Is BJJ Really Basically Just (Kosen) Judo?

Is BJJ Really Basically Just (Kosen) Judo?

Rivalry between Judo and BJJ practitioners is not unusual. Most of the times it’s good natured debates on which martial art is „better“ or more effective… And one of the most interesting questions that sprouts from these debates – most often posed by Judokas – is whether or not BJJ is „basically just Judo“. And, often times – if it’s just a slight variation of Kosen Judo.
Kama Jiu-Jitsu’s Idean Salehyan, both a Jiujiteiro and a Judoka, has a few words of explanation on this topic.


Idean first emphasizes that the Kosen ruleset differs from the Kodokan one; most predominantly in that there’s a lot more ground fighting in Kosen Judo… But, what are then the exact differences – and similarities – between Kodokan Judo, Kosen Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu rulesets? Idean explains:

1) In Kodokan Judo, you can win with a solid throw. If the throw is not as clean, you can get some partial points. The Kosen Judo is the same in this regard; however, no matter how good or bad your throw is in a BJJ match – two points (under the IBJJF ruleset) are awarded for it.

2) You can also win by a pin in both Kodokan and Kosen Judo. However, in BJJ you can only win points by pinning your opponent.

3) Both in Kodokan, Kosen Judo and in BJJ, joint locks and chokes lead to a win.

4) However, where Kodokan Judo and Kosen Judo differ is that Kosen Judo allows pulling guard – going to the mat without any intention of throwing your opponent. In Kodokan Judo, this is not allowed.

5) Another difference is that in Kosen Judo, the time spent on the ground is unlimited; whereas in Kodokan Judo, you have 10 seconds (more or less, depending on the referee) to get a pin, a choke or a joint lock.

Idean elaborates that it is mostly due to the last two rules that some people may look at Kosen Judo and think of it as „modern day BJJ“, because of its utilization of things such as Spider Guards, De La Rivas and other fancy Open Guard concepts.


He goes on to explain that when people compare (Kosen) Judo with BJJ, it’s often times because some – especially the Judokassay a lot of techniques from BJJ are taken from Judo; or, in the case of ground techniques, that Kosen Judo also has them.
Idean agrees with this – there are a lot of techniques in BJJ which have been borrowed from Judo! However, that doesn’t make BJJ into any less of a legitimate martial art – nor into one that isn’t different from Judo.

For example, there are different basic requirements when receiving a black belt in BJJ as opposed to Judo. In Judo, you need excellent throws and a mediocre ground game; whereas in BJJ, you can know just a handful of takedowns really well, but your ground game has to be excellent as a black belt.

Idean also emphasizes that it is not enough to judge a martial art just by its set of techniques. For, sure – there are a lot of overlapping techniques in Judo, Kosen Judo and BJJ; but so is the case with Muay Thai, Taekwondo and Kickboxing, for example! And does that make them „the same“?
Of course not – each one of these arts has a different set of approaches, principles and philosophies.

It’s exactly these surrounding principles, approaches and philosophies that make a martial art into what it is, not just the techniques. And for that reason, no matter the similarities between them, (Kosen) Judo and BJJ are in no way „the same art“, Idean concludes.

Watch the video below to hear more on Idean’s insights: