may encounter.

In the realm of combat sports, both Boxing and BJJ have their respective competitions and professional arenas. Boxing matches are typically divided into weight classes and can range from amateur bouts to high-profile professional boxing events. BJJ competitions, on the other hand, can include both gi and no-gi tournaments, with participants showcasing their grappling skills and submission techniques.


Comparing the rules of boxing and BJJ, including scoring, rounds, and legal techniques, we can see that these two martial arts have different objectives and strategies. In boxing, the primary focus is on striking with punches, while Brazilian Jiu Jitsu emphasizes submissions.

In professional boxing, matches typically consist of 12 three-minute rounds with one-minute breaks in between. Scoring is based on a 10-point system, with the winner of each round receiving 10 points and the loser receiving 9 points or fewer. Points are awarded for clean, effective punches landed on the opponent’s head and body. Boxing rules prohibit grappling, kicking, and striking below the waist.

In contrast, BJJ matches have varying durations depending on the organization and level of competition. Scoring in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is based on achieving dominant positions and executing submission techniques. Points are awarded for takedowns, sweeps, and positional control, such as achieving mount or back control. The ultimate goal in BJJ is to force the opponent to submit through joint locks or chokes. Unlike boxing, striking is not allowed in BJJ competitions.


The equipment used in both sports are quite obviously different. BJJ, practitioners will usually wear a Gi, which is a traditional uniform consisting of a jacket and trousers, with a belt to denote rank. For No Gi BJJ, practitioners will wear shorts, compression pants, and a rash guard. In contrast, boxers typically wear shorts and a tank top or sleeveless shirt during training and competition. Boxers obviously use gloves as their main piece of equipment. Boxers also have distinct shorts as well as boxing shoes to wear in the ring. BJJ practitioners typically train and compete barefoot.

Despite the obvious differences there are actually some commonalities as well. A mouthguard is also required for both martial arts, as it helps protect the teeth and jaw during sparring sessions and competitions. Protective cups are only needed for amateur bouts of boxing, as professional boxing matches do not require them. In BJJ, protective cups may be used at the discretion of the practitioner, but they are not mandatory.


When it comes to techniques, boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) are two different martial arts, each with their own style. In boxing, the main focus is on striking, with punches such as hooks, uppercuts, crosses, and jabs. Footwork, distance management, and timing are all crucial in boxing, as fighters use these techniques to create openings and do damage.

In contrast, BJJ has a wide variety of techniques and is focused more on grappling and ground fighting than boxing. Grappling is very positional, as practitioners set up plans with a few moves upfront and aim to outsmart their opponents. While it is still a physical sport, BJJ relies more on using leverage and control to take down opponents. This fighting style includes joint locks, chokes, and takedown techniques, which are not present in boxing.

Boxing vs. BJJ for Self Defense

When it comes to self-defense, both boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) have their own advantages and disadvantages. Boxing is relatively easy to get started with (as in you can start punching on day one), and can teach you about the physical and mental aspects of real fighting. It’s also great for improving overall fitness and weight loss, and is highly accessible as just about every town has a boxing gym. However, there are some limitations to boxing as it only focuses on striking techniques, and there is a high rate of injuries associated with the sport.

On the other hand, BJJ is an ideal option for self-defense as it enables you to deal with the attacker in the most efficient way possible, without causing any injuries. It also has a vast amount of techniques, and grappling is a very positional game. High-level practitioners set up plans with a few moves upfront and aim to outsmart their opponent. However, it only works if the opponent is on the ground, which is not always the case in a real self-defense situation.

In the end, selecting the best martial art for self-defense shouldn’t be difficult. What matters is whether you favor grappling or striking as a style. If you want to acquire new self-defense skills, think about things like simplicity, usefulness, and adaptability. Both boxing and BJJ have advantages, and both fighting philosophies may be useful in certain self-defense situations.

Boxing, for instance, can be more useful in a street brawl since it allows you to protect yourself while standing up and deliver punches. When you need to control an opponent on the ground, BJJ can, nevertheless, be more useful. BJJ practitioners also frequently excel in ground combat compared to other martial artists, which can be essential in self-defense scenarios.

