Jiu Jitsu vs Taekwondo: Which Is Better To Learn?

Choosing a discipline to start learning is a difficult decision. Both Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo are very popular disciplines, and many people wonder which one is better than the other.

Our verdict: Jiu Jitsu is better to learn than Taekwondo as it will welcome you no matter what shape you’re in and what your fighting experience level is. Though both are popular and well-respected, Jiu Jitsu focuses on learning defensive moves rather than hitting, making it a better discipline.

Let’s go into some more detail about the differences between the disciplines and what gives Jiu Jitsu the edge.

Why Is Jiu Jitsu Better Than Taekwondo?

Jiu Jitsu is better to learn than Taekwondo because it focuses on grappling, defense, technique, and skill rather than just athleticism. It is even accessible for ordinary or out-of-shape people. In contrast, Taekwondo doesn’t allow as much sparring and practice making injuries more common.

Let’s go into more detail about these reasons and discuss what sets Jiu-Jitsu apart from Taekwondo.

Jiu Jitsu Focuses on Grappling and Defense

Jiu Jitsu teaches defensive techniques of grappling. Throughout your experience with Jiu Jitsu, you’ll learn how to use your opponent’s strength against them and gain the upper hand.

Taekwondo focuses more on striking and getting the upper hand through brute force. While there’s nothing wrong with this type of offense, Jiu Jitsu is better for learning how to grapple and face stronger opponents.

Grappling and overcoming stronger opponents can come in handy throughout your life if you’re ever in a bad situation. Defense is a lot more valuable than offense when it comes to protecting yourself.

Not everyone you meet is going to be weaker than you. They may be faster, stronger, and may hit a lot harder.

Jiu Jitsu will teach you what to do in those moments. Taekwondo is going to teach you how to strike properly and effectively, but if you want to learn how to subdue an opponent that may be bigger than you, then Jiu Jitsu is the best option for you.

Taekwondo Doesn’t Allow Much Sparring and Practice

Because of the intensity of the kicks and hits, it’s difficult to practice Taekwondo on other people safely. This can often lead to injuries and harm coming to your opponent.

In fact, most Taekwondo sparring requires some form of protection like pads to protect everyone involved.

The required protection is because it’s easy to strike someone too hard or in the wrong place on their body. This may make Taekwondo seem more effective than Jiu Jitsu, but it really just sets it apart as a different type of discipline.

The frustrating part of Taekwondo is that even wearing pads doesn’t allow you to practice at your full strength against another person.

On the other hand, Jiu Jitsu does allow you to use your full strength against your opponent because the goal is to incapacitate them by getting the upper hand rather than swinging at them.

Injury is still possible in both disciplines, but it’s more likely to happen in Taekwondo.

Jiu Jitsu is a lot safer for sparring because the goal is completely different. You’ll use defensive techniques that are meant to make your opponent give up.

There’s always a risk of injury in any discipline, especially ones that involve submissions. However, injuries in Jiu Jitsu tend to be far less severe and more easily avoided by your opponent tapping out before getting hurt.

It’s Easy to Accidentally Injure Someone in Taekwondo

As discussed above, Jiu Jitsu doesn’t allow much room for injuries (if you are training safe and tapping out when you should!) but you don’t get the same relief in Taekwondo.

Jiu Jitsu, in general, isn’t a dangerous practice, although there are aspects that can be dangerous. On the other hand, Taekwondo is dangerous because you intend to harm your opponent rather than subdue them.

This is why protective gear is always worn during this discipline.

There’s nothing wrong with an aggressively offensive fighting style, but if you want discipline that lowers your chance of getting hurt, Jiu Jitsu is the way to go. Grappling comes with fewer possible injuries than striking your opponent repeatedly.

Even with padding, full power striking can do some serious damage.

Jiu Jitsu Focuses on Technique and Skill Rather Than Athleticism

Taekwondo is all about strength and explosive hits to gain an advantage. This requires a lot of athleticism and strength. While strength is always a great thing to have, it can be a little overwhelming for beginners to try.

To be great at Taekwondo, you have to be strong and athletic.

Jiu Jitsu focuses on technique and skill. It doesn’t matter how strong or weak you are in Jiu-Jitsu like it does in Taekwondo because it teaches you how to find and utilize your other strengths.

Jiu Jitsu will acknowledge that you have other skills like speed or agility and allow you to use them to your full advantage.

Jiu Jitsu Is Accessible Even for Average or Out of Shape People

One of the main reasons Jiu Jitsu is so popular is that it’s accessible even to ordinary people. Meaning that when you see a class, you’ll notice people of all ages and sizes there learning the discipline.

