Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu More Effective Than Taekwondo? (Self-Defense Comparison)

If you have decided to learn a martial art then you might be overwhelmed by the amount of choice available. There are so many martial arts that you can find classes for, so how do you know which one to choose?

Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu More Effective Than Taekwondo?

Some people want to choose a martial art based on how effective it is when fighting an opponent, or how effective it is in terms of a fitness workout.

We have compared two of the most popular forms of martial art – Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo – to help you figure out which one is more effective and which one would make the best choice. Keep reading if you want to find out more. 

What Is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Jiu Jitsu actually originates in Japan and was used on the battlefield by Samurai during unarmed combat. It allowed them to overpower their enemies despite their armor restricting their range of movement.

In the mid 1800s there were break off styles of Jiu Jitsu including Judo which was centered around getting maximum results with minimum effort. The practitioner of Judo was Jigoro Kano. 

Jigoro Kano had a student called Mitsuo Maeda who moved to Brazil and taught Judo to a group of brothers. Those brothers used the teachings of Judo to inspire their own martial art form which evolved into the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that we recognise today. 


Any form of martial art is not just a physical challenge, it is also a mental discipline. You need to embody the philosophy of the martial art to be truly proficient. There are four main pillars to the philosophy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: 

  • Community – Jiu Jitsu is an inclusive community where everyone who takes part is equal and treated with respect. The Jiu Jitsu community will try to help each other however they can. 
  • Humility – Always train with humility and be respectful of other people and their skill. Do not assume that you are better than anyone else 
  • Empathy – You must display empathy towards the people you train with and the other members of the Jiu Jitsu community. You must also show empathy to yourself
  • Selflessness – Put others before yourself and give help to anyone in need 


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a grappling martial art as opposed to a striking martial art. It focuses on making your opponent submit to you and removing their ability to overpower you.

The idea is to take the upper hand without having to put much effort in, so that anyone is capable of defending themselves regardless of strength. Here are some of the techniques that are used: 

  • Strangulations – Also called choke holds, these moves put pressure on the throat area of the opponent to overpower them and stop them from struggling against you 
  • Joint Locks – Joint locks are grappling techniques that place the opponents joints in a certain position that is difficult for them to get out of. 
  • Takedowns – Takedowns or throws are also used in Judo and various forms of wrestling in order to get your opponent on the ground 

What Is Taekwondo? 

Taekwondo is the national martial art of Korea. While it was only officially recognised in the 1940s when Korea gained independence from Japan, it has been used for hundreds of years and forms part of the rich history and culture of Korea.

It is now one of the most practiced martial art forms in the world.  


Taekwondo has five tenants which form it’s philosophy:

  • Courtesy – Be courteous and respectful to everyone you meet, both inside and outside of the Dojang. 
  • Integrity – Stand up for what is right and live by a strong moral compass
  • Perseverance – Keep working until you reach your goal, never give up
  • SelfControl – Control yourself mentally and physically 
  • Indomitable spirit – Be brave enough to stand up for what you believe in regardless of the consequences 


Taekwondo translates into ‘the art of punching and kicking’. It focuses heavily on striking your opponent through punches and kicks, but also uses defensive techniques. These are some of the most popular moves used in Taekwondo:

  • Punches – There are lots of different kinds of punches that can be used in combinations with each other or with kicks to strike your opponent
  • Front kicks and side-kicks – These kicks are performed from a standing position which keeps distance between you and your opponent, preventing them from getting close enough to punch you. 
  • Roundhouse kicks – These kicks have more momentum than front kicks and sidekicks and they are usually used to strike the side of the opponent
  • Spinning kicks – Spinning kicks are completed as part of a fluid motion that involves body rotation and sometimes a jump. They are often aimed at the waist or higher, sometimes head height.  

Which One Is More Effective? 

Now that you know more about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo, which one is the most effective? It depends on what you are hoping to get out of it. 

If you are looking for unbeatable self-defense then Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is definitely more effective. Once you are proficient you will be able to take down your opponents before they even land a strike on you.

If someone approaches you or grabs you in the street, you will be able to use their body power against them to get them to the ground, giving you a chance to get away. 

If you are looking for a martial art that allows you to strike your opponent then Taekwondo is more effective. You will have a range of punches and kicks at your disposal to get the upper hand over your enemy.

Taekwondo is also a better choice if you want an all over body workout that will improve your strength, muscle tone and cardio fitness. 


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo are both excellent forms of martial art that will make you fitter and give you more confidence when it comes to self defense. They are both effective in their own way.

Christopher Anderson
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