Boxing vs. BJJ – Which is Better?

There are many reasons why people compare boxing and BJJ. We do it because we can decide whether we should join a dojo or a boxing gym.

It is important to know which one is better for self-defense, which one is better for getting fit… So you can choose one according to your goal.

Also, is your goal to learn self-defense? I consulted experts and summarized their suggestions about how you can get the best of both worlds and you can defend yourself a street fight effectively.

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BJJ Journey is Long!


It is hard to progress in BJJ. It can take a long time to reach black belt. I remember my old BJJ instructor said that the average time is around eleven years. Well, this is quite a long time, is not it?

This does come as no surprise because many people don’t even understand what is going on when a grappler does kimura armlock.

Progression in BJJ is way slower and no one wants to lose time. However, instructors can help you progress faster. So definitely pick a competent instructor.

Related Read: Jiu-Jitsu GI Buyer’s Guide

Thus, choosing a good dojo is a really important step.

I am not saying learning boxing Is easy. Learning how to throw hooks and footwork tricks to stay away from your opponent take time. There are also many tweaks to help you become a better boxer. Learning these also takes years.

However, Brazilian jiu-jitsu is way more complex than boxing and requires even more practice to get to the intermediate level.

This should not be a factor for choosing one over the other. However, definitely keep in mind that your level of commitment matters.

Also, it is no brainer that you need to go to a dojo multiple times every week so you can practice submissions, escapes over and over again.

If seasoned practitioners don’t practice escapes, submissions frequently even they will get rusty.

My Experience: This is not the case with boxing. If you don’t go to a boxing gym for weeks, you will still need to throw a couple of hooks to do it with the correct technique. However, it is easier for your muscles to remember boxing striking techniques than BJJ grappling techniques.

See Also: Top Bag Gloves

Boxing vs. BJJ for Self-Defense


BJJ is considered the best for groundwork and boxing is preferred for stand up fighting. Even though I prefer Muay Thai over boxing for stand up fighting boxing is still a great choice.

if you are undersized jiu-jitsu should be preferred for self-defense. Because if you have a couple of years under your belt you can protect yourself from bigger people.

If you and your opponent are on the ground, the weight, height matter less. Many martial arts classes focus on what to do in this situation. So you can actually have a pretty good chance to win the fight.

What if your opponent has a gun, knife? Which one is better? Well, if this is the case both of them do not offer much help. Because these don’t teach how to defend against a knife or get a weapon from your opponent. If your primary goal is to handle situations like these you should also take self-defense classes.

Boxing vs BJJ for Self Defense

What if you have multiple opponents?

BJJ is effective for one-on-one fights.

Also, you can’t control the fight with BJJ. Because, your opponent may start fighting with elbow strikes, doing throat grabs… You may not even grapple, clinch in this situation. Even if you do, the other opponent can easily hurt you.

If you know boxing and sparred before, you can control the distance so you can control the fight. Also, if you did explosive punching drills you actually would have a chance to knock out your opponents and win the fight.

However, to throw these punches with a correct form you should be at least an intermediate level boxer.

Shortly boxing is way more effective when you have multiple opponents.

What if you only have one opponent who does not carry a weapon?

If this is the case and you have to choose between these two I would choose boxing. Let me explain the reasoning behind this.

You can control the distance so your opponent needs to hit you from a certain distance. So what is the advantage here?

Even though there is no rule during a street fight and everyone can do throat grabs, eye gouges you can control the distance so you can have the edge over your opponent. You can defend yourself and punch your opponent effectively in this situation. So, you have a serious advantage here.

Footwork also helps big time during a street fight. When you can throw solid punches and know all the footwork tricks it is not hard to control the distance.

BJJ does not teach you many footwork tricks. Because these tricks are simply not necessary in BJJ. Basically; you are at a serious disadvantage in situations where you need to control the distance. Even if you are a seasoned jiu-jitsu practitioner, you will be defenseless in these situations.

If you get into a street fight, you need to get in situations that you are more familiar with. This will give you the best chance to beat your opponent.