Rather than focus on being athletic, Jiu Jitsu focuses on bettering yourself in other ways to help you defend yourself if needed.

Jiu Jitsu will help you get in better shape, but it isn’t necessary to be very strong or fit to learn the discipline. There are more important things when it comes to self-defense than just strength, and Jiu Jitsu highlights this by allowing anyone who wants to learn.

Jiu Jitsu or Taekwondo for Self Defense?

Jiu Jitsu is a much more effective discipline for self-defense since that was what it was created for. Taekwondo can help with self-defense, but it’s only beneficial if you’re stronger or faster than your opponent. Otherwise, you may not be able to hit them hard enough to protect yourself.


Jiu Jitsu will also help you learn and understand the art of defending yourself properly.

 Taekwondo focuses mainly on strength and out-hitting your opponent to get the victory. While this is fun and flashy, it isn’t a great way to learn self-defense.

There will always be people who are bigger and stronger than you, and without the upper hand, Taekwondo doesn’t teach you much.

So, Jiu Jitsu is the better method of learning self-defense. In fact, it’s often heavily promoted as a great way to learn self-defense. It’ll teach you that true self-defense isn’t just about pure strength. Rather self-defense is more about being calm in an intense situation and exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses.

Jiu Jitsu Strengthens the Mind

The mind game of Jiu Jitsu sets it apart from other disciplines. The first thing it teaches us is to avoid the fight unless absolutely necessary. You’ll talk about de-escalation techniques and how to prevent a fight from starting in the first place.

Then, as a last resort, Jiu Jitsu will teach you how to defend yourself.

You won’t need a ton of strength to do it successfully, either. Instead, you’ll learn to use your opponent’s strength against them to gain the upper hand.

This may be boring to some people who just want to get straight to the action. So, Jiu Jitsu is not for everyone, but if you want to learn serious and effective self-defense methods, then this is for you.

The most important part of self-defense is staying calm and using logic to get yourself safely out of a situation. Unfortunately, Taekwondo won’t help you as much with this aspect.

So, it’s only useful for self-defense if you are stronger than your opponent or they don’t see your attacks coming. Jiu Jitsu will give you the logic and reasoning to utilize to your advantage during a real-life situation.

What Are the Main Philosophies of Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo?

Jiu Jitsu focuses on community, humility, selflessness, and empathy. Taekwondo chooses to represent courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit.

Each discipline is a true representation of each discipline, and they’re there as a reminder of what is expected for each person in the discipline.

While some of these philosophies are similar, most represent the vast difference in ideas between the two disciplines. Let’s discuss each of them and what they mean for their respective discipline.

Philosophies of Jiu Jitsu


Community is represented throughout Jiu Jitsu, even with complete beginners. People of all ages and sizes can come together and learn to defend themselves without looking a certain way or achieving a certain level of fitness.

An integral part of your teaching during Jiu Jitsu will be to welcome all with open arms despite differences in race, culture, background, or even language.

This expectation of acceptance is less common in martial arts than you would think, and it’s part of what makes Jiu Jitsu stand out. The culture is welcoming and accepting of all people who want to try to learn the discipline.


Your Jiu Jitsu journey will humble you. There will always be someone who has done this longer or is more advanced than you. So, respect and humility are important things to have when addressing other members.

Humility should be maintained throughout your Jiu Jitsu journey. Whether you’re at the top of your game or just beginning, there should be only kindness given to people who aren’t quite at the status that you are.


Selflessness is often taught in Jiu Jitsu as a method of understanding and helping others in need. Not only will you learn to defend yourself, but you’ll learn to defend others who may need your help. These principles are taught before you can learn a single move in Jiu Jitsu because selfishness can get someone hurt.

Learning to stand up for your fellow man isn’t easy when humans are so often taught to be selfish, but that’s what Jiu Jitsu is trying to fix. Everyone who takes this discipline has to learn basic selflessness to further their learning of Jiu Jitsu.


Empathy is close to selflessness but takes it a bit further. You’ll learn to be understanding of others, even your opponent. Not every disagreement needs to come to blows.

Jiu Jitsu promotes the idea that empathy is the key to self-defense in most cases. Fighting for yourself is a key component of self-defense, but so are empathy and understanding.

Trying to be a more understanding person can never hurt, but empathy can also help you predict a dangerous situation. For example, if you notice someone acting a certain way, empathy can help you predict if they’ll become dangerous or explosive.

This prediction can prevent the altercation altogether, or it could also allow you time to get to a safe place by predicting what the person may do.