It’s crucial to take the learning curve of each martial art into account when contrasting BJJ with boxing for self-defense. Boxing may be simpler to learn at first, but it might take years of practice to perfect the methods and strategies. BJJ, on the other hand, has a more difficult learning curve, but if you master it, you’ll have access to a broad variety of methods for self-defense.

BJJ offers a more versatile approach to self-defense due to the fact that it includes joint locks, takedowns, and ground combat techniques. As a striking martial art, boxing largely emphasizes blows and footwork. Although both martial arts are useful in self-defense scenarios, BJJ could offer a more diverse range of skills for fending off varied dangers.

Boxing vs. BJJ for MMA

MMA is a complex sport that requires a combination of techniques to be successful. While boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) are both important components, they each have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to MMA competition.

Boxing is an excellent way to develop striking skills, but its standard stance is vulnerable to kicks and takedowns. On the other hand, BJJ is the king of grappling and ground fighting, and is ideal for self-defense scenarios. However, fighters must modify their techniques to be successful in the cage. Additionally, BJJ is far safer than boxing when it comes to injuries.

In the world of MMA, striking martial arts like boxing and Muay Thai are often combined with grappling arts like BJJ and wrestling. This combination allows fighters to be well-rounded and prepared for any situation that may arise during a fight.

When comparing the two martial arts, boxing is known for its powerful punches and footwork, while BJJ focuses on submissions and ground control. Both boxing and BJJ have their own unique fighting styles, and each can be effective in MMA when properly adapted and integrated into a fighter’s overall skill set.

In terms of self-defense, BJJ is often considered more effective than boxing, as it teaches practitioners how to control and submit opponents on the ground. This can be especially useful in street fights, where the ability to neutralize an attacker without causing serious harm is crucial. However, boxing can also be effective in self-defense situations, as it teaches fighters how to throw punches and evade strikes.

When it comes to MMA competition, both boxing and BJJ have produced successful fighters. For example, Royce Gracie, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter, dominated the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) using his grappling skills. On the other hand, professional boxers like Conor McGregor have also found success in MMA by utilizing their striking abilities.

In conclusion, both boxing and BJJ have their own unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to MMA competition. While boxing provides powerful striking skills, it can leave fighters vulnerable to takedowns and grappling. BJJ, on the other hand, excels in ground fighting and submissions but may require modifications to be effective in the cage. Ultimately, a well-rounded MMA fighter will need to incorporate both boxing and BJJ techniques into their arsenal to be successful in the sport.

Is Boxing Safer Than BJJ?

When it comes to combat sports, safety is always a major concern. Boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) are two popular martial arts that require different levels of protective gear but have their fair share of injuries. It’s hard to say if one sport is safer than the other – though one recent study from the University of Alberta and Simon Fraser University found that BJJ had a higher rate of injuries than boxing. When comparing the injury rates and risks associated with boxing and BJJ however, it’s important to consider factors such as the intensity of training, the level of competition, and the individual’s physical condition.

It’s also important to consider the types of injuries that occur in each sport. In boxing the main injuries and concerns are around concussions and other head injuries. Cuts and scrapes from your opponents gloves are also a concern. Less common could be a break in the bones of your hands. In BJJ the injuries are a little bit more various but none as serious as a concussion. The most serious BJJ injuries will be tears – particularly in the knee. In extremely rare circumstances certain chokes can cause strokes. The most common injuries in jiu jitsu however will usually revolve around overtraining or sprains of the joints.

Boxing vs. BJJ: Who Would Win?

If two skilled practitioners of boxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) faced off, the result would depend on a variety of factors. Depending on the experience and skill level of each fighter, the boxer may have an advantage with their striking power, while the Brazilian jiu jitsu fighter may have an edge when it comes to takedowns and ground fighting. Additionally, physical attributes such as size, weight, and strength could be decisive in the outcome. Ultimately, the winner would likely come down to who can control the fight and establish their fighting style first. It’s impossible to say who would win in this hypothetical matchup, but one thing’s certain: it would be an exciting fight to watch!

