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  1. #1

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    A comparison of Judo, BJJ and Aiki Ju-Jitsu, from a noob POV

    Hi all,

    I have been looking for the art that would fit me best for more than a year on and off. It recently came down to Judo or Brazilian jiu jitsu which are fairly similar. I recently found the perfect school for me, the Serei Martial arts Academy in Montreal -- very big, clean, professional, affordable and friendly, plus it offers training in more than 10 disciplines, each with its qualified instructor. In the past week I attended a class of Judo, BJJ and Aiki Ju-Jitsu, a style I had never heard of before and the in house speciality. I thought narrating my experience could be helpful as you experts surely could give me pointers on each art.

    First was AJJ which has a pretty bad rep around here from what I understand. Thing is, the instructors are the Serei father and brothers who founded the school and the specific style (nintai ryu AJJ, ding ding this can’t be good). A quick look at their curriculum assures me they’re legit though (can't post links yet, BB in AJJ, Aikido, Judo, Karate, Kobudo, Goshin Jutsu Certified Personal Protection Specialist). For the class itself, there were about 25 people --your average joes, some fat white belts, two skinny Asian girls, many fit blue belts and up. Mostly throws, some very Aikido-like wristgrab defense and one even against a sprinting two handed wristgrab that had me cringing. Medium cardio at the beginning, than all exercises were at 20-30% resistance. Some groundplay near the end but no randori, even though their website says they put a heavy emphasis on it. Despite the relative ineffectiveness of the whole thing, this seemed to be the most fun class and I hope they do have hard practices once in a while, I’ll ask one of the senseis on next week.

    The BJJ practice was on the other (and much smaller) room, simultaneously. There were only 12 people, half of them purple belt or higher, and only one girl. Not a lot to say about it, this was your typical high level BJJ class. The instructor is Nobuya Shinamoto, black belt under Koji Murakami I believe. Little actual warm up (mostly squats) but the exercises themselves were very intense as expected. ‘’Make it hard for him, you’re not dummies!’’ were M. Shinamoto exact words. There was about 20 minutes of free sparring at the end, all belts mixed up. Even though people were a lot more serious about their art, most of them 30 years old athletes, the atmosphere was very friendly. No problem to report, except that I clearly didn’t fit in the mold of these guys.

    Last was Judo, which I thought would be a relaxed version of BJJ with an inversed ratio of throws to groundplay. Boy was I wrong. I caught them during the last week before the Canadian championships. The instructor is a multiple times national champion of Haiti, was a Canadian Olympian etc and God did he drill them. 10 brown belts and up out of the 30 people attending, mostly aged between 18 and 25 years old. Insane cardio for 1/3 of the mat time. All of the exercises were at 100% resistance, I was shocked by the brutality of the sparring, the violence used to grab and shake the opponent’s sleeves, the bandages every one of them had. A fight almost erupted between two BBs when a ground exercise went on for too long. Even the five 10 years old kids where fighting like if their life depended on it. I hadn’t realized how competition could alter an art so much, how the sport could invigorate practice; it plainly scared the hell out of me. I swear BJJ looked like a walk in the park compared to this, much more finesse and technique involved.

    A huge wall of text to ask you this: is Judo always that brutal at high level? Is there such a thing as relatively effective AJJ? I’m mainly looking to get fit and have fun -- Judo from my limited experience was completely overdoing it but AJJ could be a complete waste of time self-defence wise. BJJ has this UFC meathead stereotype clinging to it and ground grappling isn’t very… homeric. From your much broader experience, how accurate were my descriptions? What are your general thoughts on the differences between each art?
    I’ll be honest and admit my preference for the pansy AJJ since I myself am not exactly the roaring alpha male (more like a book rat, ex athlete who used to compete in badminton and volleyball, you know the type). Then again getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing once in a while, when it’s worth it. Thus I expect a sh*t load of ‘’don’t be a girl, do BJJ’’ responses.