Philosophies of Taekwondo


Courtesy in terms of Taekwondo is a way of conducting yourself respectfully. You are to act respectfully to everyone that you come in contact with, inside and outside of training. This means that you carry these principles into your own life even after training is over.

It’s important to teach respect in such an offensive style of fighting because innocent people may get hurt without it. So, respect your neighbors inside and outside the dojo.


Integrity in Taekwondo means having the courage to stand up for what’s right. Sometimes this means putting aside your own prejudices of another person.

This can be difficult to learn as we’re so often taught that our prejudices are founded and correct, but integrity in Taekwondo forces you to look beyond that and stand up for others.

Doing what is right isn’t always easy, but having integrity means that you’re forced to do it anyway.

Taekwondo will help you learn to let go of those prejudices and have more integrity in all aspects of your life.


Perseverance forces those in Taekwondo to set goals and work hard to achieve them. You’ll be asked to set goals early in your journey and be held accountable for them. These goals don’t need to be extravagant; they can be small, but they’re important to your mindset during training.

Goal-oriented people tend to work harder because they have something solid to work toward. This idea can help with simple aspects of your journey as well as the more difficult ones. Sometimes it’s hard to keep going, and setting realistic goals can give you a reason to keep trying.


Self-control is very important in martial arts. For example, you don’t want to hit someone you care about because they made you angry.

Unfortunately, this can happen quite easily if you don’t learn self-control. Thankfully, Taekwondo teaches this virtue thoroughly to prevent any accidents.

This philosophy does go a bit further than just physical restraint. You’re also going to learn to control your own emotions that can promote physical reactions such as anger and fear.

Acting out of anger and fear can only cause pain to yourself or others, and when fighting, you need to have a clear head to be effective. This will be a big focus during your training.

Indomitable Spirit

An indomitable spirit implies the ability to stand up for what you know is right. If you see something happening that’s wrong, and the Indomitable Spirit gives you the courage and strength to stand up for what you know is right.

This philosophy also encourages the idea of seeing something saying something. Meaning that if you notice a person struggling or being bullied, you should help them in any way you can.

Fighting may not be the most useful method, but if it comes to that, then make sure you’re doing the right thing for the person affected.

What Is the Difference in Mental Aspects of Taekwondo and Jiu Jitsu?

The main difference in mental aspects of Taekwondo and Jiu Jitsu is the mental preparation. Although both disciplines encourage mental preparedness, only Jiu Jitsu is going to teach you to predict your opponent’s movement.

One of the hardest parts of learning Jiu Jitsu is focusing on the mental aspects that you’ll learn before you even get to fight back. These lessons are taught first because the main idea of Jiu Jitsu is only to fight when necessary.


So, to stay true to that idea, you’ll spend a lot of time getting mentally prepared.

Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo Will Help You Build Strong Friendships

While not a difference, it’s worth mentioning that both Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo allow you to meet new people and build friendships. You’ll struggle at first in both disciplines as you learn the ropes and get your body adjusted to new activities.

Friendships really help keep you motivated to keep coming back and pushing yourself further. Before you know it, you’ll have close bonds with many people in the dojo.

Taekwondo Doesn’t Teach You to Hold Back As Much

The main focus of Taekwondo is to teach you to attack, and it can teach you self-control when it comes to attacking.

However, that is not the main focus of this discipline. Jiu Jitsu will focus first on how to control your emotions and react calmly to any situation. Taekwondo, while teaching self-control, does not focus on it as much as Jiu Jitsu.

When signing up for Jiu Jitsu, you won’t begin learning the craft right away. You will spend time with your instructor learning about how to empathize with your opponent. Taekwondo will teach you not to strike someone just because you disagree with them, but Jiu Jitsu will take some time to teach you to avoid a fight even if your opponent wants to.

Jiu Jitsu Teaches Preparedness Over Paranoia

It’s always good to be aware of your surroundings, but there’s a fine line between being prepared and being paranoid. It is difficult to predict a potentially dangerous situation and takes a lot of practice, but it’s easy to take that to the extreme.

No one benefits from having people walking around paranoid in public places.

So, Jiu-Jitsu will focus on understanding other people and using that understanding to avoid and de-escalate potentially dangerous situations. It teaches a level of awareness wherever you go, and that can come in handy when a dangerous situation is unfolding.

More Than Taekwondo, Jiu Jitsu Helps with Focus

Learning any discipline can help you gain focus, but Jiu Jitsu really stands out as something that requires a lot of focus. One moment of not being prepared can cost you the fight.

While Taekwondo is also a mental game, there’s a lot less concentration needed to excel at it than Jiu Jitsu.

