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BJJ and the impact of belt ranking on competition format

Welcome to BJJ and congratulation on choosing to train in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

If you decided to train as a hobby and competition is not your goal, this post will not concern you.

I would still advised to read it because it is good information.

If you are keen to compete in BJJ, then this post is for you.

BJJ competition is based on the belt system.

White belts compete in white belt division etc..

A white belt cannot compete in a blue belt division unless he get promoted by his instructor.

It is normal to expect the instructor to be a black belt to promote you to your next belt.

So what happens if you do not have an instructor that can promote you, well you still compete at the rank that you are at.

Now the irony is the IBJJF created a rule to prevent other experienced competitors from different arts to compete in the white belts divisions;

"5.5: The athlete who has proven to be a black belt in judo, has proven experience* in wrestling, wrestling
Olympic or Greco-Roman, or has fought MMA professionally, can not participate in any league as a white
* In the U.S., having competed at the college level or higher. In other countries, have competed in events nationwide."

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So what happens to those guys, do they compete at blue belts instead?

Well, not really because they have not been promoted by a BJJ BB as yet.

So off they go and join a BJJ academy. club, gym etc..

Usually, it is a minimum contract of 6 months and it takes years to get promoted to blue belt.

BJJ is famous for taking such a long time to be a black belt (average 10 years).

By the time they get their black belt, how many are still competing?

I think it is a great system if you made a living of teaching BJJ.

Another argument of dividing by belts mentioned oftern is the danger of submissions.

Under IBJJF, the brown and BB compete with toe hold, knee bar, slicers submissions that are not allowed at the lower belts.

But if you look at the Naga competitions in the USA, you can do all those subs from novice level and even more:

NAGA competition is open to athletes from all forms of grappling, and discriminates against none. All submission holds are legal in Adult (18 years and up) competition. Neck cranks and all leg locks including inside heel hooks, outside heel hooks, and knee slicers are permitted. Bicep slicers and wrist locks are also permitted. "

Not sure if they have hundreds of injured novices at every events!

How does Naga treats experienced wrestler?
21. Who fights in the Adult Novice division?The Novice division is for adults (men, women, masters, etc.) who have up to six months of grappling experience. Exceptions to this are; those who have wrestled, those who hold any belt color other than white (in any discipline), those who have competed in Novice and won (in some cases those who placed 2nd or 3rd are moved up).
Novice is reserved for the newest of the new competitors. If you are a white belt who has been training for 5 months and are close to getting your blue belt, do Beginner and test yourself. NAGA has disqualified numerous competitors after finding out they have more experience then they divulged during the interview process.

How does Naga deal with sandbagging?
4. What is Sandbagging?We work diligently to prevent "sandbagging", or the practice of fighting down skill levels to ensure one takes home an award. The NAGA has been working with RANKED to track all fighters and ranked grappling events to produce true "national standings." A by-product of these standings is our knowledge of who has competed, and at which level. At all NAGA tournaments, front door personnel will use RANKED data to determine whether or not individuals who have fought in past events belong in a higher skill level (i.e. placed 1st at a prior NAGA event for that skill level).

How does Naga treat competitors?
1. Do I need to be a member of NAGA to compete?

You do not have to be a member of NAGA to compete. Joining NAGA will get you on the NAGA email list which will inform you of the latest NAGA news (and is only sent out once a month), and the NAGA mailing list where you will receive registration info for tournaments coming to your area.

Of course, it is not fair to compare Naga with BJJ competition, Naga is competition format for grapplers from all styles and BJJ competition is to only cater for their sports.

So time to stop complaining, IBJJF or BJJ competitions are not here to serve as platform to compete to every grapplers in the world. You can go to NAGA or ADCC to do that.



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