As long as martial arts have existed, people have argued over which one is best. And if you’re trying to choose between tai chi and jiu jitsu, you might be wondering too. Are the flowing movements of tai chi superior, or the technical grappling of jiu jitsu?

Whether tai chi or jiu-jitsu is better for you depends on your goals. Tai chi is a slow and meditative standing martial art, while jiu-jitsu is more competitive and ground-based. Jiu-jitsu is typically superior for fighting, but tai chi provides numerous health benefits and is more accessible.

This article will dive into how these martial arts work and what they’re best at. That way, you can decide which is best for you when it comes to tai chi vs jiu-jitsu.

What Is Tai Chi?

Tai chi is a traditional Chinese martial art famous for its slow-flowing movements and meditative qualities. While tai chi is useful for self-defense, most practitioners do it more for the various health benefits. In addition to improving balance and strength, research shows that it reduces stress.

As a result, many fitness centers, gyms, and retirement homes hold introductory tai chi classes.

In terms of fighting, tai chi masters can use this martial art to devastating effect. Its stand-up striking techniques are excellent at knocking opponents off balance. 

However, it’s generally not seen as effective against other combat styles (such as MMA and jiu-jitsu). Virtually no MMA fighters incorporate tai chi in the octagon. 

Who Is Tai Chi Best For?

Tai chi is best for those who want a slow-paced, meditative martial art. Its focus on balance and flow makes it relaxing to watch and do. Many tai chi classes resemble a yoga session more than a martial arts lesson. 

It’s a very beginner-friendly and accessible style too. Older folks and those with physical disabilities can still practice many of the techniques.

There are tai chi competitions. And the style is effective in some combat situations. Still, there are better options if your main motivation is to become a superior fighter.

What Is Jiu-Jitsu?

Jiu-jitsu is a family of grappling martial arts that emerged from Japan. The most well-known form is Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), which is rapidly growing into the most popular martial art in the world.

In jiu-jitsu, you bring your opponents to the ground using takedowns. From there, you can focus on restraining someone or incapacitating them through submissions.

Unlike tai chi, jiu-jitsu doesn’t traditionally incorporate any punches or kicks. Furthermore, striking is strictly forbidden in competition. 

Jiu-jitsu isn’t considered a relaxing or tranquil style like tai chi is. However, it is very effective in fighting. In fact, jiu-jitsu (especially BJJ) is one of the most utilized styles in MMA.

Who Is Jiu-Jitsu Best For?

Jiu-jitsu is best for those who want an intensive and competitive martial arts experience. You may also prefer it if you’re more of a wrestler than a striker.

Unlike tai chi, jiu-jitsu competitions (particularly BJJ) are common worldwide. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to test yourself if you so choose.

This style is also an excellent form of self-defense. Not to mention a specialty of many MMA fighters. So if you’re trying to get tougher or build confidence, jiu-jitsu is perfect for you.

How To Choose Between Tai Chi and Jiu-Jitsu

When it comes to tai chi vs jiu-jitsu, choosing the best for you will depend on your intentions. Tai chi offers fantastic health benefits, while jiu-jitsu is more pragmatic for fighting.

To help you decide, we listed some other vital factors to consider below.

Tai chi might be better for you if:

  • You prefer striking to grappling.
  • You like to practice alone (jiu-jitsu mostly requires a partner).
  • You appreciate the forms and aesthetics of martial arts above all else.
  • You want a way to relax or meditate.
  • You prefer a slow-paced workout.

Meanwhile, jiu-jitsu may be preferable if:

  • You like grappling more than striking.
  • You intend to compete often.
  • You want to bolster your MMA skillset.
  • You prefer training with others (tai chi is easier to do alone).
  • You primarily want to learn self-defense or build confidence.

You can’t really go wrong choosing one or the other. So if you’re stuck on the fence, try a few classes of both.

Final Thoughts

Choosing tai chi vs jiu-jitsu is challenging since both can be incredibly beneficial for you. To help you decide, focus on what your purposes for learning them are.

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