A huge part of Jiu Jitsu is the focus you need to gain an advantage over your opponent. Because it’s so often practiced with people of varying body types and strength, Jiu Jitsu fighters need to be ready for their opponent’s next move in order to possibly gain the upper hand.

This isn’t taking anything away from Taekwondo, which does require a lot of mental toughness, but it isn’t as complicated as Jiu Jitsu.

Jiu Jitsu has never been about strength or speed. Sure, that can be useful, but it’s certainly not a requirement. Instead, you’ll be taught a tremendous amount of focus to outwit your opponent. Loss of concentration can quickly result in losing the fight.

So, if you struggle with focus, Jiu-Jitsu will help train you.

Jiu Jitsu Brings Clarity

Focus also brings clarity, and that’s something else Jiu Jitsu can help provide. The clarity in Jiu Jitsu is meant to bring awareness and mental vigilance even in difficult times. If you’ve ever wanted to control your emotions and not let them influence your decisions, then this discipline can help get you there.

Clarity is a necessary tool in self-defense because it can help you see a situation with objectivity, even if you’re scared or angry. Seeing through the cloud of your emotions can save your life in a dangerous situation.

Learning clarity in self-defense situations can help you outside of those situations too. There are a lot of emotional benefits to learning Jiu Jitsu, including helping with mental health struggles.

Because Jiu Jitsu teaches clarity and confidence, that can carry over into your life outside of the discipline. For example, those who struggle with self-confidence can find it in this discipline.

Knowing how to properly defend yourself can bring a sense of relief for those who may be anxious in public places. Sometimes depression can be helped with physical activity, which you can find in any discipline.

However, it can also be helped with focusing on something else. The ability to focus on a discipline can truly make a difference when it comes to mental health.

Is Taekwondo or Jiu Jitsu More Dangerous to Train?

Taekwondo is more dangerous to train than Jiu Jitsu. Rather than focusing on defense and protecting yourself, Taekwondo is more about striking your opponent, which can be dangerous even when training. However, all martial arts can be considered dangerous if you are untrained.

While injuries are still possible in Jiu Jitsu, they are much more likely to happen in a striking-based discipline like Taekwondo.

Taekwondo Is a High Contact Discipline

Overall, any style of fighting that involves hitting has a level of danger involved, and Taekwondo is no exception. Hitting and kicking always bring risk to any style of fighting, and Taekwondo allows both.

Most of the time, fighters will be wearing protective gear during sparring to help mitigate injury. However, accidents can happen, especially at the moment.

Jiu Jitsu Teaches Grappling, Not Hitting

Jiu Jitsu is a completely different style that doesn’t allow hitting, only grappling. There’s still a risk of injury, but it’s not as large of a risk as Taekwondo or even other martial arts disciplines.

Most injuries from Jiu Jitsu come from falling incorrectly or using improper technique. So, the risk of injury is a lot smaller, considering there isn’t much being done in Jiu Jitsu that requires protective gear or holding back.

If You Follow the Rules, You Should Avoid Injury

Taekwondo allows for many different types of injuries. Whether it’s a stray kick or hit, pulling a muscle trying to hit someone, or a fracture during a fight, there’s always a possibility that you can get hurt.

Taekwondo isn’t the most dangerous martial art by far, as most severe dangers are hits to the head.

There are other disciplines that do risk hits to the head, which can cause concussions and even brain damage. Because Taekwondo doesn’t allow punches to the head, it’s still relatively safe compared to other disciplines that do.

So, to stay safe in Jiu Jitsu, make sure you learn how to fall properly. This will be the key to keeping your body safe and free from injury.

Taekwondo is a little more difficult to master safely, considering hitting is riskier. Keeping yourself safe in Jiu Jitsu is a priority and can be learned. While safety in Taekwondo is important, it isn’t as easily taught given the mechanics of the discipline.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Jiu Jitsu is better to learn than Taekwondo for many reasons. Jiu Jitsu is better for self-defense, it’s safer, and it has many mental aspects that can help you think more clearly in dangerous situations. When considering a discipline for you or your child, then consider the safest discipline that’ll teach you self-defense.

Remember that you don’t need to be in great shape to learn Jiu Jitsu, though it’ll allow you to get in better shape. When you show up to your first class, you’ll notice people of all shapes and sizes. So, don’t be afraid to start your Jiu Jitsu training anytime.

Further Reading:

Taekwondo vs Karate – What are the Differences? Which is Best for Self Defense?

Boxing vs Jiu-Jitsu: How Do They Compare? Who Would Win in a Street Fight?


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