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The rules of jiu-jitsu


Jiu-Jitsu might look complicated. But once you pick up the moves – which are more straightforward than you might think – it can become something instinctual, a sport of the mind and body that you will adore. Below we made a list of its basic rules, so you have a starting point.



The sport is a Japanese martial art that uses close combat for defeating an armed opponent. The game has a lot of variation as it influenced many countries to develop their styles.

Aikido is a recent version and uses techniques that focus on the spiritual principle of harmony, and it has defensive methods to prevent harm.

Judo became distinct, and its practitioners believe it not to be a sport, but rather a self-defense system that leads towards peace.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu rules state that even if you are small, you can still defend yourself against a bigger opponent if you use the right technique and if you take the fight to the ground.


What to wear

Jiu-jitsu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu usually have similar uniforms to those of judo, or judogi as it’s known. The difference is that the suit has tighter cuffs on the pants and the jacket.

This so it allows the players to have less material for the opponents to grab on. The attire and the materials are carefully selected before competitions in all styles, and they are required to be worn even in training.

Other types of jiu-jitsu use a similar kind of gi, but each tailored to fit their particular set of rules and the regional aspects of the sport.


The techniques

There are a lot of moves in jiu-jitsu. Joint locks are accessible and can be applied to fingers, elbows or knees. They facilitate submission and help with throwing techniques. They encourage cooperation.

Strikes are popular too, although they vary with each style. In classic styles, strikes are used to control your opponent’s balance, and kicks above the Celiac plexus are not allowed. There’s also the artemi art which is used to distract an opponent.

Chokeholds include strangulations and are the most dangerous and should be used only for self-defense purposes. Other techniques included grappling throwing, etc.



Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu have similar ranking systems, each with their variations. The white belt is the starting point for all, and it has no prerequisite as it is given to all beginners.

Next is the blue belt that has to be worn for two years and is awarded after hundreds of hours of training and after they assimilated tons of techniques. Next is the purple belt, which must be worn for at least one year and a half.

The final stages are the brown belt, and the practitioners must have at least 18 years to receive it. And the black belt, which is the highest standard belt throughout the training period.



Jiu-jitsu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu center around submissions without using strikes and that allows trainees to get a real feel of the effort competitions take, without sacrificing speed and power.

Training methods are comprised of technique drills against non-resisting partners, isolation sparring and full sparring in which a player has to use any legal technique to submit their opponent. And physical conditioning is also essential, as stamina is what feeds competitions.

Most training comprises of self-defense, and the development of reflexes, as this is the traditional intent of jiu-jitsu. But some clubs do focus more on the sporting applications of training.


Since this sport is not just a competition but a way of life, safety is critical. It is one of the safest martial arts, but it does have the risk of dislocated joints. Most practitioners suffer from ACL tears and spinal disc hernias.

Skin health matters too. The players have a higher risk of skin abrasions, and they develop conditions such as impetigo herpes or even staph infections if the mats are not regularly cleaned.

When it comes to drugs, they are prohibited. All performance-enhancing medicine is frowned upon. Anabolic steroids and psychostimulants can also get you banned.


General rules

The rules of Brazilian jiu-jitsu are similar to the classic one. One is that unsportsmanlike conduct may lead to ejection and that the referees must be shown respect at all times. They don’t allow biting and eye gouging and also hair pulling.

Slamming is also forbidden. You cannot use it to escape submission. Takedowns are not seen as slams, but you do have to be careful when putting your opponent on the mat.

Other things that can disqualify you are oils, infectious skin diseases, lubricants and open wounds. Also, women can’t compete in men’s categories and the other way around.



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