"BJJ to be more popular than Judo by 2020"

Discussion in 'Judo' started by Prizewriter, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on


    This is an article that has been doing the rounds on social media recently. Using analytics of web trends, it shows the decline in the number of people looking for judo on the web over the last decade. It shows the increase in the number of people looking for BJJ over that same period. In fact in the USA, more people already search for BJJ than Judo.

    It is surprising to see the decline in Judo popularity in countries like the UK, where it has traditionally been a very popular martial art (arguably the most popular Eastern Martial art).

    Although this article only relies on web trends, there is other evidence to suggest the decline of the popularity of Judo:


    Why do you think this might be happening? Some ideas in the article and based on my own experience:

    1) BJJ is generally safer as there is much less emphasis on throws due to a more expansive ruleset that allows a variety of grappling techniques and for prolonged grappling on the ground.

    2) Many BJJ schools still train "self defence" to some degree, whereas this is much harder to find in Judo.

    3) BJJ has a far greater web presence compared to judo. Go to youtube and compare the number BJJ vids to those of Judo.

    4) BJJ makes better use of digital media in general. The quality and quantity of apps and DVDs for BJJ is far greater than those of Judo.

    Any thoughts on this trend? Any suggestions on how to reverse it?
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  2. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I think it's just lag time from the original UFCs. It's pretty easy to practice BJJ and feel like a bad donkey without getting the injuries associated from kickboxing or MMA. I think it's also easier to form a faux identity from BJJ, with products like the 'bjj lifestyle' and such going around, lots of t-shirts to advertise what you do, etc. Give it a decade or two and it'll settle down.
  3. Gripfighter

    Gripfighter Sub Seeker

    Judo did this to themselves, they could easily fight it by going back to the 80s/90s style of Judo rules and allowing more time on the ground.
  4. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Popularity of martial arts styles goes around in circles. Always has, always will. In the 70s it was full contact karate (precursor of kickboxing). 80s had the ninja boom. 90s was Muay Thai. 00s was the peak of MMA's popularity (you had genuine stars like Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture). BJJ has been the "cool kid on the block" for the past few years.

    I agree with philosoraptor's comment re: a faux identity. There seems to be an atmosphere of elitism in the art (particularly from Gracie Barra). Most of the time it's from the not-so-good players. Don't get me wrong; elitism exists in every style. But BJJ seems to suffer from it worse than other systems. It's very similar to the fanboy enthusiasm that pollutes CrossFit (probably because a lot of CrossFit and BJJ gyms share the same space). Like CrossFitters who point to Rich Froning to explain why what they do is best, many BJJers point to Keenan Cornelius or Braulio Estima. But you have to remimd them that those examples are the top 1% of their sport(s). Being in the same sport as a super athlete doesn't qualify you as being any better than people from other styles.
  5. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    Indeed! "The observer is not the observed"
  6. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Is it bad then then I almost never wear a t-shirt that isn't a bjj comp shirt or a club one? In my defence its because they were free and saved me buying new clothes but still.
  7. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    No mate. I'm guilty of parading around in my team gear even when I'm not training or coaching. :p

    People can wear what they want. I was talking more about the things people say than the brands they put on in the morning. Maybe I'm just bitter because BJJ has got Kyra Gracie and karate has old Asian dudes. :(
  8. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    You see a lot more BJJ in MMA fighting than Judo.

    I think the popularity of MMA has a lot to do with this.

    I agree with Van Zandt. The rise and fall of the popularity of varying MA's is a cyclical thing - no big deal.
  9. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    Mate , you need to look more ;)

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgN7fUGPgMM"]Karate Female Team Kata Bronze Medal - Serbia vs Italy - WKF World Championships Belgrade 2010 (1/2) - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiiznDpoapQ"]Final Female Kata. Rika Usami of Japan. 21st WKF World Karate Championships Paris 2012 - YouTube[/ame]

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvSTtXmqxQA"]Heba Abdelrahman vs Hafsa Seyda :: WKF Female Kumite Final -68kg :: Belgrade 2010 - YouTube[/ame]

  10. Omicron

    Omicron is around.

    While I agree that popularity in the martial arts world is fleeting, there are a few unique aspects of BJJ's rise that are worth mentioning. First, as has been already pointed out, BJJ has arguably made better use of the internet than any other martial art. Part of this no doubt stems from the willingness to experiment and share information that sets BJJ apart from so many other styles. Having come to BJJ from a more traditional style, I found the difference to be like night and day. I actually remember being afraid to bring up certain things about my previous style in online discussions, for fear that I would be chastised for engaging in discussion that was too open, and therefore detrimental to my practice and my art. Whether it's due to an antiquated sense of traditional secrecy or just overcoming the inertia of having become firmly established in a pre-internet age, many older martial arts have been unable to fully capitalize on the opportunities offered online.

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, BJJ has opened people's eyes to the need for aliveness and resistance in training. BJJ's arrival on the scene and the willingness of its early practitioners to take on all comers to prove its effectiveness precipitated a paradigm shift in the martial arts community. Love them or hate them, the Gracies forced people to put up, or shut up. Sure, it had all been done before (judo is trained in a similarly alive fashion), but this time it was dressed up in slicker marketing. People say that BJJ should really stand for "basically just judo", and while that may not be too far from the truth at the level of basic techniques and training methodology, there are still significant differences, especially when it comes to capturing the hearts and minds of the internet generation.

    I suppose a distant third might be the fact that BJJ is mega-fun.

