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CAN YOU SLAM IN BJJ?
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CAN YOU SLAM IN BJJ?

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become one of the most sought-after Martial Arts in the world. The popularity of this style of combat has hit all corners of the world, as the growth of the combat sport is rising exponentially throughout America. With the international rise of high-quality events like ADCC, Who's Number One, Polaris, and Fight 2 Win, the art of BJJ is becoming a household favourite. Nowadays fight fans are tuning in to too many televised grappling events, as the thrill of watching professional athletes fight for supremacy is becoming more mainstream every day. In the modern game of Jiu Jitsu, new innovations are always on the trend, as competitors will ask are heel hooks legal in BJJ. Most modern forms of Jiu Jitsu allow more advanced submissions like heel hooks, neck cranks, and calf and bicep slicers.

What This Article Covers:

Different organisations will allow different rules set in competitive BJJ, as the available techniques will change depending on the level and the organisation. In nearly all competitive BJJ, slamming an opponent is a banned technique, although most events do allow Judo-style of throws or wrestling takedowns. There are some competitions like the ADCC that do allow practitioners to slam their opponent, as long as they are inside of a fully locked submission. There are significant dangers involved with slamming an opponent, as the risk of injury has high percentage likelihood. 

Ben Askren is one of the most successful wrestlers to transition to the biggest stages of MMA. Check out his series Ultimate Askren to learn more!

can you slam in jiu jitsu

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THE HISTORY OF BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU 

The origin of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu dates back to the early 20th century, as the famous Japanese educator Kano Jigoro developed his art in the late 1800's. Kano would teach many students the way of the warrior, including the famous traveler, and prize fighter Mitsuyo Maeda. Kano sent Mitsuyo around the world to spread his knowledge of Kodokan Judo. Upon arriving in Brazil Mitsuyo began working with a prominent businessman named Gastao Gracie. Mitsuyo was hired to run demonstrations of his Martial Art throughout many theatres in Brazil. As a thank you to Gastao for his employment, Mitsuyo agreed to teach his son Carlos Gracie this intricate grappling Martial Art.

Carlos Gracie spent several years under the tutelage of Mitsuyo Maeda, as he honed in on his craft of Jiu Jitsu principles. Carlos would wonder is jiu jitsu safe enough for his whole family to learn, as he decided to pass on the knowledge to his brothers Oswaldo, Gastao Jr, George and Helio Gracie. As the brothers developed this style of Martial Art, Helio was the one who seemed to struggle with some of the throwing techniques. As a result, Helio made some innovations, and began developing his own system of fighting that incorporated more specific ground fighting techniques. Helio created what would become the cornerstone of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as he connected different elements together to form what we now see as an intricate series of BJJ movements. His art form involved a diverse series of transitional movements, which were pathways toward neutralising an opponent with dominant control positions. Once an opponent was secured, more transitions were executed in order to finish off an opponent in various submissions, like chokeholds, and joint locks.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu became famous in Brazil throughout the mid 1990's, as many of Helio and Carlos' sons began dominating the landscape in Brazil. Athletes like Rickson Gracie, Royce Gracie, Royler Gracie, and Rolls Gracie, all stepped up and began crushing their opponents at a national level. Gracie Jiu Jitsu became the number one combat sport in all of Brazil, as they defeated many opponents including catch wrestlers, professional wrestlers, bodybuilders, and Luta Livre fighters. Gracie Jiu Jitsu became synonymous with self-defense throughout all of South America, as the Gracie clan looked to further develop this complex Martial Art.

THE RISE OF BJJ IN AMERICA 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was threatening to become an extremely popular brand of fighting, as the Gracie clan dominated Brazil with their Martial Art. It wasn't until the early 1990's when Rorion Gracie moved to America and co-founded the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The UFC was a televised event that hosted different combatants from different Martial Arts styles, in a bid to see which style was supreme. Rorion decided to use Royce Gracie to represent the Gracie clan, as he took on the inaugural UFC event. Royce Gracie made short work of all three of his opponents including Boxer Art Jimmerson, Savate fighter Gerard Gordeau, and Shootfighting powerhouse Ken Shamrock. Royce Gracie made a significant impact, as the Gracie clan made a massive statement to the world. As a result, many Americans began learning this comprehensive and deadly form of submission combat.

As Martial Art began to flourish, many students would ask questions like does jiu jitsu teach striking, even though the art was purely a grappling one, many of the Gracie's incorporated striking techniques from their days of competing in Vale Tudo. Soon every Martial Artist that was fighting in MMA, began learning BJJ, as many of the movements from the grappling art became a high priority in MMA fights. Many of the transitional components like sweeping, guard passing, and securing control positions, all began to star in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. BJJ began to dominate striking in the cage due to the lack of experience in grappling, from strikers. This brought about a change in how MMA fighters began to train, as they would go on to incorporate a much more all round style, that included striking, grappling, wrestling, and throwing techniques.

Nowadays there has been a significant rise in competitive BJJ, as events like the ACCC, IBJJF Worlds, Polaris, Fight 2 Win, and Who's Number One is showcasing exceptional BJJ talent on the international level. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become mainstream, as star athletes like Andre Galvao, Gordon Ryan, Roger Gracie, Mikey Musumeci, and Marcus Almeida, have all driven this Martial Art to new exciting heights. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is now the second most popular combat sport in America behind Boxing, with an extremely fast growth rate of 20% per year.

