Pinning: BJJ compared to Judo

I have also posted this on the BJJ forum, but since I think some of you don't visit that forum, I have also decided to post my question here.

Is there a difference in the way "pins" (any of the variety of chest on chest hold down such as side control, north-south, some versions of the mount, etc.) are performed in BJJ that are different than Judo?

I understand that in Judo a pin is often times seen as an end, since one can win by pin/hold-down in Judo, wheras in BJJ it is seen as an important "means" to an end (the submission), so my question is not necessarily about which practitioner's arts are able to exert the most pressure of have the greatest a bility to keep a person down in a pin (a chest on chest type pin is what I am referring to). But my question is about as to whether or not they use different types of grips, have different theories about hip placement, or where to exert pressure, etc.

Anyone who has dabbled in, or grappled with practitioners of, both arts, please provide some insight.

One thing that stands out when comparing the pins utilised by BJJers vs. Judoka is the use of side-sitout or kesa/kata-gatame.

Because one cannot 'win' in BJJ via a prolonged pin, such holds don't really hold the same value as they do in judo. I know for one, as much as I love the hold, during a BJJ match, it often causes more problems than its worth because over the course of a few minutes the opponent can wiggle their head out and basically get access of your back (a big no-no in BJJ).

Also BJJ rules are pretty liberal about hand placement on the face etc - it isn't considered 'bad form' to push someones face to escape such moves.

Typically BJJ practioners will secure a yoko type hold before seeking a kesa/kata... this significantly changes the dynamics/flow of the game. While a Judoka with good newaza skills probably wouldn't embarase themselves in a BJJ competitition as a white belt (novice) the different rule sets and feel of the game a blue+ would probably put the Judoka at a real disadvantage.

When BJJers are playing Judo however, once (an if) they've dealt with the standup portion of the game, their newaza would be considered (typically) very strong. Not everything one learns in BJJ is applicable to Judo newaza, but a lot is.


  • bjj utilizes the knee on stomach position and I have yet to see a judoka try to pin me with that.

-a good judoka can make the head and arm pin (a big no-no in bjj) work by applying it when you are very tired, being very based and being sensitive to bjj counters.

-Judoka pin with the expectation that the judo player will work to get out much more explosively and typically to try to get to their knees and eventually turtle.

-bjj pins with the expectation that uki will try to apply 1/2 then full guard (as opposed to bridging to turtle)

  • a judo pin can tap you if you are tired because the commitment is soley to keep you pinned.

-a bjj pin can be very tight but it tends to be more flowing from position to position and a bjj player will even allow tiny "escapes" so as to prepare to finish by submission.

That's a few random thoughts from someone doing both...


"knee on stomach" is used in judo, actually it is used a lot by the guys i train with... its a very old turnover and ppin in judo, though the pin (Uke Gatame) doenst actually count as a pin in competition it is used as a transition like in bjj-- though often to a different pin.

its just rules. in judo the pin has a higher % of scoring than do submissions. you can hold a pin for 10 seconds and get a koka which might win a match whereas a sub attempt will be stopped if not successful in 10 seconds. we play to win, getting the score is a vital part of that.

My experience with the judoka I train is that they don't use it. It's pretty foreign to them. But they do some effective pins that I haven't seen. Might be a club difference.

might be a club difference and it is also a matter that some techniques are just not very popular and if they dont end is a specific finish they arent taught.

Also knee on stomach scores 2 points in a BJJ competition whereas, as JR said, it's not valid for scoring in judo. These judo/bjj style comparisons usually come back to the same thing: 
different rules = different strategies & tactics. 

I started using knee on stomach years ago, before I ever heard of BJJ. My first Judo coach had a wallboard of old Judo pictures and Uki GAtame was on it, both knee on stomach and not.

It does work well as a transition.

Ben R.