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BJJ AGE DIVISIONS
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BJJ AGE DIVISIONS

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a dynamic Martial Art that involves transitional movements, positional control, high impact takedown maneuvers, and highly advanced submission techniques like chokeholds, and joint locks. The art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has come a long way since the beginning of its creation back in the early twentieth century. This Martial Art began as a self defense system, and evolved into Vale Tudo, which was an early form of Mixed Martial arts where athletes like Helio Gracie, Rickson Gracie, and Renzo Gracie dominated the Brazilian landscape. As the art continued to grow many of the bjj systems were altered to meet newer regulations of the competition standard. 

What this artcile covers:

Nowadays Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition is highly recognised around the world, and televised for many fans to tune into across many streaming services. The rise of international grappling has seen many world class athletes take the centre stage, and showcase all of their innovative skills within the Martial Art. There are different divisions inside of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition, which start from the kids divisions ranging through to the adult divisions, before moving into masters, and seniors divisions for older athletes. As an athlete gets older it becomes significantly harder to win the adult bjj weight divisions at the world championships, as these athletes are still in the prime of their life, compared to the slower, and less agile athletes. This has brought about a change in many competitions, as specialised tournaments like the Masters World Championships are available to older athletes.

Lifelong martial artist and father of one of the most successful American grapplers in history, Rafael Lovato Sr. is here to share his secrets to the pressure passing game he's honed for over 30 years.  Check it out at BJJFanatics.com!

age divisions of bjj

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PREPARING FOR BJJ COMPETITION 

Preparing for a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition has two major aspects, the physical preparation, and the mental preparation. The physical involves a tremendous amount of hard work, and dedication to an athlete's training. Athletes must work on their technical skills through constant repetition inside of their academies. Practising technique is only scratching the surface, and they must also work out how to train at high intensity, so they can simulate the competition level. Rolling against many of their training partner's is a good way to continue their growth, but to train for competition level they need to up the ante. Athletes can utilise a bjj gauntlet, which is where one student will roll against several other members of their academy in two or three minute intervals, without any break. As the student begins to tire, fresh opponents will come in to push the pace, and pressure the competitive athlete. This type of training is great for fitness, and recovery, and will ultimately simulate a competitive level match.

Along with all of their competitive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, athletes must also add strength and conditioning, cardio based workouts, stretching for flexibility, and mobility exercise to their training regimes. Especially when a student is competing at the world class level, as many of these competitors have exceptional strength and conditioning. Students will need to balance their weight training with their cardio workouts, so they can maximise their efficiency on the BJJ mat. All athletes should be doing flexibility stretching before, and after training, as well as mobility exercises to help broaden their range of movement, and help to prevent injuries. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly strenuous grappling art, where injuries can occur quite frequently. This is why mobility exercise is extremely crucial, so that the athlete can still have a greater range of motion without inflicting damage. The hardest part for the athlete is balancing all of these acts together, because ultimately they also need recovery periods, so they can best prepare for competition. Athletes need to know what to eat before jiu jitsu so that their calorie intake is sufficient, and their energy levels are at their optimum peak.

Mental preparation is crucial for an athlete competing at the highest levels in BJJ. It is easy to overtrain, which can lead to stressful situations, and significant injuries to the athlete. Becoming a successful competitor is all about balance, and recovery, as an athlete needs to know when to rest physically, and when their mind needs a break from training. Mental preparation can be about identifying their opponents weaknesses, and developing a stronger game plan in order to best prepare for their upcoming battle. Preparation for a competition isn't always about training, as often a student needs recovery periods. This does not necessarily mean physical rest, but a mental rest. It is important for athletes to take some time away to help balance out their training, and their personal life. Going to the beach for a swim, relaxing on the couch with family, or engaging in some of an athlete's hobbies are all great ways to help relax their mind, so that they are not overstimulated in the lead up to a competition.

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HOW BJJ COMPETITION WORKS

A Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition is a tournament where athletes can battle other athletes in order to become the winner of each division. All tournaments have slight differences in the structure, and the rule set, and it pays for an athlete to research each competition so they know how to best prepare. IBJJF competitions work in an elimination style of tournament, where competitors will be matched up against other competitors in a bracket. Each loser of the match is eliminated, while each winner moves up to the next section of the bracket. This is repeated through the quarter, and semi finals until two competitors are left to contest in the final, until one winner is declared. All competitors must weigh in once before their matches, and if they are wearing the Gi then they are afforded a three kilogram weight advantage. This means they are allowed to weigh three kilograms heavier than the specified weight category that they entered, whilst wearing the Gi. Athletes must show a good bjj etiquette by waiting patiently before their matches, and following all the guidelines set out by the competition organisers.

Competing in IBJJF tournaments means that every individual competitor can win a gold, silver, or bronze medal if they finish in the top three competitors of their division. Each podium finish will also accumulate points that go towards their teams overall points tally. The points are accumulated over the whole event, and added up to see which Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy wins the team trophy. Each competition has a different star rating, which makes the points for each medal worth more, or less. Athletes will start off at local competitions, before moving onto their own countries' State Championships. The next step is the National Championships, before moving into the Pan Pacific, the Pan Asian, or the Pan American Championships. There are also the European Championships, and finally the IBJJF World Championships that are highly sought after by many athletes of the combat sport.

