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ILLEGAL MOVES IN BJJ
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ILLEGAL MOVES IN BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a comprehensive system of grappling that has achieved worldwide notoriety, through a multitude of different platforms. The evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has seen the significant rise of different Martial Arts contests like the UFC, One Championship, and Bellator in Mixed Martial Arts, Combat Jiu Jitsu, the IBJJF Worlds, and many No Gi tournaments like the ADDC, Who's Number One, and Fight 2 Win. Many of these contests have seen a multitude of highly exceptional submission moves, pulled off by extremely talented athletes. BJJ is an intricate Martial Art that incorporates fundamental movements like positional control, highly strategic transitional movements, and an extremely advanced series of submission maneuvers.

What This Article Covers:

The art of grappling is a highly functional form of hand-to-hand combat, and prospective students can often wonder if Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is safe. Although the art can seem dangerous with many of its highly complex movements, BJJ is one of the safest Martial Arts to train across the globe. New students need to stick to the basics foundations, if they go down the rabbit hole and practice the more advanced maneuvers, this can be detrimental to their foundation in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Many moves are really only practiced at the higher levels, as some of these maneuvers are only legal at the black belt level, with some of those moves deemed illegal to all ranks and divisions. 

Dean Lister is a true OG of submission grappling. He has played a crucial role in the history of leg attacks in modern day BJJ. With BJJFanatics.com's help, you can learn directly from this master of these tricky submissions.

bjj illegal moves

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WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF USING ILLEGAL MOVES 

Practicing dangerous maneuvers can result in serious injury to both a practitioner and their training partners, not to mention the liability nightmare this can pose for an instructor or the owner of a BJJ academy. It can become quite common for newer students to feel the need to try and impress their coaches by learning more advanced movements. This has become apparent with how the game has turned into a leg locking epidemic, students will ask questions like are heel hooks legal in BJJ, as the answer they usually get is, just focus on the basics. Training in heel hooks at such a young age in terms of belt rank can be a mistake, as there are significant dangers attached. Students can be too aggressive in hunting the tap, which can cause them long-term injury, their training partners can also be too stubborn, and not tap quick enough, which will also cause long-term injury. Submissions like the heel hook can come on really quickly, as there is a fine line between pain and injury, making it extremely difficult to judge when to tap. Students at the beginning of their journey will usually not know their limitations, as this can be a considerably dangerous factor.

Many other dangerous maneuvers can be very harmful to a practitioner, or their training partners. Practitioners need to exercise caution when they are training in such an extensively dynamic, and high-impact sport. Following trends on Instagram won't help a practitioner become highly skilled in BJJ, it is all about building a strong fundamental core. Training in illegal, or frowned upon moves, won't help the practitioner progress through the belt levels, instead, it will leave gaping holes in their game, which can become extensively hard to repair, as once habits are formed they become exceedingly hard to break. The danger of practicing illegal moves means that a practitioner can take the wrong path with their training, which can lead to a poorly structured game plan. Students need to follow the basics and build their games from the ground up, as this is the only true way to find their own identity in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

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HOW MANY ILLEGAL MOVES ARE THERE IN BJJ

There are quite a few moves that are deemed illegal in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Some of these moves are just too dangerous to execute, while others are only illegal for certain belt levels, or in certain competitions. The nature of each submission is different, and different organizations and different instructors have their own ideology behind what they deem acceptable to learn and practice. It is important to make sure that all practitioners are following the guidelines of their academies, and their instructors. This is also apparent when they are competing at competitions because if a student doesn't follow the rule sets, this will ultimately lead to disqualification from the event they are participating in.

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ILLEGAL AT ALL LEVELS

BJJ is purely a grappling-based Martial Art, so that means striking in BJJ is clearly illegal. This means that no punches, kicks, slaps, pinches, eye gouges, headbutts, or any other striking-related techniques are allowed. The only exception to this rule is in the new Brazilian Jiu Jitsu combat league, called the Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds, which was developed by Eddie Bravo. This exciting new competition allows competitors to execute open palm strikes on each other while their fight is grounded. Practitioners will also ask can you slam in BJJ, as slamming your opponent is illegal in all levels of BJJ, however, it is allowed in a competition like MMA. Slamming your opponent in BJJ will result in immediate disqualification, this includes moves like the suplex, as these maneuvers are extremely dangerous. Finger manipulation is an illegal move as practitioners cannot grab, hold, or bend the fingers individually at any stage in the fight.

