Karate vs Jiu Jitsu for Self-Defense: THIS is Why Karate is Better!

Karate and Jiu Jitsu are two popular martial arts often used for self-defense. They both have their pros and cons, which we shall discuss in this article.

Karate is a striking art that uses punches, kicks, blocks, and other strikes to disable an attacker. Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling art that uses throws, locks, chokes, and lockdowns to control or submit an attacker.

Both are effective in their own ways, but which is better for self-defense? After reading this article, you’ll decide which martial art suits you and your self-defense needs.

What is Karate?

Karate is often thought of as the best martial art for self-defense. It is a striking art that uses punches, kicks, open-hand techniques, and other strikes to defend oneself from an attacker. Karate is also a discipline-based art that can teach self-control and respect. It is considered one of the most effective forms of self-defense, as it can incapacitate an attacker with little to no injury to the defender.

In Karate, students learn how to defend themselves against one or multiple attackers. One of the first things students learn is to keep their hands up and chin down when fighting. They also use their feet and legs to kick and strike their opponents. Kicking is one of the most effective ways to defend yourself against multiple attackers because it allows you to keep your hands up and stay out of reach of their punches. Here’s a video on the fundamental concepts of karate:

Another crucial aspect of Karate for self-defense is learning to control your breath. When you are calm or in control of your breath, you can think more clearly and make better decisions about how to defend yourself. When you panic, it is harder to think clearly, and you may make mistakes that could put you in danger.

Karate is taught in a formal setting, such as a dojo (martial arts school), but you can also learn it informally from a friend or family member. There are many different styles of Karate, but all share the same basic principles of using one’s body as a weapon to defend oneself. Karate is an excellent form of self-defense for both men and women. It requires no special equipment or training and can be used effectively against larger and stronger opponents. Here is a video on the basic forms of karate:

Karate Pros 

Karate is a martial art that has many benefits for self-defense.

  1. Karate teaches awareness: One of the most important aspects of self-defense is being aware of your surroundings and knowing who or what poses a threat. Karate can help improve situational awareness and the ability to read body language, which can help to prevent attacks before they happen. Another way Karate enhances awareness is through sparring. When sparring, students must react quickly to their opponent’s moves and land their punches and kicks accurately. It requires situational awareness and prediction skills. As students become better at sparring, they learn to anticipate their opponent’s moves and react accordingly. 
  2. Karate improves physical strength and power: Strength is essential in self-defense, and that’s true for both physical and mental acumen. Karate can help you develop both. It requires the maintenance of a strong stance and uses quick, powerful movements. It helps build leg and core strength, which are essential for standing your ground. Second, karate training also includes exercises that help improve coordination and balance. These two elements are vital to being able to defend yourself effectively. Finally, Karate teaches mental strength and discipline. Learning to control your emotions and stay calm in the face of adversity is an essential part of self-defense.
  3. Karate improves flexibility and reflexes: Karate is a martial art that requires split-second decisions and reflexes. It teaches flexibility which is important in self-defense because it allows you to avoid or escape holds and attacks. One must be able to control their own body and mind to execute the techniques efficiently. Karate training develops quicker reflexes in several ways. One way is through kata or forms. Katas is a choreographed pattern of movements that simulate self-defense situations. As students become more proficient in a kata, they must make quicker decisions about which move to use next, developing their ability to think quickly and react accordingly.

Karate Cons

1. Challenging to learn: You have to dedicate yourself to Karate if you want to excel. It takes months of practice and discipline to become decent and it takes at least 2-3 years to become a true black belt. 

2. Injuries are not uncommon: This problem is why you should be careful when executing Karate moves. The most common injuries in Karate are bruises and contusions. These occur when the practitioner gets hit with a hard object, such as a fist or foot.

Knee and elbow injuries are also common in Karate. To avoid these injuries, practitioners must wear protective gear, such as gloves and pads during training sessions. Practitioners must also train carefully and with great attention to detail.

Other common injuries include sprains and strains. These problems occur when the practitioner performs an incorrect technique or over-stretches their muscles. To avoid these injuries, practitioners must warm up properly before training sessions and practice the techniques correctly.

What is Jiu-Jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that originated in Japan. It is a close-quarters combat system – that uses grappling, takedown, submission, sweep, and throws to defeat an opponent. Jiu-Jitsu also includes striking, but it is not the focus of the art. It primarily uses joint locks and chokeholds to subdue an opponent.

Jiu-Jitsu is an effective form of self-defense because you can use it against opponents of any size. It is also a practical system, as it focuses on using an opponent’s energy against them instead of relying on brute force. You can use Jiu-Jitsu to defend against strikes, chokes, and other common attacks.

