BJJ Vs Boxing: What's Best With Which? (A Definitive Comparison)

BJJ vs Boxing - feature image

Last Updated on February 21, 2021

It is not uncommon to find people belonging to a certain faction claim that their form of martial arts is the superior one. You can expect such statements even from those who don’t understand both disciplines equally well.


You're here because, you may be flabbergasted with the whole decision process, torn between the two choices, unable to decide which one to go for. Or perhaps you want to learn self-defense, improve your fitness, or prepare for MMA, and wish to know which route to opt for.

While the most obvious solution to the whole conundrum is to go for both of these, but if you can do just one (or one at a time), then you need to analyze BJJ vs Boxing to reach a decision.

Luckily, in this comparison article, I will fairly lay down all facts, side by side, and deliver my fair review on both disciplines.

Main Differences Between BJJ Vs Boxing

The main differences between BJJ vs Boxing are:

  • BJJ involves grappling the opponent, whereas boxing is based on landing solid punches.
  • BJJ is not focused on striking or taking punches, whereas boxing involves defending against a barrage of strikes and hitting in return.
  • BJJ deals with opponents in close quarters, whereas boxing involves distance management.
  • BJJ is all about neutralizing your opponent without causing any serious bodily harm, whereas boxing can become brutal for both parties.
  • BJJ does not involve knocking out anyone, whereas this is one of the most iconic ways to end a fight in boxing.
  • BJJ is perfect for defending yourself against a person who approaches you, whereas, in boxing, you will have to keep your distance and strike when the opportunity arises.
  • BJJ does not teach you how to land basic punches, whereas boxing is entirely based on punches.
  • BBJ is harder to learn (requires more time), whereas you can master boxing much faster.
  • BJJ dates back to 1925 (although the Japanese version is much older), whereas boxing has been in fashion ever since the times of Ancient Rome.

BJJ VS Boxing: Difference Of Objectives & Rules

BJJ or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is based on grappling the opposing player and neutralizing them without incurring a major injury.

Boxing, on the other hand, involves an active striking principle, which means that you will have to punch the other player, avoid strikes yourself, and in most cases, knock out the opponent to finish the game.

Both disciplines have different objectives, and these differences help us compare Brazilian Jiu Jitsu vs Boxing:

Boxing: Objectives & Rules

The basic objective of boxing is to strike at your opponent with closed fists, however, no kicks are involved. Ideally, you ought to knock out the opponent, meaning that you land a strong hit to render them unconscious.

But you will have to follow some rules:

  • You can only use closed fists to strike (otherwise known as punches).
  • You can only strike the opponent on the front between the forehead and beltline region, nowhere else.
  • If your punch lands anywhere not allowed, it may get you penalized.
  • You win either if you land more hits without getting hit yourself (hence having more points), knock out the opponent, or if the other player gets disqualified.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ): Objectives & Rules

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (and the original Japanese version too) is not based on striking but instead, you will have to grapple the opponent and neutralize them without knocking them out or causing any serious harm.

The following rules apply:

  • You have to pin your opponent to the ground or make them submit.
  • You can either force a submission via a joint lock or strangulation (should not do any permanent damage).
  • You cannot strike or punch the opponent.
  • You will win if you force a submission out of your opponent, score more points, if the judges rule in your favor, or if the other player gets disqualified.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu VS Boxing: Difference Of Applications

What is it that you want to accomplish with learning one of these disciplines?

Do you just want to keep your body tuned, or train for MMA, or learn self-defense? Depending on your situation and requirements, you will be inclined towards one or the other:

Boxing VS Jiu Jitsu For Fitness

Be it any other form of martial art, if you train well and commit to it, you will be able to tune your body for optimal fitness. The fitness part is mostly based on warm-up exercises rather than the actual sport, although the latter is also a contributor.


Boxing is the simpler of the two when it comes to warm-up exercises, however, “simple” does not mean easy. Your warm-up sessions can last between 2 to 3 hours and are more or less focused on cardio.

These exercises include:

  • Skipping a rope for almost 30 minutes
  • Striking at a bag (heavy- or speed-bag) for up to an hour
  • Shadowboxing for almost half an hour
  • Abdominal exercises to tighten up the core muscles
  • And to finish it off, some stretches to cool down

One thing is for sure, you will be bathing in sweat by the time you’re through this session and on to the real game (don’t expect anything easy there too).

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

BJJ, on the other hand, is rather complex. This is mostly because of the way this sport plays out in practice. If you're just starting, the workout may seem not only hard but rather unusual too, but you'll get a hang of it soon enough. 