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ILLEGAL AT THE IBJJF LEVEL

The IBJJF stands for the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation and is the major governing body of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu across the world. This organization has set the standard across the board for the rule sets involved in guiding general BJJ competition. They have a stringent set of rules in place to help keep their athletes safe from any long-term, or serious injuries. When the practitioner is competing in a Gi division they are not allowed to execute heel hooks, this is because of the dangers involved. They are also not allowed to reap the knee, which is bringing their leg from outside their opponent, to the inside of their opponent's leg, which is considered dangerous to their opponent. Also executing toeholds with outward pressure is forbidden, and so is any type of spinal crank without choking the opponent, which is all illegal. Students may ask if neck cranks are legal in BJJ and just like other spinal cranks neck cranks are completely illegal, unless the rules specifically allow them.

Competing in the No Gi division has more leniency compared to the Gi division. In this division, practitioners at the brown and black belt levels are allowed to execute heel hooks, but knee reaping is still off the table due to its dangerous nature. Spinal cranks are also still illegal, and so is the scissor leg takedown, which is a jumping attack in which an opponent can hyperextend their knee. Blue and purple belts have even more rules attached, as they are not allowed to execute heel hooks, toeholds, kneebars, calf slicers, or bicep slicers, meaning practitioners need to be at the higher levels in BJJ, to be able to access a wider range of prolific submission maneuvers. White belts also have extra rules in place to protect themselves from injury or inflicting injury upon their opponents. White belts are not allowed to jump guard at any stage of their matches, and they are also not allowed to attempt wrist locks of any kind. The clumsy nature of a beginner at the white belt level is the reason why many of these maneuvers are not allowed to be executed.

OTHER ORGANISATIONS 

Organisations like Grappling Industries abide by different laws, and rules of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Their competitions have been made to help many students access a wider variety of submission maneuvers, giving them more significant experience at the youngest stage in their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu journey. In the Gi division heel hooks, and reaping the knee, are still illegal, but in the No Gi division, brown and black belts are allowed to do it all. The only real illegal move for these higher belts is slamming their opponent. In the No Gi division in Grappling Industries, students can elect to enter the advanced division, which will mean they can fight higher ranks like brown and black belts. This will give practitioners access to this higher ruleset, giving younger belts a significant experience at the highest stages of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Competitors at the blue to purple belt levels are not allowed to execute moves like the twister, neck cranks, heel hooks, or the scissor leg takedown. This ruleset may seem dangerous to some, as watching blue to purple belts utilise moves that are only allowed by brown and black belts can seem reckless. Nowadays in this new age of modern grappling, students at the younger level of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are showing more and more signs of higher capabilities in these areas.

FUNDAMENTAL BJJ

Understanding the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most important aspects of becoming a seasoned, and talented Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete. Too often these days young athletes are putting too much emphasis on a higher level, or dangerous maneuvers. Practicing a Berimbolo to back take, or an intricate 50/50 guard-to-leg lock entanglement system, or a range of other dangerous and illegal moves, can often lead to a practitioner leaving large holes in their own BJJ game. Just because international stars like Gordon Ryan, Craig Jones, Mikey Musumeci, and Andre Galvao, can pull off high calibre, and exciting submissions, doesn't mean they didn't start with a strong core of fundamental skills. Practitioners will get carried away with learning stuff that is above their pay grade, so to speak, as every student needs to master the foundations of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

It is the fundamentals of BJJ but gives a practitioner a solid base, and a platform to explore new pathways in their game styles. If a practitioner puts a significant amount of time into the foundations, then they will have a brand of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that will hold up at the highest level. The importance of understanding the little things like when to secure an underhook, or how deep to secure it, as well as other aspects like knowing when and how to frame, or how far to change the angle of your hips, as all of these components are vitally important in executing the right recipe of Jiu Jitsu. That's why it is very important to spend your first few years mastering the basics. After this point is where students can begin to explore higher-level maneuvers, in order to bolster their arsenal of submission attacks.

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SHOULD EVERYONE TRAIN IN BJJ

Training in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most complexes, and challenging Martial Arts there is to learn. This Martial Art has its hurdles, but can still be one of the most enjoyable, and most fulfilling combat-based sports on the planet. Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can give practitioners an extraordinary sense of confidence when they are out in the world, and in need of defending themselves in real-life conflict situations.

Dean Lister as a true OG of submission grappling has played a crucial role in the history of leg attacks in modern days of BJJ. We at BJJFanatics.com help you to learn directly from this master all about these tricky submissions.

illegal bjj moves

People from all age groups, ranging from children, to middle-aged, and even older people, can all benefit from what BJJ has to offer. This includes women for self-defense purposes, and even military, and law enforcement agencies, as some of these new systems that are taught have been created by some of the world's most talented BJJ athletes. Anyone can train in BJJ, from the seasoned athlete with aspirations of becoming a world champion, all the way to the average person just looking for fitness, fun, and a bit of camaraderie. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a fun and amazing sport, where instructors and members of the community will embrace all people from all walks of life. This includes people that suffer from different types of mental illness, as a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy will always embrace members of their community, and are committed to helping them overcome the many obstacles they will face in their lives.

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