The IBJJF point system is an important aspect of BJJ competitions.
The system is developed by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and has become a standard for BJJ competitions under IBJJF since its founding in 2002.
Most grappling competitions outside the IBJJF banner have also adapted the point system.
Therefore, understanding how the point system works is crucial for competitors looking to achieve success in BJJ competitions.
In this blog post, I will provide a comprehensive overview of the IBJJF point system, including its basic rules and scoring criteria.
By the end of this post, I hope aspiring competitors have a clear understanding of the IBJJF point system and be better equipped to compete.
Table of Contents
How the IBJJF point system work
Basically, competitors score points by successfully executing takedowns, guard passes, and sweeps.
Details on how the IBJJF point system work are below:
Points for takedowns in IBJJF
A double leg takedown.
In IBJJF competitions, both competitors start standing up, with the goal of taking the fight to the ground to start jiu-jitsu and look for submissions.
Takedowns are the primary means of achieving this.
They involve using techniques to bring the opponent to the ground and put oneself in a top position to control the fight.
Examples of takedowns include the single leg takedown, double leg takedown, and judo throw.
The referee will award a competitor 2 points for a clean, successful takedown if he lands in the opponent's guard.
To qualify as a clean takedown, the opponent must remain on the ground for at least 3 seconds.
If they get up within that time, the IBJJF point system awards the competitor initiating the takedown with 1 advantage (not a full point).
Additional points can be earned by landing in dominant positions such as knee on belly, mount, and back mount.
The points awarded for these positions will be discussed in more detail in a subsequent section.
Points for sweeps
An example of a sweep from the guard/bottom position.
Another way to bring the fight to the ground in IBJJF competitions is by pulling guard and attempting to score points through sweeps.
Pulling guard involves sitting on your butt and creating distance between you and your opponent using your legs.
You must establish a strong grip on your opponent's gi or limb before you pull guard under IBJJF rules.
Be careful when pulling guard because if your opponent touches your leg or pants, the referee will award them two points for a takedown.
Once you are in the guard position, you can attempt to sweep your opponent to gain the top position.
A sweep is a technique that involves off-balancing your opponent to switch from the bottom to the top position.
To score points for a sweep in the IBJJF point system, you must execute a clean sweep, which involves sweeping your opponent to the ground and keeping them there for at least 3 seconds.
A clean sweep will reward you 2 points under the IBJJF point system.
If your opponent escapes within two seconds, you will only receive an advantage.
You can also score additional points if you can get directly to knee on belly, mount or back mount from the sweep.
Points for passing the guard
A guard pass to side control.
Under the IBJJF point system, if your opponent pulls guard, your job is to pass the guard and establish a dominant position on top.
A clean guard pass to side control will earn you 3 points, the only odd-numbered score.
If you pass the guard and get to knee on belly, mount, or back mount, you'll receive extra points.
Like always, you must maintain the top/dominant position for at least 3 seconds to score the points.
If your opponent escapes or re-guards, you'll only receive an advantage.
Points for dominant positions (knee on belly, mount and back mount)
In this example, the total score is 7 points: 3 points for the guard pass plus 4 points for the mount.
As I explained earlier, you can get extra points if you can get to knee on belly, mount or back mount right after a takedown, sweep or a guard pass.
Knee on belly is worth 2 points, while mount and back mount each earn 4 points, as they are the highest ranked dominant positions in jiu jitsu.
Additional notes about the IBJJF point system
While I have done my best to cover the basic scoring under the IBJJF point system, there are some additional notes that I would like to cover to avoid confusions for new competitors:
A “reversal” is not a “sweep”
Sometimes new competitors get angry because they receive no point after switching their position from the bottom to the top.
This is because new competitors do not understand the difference between a "sweep" and a "reversal".
A sweep can only come out of a guard.
The definition of a guard is having your legs between yourself and your opponent.
A reversal, on the other hand, happens when you manage to get on top from a non-guard bottom positions, such as bottom mount or bottom side control.
If you do a "reversal", you will not get any point under the IBJJF point system.
Points always win against advantages
Under the IBJJF rule set, your advantages mean nothing against points.
This means that you can collect 100 advantages but if your opponent can score 2 points following a clean sweep, then you will still lose the match.
A good example of this is this match between Keenan Cornelius and Nicholas Meregali during the 2019 IBJJF Worlds:
Meregali dominated the whole match and racked up 10 points but Keenan managed to secure a clean sweep to secure 2 points and won the match.
Submissions win against points
A straight foot lock submission.
In IBJJF competitions, submission is the ultimate goal as it leads to an instant victory.
Regardless of how far behind you are on points, never give up as a submission can change the outcome of the match.
Stay focused, keep fighting, and look for openings to capitalize on to secure a submission.
To wrap it up....
It is very important for those who want to compete in IBJJF or grappling competitions to understand how the IBJJF point system works.
The system has become the standard for BJJ competitions under the IBJJF banner and most grappling competitions outside the federation have also adopted it.
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