Boxing VS. BJJ

Boxing and BJJ are two different sports with different rules and strategies, however, they have a lot in common. The similarities between the two sports are enough to warrant a watch of a few boxing fights while you’re at an intermediate level in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In this article, we will focus on comparing the two, which is better? Which is best for self-defense? Which is better for fitness? How are they different? and more.

Table of Contents

a boxer vs a bjj fighter

What’s The Difference Between Boxing & BJJ?

Well, there’s a multitude of differences, but it can be summed up to the following points:

In boxing, you fight with your fists and only use one opponent. In Jiu-Jitsu you fight with your feet as well as tools from below the hips (wrists, shins, etc.) and sometimes more than one opponent at a time.

Boxing matches compete in rounds that are usually 3-5 minutes long. Jiu-Jitsu matches are no time limit, which will be explained later.

In boxing, you’re standing up with your hands protecting your face while you attack with punches and backing away from the opponent when they attack. In BJJ you’re mostly on the ground where you have a whole range of different movements, from being on top and being on the bottom.

In boxing, you use punches, uppercuts and other upper body strikes to win by knockout. In BJJ the goal is to either submit your opponent (make them give up) or control them for 25 seconds (points).

Again, these points are generalizations and there’s a lot more that can be said about the two sports and their differences.

What Are The Similarities Between Boxing And BJJ?

Well, they’re both sports where two people are trying to get an advantage over the other. They both use their bodies as weapons to attack and defend, they both require strength, athleticism, and coordination. You need to know how to move your body in a variety of different ways both when attacking and defending.

Boxing is about using your hands for punching, while BJJ is about using every tool on your body, including your legs and hips. However, both sports require that you be able to protect your face, which can get hit by an opponent’s fists or feet.

So Which is Better?

The answer to both questions is BOTH.

The two sports are different, but both complement each other very well and can be used together to complement your training.

Which is Better For Self-Defense

So which is better for self-defense, boxing, or BJJ?

The truth is that it depends on many variables and we can’t answer this question definitively.

It’s true that boxing is better if the opponent is only using punches and isn’t on the ground, but it would certainly be easier to use your hands in a street fight than to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

It’s also true that BJJ is better for ground fighting, but what if you’re attacked by a group of people? In this case, the more realistic self-defense scenario would be to face some attackers on the ground, while others are punching you or trying to hold your legs still.

Some of the variables that determine who will win a fight are:

– how many people are attacking you?

– what kind of clothes are they wearing (grappling with a t-shirt is different than grappling with a big thick winter jacket)

– what size are they?

– how experienced are you in boxing or BJJ compared to them?

So there’s no definite answer to this question, but it’s clear that both boxing and BJJ can improve your chances of defending yourself.

Boxing vs BJJ: Fitness

Which sport is better for fitness boxing or BJJ?

Again, this is another question where there isn’t a definite answer. If you go into both sports with that goal in mind then the answer is BOTH.

A big part of both sports is cardiovascular fitness and you will definitely get a good workout from either one.

Would I rather do a treadmill for 30 minutes or roll around on the ground with someone trying to choke me?

It’s obvious that you will get an incredible workout from boxing, but you will also get an incredible workout from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In a fight against a skilled opponent, who has trained for hours every day, you will probably spend at least a few minutes getting crushed against the ground. Another 10 to 20 minutes of sparring could make the difference if you get submitted or not, and it adds up to a huge amount of time on the ground.

Boxing vs BJJ Injuries

I know I’m fighting someone in the ring but people expect to get injured when they wrestle around on the ground right?

Anyone who has done any kind of competitive sport knows that even friendly sparring can lead to injuries. Both boxing and BJJ have a certain amount of risk involved, so it’s important to spar in a controlled environment and with people you trust.

You can get injured from boxing even without direct punches to the head, it’s possible to suffer sprains and strains from throwing punches for 3-5 minute rounds.

The main injury risk in BJJ is not getting enough oxygen, since you can’t breathe while someone is on top of you. This means that the person who manages to get a good position and control the breathing is most likely going to win the fight.

Is Boxing Safer Than BJJ?

I was surprised to learn that boxing has a lower injury rate than Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A study by the University of Alberta and Simon Fraser University compared injury rates for 4,848 fights and found that BJJ had a higher rate of injuries than boxing.

Another reason why boxing may be safer (especially for beginners) is that there are more safety precautions. Headgear is mandatory, as well as a mouthguard and larger boxing gloves.

What Gear is Used For Boxing And BJJ?

Both sports require lots of gear, which is mandatory for training.

If you are taking boxing classes at the gym, it is possible they will provide most of this gear, but if you’re doing a BJJ class, then you need to bring your own gloves and shin guards.

BJJ gear requires the following, which is mostly provided by your school. If not provided, you better invest in good equipment, including:

Pair of BJJ gloves – these are mandatory for training.

A mouthguard – also mandatory in BJJ – is the only piece of equipment that does not directly contribute to damage.

A BJJ gi –  this serves as the uniform for BJJ. You wear this when practicing with your teammates or training in a public gym.

A BJJ belt – the more colorful, the higher your skill level

A BJJ rash guard –  ideal for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts.

BJJ dummies (advanced) – practice the art of grappling with these heavy-duty grapplers.

From the boxing angle, the required boxing equipment is the following:

Boxing gloves: you want a pair with at least 16oz of padding and they need to fit your hands. I recommend training with both 16oz and 10oz gloves to see which you prefer.

Hand wraps: these are the small cloth bands that wrap around your hands and wrists to keep them protected.

Boxing shoes: you need a good pair of lace-up gym shoes, ideally with rubber soles so you don’t slip around.

Headgear: headgear protects your face and helps keep you from getting cut, but it’s not comfortable so I hardly ever wear it.

Mouthguard: if you get punched in the face while wearing headgear, this little piece of plastic will keep you from losing a few teeth.

Which is Easier to Learn?

This is kind of like asking which is easier to learn, English or Spanish. The answer depends on what you already know and how much free time you have.

If you know nothing about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu then it’s going to be hard to learn enough moves to actually use them in a fight.

If you have no experience with boxing then you will need to learn everything from scratch, including how to throw punches and block shots.

If you have at least some experience in either sport then it will be much easier. You already know the basics, and your body is conditioned to deal with the exercise.

Should I Start BJJ or Boxing?

They’re different sports and attract different types of people, so do whatever makes you happy and don’t worry about other people or what they think. Both boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu offer many benefits such as increased fitness, confidence, and learning how to defend yourself in dangerous situations.

If you’re not sure about which sport to start, why not try both? That’s what training is for; trying different things, seeing if you like them, and continuing with the things that interest you most. This way you can get a taste of each sport before making a final decision about which one you want to focus on.