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIVISIONS

There are distinctive differences between all divisions at a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament. The IBJJF runs weight categories that range from children's divisions through to ladies divisions, adults divisions, masters divisions, and seniors divisions. There are many different weight categories that athletes can enter, and each category is separated by roughly eight kilograms. Each division is also separated by rank, and age, meaning there can be a multitude of divisions at every Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition. Any competitor that is over eighteen years of age can compete in the adults division, but be warned this division is usually stacked with athletes in their prime, and athlete's striving to become world class. Athletes over thirty are allowed to enter the masters divisions, which are separated by five year age gaps. Master one is 30 to 35 years, Master two is 36 to 40 years, Master three is 41 to 45 years, Master four is 46 to 50 years. The last two Master categories are also known as the Seniors division, which are 51 to 55 years, and 56 to 60 years of age. 

All divisions are also separated into Gi, and No Gi divisions, competitors are free to choose one, or both divisions in their weight category. There are also open weight divisions in Gi, and No Gi, which are also known as absolute divisions, where there is no weight category. This division is designed to see which practitioner is the best pound for pound BJJ competitor within the tournament. There are jiu jitsu tournament rules that govern all competitive uniforms, and students need to adhere to these guidelines. The IBJJF only allows three specific coloured Gi's, and these are white, black, and royal blue. All Gi uniforms need to be checked to make sure that the lapels are not too thick, and that the sleeves are not too short, this is so it is fair for an opponent when they are trying to grip onto the Gi fabric. In the No Gi format, competitors must wear rash guards that have 10% of their belt colour, with the predominant colour of the rash guard to be white, or black. These rules are in place to make scoring easy for the referees, and so there is a unified look within a tournament arena.

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HOW TO TRAIN AS AN OLDER ATHLETE

Becoming one of the older athletes inside of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy means they must think about longevity in the sport. Injuries always play a part in older students, as their body will break down, as it gets older. This is the reason why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions have adult divisions, and masters divisions, so that the older athletes don't have to compete against an athlete who is faster, younger, and more mobile. The older athletes need to take longer rest periods, and this is because it takes longer to recover from the daily grind of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Some older athletes are still as strong as ever, but have issues with their knees, or other areas where the tendons, and the ligaments meet the joints. This is where doing mobility exercises is extremely important, because this will enable an older athlete to increase their range of motion, which will help them prevent different sorts of injury. A good tip for older athletes is to continue to keep up with their strength and conditioning, as even though they are aging, and it's harder to recover, keeping their bodies strong will help them considerably with their grappling. It is important for these students to roll less frequently, or more lightly, and this doesn't mean they can't roll hard, it just means it has to be less frequent. Knowing your limits is crucial to an older athlete's preservation, and if they take this seriously, and train with a good balance in mind, then they too can train like Helio Gracie well into their 90's.

ARE YOU A BJJ FANATICS INSIDER? IF NOT, YOU’RE MISSING OUT!

Our Insiders Club is by far the fastest way to level up your game. Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

How much is it worth to get private lessons from Benardo Faria, the Ruotolo brothers, Giancarlo Bodoni, Jeff Glover, Neil Melanson, Marcos Tinoco… and the list goes on and on?! Forget it, don’t answer that - because you get all of these guys and more, for just $9.99 a month!

With your subscription you’ll get a Private Lesson (Masterclass), At Home Drills to work on, rolling breakdowns and more. You’ll also get a sneak peek at our upcoming Product Launch and Daily Deal schedules plus access to Daily Deals on BJJ gear and merchandise (up to 80% off). And much much more!

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HOW TO COMPETE SAFELY AS A CHILD COMPETITOR

There are many different age, rank, and weight divisions for children at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions. The children's divisions are extremely stacked, as an abundance of kids across the world are all joining the ranks of BJJ competition. Kids are notorious for being reckless, and this can lead to injuries whilst they are competing. It is important to teach children to be humble, and to tap before they suffer injuries. This also means to learn to let go of submissions before they cause their opponent significant harm. Even though competition is all about winning, the greatest lesson for children's competitors is humility. Children are relatively safe due to the age, rank, and weight divisions that are scheduled by the event organisers. 

Lifelong martial artist and father of one of the most successful American grapplers in history, Rafael Lovato Sr. is here to share his secrets to the pressure passing game he's honed for over 30 years.  Check it out at BJJFanatics.com!

age divisions in bjj

There are no open weight divisions for kids, and this is to protect them from getting injured by a bigger, and stronger competitor. There are certain rules in place for children so they don't get injured, and these are simple rules like certain submissions that are illegal, and certain positions that can't be obtained. All children's divisions are adjudicated by high level referees, and in most cases they are black belt competitors themselves. This means that the kids are governed, and protected by highly professional athletes that know when to stop a fight before a child breaks a bone, or tears a muscle. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition for children is a lot of fun, and instills discipline, humility, and camaraderie into the child, and is all done with the utmost safety of the child in mind. 

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