    Many thanks, and congratulations for reading all of this (yeah, like you really did).
    Last edited by looksbook; 7/01/2012 12:35am at .

  2. #2

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    How old are you? Judo is brutal and you have a good chance of fucking your body up...
    you will improve fast though, a year in this meat grinder and you have a descent base, it will be very hard to take you down. Though i still have a fucked up shoulder from it. I went for boxing and never looked back. (well if bjj is more relaxed i would have been happy doing some).
    You should ask yourself what are your intentions, what do you want to get out of it? and how fast? in the long run, it is better to do a relatively ineffective MA but stick to it for many years on a weakly basis than doing something hard for a few months and quieting..if you have trepedations every time you go to class because of your sparring partners and the fear of injury, it will get increasingly difficult to bring yourself to go to class..
    The Bjj you described sounds great, grown man who are serious, but non competitive for the most is exactly what you want. they will go easy on you, but they can definitely work. Again how unsafe do you feel? is it really important for you to be able to really have a fight? if it is not that important go enjoy the AJJ, stay fit, flexible and strong via exercises, and maybe after a while you can try to add some BJJ once a week, maybe just go to technical classes and less to sparring classes.

  3. #3
    ermghoti's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    If you want to stay active and play on the mats, Aiki sounds fine, just don't inflate it past what it is. As above, if judo is trained competitively, expect it to be as intense as, say freestyle wrestling. The same can be true of BJJ, but without all the smashing, you probably won't match the injury rate. Do they have low/entry level BJJ and/or judo? You could lurk around at lower belt levels forever, and get more realistic training than Aiki, without the intensity of the upper belt/competition-oriented classes.
    "Your body must be like a stone, your mind... like a meatloaf."

    Quote Originally Posted by strikistanian View Post
    DROP SEIONAGI ************! Except I don't know Judo, so it doesn't work, and he takes my back.
    Quote Originally Posted by Devil
    Why is it so goddamn hard to find a video of it? I've seen videos I'm pretty sure are alien spacecraft. But still no good Krav.
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasma
    At the point, I must act! You see my rashguard saids "Jiu Jitsu vs The World" and "The World" was standing in front me teaching Anti-Grappling in a school I help run.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the replies!
    I forgot to mention that I'm a 20 years old guy with a solid frame (6'1'', 165 lbs). I still fear injuries since all of the Judokas seemed to be patched up and two of them hurt themselves to degree where they had to stop and put some ice on for 20 minutes. Furthermore both Judo and BJJ classes have no specific belt range and you have to train with higher belts. The problem with BJJ is mainly the mindset and the tradition of the art as a whole. I know I wouldn't feel so great practicing with policemen, ex football players, stunt actors etc.

    in the long run, it is better to do a relatively ineffective MA but stick to it for many years on a weakly basis than doing something hard for a few months and quieting
    This is my reasoning too, but honestly I didn't expect it at all on this forum.

  5. #5
    ChenPengFi's Avatar
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    Welcome.

    Could you elaborate on this?

    Quote Originally Posted by looksbook View Post
    ... Furthermore both Judo and BJJ classes have no specific belt range and you have to train with higher belts. The problem with BJJ is mainly the mindset and the tradition of the art as a whole. I know I wouldn't feel so great practicing with policemen, ex football players, stunt actors etc. ...
    There are all sorts of people who do BJJ.
    I'm more than twice your age and do BJJ.
    Whitebelts are FAR more dangerous to spar with, than higher belts.

    I think you are using poor reasoning to justify your comfort level.


    That said, go train in whatever makes you happy. It seems you have a pretty clear view of the limitations of the AJJ training.
    I'd choose the BJJ over that stuff in a heartbeat.

    (Ftr, erezb is an idiot. Search his post history if you'd like to confirm that for yourself...)

  6. #6

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    Train with the highest belts that you can. A judo brown belt can throw you in any direction, whenever they want, but they will do it safely. Similarly, a bjj purple or blue will be able to tie you in knots. But if it is a club with a decent atmosphere, they will deliberately leave you openings suitable to your skill level to help you learn. The week before nationals might not be a good indication of the day to day vibe.

