Navigating the IBJJF Tournament Rules: An In-Depth Overview

Navigating the IBJJF Tournament Rules: An In-Depth Overview - Revgear Europe

Navigating the IBJJF Tournament Rules: An In-Depth Overview

Attention all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts! Have you ever felt lost or confused while trying to prepare for an IBJJF tournament? With so many rules and regulations, it's easy to get overwhelmed. But fear not – in this blog post, we will provide you with an in-depth overview of the IBJJF tournament rules to help you navigate your way through the competition. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned competitor, our guide will ensure that you are fully prepared for any upcoming matches. So, sit back and let us guide you through everything from weigh-ins to point systems – after reading this post, you'll be ready to step onto the mat with confidence!

What is the IBJJF?

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is a membership-based organization that governs the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). They are responsible for setting the rules and regulations that govern BJJ competitions, as well as certifying instructors and schools. The IBJJF also hosts several major BJJ tournaments each year, including the World Championships.

So what exactly does the IBJJF do? Let's take a closer look:

The IBJJF sets the rules and regulations for BJJ competitions.
They certify instructors and schools.
The IBJJF hosts several major BJJ tournaments each year, including the World Championships.
So there you have it! The IBJJF is a pretty important organization in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If you're looking to compete in BJJ tournaments, it's important to familiarize yourself with their rules and regulations. And if you're interested in becoming a certified instructor or opening your own BJJ school, the IBJJF can help with that too.

Basic Rules of the Tournaments

The IBJJF has a set of rules that all tournaments must follow. While these rules may seem daunting at first, they are actually quite simple and easy to follow once you understand them. Here are the basic rules of the tournaments:
1. All competitors must be a minimum of 18 years old.
2. All competitors must have a valid ID with them at all times.
3. All competitors must wear an approved Gi during competition. Our recommendation for a good IBJJF approved Gi would have to be our El Matador or Venice Gi's.
4. All competitors must have their belts securely tied at all times during competition.
5. No illegal techniques are allowed during competition. This includes but is not limited to eye gouging, biting, hair pulling, fishhooking, and groin strikes (or any strikes, for that matter).
6.All matches will be fought using the IBJJF’s point system (described below). The competitor with the most points at the end of the match will be declared the winner. If there is a tie at the end of the match, the match will be declared a draw and both competitors will advance to the next round of competition. 
  Points can be scored in the following ways:
    i) Takedowns – 2 points
    ii) Guard Passes – 3 points
    iii) Mount - 4 points

Weight Classifications and Divisions

There are a variety of weight classifications and divisions in IBJJF tournaments. Here is a brief overview of the different categories:
-White Belt: This is the beginner level. There are no weight restrictions and all ages are welcome.
-Blue Belt: The blue belt division is for those aged 18 and over. There are no weight restrictions.
-Purple Belt: The purple belt division is for those aged 18 and over. There are no weight restrictions.
-Brown Belt: The brown belt division is for those aged 18 and over. There are no weight restrictions.
-Black Belt: The black belt division is for those aged 18 and over. There are no weight restrictions.

Points System Explained

The IBJJF uses a points system to determine the winner of a match. There are three ways to score points in IBJJF-sanctioned tournaments:
1) Taking your opponent's back - 4 points
2) Mounting your opponent - 4 points
3) Passing your opponent's guard - 3 points
If neither competitor has scored any points after four minutes, the match is declared a draw.
The first person to score four points wins the match. If both competitors have scored four points, the match is decided by who has the most advantage points. Advantage points are given for various positional advantages, such as having an opponent in your half guard or having an active guard (versus being on bottom in passivity). The person with the most advantage points at the end of the match is declared the winner. If there is still a tie, the match is decided by who has scored the most total Points during regulation time.

Match Lengths and Structure

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is the main governing body for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) tournaments. In order to ensure a level playing field, the IBJJF has strict rules regarding tournament format and competitor behaviour.
One important rule to be aware of is the match length and structure. Depending on the tournament and division, matches can be either 10 minutes or 5 minutes long. The match format is also different for gi and no-gi divisions.
In a gi division match, the first 6 minutes are spent entirely in the standing position. After that, competitors are allowed to go to the ground and work for submissions. If one competitor gets a submission during those last 4 minutes, the match is over. Otherwise, it goes to overtime which is 2 additional minutes of fighting time.
In a no-gi division match, there is no time limit on how long competitors can stay in the standing position. However, once one competitor takes their opponent down to the ground, they must attempt a submission within 20 seconds or else they will be penalized. Just like in gi division matches, if a submission occurs during overtime, then the match is over regardless of how much time is left on the clock.
Now that you know about some of the basic rules regarding IBJJF tournament matches, you can start training smarter and more efficiently for your next competition!

Referee Signals

There are a variety of referee signals that are used in IBJJF tournaments to indicate what is happening in the match. Here is a breakdown of some of the most common signals:
1) Point - One point is awarded when a competitor scores a takedown, sweep, or guard pass.
2) Advantage - When one competitor has an advantage over the other, the referee will signal this by holding up one arm. The competitor with the advantage can score points if they maintain this position for 3 seconds.
3) Penalty - A penalty is indicated by the referee holding up two fingers. This usually results in the deduction of one point from the offending competitor.
4) Warning - A warning is given when a competitor commits a infraction such as stalling or using illegal techniques. The referee will hold up one finger to indicate a warning. Two warnings result in a penalty point being awarded to the opponent.
5) Disqualification - The referee will hold up both arms crossed at the wrist to signal disqualification. This usually occurs when a competitor exhibits unsportsmanlike conduct or uses excessive force.

Illegal Techniques

There are a number of techniques that are not allowed in IBJJF competitions, depending on the level you're competing at. These include:
-Heel hooks
-Toe holds
-Reaping the knee
-Spiking the spine
-Attacking the eyes or groin
Using any of these techniques will result in an automatic disqualification from the match.


There are a few reasons why a competitor may be disqualified from an IBJJF tournament. These include:
-Not wearing the proper uniform: All competitors must wear a clean and neat gi that is free of holes, tears, or loose strings. The only exception to this rule is if the competitor is competing in no-gi division, in which case they must wear a rashguard and shorts/spats that are free of holes, tears, etc.
-Not making weight: All competitors must make weight in order to compete. Weigh-ins typically occur the day before or morning of the tournament.
-Attempting to use an illegal technique: Some techniques are not allowed in IBJJF competition, such as slams, strikes, heel hooks, neck cranks, etc. If a competitor attempts to use one of these illegal techniques, they will be disqualified.
-Receiving multiple warnings: Competitors may receive warnings for things like stalling, unsportsmanlike conduct, etc. If a competitor receives 3 warnings during a match, they will be disqualified.


Navigating the IBJJF tournament rules can be a challenging task, but it is essential for athletes who want to take part in competitions. Understanding these rules will help you stay safe and have an enjoyable competition experience. With this guide, we hope that we have been able to provide a comprehensive overview of the IBJJF's rules and regulations so that you are better equipped for your next tournament. Good luck!