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My Discussions With A Famous Judo Player, Where Does BJJ Sport Rules Go From Here?

Sport Jiu-Jitsu Rules: Where do we go from here?

My Discussions With A Famous Judo Player

This topic came up during a training session with fellow BJJ practitioners and Judo players.

It is merely a post about how the conversation went, and we are looking for the opinions of the BJJ, Judo, MMA, and Martial Arts community.

Inter-sport Debate: Where is Sport BJJ headed?

The Excitement of throws and relative ease of spectator understanding is what made Judo an International and Oympic recognized sport.

BJJ came along as a descendant of Judo but with a more realistic streetfighting application in real fights VIA the Gracie Family. Their sport BJJ competition point system reflects the superiority of positioning based on the Gracie Family self-defense strategies. The Gracies exposed weak Newaza (ground work) in all martial arts.

The limited rules in early Sport BJJ in addition to its methodology got very popular in the martial arts and "No Holds Barred" competitions. Sport BJJ rules is basically Judo with no Ippon or pins, unlimited time during newaza, and more options to submit opponents with. Unlimited Judo.

Lacking of a single International governing body

Judo is an international & Olympic sport because of its single governing body, the IJF. Unifying Judo internationally or any sport was the key in not only gaining popularity, but becoming an official Olympic sport.

In BJJ, because it is such a young sport, there are many different organizations with different rules. IBJJ, FIVE, Copa Podio, CBJJ, Metamoris, ADCC, Abu Dhabi World Pro, Grapplers Quest, NAGA, USA Grappling, etc.

Double guard pull in IBJJF Competitions

The IBJJF has established new rules for the "double guard pull" phenomenon.

The double guard pull occurs when both fighters want to start from the bottom. The evolution of the "Berimbolo" has caused fighters who specialize in this move to want to start from the bottom in every restart. Their objective is to take the back from the bottom so why not start from the bottom right away? Some people think this makes the fight boring and only confuses the spectators more. This has caused a bit of debate in the BJJ community. It does not resemble a realistic scenario to someone with a blind-eye to BJJ.

New IBJJF rules state that if after 20 seconds of neither athlete coming to the top, back, or after a double guard pull, OR attempting a submission, the athletes will be brought to the standing position. What a great spot to be in if you're a Judo athlete and get stood up in a BJJ match. Especially if Ippons were legal.

Sambo Rules

Sambo rules are an interesting combo of Judo and BJJ. When the match goes to the floor competitors have 60sec to secure a submission otherwise it is stood up and restarted from the feet. More time on the ground than Judo, but the fights are still stood up from the floor after 60sec. The fact the you wear shorts and a Gi top is appealable to some as a combo of Gi & No Gi. To others, especially in Sport BJJ, you of course have more key points of control with Gi pants. In Sambo, you can win by Submission but also by IPPON throw (Judo).

BJJ keeps the match on the ground without a time limit. Add Ippons to that, and I think BJJ can be more exciting.

Wrestling

How wrestling evolved over hundreds of years to where it is now as far as a point system is very interesting. Simply having the opponent turn his back to you after a takedown and securing the top position awards 2 points. This is simple and easy to understand both from a referee's viewpoint AND the spectators. The rules make for the outcome of the match to relied heavily upon conditioning and strength. Of course technique is involved, and technique is above all else. However, strength and conditioning in wrestling plays more of a role with the rules than it does with BJJ.

Pinning

Pins exist in Wrestling and Judo. A pin signifies the ultimate control of an opponent and in result wins a match. This is a lot less realistic in a real fight as opposed to winning by Ippon. Especially since BJJ proves that not only can you win the fight from the bottom, but you have a significant advantage over your opponent if you are more skilled from there. This is why pins don't exist in BJJ.

Maybe to make things more exciting, the answer ISN'T to limit the time on the ground, but to ADD a chance to win by throws (IPPON).

Is the answer combining BJJ and Judo? Basically just adding the ability to win a match by Ippon to current IBJJF Competitions? This will add more excitement and add back the essential stand up element of Jiu Jitsu. Especially with the new stand up rule for the double guard pull after 20 sec with no action.

Or even adding the ability to win by Ippon in ADCC matches? That would be a near complete combination of Grappling styles. Wrestlers can takedown and control, and potentially win by an ippon slam. Judo guys can win by Ippon or Submission. And obviously BJJ guys can win by Ippon or Submission.

The trouble you run into is twofold:

-What constitutes a clean throw?

-The fine line of determining if its a guard pull or a takedown.

Ippon is scored by throwing your opponent to his/her back with force/speed/control.

If the attempted throw results in the opponent NOT landing FLAT on their back with force/speed/control, then if the thrower stabilizes the top position, the are just awarded 2 points as they normally are in IBJJF rules.

Some people would say "how is winning by Ippon relative to a real fight? The match wouldn't be over after an Ippon". I beg to differ. Let's see you get up after being slammed full force by a hard O-Soto or Uchi-Mata on a hard "realistic" surface.

The current route that Jiu Jitsu is taking is only going to get bigger and better with popularity. Especially with the popularity of Judo since Ronda Rousey has come on the scene. There is even a partnership in the works between the UFC and USA JUDO.

Eventually BJJ will evolve into a unified set of rules across different organizations eventually into one big governing body, but you will always have new organizations popping up that take advantage of trying to return Jiu Jitsu to its roots of "Self Defense" and "No Points".

Having said that, here are some ideas for change and a summary of this post:

  • Should we add Ippons by legit Judo throws to BJJ tournaments? Keeping regular takedowns at 2 points?
  • The popularity of JUDO in the MMA & BJJ community is GROWING. Ronda Rousey and the partnership between the UFC & USA JUDO is proof.
  • As much as its a good thing that there are different organizations with different rules to experiment, to gain worldwide popularity as a sport and a chance at being in the Olympics, we need 1 international governing body with 1 set of rules worldwide. IBJJF and Abu Dhabi World Pro are the leaders as of now.
  • Would the Olympic Committee accept a hybrid of BJJ and JUDO more than they would adding ANOTHER grappling sport to the roster? As we all know, Wrestling has already had their struggles with the Olympics.