Important Jiu Jitsu Rules to Remember for Beginners

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BJJ Competitor Nathan McDonaldIf you decide to sign up and compete in a Jiu-Jitsu tournament here in Arizona, we must first offer congratulations because you’re taking your Jiu-Jitsu skills to the next level. It’s one thing to hit the mats and practice with your teammates, but another thing entirely to put all the techniques and hard work under the microscope by facing off against an opponent that trains outside your gym.

Before the day itself, we recommend visiting the website of the association running the competition because they should publish their competition rules online. In Arizona, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the most common form, so we’ve decided to compile some basic competition rules you’re likely to encounter (and therefore need to remember!).

No Communicating with the Referee

Firstly, talk to anybody with lots of experience in BJJ and they’ll tell you that talking with the referee was once an important part of the sport; some referees could even be persuaded by hearing the opinion of the fighters. Today, you can get penalized for communicating with the referee so don’t voice any frustrations you may have.

No Slamming

Ever think of lifting your opponent and then slamming them down on the mat while in control of the fight? Well, you could be penalized for this. If you’re stuck in a triangle or armbar, your escape will need to avoid simply lifting the opponent up and letting gravity do the rest. While on this note, we should also mention that spiking the opponent on the head is also illegal. Sometimes in a scramble, these things happen and it will be up to the ref to determine if it was an illegal move or not. These are often attributed to mental mistakes that are made in the moment, so mental preparation is equally as important as the physical aspect of the competition. 

No Worrying About Your Belt

You’re in the middle of a battle and your belt comes loose, what do you do? Although it can be hard, you need to ignore it and keep concentrating. By stopping or calling the ref to pause the fight, you’re allowing the opponent to get the upper hand. Eventually, the referee may call for a stoppage and this will give you twenty seconds to get the belt back on. If you take too long, the ref has the right to award a penalty. The moral here is never stop pushing until the ref stops you. 

No Unsportsmanlike Conduct

In any form of Jiu-Jitsu, there are certain acts completely forbidden. This includes;

  • Biting
  • Small joint manipulation
  • Hair pulling
  • Eye gouging
  • Headbutting
  • Ear pulling
  • Grabbing the windpipe
  • Striking
  • And Kicking

No Fleeing the Ring/Mat

As long as both competitors remain within the matted area, the fight will be allowed to continue. If you’re in a submission and you clearly flee the ring just to escape, the referee is likely to disqualify you instantly. If the action starts to reach the edge of the mat, the fight will be halted, and you will both restart in the middle.

No Advanced Moves

Although this will be explained in your class, it’s important to note that certain moves in Jiu-Jitsu will be banned from all competitions beneath brown and black belt divisions. For example, only these two divisions can use compression locks, kneebars, and figure-four toeholds.  With this in mind, you will only be allowed to go against an opponent within the same division. According to the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, no competitor should ever be allowed to compete at a higher belt than their own.

No Infections or Open Wounds

Finally, we know you’re excited about your competition, but you need to inform your instructor if you have any open wounds or infectious skin diseases. Not only can you make your condition worse, but you can also cause health problems for other people by fighting. Additionally, certain substances will be banned such as lotions, lubricants, and oils. With these general rules, you’re all set for your first competition. As long as you follow these rules (and the advice from your teacher), you can go out there and have fun (and hopefully win!).

If you live in Arizona and are interested in training BJJ in Tucson AZ, stop by and try out a class! Our instructors and team of competitors will be happy to take you in like family!

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