Squats, push-ups, and burpees are standard, if you’ve got a problem with these, then get over it. You will also have to execute as many reps as humanly possible within a minute, and you’ll be doing several of these drills per session.

You will finish off the warm-up with some sparring, which will be the toughest of all. And let me remind you, expect that it is going to be intense, so be ready to get hit all over. For your own safety and protection, wear your best headgear for BJJ even during training sessions. 


If you want to go simple and build a decent shape without undergoing complex exercises, then boxing is the way to go.

However, if you’re not intimidated by the challenge that BJJ poses, then the experience will be just as rewarding as it is daunting.

Boxing VS Jiu Jitsu For MMA

MMA or mixed martial arts pins the followers of various disciplines together and also pushes the confrontation beyond all extremes (in any single discipline). Know this one thing about MMA: it is an all-rounder sport, so you can’t ignore any aspect of the game.

Without complete training, and by this, I mean training your upper body and your legs for serious action, you can’t hope to fare satisfactorily in the ring.


The principles of striking, defending, and distance management that you learn in a boxing ring will help you a great deal in MMA too. As a boxer, you will be able to finish off the opposing player with some solid strikes to the face.

However, boxing deals only with the parts above the belt-line, so you can’t hope to retaliate with the more destructive half of your body: your legs.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

What if the opposing player closes in and you can’t keep your distance anymore?

This is where BJJ takes the edge as it allows you to grapple your opponent and pin them to the ground, or force them into submission via a joint lock or strangulation.

However, when it comes to landing and taking punches, a BJJ-only fighter will not do so well.


There is no better option when it comes to MMA. Since this sport is based on the entire body, you will have to master both principles and excel in both, a striking style and a retaliatory style of gameplay, to dominate the other player.

Boxing VS Jiu Jitsu For Self-Defense

When it comes to self-defense, any martial art will be helpful.

In some cases, brute strength can get you by even if you don’t have a clue about disciplined fighting. However, in other situations, you may count your blessings for having trained arduously in boxing or Jiu Jitsu when your training comes to the rescue.

Which one would fare better? Let’s find out.


Boxing teaches you to do some serious damage to the opponent. In a street mugging case, you will be well off throwing a punch before the crook gets his chance.

However, there is one serious flaw in this strategy.

In a boxing ring, competitors agree that they will only use punches to strike and then there are penalties for attacking below the belt. However, you can’t guarantee any of this in a practical confrontation. The crook will use all means necessary to subdue you.

And in case you do avoid his attacks and then K.O. that wretched serpent, there will be legal consequences. Even if he deserved to be subjected to some serious beating, you must respect the law and the rights that it affords to all.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

BJJ, on the other hand, is all about neutralizing an attacker without causing any permanent or serious damage. You just grapple the crook and use his movements against him in an honest act of self-defense.

There won’t be any battery charges on you since you did not assault the other person and instead simply subdued him.

However, when things come to a serious fistfight, Jiu Jitsu is not going to be of much help. In most cases, a single grapple may end the fight before it has even begun, but if things don’t work out that way, you can always run when the crook is on the ground. 

BJJ gi and no-gi fights both have advantages and disadvantages. I ask this because BJJ isn't only about grappling to be able to subdue your opponent. It also involves a lot more techniques and it also includes grips. Check out our Sanabul gi review and from there, you'll know more of what I'm saying. 😉


If you can only choose one then I would put my vote with Jiu Jitsu in this case. Why? Simple, this art allows you to subdue an attacker and does not implicate you in any legal charges as well.

In some cases, the attacker may not be a crook, but instead, a layman who's either had some misunderstanding or too much to drink. In that case, beating up the man is not morally justified even if he attacked you.

Hence, Jiu Jitsu is better in this case.

And before we wrap this up, let's see how you can incorporate boxing into your BJJ training to avoid getting your head knocked off. 😉


When you pin Boxing vs Jiu Jitsu, you know that it's going to be a hell of a competition.

But the simple fact is that these two martial arts are so distinct and unique that it is not fair to assess them parallel to each other. If you were expecting a clear victor, I am sorry to disappoint you.

This article aimed to fairly compare the two, and the result is that neither is superior or inferior. They both have their applications, excel in their areas, and have some flaws.

In an ideal world, you should go for both of them, but if you can't, then based on your needs, you can opt for one.

If you’re short on time (need to train fast), then boxing should be your first choice.

But if you can invest the time and effort, the Jiu Jitsu will be worth every drop of sweat you shed for its sake.


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