BJJ FOR THE STREETS

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has an extremely strong self-defense application, as the art has now been modified to work in these more modern times. There are no illegal BJJ moves on the street, as assailants will use any means necessary to attack civilians. Learning to use BJJ as a defensive, and attacking weapon in real-life scenarios is extremely important. There are many defensive techniques that practitioners will need to learn before they can be confident to attempt this in real life. The safest bet in a street fight is to run away, avoiding the dangers altogether can be the best course of action. There are situations where running away will not help, as attackers may also be fast, or they may have a civilian cornered. 

BJJ for the streets teaches students how to deal with conflict scenarios, this includes making the right decisions under an extreme amount of pressure. One of the biggest components in real life is that in the heat of the moment all plans go out the window, leaving only a baseline of instinctive and reactional defense. This is why it is extremely important to build a self-defense game, that just happens instinctively. Students will basically learn tactical warfare, as understanding how to identify dangers is a huge help. Students will ask their instructors does jiu jitsu use weapons, as the need to at least understand how to defend them is crucial. Most self-defense systems do practise with weapons, as BJJ will adopt many different real-life scenarios in their training. Understanding the mechanics involved in how to block, and evade weapon attacks, as well as learning how to disarm an opponent becomes a high priority in this defensive form of combat. Quite often a civilian will need to close the distance in order to remain safe from heavy attacks, forcing them to use many different techniques like hip throws, or suplexes, so they can slam their opponent onto the ground. In some cases civilians will be forced to neutralise their opponent, that's why learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is important, due to its expertise in using dominating control positions.

In this modern form of BJJ for the streets, many high-level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts are now modifying systems to incorporate new world problems. In this day and age, law enforcement officers deal with perpetrators on a daily basis. Law enforcement officers must be able to respond to altercations, identify dangers, neutralise opponents, deal with disarming assailants, become masterful at handcuffing perpetrators, and all without using excessive force. Many self-defense systems have been created today to help numerous law enforcement agencies master this craft, so they can do their job properly whilst keeping themself out of danger.

COMPETITIVE IBJJF BJJ

The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation has been running Jiu Jitsu competitions for decades, as many students from beginner to advanced are constantly testing their abilities. The IBJJF have always had a list of rules that the sport is governed by, as this is how safety is maintained within the sport. At this level, executing takedowns are totally legal, so practitioners are always discovering new ways to achieve this goal. BJJ has become a hybrid version which incorporates throws from Judo, and takedowns from Wrestling. Legal takedowns are when a practitioner uses leg sweeps, hips throws, and takedowns with driving momentum. The action of picking an opponent up and slamming them into the mat with any downward driving force is considered a slam, and is illegal. Illegal takedowns include; powerbombs, any form of suplex,  scissor leg takedowns, or any other dangerous throws that drive an opponent down head first. 

ABU DHABI COMBAT CLUB

The Abu Dhabi Combat Club, otherwise known as the ADCC, has become one of the most prestigious events in the world of BJJ. The ADCC is probably only second to the IBJJF Worlds, in terms of notoriety, and ranking. The ADCC has become exceedingly popular over the last decade, as much high profile No Gi athletes are shining on the Abu Dhabi stage. Athletes like Gordon Ryan, Tye Ruotulo, Dean Lister, Keenan Cornelius, and Marcelo Garcia, have taken the sport to higher levels with their considerable development. There is not much that is illegal in the ADCC, as the competition offers a wide variety of legal maneuvers.

If a competitor is in a locked submission, then slamming an opponent is allowed, if the opponent lets go of the submission in mid-air then the practitioner must abort their slam. Other rules include No full nelson, or crucifix neck cranks, and no spiking an opponent onto their heads. Practitioners cannot roll forward if an opponent is on their back, and of course, there is no striking, eye gouging, fish hooking, no pulling hair, or no small joint manipulation. This means that a practitioner cannot hold any less than 4 fingers or less than 5 toes during a match. Rules like this are put in place so athletes can have a fair and injury-free matchup.

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  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

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THE DANGERS OF SLAMMING AN OPPONENT 

There are many dangers in BJJ that can cause significant injuries. Some of the more advanced submissions can come with an element of risk attached, as practitioners can accidentally injure their training partners or their opponents. Many practitioners will wonder why are necks cranks legal in BJJ when slamming an opponent is not. It is fair to say that both maneuvers can cause significant neck trauma, the big difference is that slamming an opponent has a lot more force behind it, and therefore is considered more dangerous. Getting slammed in a fight can cause all kinds of problems like a range of broken bones, dislocations, ligament, and artery damage, it could also cause severe head trauma. Any of these issues could result in concussion, memory loss, bleeding on the brain, paralysation, or even death. The safe bet for a long jeverdy in BJJ is to steer clear of dangerous moves that can cause significant injuries like slamming an opponent. 

STAYING ON THE PATH

It is extremely important for a student to stay on the right track, and master the core foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It can be very tempting to sway away from the basics, and try to attempt much more advanced, or flashey submissions. Learning fundamental Jiu Jitsu is the only way to fill the gaps in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game style.

Ben Askren is one of the most successful wrestlers to transition to the biggest stages of MMA. Check out his series Ultimate Askren to learn more!

are slams allowed in bjj

When a student masters foundational moves, they create a solid backbone for their game. This will give a student a much stronger launchpad to explore more advanced maneuvers. It is easy to go down a rabbit hole and focus on too many moves at once, but the best recipe is to master one move at a time, as the practitioner will slowly add layers to their game. Staying on this much smarter pathway will help a practitioner transition better, as they develop through the belt ranking system. 

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