Don’t Forget to Know When and How Score Points in BJJ

In the video below, the white belt wanted to know how he didn’t win his match. He believed he racked up a number of points from sweeps, side control, back control, and mount, but was baffled when his opponent’s hand was raised. Here is the video of the match between the white belt and blue belt.

Here is the scoring and breakdown below.

1:30 into the match, the blue belt passes the guard and secures three points for the pass


1:35 mark, white belt quickly catches a kimura from bottom side control and sweeps the blue belt over to gain top position in side control with a kimura cinched in. Under IBJJF rules, no points are awarded from the sweep of side control. You cannot score points from a sweep when your opponent holds a dominant position on you including side control, mount or back control. Also, the rule in IBJJF is awarding points for passing the guard to side control, not for landing in side control. So if you shoot a strong double leg take down and land in top side control, you will only receive two points for the take down since you never had an established guard to pass for the three points. I don’t agree with the rule, but don’t hate the player, hate the game.


1:58 into the match and white belt loses the kimura, but goes for knee on belly. However, he again doesn’t receive any points for the knee on belly because his left knee is still on the mat by his opponent’s head. In order to receive two points for a knee on belly, the IBJJF states

“When the athlete on top maintaining side-control places a knee on the belly, chest or ribs of his/her opponent – who is on bottom with their back or side on the ground –, maintaining his/her other leg extended diagonally away from the opponent and his/her foot (not knee) on the ground, body facing the opponent’s head (not legs), and thus remains for 3 (three) seconds.”

If the knee on belly technique was properly executed, the white belt would be down 3-2 at this point in the match.

knee on belly

4:32 in and the match is winding down and it is do or die. The white belt managed to take the back from the blue belt’s turtle position, but again doesn’t secure the points. He is alternating hooks with his feet on the back control, but never has both hooks in at the same time to score four-points. Instead of securing the points, the white belt goes for a bow-and-arrow choke.

If the white belt secured both hooks into his back control, then he would then be up 6-3.


5:18 and the white belt switches from attempting an armbar from spider web to going for the mount. However, the white belt fails to secure and hold the mount position for three seconds and a scramble ensues. The blue belt is able to escape out the back door as the match ends.


Despite dominating the majority of the match, the white belt lost 3-0. He displayed some solid technique and really pushed the pace with an aggressive style where he pushed for the submissions. IBJJF style tournaments are about the points. The person who scores first wins 75% to 80% of the time and it is important to keep the points factor in mind. The old saying in BJJ is “there is no losing in BJJ, only winning and learning.” Even though the white belt lost on the scoreboards, he only needs to fix a few small things and he will be a monster on the mats.



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