Talk less, fight more

Why black belt in judo do not equal a blue belt in BJJ ?

As a former judo practitioner (black belt) I heard many different things on the belt I should get in BJJ:

  • If you have a black belt in Judo you automatically have a blue belt in BJJ.
  • I do not care what color of your Judo belt, you’ve just start BJJ so you’ll be white.

So first I will not lie, I’m still white belt in BJJ and I desperately want to get my blue belt. However being blue belt in BJJ just because you have black belt in Judo is stupid and here is why:

It’s a different sport

The Gi are different, the techniques allowed are different. Judo is highly focus on the stand up part, ground game exist but it’s really different (I will detail this point later). You can be a really good Judoka with lot of success without knowing shit on the ground. Indeed if your throw is good, you can win all your fight without spending a second on the ground. At worst if you know how to defend well, you’ll get back to your feet to throw your next take down.

Personally ground game was my favorite part, but it not where you should focus to compete in Judo.

Ground game in Judo is different

As I mentioned the rules are different. And it has an effect on what position you will work on the ground. For instance, many ground technique in Judo start from the “turtle” position, because this is where you end up after a missed take down.

Because of the really short amount of time the pace is way faster. In judo if you want to win on the ground you will have 30 seconds to finish it. And pining somebody on his back for 25 sec is enough to win the fight.

In BJJ you have much more time and starting from the guard is much more likely to happen. In Judo pulling the guard is not even an option because it will end up in loosing the fight.

Judo will kill your BJJ

When I start to transition, many bad habit from Judo killed my BJJ session (even MMA in some cases). The biggest problem is that Judokas don’t mind exposing their back, and that’s a terrible mistake (I learned it the hard way off course). Also the leg lock is completely missing and the missing fear of it will make you an easy target.

Judo will help your BJJ

However let’s be honest BJJ and Judo are two side of the same coin. The skill you will develop with Judo will also help you for the BJJ and in some specific case will give you an edge over pure BJJ practitioner.

Indeed a great balance first, you will be able to wrestle for the stand up part (pulling guard is nice but you can’t do it forever). Also your control will be strong and if you can use the pressure and move in the same time your grappling level will be really strong.

Two side of the same coin but two different side still

Because they are now two different sport and have different goal you can end up being really good in one sport and bad at the other. However I think that this two sport belong to the art of grappling in general where you can also find wrestling, Sambo, catch wrestling …

So even if don’t have your blue belt in BJJ when you got your black belt in Judo. I think you should be locking for something bigger, looking to be the best grappler possible :

  • Be able to throw the wrestler and the judoka
  • Submit the Jujitsu practitioner
  • Leg lock the Sambo fighter

To sum up just be a martial artist and only remember that the belt is only here to hold your Gi.