What is the Absolute Division in Jiu-Jitsu?

What is the Absolute Division in Jiu-Jitsu?

In BJJ, weight divisions can be confusing. Questions like which weight category is ideal for you? Should you go up or down a weight class? Why not try out for the absolute division?

Most competitors join the absolute category when they want to challenge their BJJ skills and push the limits. This class is referred to as the open-weight category because it includes competitors of various weight divisions. The absolute division's goal is to determine which competitor is the best pound-for-pound grappler in any given championship.

This blog post is all about the absolute division in Jiu-Jitsu. Keep on reading to find top-notch tips for the BJJ Open Weight competition.

1. What is Absolute Division In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

When we talk about the absolute division of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It means we are talking about the ultimate proving ground. Athletes compete in the absolute division, regardless of their weight classes. Your main goal should be to win the contest while competing in a typical BJJ competition where you are matched up against other competitors beyond your rank and weight category. You have to be incredibly competitive, though. Instead, if you go into the competition determined to win at any cost without the necessary preparation, you may learn a lesson. So it is a good approach to challenge your boundaries but preparation is also a key to success.

2. Compete In BJJ with Absolute Division

When you decide to step foot on BJJ mats, you need consistency to achieve your goals. Combat sports demand a higher stamina as they require intensive grappling and sparring. BJJ techniques were developed for both smaller and weaker practitioners to fight bigger and stronger opponents. What other martial arts don't train you for; is how to utilize the strength of the opponent to your advantage. This means that BJJ practitioners need to include strength and conditioning in their training routines because it is nearly impossible to break down a practitioner's posture when he/she knows how to use the strength in the appropriate way.

For the majority, playing in the absolute division means facing larger and more powerful opponents. That means strategies for competing in the Absolute Division of BJJ are a bit different. If you are a heavy athlete participating in Absolute Division, almost all of your typical methods will still be effective, but you need to look for set-ups and techniques that allow you to capitalize on your strength advantage. Your smaller opponent will try to utilize his flexibility in escaping and transitioning from one move to another, including the application of submission choke holds.

2.1. How You Can Compete with Bigger opponents

In order to fight effectively, practitioners need to concentrate on their muscular endurance and explosive strength in order to compete successfully in the absolute class as smaller athletes.

A stronger opponent exerts more downward pressure, which makes it potentially simpler to expose the limbs of a smaller opponent. BJJ practitioners will need to maintain tremendous tightness and keep their elbows in when fighting against larger and stronger opponents.

Once a fighter is able to comprehend these concepts, he/she will be better equipped to compete against stronger opponents in the absolute division. Getting underneath large opponents will ultimately assist BJJ practitioners in navigating the flow of techniques without being subjected to excessive pressure. You'll be astonished to learn that in BJJ smaller individuals consistently outperform larger individuals.

Pro Tip

The smaller BJJ practitioners must fight with stronger partners inside their academy to prepare for a bigger opponent. This is a good technique to become accustomed to facing a stronger opponent.

2.2. How You Can Compete With Smaller Opponents

Having a bigger size or weight advantage in a battle is not always advantageous, especially not in BJJ. The greater a student's size and strength, the less mobility he or she will have.

Bigger and stronger BJJ practitioners must improve their speed and flexibility in order to optimize their chances of achieving all the important positions required to win the battle.

In absolute division competitions of BJJ, it's possible for students with more weight to overestimate their chances of success when they face smaller competitors. A bigger student must acknowledge their opponents, regardless of their size, weight, height, or age.

Pro Tip

An excellent tip for BJJ practitioners is to exercise their cardio at a high rate; this will enable them to match the speed and agility of a smaller opponent. Just because a fighter is bigger and more strong doesn't mean they can't be as quick as a smaller opponent; it only takes some effort, creativity, and consistent practice.

3. Why Should You Compete in the Absolute Division?

3.1. Improve and Learn

You can improve your strength against smaller and stronger opponents by competing in the absolute division. The best aspect to compete in the absolute division is that you can analyze your most effective techniques against your bigger/smaller opponents.

3.2. Give Yourself a Challenge

Most BJJ practitioners take it as a challenge to compete in the absolute weight division. It's the best time to check your skill level and techniques against your opponents. However, your skills can be improved when you tirelessly practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

4. BJJ competition Tips For Absolute Division

Do you think smaller grapplers have a low chance to win BJJ fights? It's not a fact, in BJJ smaller grapplers have increased chances of winning. There are examples of Mackenzie Dern, Caio Terra, and Gary Tonon, who became Champions even with their low weight and submitted much larger opponents.

  • You just need to follow some tips to become the winner of the BJJ Absolute Division.
  • You need to master the positions that fall in your favor as a smaller grappler. Ashi Garami and back controls are the ideal positions.
  • Once you know your targeted positions, the next move is to work constantly to master those moves.
  • In the absolute division of a BJJ, chokes and leg locks, particularly heel hooks, should be the prime submissions you should focus on.

However, keep in mind that moving without purpose will get you beat. Being able to sweep your opponent while they are in transition is the ideal tactic. You'll need to take advantage of every opportunity from situations.

5. UAEJJF Statement Regarding the Removal of Absolute Division

UAEJJF eliminated the Open Weight Division before the 2016–2017 Jiu Jitsu calendar. The federation's spokesman has officially released and confirmed the decision.

UAEJJF set a 110kg weight limit for BJJ practitioners. The technical committee justified this decision as giving equal opportunity to all BJJ practitioners.

6. Well Known Absolute Champion In BJJ History

There are a number of Absolute Division Champions in BJJ history who outperformed their opponents and made it look easy. First look at the phenomenal record of Roger Gracie. He was the first champion who won three Gold Medals in the Absolute Division.

Secondly, who would be unaware of Marcus Almeida, one of the greatest grapplers of all time. He set a record by winning 6 IBJJF Open Weight Titles.

He won his famous open weight award in 2017 competing with his good friend Leandro Lo.  Although Leandro used his valiant efforts to hold Almeida. But Marcus used his submission techniques and was able to score a decisive double-leg takedown at the end.

Makenzie Dern defeated +200 lbs Gabi Garcia and proved her submission skills in the Absolute Division.

7. FAQs

7.1. Does Weight Matter In Jiu-Jitsu?

Yes, your weight has a significant impact on BJJ fights. However, if you are better in BJJ techniques and moves, then you will tend to win regardless of your weight.

7.2. Who is the best BJJfighter in the Open Division?

Marcus Almeida is the best fighter in the Open Weight Division. He won his first IBJJF Championship in the 2nd decade of his life.

8. Conclusion

BJJ concentrates on ground fighting and grappling. A smaller opponent should have the lead when it comes to agility and speed in an Absolute Division. Due to their reduced pace, bigger athletes often find it difficult to defend with back takes and arm drags.  For decades, BJJ absolute division was the focus of those elite grapplers who loved to challenge the limits. All the absolute division fighters have one thing in common, they are rightfully proud of the application of techniques and the accuracy of their agility in submission attempts.

Photo credit: @graciemag

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