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What Is a BJJ Tournament?
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What Is a BJJ Tournament?

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become an internationally recognised Martial Art, and throughout the evolution of its technical systems the rise of international competitions have become extremely popular. The IBJJF, which stands for the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation, is the largest grappling organisation that hosts some of the biggest tournaments worldwide. There are 4 major tournaments in the IBJJF known as the Grand Slams of BJJ, they are the Brazilian Nationals, the European Championship, the pan am brazilian jiu jitsu championships, and the the World Championships. The federation was formed in 2002 by the current president Carlson Gracie Jr. There are other smaller federations that are in each country, for example the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation of the Philippines (BJJFP) or the United States Jiu Jitsu Federation (USJJF) these federations are branches of the IBJJF organisation. The IBJJF rule set is one of the safest for competitive BJJ, as even youth jiu jitsu tournaments are highly recommended.

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The other big organisations in competitive BJJ is through the rise of the sport in the United Arab Emirates. The UAEJJF and the ADCC are two distinctively different organisations. The UAEJJF is the federation in charge of the Abu Dhabi World Pro, which has seen some of the world's best athletes compete. The ADCC has fast become the most famous event worldwide, as it hosts some of the world's best no gi jiu jitsu fighters like Gordon Ryan, Andre Galvao, Craig Jones, Felipe Pena, and Nicholas Meregali. The ADCC stands for the Abu Dhabi Combat Club, and is strictly a No Gi tournament with a specific rule set designed for an exciting competition. The ADCC was founded by the Sheik Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has a passion for BJJ, and has gone as far as adding the Martial Art into the school curriculum throughout his country.

The greatest submission grappler in history Gordon Ryan has put together the recipe to help you get through your opponent's guard much easier using his BODY LOCK principles.  Click here to get it from BJJFanatics.com.

how do bjj tournaments work

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WHAT TO WEAR IN A BJJ COMPETITION  

The first aspect that students need to consider before competing, is whether they are competing in the Gi or No Gi division. The main difference between Gi and No Gi BJJ is the clothing aspect. The Gi refers to the traditional BJJ uniform, as it includes a heavy cotton jacket, reinforced drawstring pants, and a colored belt that signifies a student's rank. Under IBJJF rules the Gi that a student competes in has to be one of three colours: black, white or blue. As a student goes to weigh in,  the officials will check the Gi to make sure the pants, and sleeves end 5 centimetres from their ankles, and their wrists. Unfortunately if the Gi is not to their liking then the student may be unable to compete, or will need to borrow a Gi, or buy one from one of their stalls. Males are prohibited from wearing their rash guard underneath the Gi, however females are allowed to for obvious reasons. In the No Gi division, both genders wear skin tight shirts called rashguards, with either short or long sleeves. Men must wear fight short shorts, whereas women have the option to wear fight shorts, leggings or compression pants. All clothing cannot have extras such as: buttons, pockets or zippers, or anything made of metal or plastic that can cause injury. Athletes cannot wear any groin protective gear, or any bulky strapping for their injuries, as this can cause an unfair advantage. The colour of a student's No Gi gear must consist of 10 percent of the colour of their belt, or plain white, or black. In some competitions, student's cannot have patches or logos on certain parts of their No Gi and Gi uniforms.

RULESETS FOR COMPETITION  

Not all competition rulesets are the same, as different organisations have a different bjj comp system. There are always slight variations to the rules of a competition, and it highly depends on who is running the competition. The IBJJF uses a different set of guidelines, compared to the ADCC, there is also another different set of rules for competitions like the Eddie Bravo Invitational, or a team event like subversiv bjj. As for the techniques allowed, there are a few variables to look at. Some techniques that are allowed in No Gi, may not be legal in the Gi. A big contributor to these rules is the colour of a student's belt, and their age. Certain submissions are too dangerous for kids, or inexperienced adults, and these kinds of rules are there to protect athletes from sustaining or causing significant injury. 

There are illegal moves that are outlined for all kids divisions, and they do slightly change from the ages of 4 -12 up to 13 - 15. Once a child turns 16 they compete and grade as an adult, and this means they will have a different range of legal, or illegal moves. As an adult progresses from a white belt to a blue belt they will start to see changes in the rulesets like jumping guard, and arm out guillotines. As they go through the belt ranking process, and move up to purple, brown, and then black the rules will change again. In the higher belt ranks students will be able to use more maneuvers like heel hooks, calf slicers, bicep slicers, knee bars, and toeholds. The rules are significantly different from Gi to No Gi, as any division wearing a GI is unable to perform dangerous leg locks, and this is purely for the safety of the competitor.

