A Jiu Jitsu/Wrestling Hybrid Rule Set

I recently participated in a tournament put on by The Wrestling Factory of Cleveland (the proceeds of which are going to their youth wrestling program, if you are interested in donating reach out to twfoc.com.)  The rule set was one that, if widely implemented, could make for very interesting tournaments.

They penalized the guard pull.

A guard pull at this tournament counted as a takedown for the non-guard-puller.  In doing this they encouraged guard pullers to play from the feet.  Under this rule set if you are not a takedown artist you’ll either get taken down or pull guard and wind up with -3 points.  This encourages a far more frenetic pace from the feet.

They allowed and in some ways encouraged disengagement

I recently wrote an article (Jiu-Jitsu: The Dirty Art of Disengagement) exploring the notion of tactical disengagement.  At many tournaments, disengagement is penalized. At this tournament, competitors could at any time get up and walk away, and even more importantly the competitor on the ground was obligated to follow the person up.

Disengagement can be a valid tactic, allowing the person better at it to determine the moment at which they want to make contact, thus providing an added element of timing to the match.  I lost two matches due to my opponents’ ability to use disengagement (one on points and one in a transition in which the opponent secured a submission.)  Both are matches I would have had a better chance of winning had it been a pure Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament.

They would stand you back up if you had held someone in your guard for “too long”

Like in MMA, the referees at this tournament could at any moment say “You’re being inactive” and stand you back up.  Far too often in competitive jiu jitsu you see guys stalling in their matches.  They may score and hold the opponent in their guard until time runs out.  I’ve done it and I’ve had it done to me.  This rule set gave a potential answer to this problem.

I didn’t like the rule set of this tournament as they didn’t suit my personal guard pulling game.  However, I firmly believe that there should be more tournaments out there that have rule sets like this, a hybrid between BJJ and wrestling.  Good jiu jitsu still had its place in these matches; I finished 3 of my 6 opponents using jiu jitsu.  However, at the end of the day this was not a pure jiu jitsu tournament and that’s good.  As a sport we need more of this.  We need tournaments that encourage the takedown and punish the guard pull, as one is fundamentally sound jiu jitsu and the other may not be.


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