BJJ vs Kosen Judo

This is not a x vs y thread. We all know that kosen Judo was the art that Helio Learned (newaza).

I only want to discuss whats the main difference between this two arts that makes them SO different when they use the SAME techniques in 90%.

We have read from other guys here that practise Bjj that when they have rolled in a newaza school, they were fighting with people with a "poor" mat level compared in a Bjj training.

What makes the difference between Bjj and Kosen when se use the SAME techniques?

Not much of a difference, but you would have to go to a real Kosen Judo school in Japan. Where they practice what we call the "old-style" judo with leg locks, neck cranks, etc.,.  What you will see is the form of Judo that was brought to Brazil that spearheaded the WHOLE BJJ movement.  These guys are hard to find.

When practicing at Lloyd's a couple of years ago, there was an american dude who spent some time in Japan and he came in with a Kosen Judo background.

He was immediately promoted to blue belt, but could've easily been an average purple.  Why blue? Well, the same reason when a black belt in judo or an NCAA wrestler comes to BJJ practice and isn't handed a high ranking belt. BJJ is BJJ and there are certain things that you need to be proficient at before you progress.  This particular individual just needed to tighten up on a couple of things. 

I've been to Japan and trained with some great newaza dudes. They're not bad.


cool post rhadi thanks for sharing

My guess, and this is only from working with a variety of Judoka, is this:

BJJ operates off of a different groundfighting mentality.

The motto of "position before submission" is not the same....because a "position" (the way we think of it in BJJ) is a finish in Judo (25 second pin wins the = mount, side mount, scarf hold, etc).

This seems to be the primary difference that I have experienced.


Thanks for your support here in the forum. I am proud for being answered by you :-).

Anyway, you are talking about some very good "old school" judo guys (i think you are talking about black belts in newaza (kosen)) that when they started in a Bjj school, they were promoted to blue or purple level. Whats the reason that if they have learned the same techniques in kosen, its not enough for Bjj? is what i am talking about. Is like a mistery :-)

I am trying to find what did Helio when he says that he evolved the art of Kosen. Is a mistery. He has never talked about it.


But what i am talking about is Kosen Judo (the "old school" that rhadi talked about) and not the actual Judo that use pins for finishing. I think.

Rhadi, do you know where any of those old Kosen schools are located in Japan?

Raspado has the same question as mine: do you know where they are located/how to possibly arrange training there?

Hey Guys

Its funning that this thread has come up, because I have done a lot of research on this and have found 7 DVDs you can purchase and a book by Kosen Judo black belts. I purchased them and I am starting a Kosen judo program at my school.

There are 7 universities in Japan that still teach Kosen judo. They have some great history, I E. Masahiko Kimura. I have also found a school in Utah and he has there curriculum and belting requirements on his web page

What you will discover is that many of the techniques that the Brazilians package and sold as there own where already being done by these guys, hence the old saying nothing new under the sun.

Also a Kosen black belt is about the level of a purple belt in bjj. It takes about 5 years to get it, give or take. They consider the degrees of your black belt as a true testimony of your skill level. Much more reasonable then the 10 years in bjj along with all the $100.00 To $150.00 seminars ( with the same techniques shown over and over) that you have to keep going to if you don?t have a black belt in your area.

Anyway I could go on but I would suggest that you do a search on the internet and you can find out all you want to know. You might want to draw some conclusions for your self about the whole thing. For me, it has shed some light on a lot a things.

Hope this helps.


Even in old school Judo "pins" are considered finishes.

You have to consider this in regards to "pins" in Judo, they are much stronger (because of the emphasis on them in Judo itself) in Judo than in Bjj.

I have a book on Judo ground fightingwrittenby E.J Harrison. This book was actually an english translation of a Japan Judo book which focus on groundfighting. The author of this Japanese book was a guy named Oda. Oda, supposedly was the top authority on groundfighting in Japan. The original Japanese book was published in 1908 and the english version was published in 1950. So Oda was likely a contemporary of guys like Maeda.

Anyway along with alot of techniques that appear in modern Bjj the book has section devoted just to "pins" or Osaekomi in Japanese. It seems clear that Judo, even of that era, really believed skill in the area of "pins" or "Osaekomi" is important. Judo literally has many variations and applications of "pins".

Crushing and constant pressure can end a fight which probably why pins are valued in Judo past and present

Faust can you post the school's site and where to get the dvd's

If this is the Utah school you are talking about, this look like a Fuc*&&%^ joke!  Nice Country music in the backgroud!



You can get the DVDs at and Mike swains website has 2 good series.

What I liked about the the school was his curriculum and belting requirements on his web page.

And some people like country music, hehe.

Yeah, but it looks like he basically went to a couple of seminars and then invented his own style.  Kosen Jiu-jitsu?  No such thing.

I think Mitsuyo Maeda was a pre-war Judoka. Kosen Judo was a style that certain universities practiced. They weren't as strong so they emphasized ground skills. This allowed them to do well. Kano allegedly was pressured or thought about abolishing the emphasis of quickly hitting the ground the get the opponent into your "game." Kano left Kosen Judo alone because he realized they kept newaza strong for Judo.

Kimura was on a Kosen Judo tape but he competed in Judo competition and like most Judokas, wanted to win in those championship which was won by throwing not groundwork.

I have seen a Kosen Judo tournament and sometimes these college guys wouldn't even turtle. They would lie perfectly straight and flat on the ground. The guy on top would desperately try to turn him over. I saw on triangle attempt but I think BJJ is definitely much more fluid and "sophisticated" than Kosen Judo from what I saw.

Unfortunately, BJJ has become fashionable and it's a good thing for BJJ and there's the bad side as well. I hope it doesn't get turned into kata Karate that I see on tv. lol


At the risk of a FRAT!

Kosen Instructionals on You tube:

Kosen Judo on Wiki:

Some good Kosen related articles:

The 7 Universities:

Osaka Univ. Judo Club -

Hokkaido Univ. Judo Club -

Tohoku Univ. Judo Club -

Tokyo Univ. Judo Club -

Nagoya Univ. Judo Club -

Kyoto Univ. Judo Club -

Kyushu Univ. Judo Club -

Thanks JSho! I think we need more of the bjj/judo cross training guys here!

Maeda left Japan in 1904. The first Kosen school was established in 1914. Why does everyone still say Maeda taught Kosen Judo? They all came from the Kodokan but Maeda did not have anything to do with the Kosen clubs that started in the school systems.

This match actually happened, Jean Jacque Machado Vs. Yuki Nakai. Nakai was a Kosen Judo student. You can see the match on JJM's documentary. JJM won by triangle or triangle armlock...I can't remember.

Klif is correct Maeda predates Kosen Judo so in reality the Gracies didn't learn Kosen Judo from Maeda.