In a street fight scenario, the outcome of a boxing vs. BJJ matchup might be different than in a controlled environment like a boxing ring or a jiu jitsu mat. In a street fight, the lack of rules and the unpredictability of the environment could favor the martial art that is more adaptable to various situations. In a street fight, the BJJ practitioner might have an advantage if they can close the distance and take the fight to the ground, neutralizing the boxer’s striking abilities. On the other hand, if the boxer can maintain distance and use their striking skills effectively, they might be able to keep the BJJ practitioner at bay and land powerful punches. In this case, the boxer’s experience in throwing punches and evading attacks could give them the upper hand.

Another factor to consider is the level of experience and skill in each martial art. A highly skilled and experienced boxer might be able to defend against takedowns and avoid being taken to the ground, while a less experienced BJJ practitioner might struggle to close the distance and execute their techniques. Conversely, a highly skilled BJJ practitioner might be able to quickly take down and submit a less experienced boxer, even if the boxer has superior striking skills.

Physical attributes, such as size, weight, and strength, can also play a significant role in the outcome of a fight between a boxer and a BJJ practitioner. A larger, stronger fighter might have an advantage in both striking and grappling exchanges, while a smaller, more agile fighter might be able to use their speed and technique to overcome a size disadvantage.

Should You Start Boxing or BJJ?

If you’re considering starting boxing or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), the answer is: why not try both? Each martial art offers unique benefits such as improved fitness, confidence, and self-defense skills. And if you have some experience already, it’ll be much easier to transition into either sport.

First, think about your personal goals. Do you want to focus on striking, like in boxing, or grappling, which is the main focus of BJJ? Then, consider your fitness level and available training facilities. Finally, don’t worry about what other people think and just choose a martial art that makes you happy.

Whether you decide to focus on boxing or BJJ, or do a bit of both, you’ll be in for an incredible workout. You’ll also be learning a skill that can help protect yourself in dangerous situations, such as street fights. So don’t hesitate and get started with the martial art that interests you the most.

Boxing is a striking martial art that focuses on using punches and footwork to outmaneuver and defeat your opponent. It’s a great choice for those who want to improve their striking skills and learn self-defense techniques that can be effective in a street fight. Boxing gyms are also widely available, making it easy to find a place to train and start boxing.

On the other hand, BJJ is a grappling martial art that emphasizes ground fighting, joint locks, and submission holds. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to learn self-defense techniques that can neutralize a larger or stronger opponent. BJJ training facilities may not be as widespread as boxing gyms, but the popularity of the sport is growing, and more schools are opening up.

Both boxing and BJJ have their own unique fighting styles, and each can be effective in different self-defense scenarios. If you’re interested in learning both striking and grappling techniques, you might consider training in both martial arts. This will give you a well-rounded skill set and make you more prepared for various self-defense situations.

In conclusion, whether you choose to start boxing or BJJ, you’ll be embarking on a journey that will improve your mental and physical health, teach you valuable self-defense skills, and introduce you to a supportive community of fellow martial artists. So take the first step and begin your martial arts journey today.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both Boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) are highly respected and popular martial arts, each offering unique benefits and techniques. Boxing is an excellent choice for those looking to improve their fitness and striking skills, while BJJ focuses on effective grappling and ground fighting techniques. By learning both disciplines, you can develop a well-rounded set of skills that will serve you well in self-defense situations and martial arts competitions.

Throughout this article, we’ve discussed the differences between these two martial arts, their effectiveness in street fights, and the various aspects of each fighting style. We’ve also touched on the importance of mental and physical health, as well as the benefits of participating in combat sports like boxing and BJJ.

Ultimately, the decision of which martial art to pursue is a personal one. We encourage you to take the time to explore both boxing and BJJ, attend classes or sparring sessions, and find the discipline that suits you best. By doing so, you’ll not only gain valuable self-defense skills but also improve your overall well-being and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being part of a martial arts community.

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