Adapt or Perish

Competition Jiu-Jitsu is known for its many variables, between IBJJF, EBI, ADCC and Submission-Only the different types of rulesets seem to have no end. Each brings their own flavor and idea of enhancement to the competition aspect of the sport. The more and more the sport grows, the more organizations establish their own rules and throw in their unique approach to how a jiu-jitsu match should be critiqued.

You may like it, you may hate it, but the universal ruleset based on points and submissions that IBJJF has established has created a foundation for all the rulesets that have followed. However, more modern fight organizations have thrown in their own loopholes and twists to make the game just that much more exciting.

Submission Hunter has long promoted the submission only game. Meaning that dominant positions are not counted towards the win, and neither are close calls, only a submission determines the winner of the match. This has encouraged fighters to always fight for the finish. (Could also be the money incentive, but what better motivation than a check at the end of the tap?)

Third Coast Grappling always promotes the submission, but while also taking into consideration the positional advantages. (Scoring 11 points on your opponent will also get you the win). However, in the event that no one accumulates 11 points or gets the submission, the attacker or person ahead is granted positional advantage in overtime, with first point scored or submission winning the match.

EBI has perhaps been the most controversial since its inception. Any match whose regulation match time ends without a winner immediately moves into Overtime. Based on athlete aggression and submission minded attacks the referee will choose a competitor to choose Offense or Defense at the beginning of the 1st OT Round. The round consists of athletes choosing specific Dead-zones (The back or spider web) from which the athletes will attack and defend submissions. Each competitor will get a try to attack for a submission. The competitor who can secure a submission or escape in the shortest amount of time will be the victor.

High level competitors who are invited to participate in these jiu-jitsu events usually work with their coaches to familiarize themselves with the ruleset and adjust their training to the meet the expectations of the event.

So which ruleset is the most favorable to the jiu-jitsu community? The answer is... Whatever floats your boat. Promoters have understood that their approach can’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and the sole purpose of everything in this game has always been about trial and error. We constantly hear about athletes not being happy about the rules of a certain event they participated in, to which the answer is simple yet again... Don’t like it, don’t apply.

The beauty about the constant growth of the sport, is that there are now many organizations to choose from, with their own regulations that can better suit your style. While I encourage every athlete to be flexible and adaptable, I realize not everyone likes to alter their approach. We must always remember that in jiu-jitsu such as in life, it is not the strongest of the species that survive, but the one most adaptable to change.

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