April 9, 2020

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IBJJF Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competition Rules For Dummies




IBJJF Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competition Rules For Dummies


The IBJJF rulebook is extensive, thorough and lengthy. It can be quite tedious to mull over when you are starting to compete as a white belt. This article is intended to simplify the most pertinent rules into an easy to digest format.






If there is no submission and the score is a tie the referee will choose the winner. There will never be a draw. Bouts will be decided by: 1-SUBMISSION, 2-DISQUALIFICATION, 3-UNCONSCIOUSNESS, 4-POINTS, 5-ADVANTAGES.




Submission occurs when a technique forces an opponent into admitting defeat by:


– Tapping out with hands, feet or verbally.

– The referee can stop the match if he believes a submission is going to cause harm to a competitor if they refuse to tap.

– A coach can call a fight to end.

– If a competitor cries out in pain the referee can end the match.

– Requesting a time out for pain is the same as tapping.




You can be disqualified from a match by:

– using foul language, immoral acts of disrespect, biting, hair pulling, eye poking, and attempting to injure genitalia.

– using fists, knees, feet, elbows or head with the intention to hurt or gain unfair advantage.

– if your kimono rips and you are not able to change it in a set amount of time.

– not wearing undergarments under your pants.

– running out of the ring to avoid tapping.


Fouls Not As Serious



– On the first offense the offender will be given a verbal warning. On the second offense the offender’s opponent will be given an advantage. On the third offense the offender’s opponent will be given two points. After the third offense the referee may disqualify the athlete for any further fouls.

– Kneeling before having taken hold of opponent’s kimono.

– When either of the athletes run to one of the extremities of the ring to avoid combat.

– When the athlete avoids engaging by taking off his kimono or by allowing it to be taken off with the intention of stopping the fight to allow himself rest.

– When the athlete inserts his fingers inside the sleeves or pants, or with both his hands on his opponent’s belt.

– When the athlete stalls the fight.




One of the 2 opponents is defeated after losing consciousness by any of the valid moves: strangling, pressuring, take downs, or accidents in which the opponent has not committed any foul worthy of disqualification.




It is considered an advantage when the athlete attempts but does not complete any of the fundamental moves of the fight; i.e. sweep, take down, submission etc.

– Advantages through takedowns: When there is a visible loss of balance in which the adversary nearly completes the takedown.

– The one on top will earn the advantage by being on the offensive, trying to dominate his adversary’s guard (pass the guard). For the referee to consider it an advantage, the athlete that is on top must come close to passing the guard, forcing his adversary to exert energy to regain position e.g. half guard, almost immobilizing, etc.

– The one underneath will earn the advantage if he almost sweeps his opponent, putting him in a dangerous position, as well as when he attempts a lock that forces his opponent to defend.

– Advantages will be awarded during ground fighting if the athlete attempts a technique and puts his adversary on the defensive.




– Wrestling shoes or any type of shoes, headgear, shirts under the gi (except for girls) and any kind of protectors that can alter the outcome of the match in any way are not allowed in competition. No cups are allowed.


Illegal Moves






– The kimono must be washed and dried with no unpleasant odors.

– Toe and fingernails must be cut short and clean.

– People with long hair must keep their hair from interfering with there opponent or themselves during the match.

– Athletes are not permitted to paint their hair with spray and may be disqualified by the referee.


The Kimono


– Constructed of cotton or similar material and in good condition. The material may not be excessively thick or hard to the point where it will obstruct the opponent.

– Colors may be black, white or blue, no combined colors (white kimono with blue pants, etc.)

– The jacket is to be of sufficient length down to the thighs, sleeves must reach the wrist with arms extended in front of the body. The sleeve should follow the official measures according to CBJJ and IBJJF, from the shoulder to the wrist.

– Belt width 4-5cm, with color corresponding to rank, tied around the waist with a double knot and tight enough to secure the kimono closed.

– Athletes are not permitted to compete with torn kimonos, sleeves or pants that are not of proper length, or with t-shirts underneath the kimono (except in the female divisions).

– Athletes are not allowed to use painted kimonos.


In my opinion those are the most important rules to know. There are many more rules to the game though, all of which can be found here.


Also check out this great video from Felipe Costa where he walks the competitor through the IBJJF Rulebook.



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