Judo vs Aikido For Self-Defense: 4 Key Differences

When it comes to choosing between martial arts, there are so many factors to consider. We’ll be looking at the differences between Judo and Aikido, particularly when it comes to self-defence.

Both Judo and Aikido originate from Jiu-Jitsu. Because of this common root, there are some similarities, but the two martial arts are incredibly different. We’ll break down the key things you need to know about each of them. 

Judo vs Aikido For Self-Defense: 4 Key Differences


One of the biggest differences lies in the intention behind each martial art. Judo is primarily a sport featuring at the Olympics. Because of this, the focus lies on competition between opponents.

You’ll learn skills and spar at your dojo, but this work is likely to be in preparation for a competitive event where you will be fighting other students. There will then be ranking and prizes awarded to winners.

This competitive aspect can be a big cause of success in teaching Judo to beginners and making it fun. On the other hand, Aikido does not have a competitive aspect.

Rather than being a sport, Aikido is a more holistic practice that also focuses on being a lifestyle. Its core tenets include harmony with nature and self-discipline. It is non-competitive, and more of an individual practice. There are even some spiritual elements to Aikido

Because Judo is competition oriented, it focuses on artificial scenarios that you will find in dojos. On the other hand, Aikido has more of a real-life focus. Because of this, a lot of people find it more practical and therefore more helpful when it comes to self-defence.

Judo vs Aikido For Self-Defense: 4 Key Differences


Building on this distinction, Aikido and Judo involve very different levels of aggression. Judo is focused on big, aggressive attacks. The aim is to overpower the opponent and put them in a position where they are forced to submit. 

It is a more violent martial art, with more movements designed to hurt your opponent. There is a lot of focus placed on big throws, pinning your opponent down, or using force to subdue them. 

On the other hand, Aikido is a less aggressive practice and is more focused on defence than offensive attacks. There is a focus on countering attacks from other people.

This makes it useful in a self-defence situation because your objective is to keep yourself safe, rather than simply beating someone else up. Of course, any knowledge of any martial art is a plus when it comes to self-defence. It’s important to make sure you are looking after your body, including getting enough electrolytes

One of the other benefits of lesser aggression in Aikido is that it can be a better outlet for children if you want them to benefit from martial arts, but are worried about violence. In Aikido, there is a lot of emphases placed on ending the fight as fast as possible, but without causing harm to the opponent (or opponents). 

Number Of Opponents

One of the biggest observable differences is in the number of opponents that you fight at one time. With Judo, you are always fighting only one person, as this mimics the conditions at competitions.

However, in Aikido, there are many situations where you are faced with a group of opponents and you have to subdue multiple people rather than a single person.

This forces you to develop a different kind of strategic thinking, as there are multiple attackers. This can be useful in real life for self-defence if you are having to defend yourself against more than one person.

Having multiple opponents at once also helps to train your brain to keep calm in intense situations, which is directly transferable to real-life self-defence situations. 

Judo vs Aikido For Self-Defense: 4 Key Differences

Who It Suits

However, when it comes to real-world self-defence, one of the most important distinctions is the physical requirements. Judo requires you to be strong and fit because it focuses on using your strength to overpower your opponent. This can be a big plus if you are trying to improve your health

Aikido, on the other hand, involves using your opponent’s body weight against them to help with throws. It also involves taking the other person’s momentum and countering their attacks.

This makes it a more attractive option for women and children. You are more prepared for a fight where your opponent is bigger and stronger than you. 

With children, both martial arts can be a good place for them to better understand instructions and learn discipline. The bottom line is to look at the differences and decide which is more appealing to you.

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