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What is IBJJF?

what is IBJJF

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Are you planning on competing anytime soon? Good! Competition is the gateway to exponential growth. Majority of people will run away or pucker up in the face of competitive forces but not you! Before jumping in (or if you want a little refresher) be sure to read more about the rules and regulations that your tournament will be following. There are a couple of different rule sets that you should be familiarizing yourself with one of those being IBJJF. In this article, we answer the question, ‘what is IBJJF’ and break down some of the impactful things they have done for the world of competitive jiu-jitsu.

What is IBJJF?

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is a professional organization dedicated to promoting and regulating the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The IBJJF serves as the largest standing body of the organization that is present in the competitive side of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The IBJJF organizes major BJJ competitions worldwide, including the World Championship, Pan-American Championship, European Championship, and many others. The organization sets the rules and regulations for these competitions, including weight classes, uniform requirements, and scoring systems. Understanding what the IBJJF and the rules that they have in place will directly impact most people who end up signing up for a tournament.

Other governing bodies set their own rules and regulations (ADCC), but most of the tournament circuits operate under the IBJJF guidelines. 

In addition to organizing competitions, the IBJJF also promotes and regulates the grading system in BJJ, awarding belts and degrees based on a student’s skill level and time spent training. The organization also works to preserve the traditions and values of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, such as respect, discipline, and sportsmanship.

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Exploring the World of IBJJF: The Premier Jiu-Jitsu Organization

IBJJF tournaments alongside ADCC tournaments are the gold standard. The largest tournaments in the world that bring the highest level of competitors is typically the Pan American Championships, the IBJJF World Championships (referred to as ‘Worlds’ by most competitors), and the IBJJF European Championships.

IBJJF is truly a worldwide organization that benefits the competitive side of BJJ in a number of ways. Some of those benefits include:

1)  Standardization: IBJJF regulates and standardizes rules for BJJ competitions worldwide, ensuring that tournaments are fair, safe, and consistent across locations

2) Recognition: Over the time of its existence IBJJF has grown to be a well-recognized governing body. IBJJF competitions are considered to be some of the most prestigious in the sport. Winning a tournament will put you on the map as a world-class athlete.

3) Grading system: IBJJF has established a standard for the grading system that practitioners and coaches follow. This creates a clear pathway for practitioners to progress through the ranks and achieve recognition for their skills.

Overall, the IBJJF has and will play a significant role in the growth and development of Brazilian jiu-jitsu over the coming decade. We firmly believe that the rise in popularity of martial art is just getting started. With more and more people signing up each year we see a world where many more people embrace the lifestyle of training like an athlete even into their later years of life.

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IBJJF Rules & IBJJF Graduation System

Here is a table breaking down the rules that IBJJF has to help standardize the competitive landscape in the BJJ community.

Weight Classes Competitors are divided into weight classes (IBJJF weight classes here) ranging from rooster weight to ultra-heavyweight.
Gi Requirements Competitors must wear a clean, white, or blue gi (kimono) with an IBJJF-registered color belt. (yes you have to make a registration to compete in their tournaments).
Scoring Points are awarded for takedowns, sweeps, and dominant positions, with submissions ending the matches immediately.
Time Limits Matches for adults are usually 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the belt level and tournament.
Prohibited techniques Slamming, neck cranks, small joint manipulations, and reaping (up to brown) are prohibited.
Penalty points Penalty points will be awarded for certain rule violations, such as stalling or illegal techniques. Some illegal techniques can result in an immediate DQ.
Referee decisions All matches that end in a tie (both in points and advantages) will go to the referee’s decision. Referees may award advantages for near-submissions or other attempts. This may have an impact on how the match is won or lost.
Promotion Requirements IBJJF has made specific requirements for promotion to each belt rank. The rules in place are mainly for time purposes that people have to spend at each belt, technique proficiency is a metric that is measured by your coach.
Code of Conduct IBJJF expects coaches and competitors to emphasize respect, sportsmanship, and fair play.

IBJJF has set a standard for promoting practitioners that is fair and gives people a realistic expectation of what it takes to climb the ranks. Here is what they have made a standard in the community:

Inside IBJJF: History, Growth, and Future of the Organization

In the 1990s we saw the birth of the UFC and Pride, both dude to the Gracies’ effort to spread awareness of Brazilan jiu-jitsu. The sport of MMA has been a massive success and till this day has been rapidly growing. What we have seen with the growth of MMA is also the explosive growth of Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools across the globe. 

As the sport has matured and the benefits of training have been highlighted on superstar podcasts (like JRE) more people are entraining the idea of training like an athlete and taking on BJJ. While Helio Gracie spent the majority of his time focused on spreading the family art, his son Carlos Gracie would be the one to take the sport to the masses.

Crakos Gracie Jr. would go on to create the Internation Brazilian jiu-jitsu federation (IBJJF) in 1994. The goal he had in mind when creating the organization was to be the governing body that regulated Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and its competitions.

Without governing bodies, in place, it would lead to the rise of fake “world masters” and make jiu-jitsu have a bad image problem like what faced karate in the 80s. Carlos Jr. did not want that same issue leaking over to the art form that his family had created so front-running the competition he created the IBJJF to place standards around everything that would be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The IBJJF to this day is a massively influential piece of the puzzle that is competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As the sport and its competitive scene continue to grow so will its hold on how industry.

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