    Does this mean that BJJ will remain popular forever? Hardly. In fact, in the UFC, that early cradle of BJJ in America, more and more fighters use wrestling as their grappling base. Still, any art that comes into the limelight following BJJ will have to be conscious of the changes that it has made. The days of secret techniques behind closed dojo doors may be gone forever, and the age of transparent and equitable information sharing in the martial arts has begun.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  11. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I agree with all of your post except this bit. People were already well aware of the need decades earlier, beginning with Japanese full contact karate in the 60s and American kickboxing in the 70s. Hell, you could go as far as to say it existed in boxing for most of the 20th Century, but I think most people consider boxing separate from martial arts.
  12. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    What I like best about this trend is it bringing a focus back to wrestling, at least in the US. I grew up in the Pennsylvania which has always been a hot bed of wrestling much like Iowa and Oklahoma.

    Now you are seeing wrestling programs and clubs for kids all over the place. Heck, here in the Memphis area we now have at least 8 wrestling clubs, some of them are being supported by the local high schools as feeder programs.

    They have a ways to go but who knows someday you may see Tennessee or Mississippi wining a national championship.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  13. Omicron

    Omicron is around.

    I don't disagree. I did mention that judo had already established this training methodology (this being the judo forum, I thought it the most appropriate example). The emphasis in my statement should be on the "opened people's eyes" part. Yes, other arts had been doing it, but it took the forceful personality of the Gracies to bring the concept to the fore in popular martial arts consciousness.
  14. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    "BJJ to be more popular than Judo by 2020"

    Most people don't like to be thrown on the ground 200 times daily. To train the ground game art is always easier than to train the throwing art. When your opponent throws you over his head, your tapping just won't stop his throwing.
  15. Omicron

    Omicron is around.

    Yep, I'd rather be sat on, choked, and twisted into funny shapes by sweaty guys in pyjamas than get tossed around all day.

    All joking aside, I've repeatedly tried to incorporate more judo into my training, but I can't get over how much more punishment I take in the average judo session compared to the average BJJ one. The last time I set foot in a judo dojo was to help out with a guest BJJ seminar. I wasn't even training any judo, and I still managed to end up with a broken nose from doing some (supposedly) light rolling with a judoka. This is not a knock against judo—I have nothing but admiration for the art and its practitioners—but I've learned that I'm too much of a wuss to be a regular judoka. I can't say how prevalent this attitude is in other BJJers, but from my personal experience there does seem to be a bit of a stigma and fear of stand-up training amongst a lot of rank-and-file BJJ practitioners. Perhaps mistakenly so, it would seem that BJJers ascribe a higher injury rate to judo than to BJJ. Anyone else have a similar experience?
  16. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Ha! Yeah, right here mate. My BJJ is limited to about a half dozen no-gi sessions but I did judo pretty consistently for much of last year. Stopped because my back and hips felt wrecked after every session and I had a full-contact karate fight coming up. Haven't gone back despite that fight getting cancelled because I like the feeling of having an intact spine. I trained primarily at two places: a judo class held in a BJJ/MMA gym and a traditional judo club (same coach at both venues). I found my soreness was greater at the first place simply because there were more people who didn't know how to throw properly. I was surprised how many BJJ players couldn't breakfall either. Plus the BJJers liked using dirty tricks like cross-face and grinding my nose with their elbow :( Gawd, sounds like I really hate BJJ doesn't it? :p Definitely got respect for BJJ (mostly because my wife chokes the crap out of me all the time at home) but I think there's a visible difference between a pure BJJer and one who has trained in judo too. Jimmy Pedro's DVD set is worth a gander for BJJ players who want to get better at grip fighting btw.
  17. Omicron

    Omicron is around.

    Sounds like a dirty school...I don't think most BJJ schools train like that.

    As for mixes of judo and BJJ, I've always liked Dave Camarillo:

    [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHHS2k10q-s"]BJJ, Judo Wrestling Demo: Black Belt 3rd Degree Ceremony - YouTube[/ame]
  18. Oldi

    Oldi Valued Member

    One thing I find interesting is the relationship between childhood sports and adult sports. Judo is still found in every town leisure centre all over the UK, costing £3 a session. It is still (I would dare to guess) one of the first if not the first style parents would think of if they decide to enrol their children in a martial art. By contrast BJJ is still comparatively expensive, nowhere near so widespread and can't compare in uptake from parents. Of course all this comes with the caveat "yet".

    None of this however seems to translate to a lifelong engagement with the sport. Speaking purely from my own experiences I know plenty of people who started in striking arts (TKD and karate especially) who are still training, in those styles or similar, and equally plenty who did judo as a child and now don't train. Of course this isn't a trend limited to judo by any stretch, I've always thought in the UK there isn't enough emphasis on keeping adults in sport, something you'd think is pretty important given the impact of sedentary lifestyles on the healthcare system. It just interests me that it is so popular among children yet is apparently in decline overall.
  19. Gripfighter

    Gripfighter Sub Seeker

    One of the reasons I left Judo was there just didn't seem to be any regular oppertunity to compete after the age of 17 for recreational players.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
  20. Oldi

    Oldi Valued Member

    That's very interesting, and kind of unsurprising. I found that the Olympic sports are very well funded and supported until you hit 18, at which point if you're not elite you're basically forgotten. It happened to me with swimming, the only sport in which I've ever really approached high performance. "Masters" swimming events don't kick in until you're 25 so from 18 to 25 unless you're elite there is nothing for you. It's a travesty really, what's they point in embedding healthy living in our children if we're not going to support it into adulthood?

    Sorry, this is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine.

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