Unraveling the Differences Between Tang Soo Do, Jiu Jitsu, & BJJ

Newsflash: K-South students don’t actually take “Karate”. That term is a catch-all for the unknowing to understand the often misunderstood. Confused? Welcome to the world of Tang Soo Do, Jiu Jitsu, and more…


So for starters, Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art that emphasizes striking techniques, including punches, kicks, and strikes with the hands and feet. It also includes some elements of traditional Korean weapons training.


Jiu Jitsu, on the other hand, is a Japanese martial art that focuses on grappling techniques, such as joint locks and submission holds. It also includes some elements of ground fighting and striking, but the primary emphasis is on grappling.


The main difference between Tang Soo Do and Jiu Jitsu is the type of techniques they emphasize: striking vs grappling.


Understanding this, many struggle to understand differences between Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jistu (BJJ). Where both are based in the same root system, they have key differences.


As previously stated and as the name implies, Japanese Jiu Jitsu is the traditional form of Jiu Jitsu that originated in Japan. It’s often considered a more holistic and traditional martial art that includes a wide range of techniques, such as throws, strikes, joint locks, and submissions. It’s also typically more ceremonial and formal, with a greater emphasis on etiquette and discipline.


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) which is considered the most modern form of Jiu Jitsu was developed in Brazil in the early 20th century by the Gracie family. It’s a more sport-focused form of Jiu Jitsu with a key emphasis on ground fighting and submission techniques. BJJ is widely practiced in tournaments and has its own set of rules for competition.


In summary, the main difference between Tang Soo Doo, and Jiu Jitsu (both Japanese & BJJ) is that the Korean discipline is more striking focused where Jiu Jitsu is ground-based competition and/or self defense.