Expert’s Recommendation for Self Defense

My instructor is a brown belt and also teaches self-defense. He recommends people learn jiu-jitsu and how to defend against punching for self-defense.

Also, learn both no-gi and gi submissions. So you can make a grip whether your opponent wears something or not.

When someone swings a punch at you it is actually quite scary. If you don’t have a proper self-defense class experience, you will panic in this situation. However, if you follow his advice I don’t think one-on-one fights will be no longer be an issue for you.

Boxing vs. Jiu-Jitsu for Fitness


Boxing includes many different workout types. Some of these are shadow boxing, sparring, bag workouts…

Boxing workouts are quite challenging and you can activate more muscle fibers. It equals bigger muscles. So if you do regular boxing workouts and consume enough macronutrients. you can build an incredible upper body.

For example, if you are looking to build bigger shoulders and a strong core, definitely use heavy bag workouts in your training routine.

Boxing vs. Jiu Jitsu for Fitness

You can burn over 750 calories with boxing workouts! It is a large number of calories! If you are looking to shred body fats, you can reach this goal with boxing in no time.

I also use boxing workouts to lower my body fat percentage. You can easily find a boxing class for burning fat and building a strong body.

BJJ training is simply not good for building muscle mass and getting fit. Have you watched any BJJ tournaments lately? How many practitioners do have big muscles? Well, I have not seen any.

Considering these facts boxing should be preferred for fitness as it can provide results fast.

Is BJJ better than Boxing?

If you are on the ground and need to protect yourself, obviously BJJ is better as there are excellent groundwork techniques for self-defense. Obviously; boxing is useless when it comes to groundwork.

However, you might be standing and your opponent throws punches and is out of your reach. Boxing comes in handy in this situation.

Basically; jiu-jitsu and boxing have differences and each has unique advantages. So I can’t really say one is better than the other.

If you have a specific goal in mind then you need to choose according to it. Here are some examples.

Do you need to lose weight fast? Do you want to be able to protect yourself from bigger people?

What about Injuries?


Shortly, one is not safer than the other.

We all know, boxing can lead to concussions, permanent brain damage… I even twisted my ankle during a heavy bag workout while wearing my favorite boxing boots.

However, I had an ear injury while sparring in my old dojo and could not go to the dojo for two months. Sparring, grappling may also lead to muscle tears, which are quite common in BJJ, as well.

Basically; both can be quite dangerous. You can injure yourself or your opponent at any moment.

So when you compare these two you need to consider your priorities like fitness goals. After that, just pick one and start learning it without wasting any time.

Equipment and Price Comparison


No one online seems to care about this. However, I read a lot of comments from my readers who struggle with money. So I decided to mention these.

The price of gyms varies a lot and this does not depend on whether it is a BJJ or boxing gym.

With that being said, boxing gears tend to be more expensive and you need to replace some of them frequently. These gears are headgears, gloves, groin guard… You also need to have different gear types like sparring gloves, bag gloves, etc. if you choose to practice boxing. These add up quickly.

I know you need to break the bank for quality pearl weave BJJ gis however it is fair to say you will spend more money if you decide to learn boxing.

The popularity (Must Read!)


I am not talking about the popularity of boxing and BJJ. I am talking about which one is popular in your area. If you are in Brazil, you will have a really hard time finding a decent boxing gym with decent equipment and air conditioning. Trust me I tried…

You need to consider reviews of gyms and dojos nearby. However, choose one that has quality equipment, good instructors. This has vital importance for improving your skills.

Conclusive Thoughts


In this article, you learned the differences between boxing and BJJ, the advantages and disadvantages of choosing one over the other.

Now you know boxing helps you get in shape faster.

If you are a small person and want to walk comfortably in a sketchy neighborhood, learning grappling is a better choice.

Also, if one of them is way more popular than the other in your city, it will be smart to choose that particular martial art.  If your choice is jiu-jitsu, you can check out BJJ gym prices and set your budget accordingly.

Do you have anything to add or have any questions? Please have a comment below and I will reply to you within a day.

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