Points Vs Submission-Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments

Points Vs Submission-Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments

No-Gi BJJ is a trending combat sport these days. Due to its effective grappling techniques, other martial artists are also learning it, especially MMA. There are basically 2 types of BJJ tournaments. One that allows submissions and the other that allows submissions but focuses more on points.

Points-only BJJ tournaments allow submissions and the match ends on the submission irrespective of the match time. On the other hand, submission-only tournaments only accept successful submissions as a victory.

1. BJJ Tournaments

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a submission grappling combat sport. Back in the day when the Gracies pioneered Jiu-Jitsu, it was reignited as a way of Gracie style of fighting. It instructs self-defense techniques that are also pertinent in real-life scenarios.

Nowadays, BJJ is adopted as a professional grappling martial art. National and international BJJ tournaments are conducted where practitioners compete. Those tournaments are divided into Gi-points and submission-only No-Gi BJJ tournaments.

2. What is a Points Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournament?

Points-only BJJ tournaments are the most traditional BJJ competitions. Fighters are awarded points for applying different techniques such as takedowns, sweeps, knee on the belly etc. The ultimate scale to measure victory is by scores. To win a match it is crucial for you to submit or outscore your opponent.

Points-only tournaments limit the time and the number of players to keep the stipulated time of the event minimal. At the end of the time, scores are evaluated and victory is awarded to the deserving competitor.

3. Scoring system

Points are awarded to practitioners on the application of the following techniques.

Technique Points
Guard Pass 3 points
Knee on Belly 2 points
Mount 4 points
Sweeps 2 points
Takedowns 2 points
Back Control 4 points

3.1. Guard Pass

It is the most advantageous position when you are at the top position. When your opponent is lying on the floor with his legs locked around your waist. It is the best moment to pass the guard. Simply, stand while having collar and Gi grips, free yourself from the leg lock, and push down yourself on your opponent.

3.2. Knee on Belly

If you keep your knee on your opponent’s belly for a minimum of 3 seconds while holding his collar and sleeve grip, you will be awarded 2 points. Even if you hold the position and your opponent manages to escape, you will be granted 1 advantage point.

3.3. Mount

Mount is also a crucial position. 4 points are awarded for securing this position. It is called the most dominant position because you are able to control your opponent’s whole body movement.

3.4. Sweep

Sweep is the movement where you are able to invert your whole position. 2 points are granted on sweeps. It happens when your opponent is on top of you and you break your leg lock around his legs and bring him to the ground.

3.5. Takedown

When you bring your opponent from the standing position to the ground position, it is called a takedown. You have to land on the opponent’s side or else you will not receive the points.

3.6. Back Control

It is the most advantageous position of BJJ as you can grab your opponent’s neck and then keep both hooks in and fully control his movements. Your legs must be inside the opponent’s thighs or you will not be granted any points. 4 points are awarded for this position.

4. Advantages

Advantage points are granted in points-only BJJ tournaments when you are half successful in applying a technique or submission. For example, you tried to execute a submission. You even acquired the position but somehow your opponent escaped. You will be awarded advantage points for that position.

Advantage points are calculated at the end of the match when scores get tied. In that victory is awarded to the fighter who has more advantage points.

5. Penalties

Penalties are charged for fouls and in case of the application of any illegal technique or move. For example, heel hooks are not allowed for either Brown or Black Belts in the IBJJF competitions. In the case of the application of these techniques, the practitioner can be disqualified by the referee. If advantage points get tied then penalties come into play.

5.1. What is the Role of Submissions?

In the case of a submission, the win is awarded. It doesn't matter who scored more points when the opponent taps out to the submission.

6. Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments - Points Only

6.1. International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF)

Points System

Takedowns 2 points
Sweeps 2 points
Knee on Belly 2 points
Back Mount 4 points
Passing the Guard 3 points

Penalties & Negative Points

  • Placing exactly 4 fingers inside the pants or sleeves of your opponent
  • Using stalling approaches
  • Using illegal techniques or moves
  • Slamming or head kicking
  • Punches especially on the face

Illegal / Restricted Techniques or Moves

Technique White Belt Blue & Purple Belt Brown & Black Belt
Closed Guard Inside Lock ✔️ ✔️
Wrist Lock ✔️ ✔️
Heel Hook  
Slamming ✔️
Calf Slicer ✔️
Spinal Lock in the Absence of Choke
Bending Fingers Backward
Arm Triangle ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Toe Hold ✔️

6.2. Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC)

ADCC is a No-Gi grappling tournament. It is a point-only BJJ tournament. Its rules are much more lenient when compared to the IBJJF rules. It allows techniques such as Heel Hooks which are termed illegal in the IBJJF. The qualifying rounds are of 10 minutes whereas the final rounds or super fights are of 20 minutes.

Points System

Position Points
Mount 2 points
Knee on Belly 2 points
Takedown (in which you end in the guard or half guard) 2 points
Guard Pass 3 points
Sweep (in which you end in the guard or half guard) 2 points
Clean Sweep (passing the guard) 4 points
Back Mount with Hooks 3 points
Clean Takedowns (passing the guard) 4 points

Penalties and Negative Points

  • Negative points are given for opting a passive fighting approach.
  • If a fighter constantly disengages from the mat, he is given a penalty.

Illegal / Restricted Techniques

  • Biting is not allowed.
  • Crossface Guillotine and twisting the chin is prohibited.
  • Spinning of the opponent's head while initiating a takedown is not allowed.

6.3. Copa Podio

Copa Podio is a points-only BJJ tournament. It is a Gi tournament.

Points System

Submission 5 Points
Points 3 Points
Advantage 2 Points
Draw 1 Point

Illegal / Restricted Techniques

  • Worm Guard is penalized in the tournaments conducted by Copa Podio.

6.4. North American Grappling Association (NAGA)

The matches conducted by NAGA are both Gi and No-Gi. For Gi matches, the scoring system resembles the IBJJF. For No-Gi matches, the points system is a bit different.

Points System For No-Gi

Position Points
Takedowns 1 to 2 points
Submission Attempts 1 to 2 points
Sweeps 2 points
Side Control Variations 2 points
Mount 2 points
Back Control / Back Grab 2 points
Knee on Belly 2 points

Takedowns score 1 to 2 points which depends on the standard of the takedown as well as how much it affected your opponent.

6.5. Sports Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (SJJIF)

The scoring system for SJJIF is similar to the scoring system of IBJJF. It is a point-only BJJ tournament but in case of a successful submission, victory is awarded.

6.6. Grappling Industries

Advantage points are awarded to the fighters in the Grappling Industries tournaments.

Penalties & Negative Points

  • The first penalty is considered as a warning
  • Upon the second penalty, the practitioner receives 2 penalty points
  • On the third penalty, the fighter who keeps on receiving a penalty is disqualified

Allowed & Restricted Techniques

Technique Under 18 White Belt Blue & Purple Belt Brown & Black Belt
Groin Stretch ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Straight Foot lock ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Guillotine Choke ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Wrist Lock ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Kneebar ✔️ ✔️
Toe Hold ✔️ ✔️
Knee Reaping ✔️ ✔️
Calf Slicer ✔️ ✔️

7. What is a Submission-Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournament?

Submission-only BJJ tournaments are those where victory is ensured only on the basis of submission. Points are not awarded for applying the submission technique. The whole focus is only on tapping out your opponent before he taps you out.

These tournaments are considered dangerous because you have to risk your whole position in order to submit your opponent. It is dangerous because what if you try to apply a submission but your opponent reverses the situation and forces you to tap out.

7.1. Getting a Submission

Submission-only tournaments are the most anticipated BJJ tournaments. Though it looks exciting to watch the Gi matches, it is gravely difficult for the fighters. It sharpens their attacking techniques. Often it leads to injuries as well. It is because both grapplers are rooting for submissions. So they both have to hone their technical abilities.

