Submission Grappling vs. Classical Ju-jutsu; when cultures and concepts collide


There are many similarities between the sport of Submission Grappling and the classical Japanese Ju-jutsu systems. Both arts emphasize grappling over striking. Both arts recognize the importance and efficiency of ground-fighting. Both arts employ chokes, armlocks, leglocks and other submission holds to defeat opponents.

Despite these similarities, however, there are profound differences between these martial arts. They utilize different strategies, techniques and training methods. The purpose of this article is to examine both arts, side-by-side, and see what similarities and differences emerge.

note: the word “Ju-jutsu” has many different spellings in English. For this article we have chosen to use the spelling “Ju-jutsu” to differentiate it from Brazilian “Jiu-jitsu”.

Classical Jujutsu Armlock Technique

Classical Jujutsu Armlock

Submission Grappling Armlock Technique

Submission Grappling Armlock

Submission Grappling

Submission Grappling is a new sport with a long history. The object is to submit your opponent using a variety of joint locks and chokes, or to win the match on points. Competitions in this sport resemble Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competitions, although competitors do not usually wear gis. This lack of gi increases the amount of speed and athleticism required, and it also limits the sweeping and submission options of the competitors.

Submission Grappling is mainly based on Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu descended from pre-World War 2 Judo, which itself was heavily influenced by the classical Ju-jutsu systems of medieval Japan. The influence of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu can be seen in the types of positions and submissions most commonly used in the sport.

Other grappling arts have also influenced Submission Grappling. The most common takedowns come mainly from freestyle wrestling. The prevalence of leglocks shows the influence of such arts as Sambo and Catch-As-Catch-Can wrestling (the ancestor of today’s ‘Pro Wrestling’). Many of the top Submission Grappling competitors also compete in mixed-martial-art or no-holds-barred competition, and this brings a certain intensity to the sport.

Submission Grappling is very similar to the grappling required for mixed martial art competitions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship or the Pride Fighting Championship in Japan. Positions and maneuvers that would be advantageous in a real fight (such as … Continue reading Submission Grappling vs. Classical Ju-jutsu; when cultures and concepts collide