Tantōjutsu Vs. BJJ – What’s The Difference?

When learning about martial arts it can be really difficult to understand all the nuances between different practices.

Each school has a completely different history, but to complicate things further these histories sometimes overlap.

As people’s knowledge has increased and students turn into masters, they often take what they know and incorporate it into a new system.

Tantōjutsu Vs. BJJ - What’s The Difference?

This means that it can be difficult sometimes to tell martial arts apart. Have you ever wondered what the difference between BJJ and Tantōjutsu is?

These are two martial arts that whilst at a glance may look similar, are actually vastly different practices.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at both, compare them, and see which is more effective in a real life or sports situation!

What Is Tantōjutsu?

Tantōjutsu isn’t really a martial art in the same way Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is.

It’s actually a form of knife fighting that is used in a series of traditional, Japanese forms of martial arts.

You can remember what Tantōjutsu is by examining its name.

A Tantō is a form of traditional Japanese sword that was usually used by the samurai class back in feudal Japan.

You’ll probably recognize the samurai sword as a piece of weaponry, but they also carried smaller dagger-sized blades that were used for close-quarters combat.

The word ‘Jutsu’ translates to either “method,” “trick,” or “technique.” so if we put the two words together it translates to – the technique of using the Tantō blade.

From this, we can get a pretty good idea of what Tantōjutsu involves.

Tantōjutsu is used by a variety of different martial arts including Shorinji Kempo, Aikido, and Kashima Shin-Ryu.

Tantōjutsu is best suited for close combat because the Tantō blade is small, but that’s not to say that it’s all you learn.

Tantōjutsu students also learn to defend themselves against larger blades and how to close distance so that they can win.

It is a martial art that has a lot to do with aggression and attacking. This is because one of the strong benefits a small Tantō blade has is its speed.

Students will usually begin training with wooden weapons for safety, before moving on to real, dulled blades.

In modern schools, sharp blades are more or less never used because of the safety concerns that they would bring up.

However, Tantōjutsu was once used by real samurai who would have learned to use its techniques to neutralize or kill opponents in battle.

One cool thing to note here is that Tantōjutsu was one of the most common techniques taught to samurai women, and this was a very common practice.

What Is BJJ?

What Is BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu (more commonly known as BJJ) is a much younger form of martial art that is all to do with grappling.

Students of BJJ learn to use their bodies to manipulate and control their opponents without the use of hard force like impact strikes.

BJJ is all about learning to overpower the body of another person and eventually “submit” them.

It is most similar to wrestling but also incorporates aspects of traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo.

BJJ was developed throughout the 20th century and has since become one of the most popular martial arts in the world.

It was popularized by the Gracie family and is one of the martial arts most commonly used in the sport of MMA.

A new BJJ student is likely to be taught the basics of taking an opponent down, controlling them on the ground, and a long list of effective submissions.

This is one of the reasons why BJJ is thought to be an effective martial art, as it is all about total control and real techniques.

It’s important to note that whilst the fundamental techniques are the same no matter where you learn because BJJ is such a new and growing practice, schools often specialize in different positions and often have different teaching styles.

BJJ has also spawned a few different types of sport, namely Submission Grappling and Combat Jiu-Jitsu.

Which Martial Art Is The Better Choice For You?

When choosing between different martial arts to study, it can be quite difficult to weigh up the pros and cons.

Thankfully, Tantōjutsu and BJJ are quite different systems so it’s easy to see where one excels and where the other does not (You might also want to check out Karate Vs. Tantōjutsu – What Is The Difference?).

We’re going to break this part of the article down very simply for you:

If you’re looking to learn more about traditional knife fighting techniques, then Tantōjutsu is going to be the one for you.

If you’re looking for a modern sport that will teach you how to control an opponent on the ground, then BJJ is a much better bet.

However, if you’re looking for something that will be a fun hobby or to keep you healthy – it’s a lot more subjective.

Both martial arts are going to keep you active and healthy, though it is worth noting that BJJ involves a lot more sparring and is possibly more physically demanding for your body.

The one that’s more fun is going to be down to subjective taste!

Final Thoughts

Tantōjutsu and BJJ are different martial arts systems that look at different things.

Tantōjutsu is all about fighting with a blade, whilst BJJ is all about fighting with your body.

Tantōjutsu has a much richer history, though some of the techniques could be outdated as not all that many people fight with the Tantō blade in modern society.

We hope that this article has given you a good overview of the two martial arts and that you now feel a lot more confident about telling the difference between them!

Whichever one you decide to pick, make sure it’s a good fit with your lifestyle and a skillset that you feel is most beneficial to you!

We wish you the best of luck on your martial arts journey!

Christopher Anderson
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