Mostly, submission-only BJJ tournaments are hard. Escape from the bad positions and do not tire yourself easily. Because once you feel tired, it becomes so easy for your opponent to submit you.

7.2. In Case of No Submission

In the case of no submission, the match gets tied and it is upon the referee to decide who won the match. Victory is granted to that practitioner who went for more submission attempts. Overtime is also given to the fighters to determine the winner.

8. Submission Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournament

Submission-only tournaments are basically submissions hunt sprees. Almost all the submission-only-tournaments follow the rules and regulations set by Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI).

8.1. Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI)

EBI is one of the famous No-Gi submission-only BJJ tournaments. It is an invitational tournament which means that you have to be invited to participate. Eddie Bravo is the founder of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu and EBI. The match lasts for 10 minutes. When the match gets tied, practitioners are given extra time.

In overtime, a toss is done and the winner has to choose 2 positions. He can either attack by Armbar or with back control.

There are no points or advantages in EBI. The only way to win the fight is by submission.

8.2. Fight 2 Win (F2W)

Fight 2 Win is a grappling tournament that resembles the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Professional BJJ fighters appear in the tournament and showcase their excellent grappling skills. Submission is the only way to secure success in Fight 2 Win tournaments.

8.3. Polaris Exhibition Bouts and Superfights

It is a Gi and No-Gi submission-only tournament. In case of no submission, judges give the final verdict.

8.4. Submission Challenge

Submission consists of either taping physically or tapping verbally. Even if your opponent yelled during a submission attempt, it is taken as tapping out. If your opponent suffers from an injury during the match and the referee doesn’t hold you for disqualification, your opponent has 5 minutes for returning to the match. If he does not return, you emerge victorious.

Time Limit

  • There is a regulation time for the tournament.
  • Referee decisions are valued in case of no submission if the match exceeds the regulation time.

Adult Regulation Time 8 min
Teen Regulation Time 6 min
Youth Regulation Time 4 min
Youth Novice Rules 2 min

Allowed and Restricted Techniques

Legal Submissions Kids/Teens White - Gray Kids/Teens Yellow - Orange Adult White Blue Purple Brown/Black
Shoulder & ArmLocks ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Arm & Head Chokes ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Bicep/Calf Slicer ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Wrist Lock ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Stretching Submission ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Ankle Locks ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Knee Bars ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Knee Reap ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Toe Hold ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Heel Hook ✔️ ✔️

8.5. Good Fight

This submission-only tournament has a set time duration for the match. It conducts Gi and No-Gi matches. Victory is not decided by points or submission attempts.

8.6. Submission Only Series

The duration of the fight is 8 minutes in the Submission Only Series tournament and slams are prohibited.

9. Difference Between Points & Submission Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournaments

Points Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournament Submission Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournament
Advantage points are awarded in case of submission attempts. Only a successful submission is taken as a victory.
It is easy to determine victory on the basis of points. Only submission accounts for victory.
In case of no points and no advantage points, overtime is allocated. In case of no submission, overtime is allowed, and attacking leverage is given to the practitioner who won the toss.
It does not excite the audience to a greater degree. The enthusiasm of the audience is on another level as submissions have always been everyone’s favorite.

10. FAQs

10.1. Which one is Better, Points or Submission Only Jiu-Jitsu Tournament?

Points-only tournaments give you more clear results than submission-only tournaments. It has a fixed time and scouring points is also not that difficult.

10.2. Are Submission-Only Tournaments Fun to Watch?

They are fun to watch as both grapplers are trying to submit to each other. Submissions bring out more technical abilities in the practitioners.

11. Conclusion

Both points and submission-only tournaments are important in their own regard. Both have their pros and cons but we can agree that points-only tournaments are greater in numbers but submission-only tournaments are more fun to watch and attract a larger audience.

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