Before a student is allowed to get on the mats, they must weigh in for their division. This is compulsory for a student before they compete, and all students must be on weight or they face a disqualification. Most competition organisers will give a student an extra 0.5 kilograms if they don't make weight, but ultimately if they are over this weight they will lose their right to compete. A competition is to be treated just like at training, and competitors must wear footwear off of the mats, and this is to stop all those nasty germs, which can cause ringworm, or a staph infection. Another rule that students must adhere to is their own personal hygiene, and this includes keeping their fingers and toenails trimmed, and filed. This rule is in place so that competitors don't scratch or cut their opponents, or damage the mats. There is an unspoken rule which is basically common courtesy and that is to wear deodorant, as some students may have body odors that are offensive, and need to be rectified. It is also extremely important that students keep their uniforms cleaned before they compete including belts, as this is another way that infections can spread.

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THE POINTS SYSTEM

Different competitions have different point systems attached, but when we are talking about IBJJF competition it is pretty clear. All positions that score points must be held for at least 3 seconds each. Two points are awarded for takedowns and sweeps; if a student takes an opponent down but they scramble to their feet straight away the points will not be awarded. If a student takes someone down but they reverse it and end up on top, they will get the two points. Three points are awarded for the knee on belly position, but if their other knee is on the floor they will not receive the points. Passing the guard, and controlling side control will also earn a student three points, as this can be one of the main ways to score points in a competitive match. Four points are awarded for the mount and back mount, but both hooks must be in for back control to receive the four points. 

There are also advantage points awarded, and these are handed out so that if a flight ends and both competitors are even on the scoreboard a winner can be determined. Advantages are given out when a competitor tries to submit their appointment, and their opponent defends the submission. Another example of how to earn an advantage point is when a competitor takes down their opponent but they land out of bounds, in this instance an advantage point is awarded. In contrast there are disadvantage points which are basically penalty points, which will be given to a competitor for stalling. The most common causes of stalling is when a competitor does not engage an opponent, or if they are sitting in a control position and not making any clear indications to advance their position. Once a few penalty points are given out this can lead to their opponent gaining points, and even end in disqualification. No matter the amount of points a competitor has, if they are submitted they lose. A submission doesn't just consist of tapping physically, but also verbally, if a competitor yells stop, or yells in pain, then the referee will stop the match, as it counts as a tap.

REGISTERING FOR A COMPETITION 

Like any sport in the world, they want to make it fair, they do this by having weight, age and belt categories. When registering for a competition a student can use an app called smoothcomp, and this platform is extremely easy to use. After a student has entered their basic details like their name, the gym they train out of, their belt rank, and their affiliation, their account will be finalised. Registering for a competition is as easy as finding the event, and simply clicking on the link. Students will then have to decide what weight, age, and division they want to compete in. There are also options if no opponents enter, or pull out of the division, as this usually consists of getting a refund, or being awarded a medal without rolling. The other option is to tick a box which lets the organisers bump the student up into the next weight category. Normally a day before the competition starts, students will be able to see who their opponents are, the mat number a student will be rolling on, and the times of their matches. The process of actually getting on the mats and competing can be confusing, as there can be between 6 -10 matches on the mats at one time, depending on the competition. It is important to check on smooth comp regularly throughout the day, as the mat number and the time can change periodically, but due to the great system of smooth comp, the app will update immediately.

The greatest submission grappler in history Gordon Ryan has put together the recipe to help you get through your opponent's guard much easier using his BODY LOCK principles.  Click here to get it from BJJFanatics.com.

how the bjj tournaments work

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COMPETING ON THE MATS 

As the time gets closer to a competitor's match, they should be warming up in whatever way they find adequate. Some students will need an extensive warm up in order to compete well, while others need to warm up without getting too tired. Competitors will then go weigh in, as the organisers will check all of the clothing, and make sure it matches the standards of their guidelines. They will then instruct the student on which mat to sit at, and there the student will wait for their name to be called out. If the students are competing in the Gi, then the referee will make one of the competitors wear a green and yellow coloured belt, which is an easy way for the referee to determine who gets the points. In the No Gi division, instead of a belt the referee will make one of the competitors wear a green sweatband on their ankle. The next step is to proceed to the edge of the mat, bow in, shake the referee's hand, shake their opponents hand, and the match will start. There is one referee per mat, with two people sitting at the scorers table, as they have control of the timer and the scoreboard. Depending on the competition, it could be a round robin event where a competitor will roll with multiple people, regardless of whether they win or lose. Other competitions, or absolute divisions will almost always be an elimination based competition. As the competitor wins medals, they will also receive points towards their team's overall tally. Gold is obviously worth the most points, with silver a smaller amount, and bronze an even smaller amount. After the comp is finished the points are accumulated, and are added to the overall points tally that the rest of their team members receive. At the end of the competition the team that has the most points will win the teams trophy. There are different trophies for different divisions like the kids division, the women's division, the adult male division, and the overall division. Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions is a great way to battle test a student's skill set, and this is completely safe for all members of a BJJ academy, including children.

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