The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) is the official governing body for BJJ competitions worldwide. Founded in 2002 by Master Carlos Gracie Jr, this organization’s mission is to organize and host official BJJ tournaments. The IBJJF lists many requirements for practitioners to be allowed to participate, including being authorized by the IBJJF. Practitioners must have an IBJJF membership card to compete in IBJJF tournaments and prove they are verified belt holders with registered instructors and academies.
Table of Contents
- 1. Importance of IBJJF Membership
- 2. How to Get an IBJJF Membership Card?
- 2.1. Visit the Main Website
- 2.2. General Information About the Athlete
- 2.3. Instructor’s Approval
- 2.4. Registered Academy
- 3. Renewing IBJJF Membership Card
- 4. Provisional Athletes
- 5. The Significance of Registered Academies
- 6. Role of IBJJF-Certified Instructors
- 7. What to Do if an Instructor is Not Certified?
- 8. FAQs
- 8.1. How Long Does the Membership Process Take?
- 8.2. How Can Kids Get Their Professors’ Approval?
- 8.3. What to Do if Your Academy is Not Registered with the IBJJF?
- 9. Conclusion
1. Importance of IBJJF Membership
Since January 2019, the IBJJF has made it mandatory for practitioners to possess a valid IBJJF membership card.
Whether you are a black belt or a lower belt rank, you must register with the IBJJF beforehand. Originally, IBJJF membership cards were for black belts only. But after 2019, it was required for every BJJ practitioner to verify their belt ranks with the officials.
2. How to Get an IBJJF Membership Card?
List below are the ways one can get an IBJJFmembership card:
2.1. Visit the Main Website
Go to the IBJJF website, ibjjf.com , and look for the online membership form. After opening the online form, two options will be presented: first time applying for IBJJF membership or renewing your IBJJF membership.
2.2. General Information About the Athlete
After selecting the first-time IBJJF membership option, fill out the form with your basic personal information. Make sure to upload your latest passport photograph and both sides of your ID card. Make sure to include your personal email. After your email is verified, a new membership form will appear on the screen. Make sure to double check the information before submitting the form.
2.3. Instructor’s Approval
After filling out the form, you must confirm your instructor is registered with the IBJJF. You must receive approval from your instructor to confirm you are a valid belt holder. After getting a verification form from your instructor, you can submit it to the IBJJF. Before the IBJJF can process your request, you must pay a $40 processing fee. The membership approval process normally takes four to five business days.
2.4. Registered Academy
While applying, you will also have to include the name of the academy you will represent. Make sure that the academy is registered with the IBJJF.
3. Renewing IBJJF Membership Card
If you already have an IBJJF membership card, you must have it renewed if its expiration date is before the first day of an IBJJF competition. It is necessary to renew your membership card every year. The annual renewal fee for an IBJJF membership card is $150.
If you became a member of the IBJJF in April 2020, your membership will only be active until December 2020. By the end of the year, you would have to renew your membership.
3.1. Belt Promotion or Change of BJJ Academy
If you are promoted to another belt or go to a different BJJ academy, you must renew your IBJJF membership.
3.2. Submitting New Forms
Everytime you renew your membership, you must re-submit the membership form. Even if the information has not changed, it is necessary to submit a recent form. This is to ensure all the information provided is valid.
4. Provisional Athletes
Provisional athletes are individuals who have not previously registered previous graduations with the IBJJF. Examples include a brown belt who never registered as a purple belt with the IBJJF or mentioned a record of previous instructors. A provisional athlete must have trained under an instructor for at least two years since approval of your provisional membership. If any practitioner attempts to renew their membership before the two-year provisional period, they will have to start over.
4.1. Provisional Black Belts
The provisional membership can also be for black belts who want to become assistant instructors. Provincial black belts who want to receive their black belt certification must also wait two years, the minimum provisional period to end.
4.2. Switching Academies
With a provisional membership, you must train under the same instructor for at least two years. After the provincial time period ends, you can switch academies and notify the IBJJF about your new instructor and BJJ academy.
5. The Significance of Registered Academies
As of 2023, there are approximately 7,075 IBJJF-registered academies. Every IBJJF-registered academy is run by a head instructor who is an IBJJF member with a verified belt rank. Being a member of an IBJJF-registered academy is a credential that helps prove the validity of the information provided on your forms.It is best you check whether your current BJJ academy is recognized by the IBJJF or not.
According to the IBJJF,
“The athletes registered with IBJJF will have their graduation recognized by an official sport organization. Keeping the athlete’s registration valid and accurate helps IBJJF to preserve the competitor’s record as an athlete or Professor.”
6. Role of IBJJF-Certified Instructors
Without the approval of an IBJJF-certified instructor, your registered belt rank is not considered valid and may force you to do the entire learning process again with a certified black belt instructor. It is essential that an athlete’s IBJJF membership form is signed by one of the IBJJF listed instructors.
7. What to Do if an Instructor is Not Certified?
If your current BJJ instructor is not IBJJF-certified, you may want to consider going to another academy and finding a different instructor. It is better to talk to your instructor in person to discuss the problem and possibly find a solution.
To find and verify a possible instructor’s credentials, visit websites like, BJJ Tree or Rate My BJJ Instructor.
8.1. How Long Does the Membership Process Take?
It requires almost 45 days for the membership card to arrive in your mailbox. If it takes more than 45 days, contact the IBJJF to raise attention to the delay.
8.2. How Can Kids Get Their Professors’ Approval?
Online professor approval is only for adults. For children, the professor must sign a physical membership form.
8.3. What to Do if Your Academy is Not Registered with the IBJJF?
If your academy is not registered with the IBJJF, you will need to switch to a registered one. Consult your professor and go to another institute that will ensure you are eligible for IBJJF tournaments.
The intent of IBJJF membership is to confirm the authenticity of potential competitors in IBJJF competitions. This ensures the applicants are authorized by IBJJF-registered professors and academies. A current IBJJF member must renew their membership every year to ensure they can continue to compete in IBJJF competitions. Provisional athletes need to remain under the tutelage of the same professor for two years to receive approval.