    Play judo to learn real break falls (not rolls, falls with someone landing on top of you). That is a skill that might save your hide 50 years from now.
    Last edited by 2groggy; 7/01/2012 12:38pm at . Reason: Can"t

  7. #7
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    CrackFox's Avatar
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    If the judo club goes hell for leather every night, personally I probably wouldn't stick with it. If you're up for that kind of thing cool, if not I wouldn't give you stick. If they've just ramped it up for competition preparation then that's fine in my book - I think you need a balance.

  8. #8

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    I'll do my best ChengPengFi, but this is a touchy subject.
    To put it plainly, I don't think I fit with the audience BJJ usually appeals to. You see, I'm a strange guy : doesn't drive a car, reads philosophy for fun, socialist, environmentalist. What does that have to do with anything will you ask? For me, everything. It wouldn't feel right to tumble and groan using techniques famous for their effectiveness in effin' cage fighting and dojo challenges. I'm know for certain most guys practicing BJJ are very sympathetic in their own right but the history of the art, its application and the aura they have bestowed upon it don't match with my identity at all. It's all very subtle details in group photos, Ed Hardy esque MMA gear etc

    This will sound very trivial to you but if this is to become my main physical activity for the next 7-8 years (and thus to define me to degree) then I cannot ignore it. I'm considering it in this case because the school has this nice both relaxed and traditional vibe to it, something hard to find in most ''recommended'' MMA clubs in Montreal (Tristar, H20, GAMMA).

  9. #9
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    CrackFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by looksbook View Post
    I'll do my best ChengPengFi, but this is a touchy subject.
    To put it plainly, I don't think I fit with the audience BJJ usually appeals to. You see, I'm a strange guy : doesn't drive a car, reads philosophy for fun, socialist, environmentalist. What does that have to do with anything will you ask? For me, everything. It wouldn't feel right to tumble and groan using techniques famous for their effectiveness in effin' cage fighting and dojo challenges. I'm know for certain most guys practicing BJJ are very sympathetic in their own right but the history of the art, its application and the aura they have bestowed upon it don't match with my identity at all. It's all very subtle details in group photos, Ed Hardy esque MMA gear etc.
    Seriously dude, don't be so prejudiced. It's not cool.

  10. #10
    DCS's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The BJJ practice was on the other (and much smaller) room, simultaneously. There were only 12 people, half of them purple belt or higher, and only one girl. Not a lot to say about it, this was your typical high level BJJ class. The instructor is Nobuya Shinamoto, black belt under Koji Murakami I believe. Little actual warm up (mostly squats) but the exercises themselves were very intense as expected. ‘’Make it hard for him, you’re not dummies!’’ were M. Shinamoto exact words. There was about 20 minutes of free sparring at the end, all belts mixed up. Even though people were a lot more serious about their art, most of them 30 years old athletes, the atmosphere was very friendly. No problem to report, except that I clearly didn’t fit in the mold of these guys.

    Last was Judo, which I thought would be a relaxed version of BJJ with an inversed ratio of throws to groundplay. Boy was I wrong. I caught them during the last week before the Canadian championships. The instructor is a multiple times national champion of Haiti, was a Canadian Olympian etc and God did he drill them. 10 brown belts and up out of the 30 people attending, mostly aged between 18 and 25 years old. Insane cardio for 1/3 of the mat time. All of the exercises were at 100% resistance, I was shocked by the brutality of the sparring, the violence used to grab and shake the opponent’s sleeves, the bandages every one of them had. A fight almost erupted between two BBs when a ground exercise went on for too long. Even the five 10 years old kids where fighting like if their life depended on it. I hadn’t realized how competition could alter an art so much, how the sport could invigorate practice; it plainly scared the hell out of me. I swear BJJ looked like a walk in the park compared to this, much more finesse and technique involved.
    It looks a very good place to train, both in Judo and Jits.

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