Jiu-Jitsu is an effective form of self-defense because it does not rely on size or strength to defeat an opponent. The small individual can use Jiu-Jitsu to take down a larger attacker using the proper technique. Jiu-Jitsu also teaches practitioners to be aware of their surroundings and to be prepared to defend themselves.

This video will show you the fundamentals of Jiu-Jitsu:

Jiu-Jitsu Pros

1. It teaches leverage: Jiu-Jitsu enables practitioners to use leverage and body positioning to control an opponent rather than relying on strength or size. It is a grappling art that focuses on using an opponent’s momentum against them and taking them to the ground. This benefit makes it an ideal martial art for smaller individuals who want to be able to defend themselves against bigger attackers. 

2. Powerful submission techniques: Jiu-Jitsu techniques enable you to take an opponent down to the ground, where they are less likely to be able to hurt you. Once on the ground, you can use various submission holds to force your opponent to tap out or otherwise submit.

3. Improves situational awareness: Jiu-Jitsu enables practitioners to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid dangerous situations when possible. You will begin to look at people differently, you will assess their potential physical weaknesses and strengths in a fight scenario. It’s something that every practitioner experiences and it’s actually a fun side-effect of training ju-jitsu.

4. Great for physical strength and endurance: For one, it’s a full-body workout. You will use your arms, legs, and core the whole time. And because jiu-jitsu is a martial art, it’s also great for cardio. You will get your heart rate up while doing it and shed excess fat. Lastly, jiu-jitsu is a great way to relieve stress. It’s an outlet for all that built-up energy and tension we all carry around with us every day. 

5. Improves coordination: Jiu-jitsu is an excellent workout for your whole body, but it especially improves coordination. This is especially true when you’re on the ground, which is where an unskilled opponent will feel like a fish out of water.

6. Real sparring: Jiu-jitsu provides real sparring. You roll with a partner on a mat and practice techniques on each other. It’s the best way to prepare for a real-life fight. Many martial arts lack this aspect of training which makes them quite ineffective when it comes to learning self-defense. This can be true for some Karate schools as well. In that case, jiu-jitsu would be the clear winner of this comparison.

Jiu-Jitsu Cons

1. It can be dangerous for you and the opponent: While the techniques taught in Jiu-Jitsu are great for self-defense, they can also injure an opponent. Joint locks and chokeholds can cause serious injury if not applied correctly. There is also a higher risk of neck and spine injuries in Jiu-Jitsu due to ground fighting and the twisting that occurs. To avoid these injuries, practitioners must execute moves correctly while paying attention to details.

2. Jiu-Jitsu can be expensive: The cost of membership, equipment, and training can add up quickly. You will need to purchase a Gi (uniform), and you may need to pay for classes or private lessons. As with most things, the cost of taking up Jiu-Jitsu will vary depending on factors like location, e.t.c. Generally, you can expect to pay around $175 monthly for classes, training equipment, and other associated costs.

3. Steep learning curve:  The art involves techniques that might take a couple of years to really get good at. It would take 8 to 10 years to become a purple or black belt if you practice three to five hours weekly with great intensity. 

Which Martial Art is the Best for Self-defense?

Overall, Karate is the better option for self-defense. Here are the reasons:

  1. The main advantage of Karate over Jiu-Jitsu is its speed and power. A well-trained karate practitioner can deliver a devastating blow that can knock out an attacker with one strike. This art relies on punches, kicks, and open-hand techniques to disable an attacker. 
  2. Another advantage of Karate over Jiu-Jitsu is that it teaches practitioners to fight from a distance. It enables you to defend yourself without getting too close to your attacker, which can be dangerous. Especially if the opponent has a weapon. Jiu-Jitsu focuses mainly on teaching practitioners how to fight on the ground. These techniques can be limited because the majority of fights start (and end) while standing.
  3. Karate is a more efficient form of self-defense for multiple attackers, unlike Jiu-Jitsu. The main reason is that Karate practitioners strike while standing and moving around, whereas Jiujitsu practitioners focus more on grappling and submissions. Karate strikes are also more likely to stun or knock out an attacker, giving you time to escape or disable other attackers.
  4. Another advantage is that that it’s easier to learn its basic techniques like punches and kicks and apply them in real-life situations. 

Note: All of these advantages can fall flat if your karate school doesn’t emphasize full contact sparring. Simply rehearsing forms may look nice, but it won’t do you much good in a real fight. So make sure that you choose a school where karate is taught for self-defense rather than competitions where contact is not allowed.

Peter Jerome

A seasoned MMA practitioner and an intermediate in BJJ and Krav Maga. When I'm not knocking heads with someone in a dojo, I like chilling out with my girlfriend and our adorable pug Betsy.

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