10 Critical IBJJF NoGi Rules - Martial Arts Supplies Aus

10 Critical IBJJF NoGi Rules

10 Critical IBJJF NoGi Rules Every BJJ Competitor Must Know: Dominate Your Next Tournament


The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) NoGi rules form the backbone of many grappling competitions worldwide. Understanding these regulations is crucial for any serious BJJ practitioner aiming to excel in tournaments. This comprehensive guide will delve into the most important IBJJF NoGi rules, providing you with the knowledge to compete confidently and effectively. Whether you're a seasoned competitor or preparing for your first tournament, mastering these rules will give you a significant edge on the mat.

1. The Fundamental Principles of IBJJF NoGi Rules

The IBJJF NoGi ruleset is designed to promote fair competition while emphasizing technique and strategy. Key principles include:

  • Safety of competitors
  • Fair play and sportsmanship
  • Encouragement of submission-oriented grappling
  • Clear guidelines for scoring and winning

Understanding these principles is essential for interpreting and applying the rules effectively during competition.

2. Weight Divisions and Weigh-In Procedures

IBJJF NoGi competitions feature strict weight divisions to ensure fair matchups. Competitors must:

  • Weigh in wearing board shorts and rashguard
  • Meet the exact weight or be under the limit for their division
  • Complete weigh-in during the specified time frame

Failure to make weight results in disqualification, emphasizing the importance of proper weight management leading up to the event.

3. Uniform Requirements

NoGi competitions have specific and strict uniform requirements to ensure fairness and safety. Understanding these rules is crucial to avoid disqualification:

Shirts and Rash Guards:

  • Both men and women must wear a shirt of elastic material (skin tight)
  • The shirt must cover the torso down to the waistband of the shorts
  • Colours allowed: black, white, or black and white
  • The shirt must have at least 10% of the colour of the athlete's rank (belt)
  • Shirts 100% in the colour of the athlete's rank are also permitted
  • For black belts, a small red area is tolerated but must not obscure the rank colour

Shorts for Men:

  • Board shorts in black, white, black and white, or the colour of the athlete's rank
  • No pockets allowed (or pockets must be completely stitched shut)
  • No buttons, exposed drawstrings, zippers, or any plastic or metal components
  • Length must be at least halfway down the thigh but no longer than the knee
  • Compression shorts (skin tight) are permitted beneath the board shorts, matching the colour requirements

Shorts and Pants for Women:

  • Options include shorts, compression pants (skin-tight spats), or compression shorts
  • Colours allowed: black, white, black and white, or the colour of the athlete's rank
  • Same restrictions apply regarding pockets, buttons, zippers, and length as men's shorts
  • Women are permitted to wear pants made of elastic fabric under their shorts

Additional Requirements:

  • Athletes must wear undergarments (thong-type undergarments are not permitted)
  • No shoes, additional clothing items, or jewellery are allowed
  • All clothing must be clean, dry, and free from unpleasant odours

It's important to note that these uniform requirements are strictly enforced. Competitors who do not adhere to these rules may face disqualification. Always double-check your attire before stepping onto the competition mats to ensure full compliance with IBJJF NoGi standards.

4. Match Duration and Overtime Rules

Understanding time limits is crucial for strategic planning:

  • Adult black belt matches: 10 minutes
  • Adult brown belt matches: 8 minutes
  • Adult purple belt matches: 7 minutes
  • Adult blue belt matches: 6 minutes
  • Adult white belt matches: 5 minutes

In case of a tie, overtime rules may apply, varying by tournament and division.

5. Scoring System

The IBJJF NoGi scoring system rewards dominant positions and transitions:

  • Takedown: 2 points
  • Sweep: 2 points
  • Knee on Belly: 2 points
  • Guard Pass: 3 points
  • Mount: 4 points
  • Back Control: 4 points

Accumulating points through these actions is essential for winning matches that don't end in submission.

6. Legal and Illegal Techniques

Understanding permitted and prohibited techniques is crucial:

Legal techniques include:

  • Joint locks (excluding spinal locks)
  • Chokes (excluding hand-on-throat chokes)
  • Takedowns and throws

Illegal techniques include:

  • Slamming
  • Strikes of any kind
  • Small joint manipulation
  • Spinal locks

Violating these rules can result in penalties or disqualification.

7. Submission Recognition

Submissions are the ultimate goal in BJJ. IBJJF recognizes:

  • Verbal tap out
  • Physical tap out
  • Referee stoppage due to injury or risk of injury

Knowing when to tap and how to secure legal submissions is crucial for both safety and success.

8. Advantages and Penalties

The IBJJF employs a system of advantages and penalties to further differentiate competitors:

Advantages are awarded for:

  • Near-submissions
  • Almost achieving a scoring position

Penalties are given for:

  • Stalling
  • Illegal grips or techniques
  • Disrespecting opponents or officials

Understanding this system can be the difference in close matches.

9. Referee Decisions and Appeals

Referees have significant authority in IBJJF competitions:

  • They can award points, advantages, and penalties
  • They have the power to disqualify competitors
  • Their decisions are final in most cases

However, some tournaments allow for video review in certain situations, emphasizing the importance of clear and decisive actions during matches.

10. Age and Belt Divisions

IBJJF NoGi competitions are divided by:

  • Age groups (e.g., Adult, Master, Juvenile)
  • Belt levels (White, Blue, Purple, Brown, Black)

Competing in the correct division is crucial for fair matchups and adherence to tournament rules.


Mastering the IBJJF NoGi rules is essential for any serious BJJ competitor. By understanding weight divisions, uniform requirements, scoring systems, and legal techniques, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the competitive landscape. Remember, knowledge of the rules not only prevents disqualification but also allows you to strategize effectively and maximize your performance on the mat.

As you prepare for your next tournament, review these rules regularly and incorporate them into your training regimen. With this comprehensive understanding, you'll step onto the competition mats with confidence, ready to showcase your skills and dominate your opponents.

For a complete and detailed overview of all IBJJF rules, including those for Gi competitions, download the official IBJJF rulebook here: IBJJF Official Rules (PDF)

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