What We Can All Learn About Jiu-Jitsu Rulesets from EBI Overtime

Image Source: Kitt Canaria for Jiu-Jitsu Times

The debate continues to rage about what the ideal ruleset for BJJ tournaments are. This past weekend the second installment of the Subversive 5 on 5 Team Tournament presented by Fight2Win took place, a competition with which 10th Planet protected their team title against a group of all-star competitors including Joao Miyao and DJ Jackson.

In light of 10th Planet’s win, a big topic of discussion after the fact amongst critics is the idea that in a different ruleset, the odds would have been against 10th Planet to win the tournament. It is believed by some that the EBI overtime rules applied in the tournament allowed 10th Planet to hold a significant advantage. Fight2Win Founder Seth Daniels responded in kind with a post which vehemently defended 10th Planet as an exciting, tight-knit family that always puts on great shows. His quote reminds us of the importance of multiple rulesets in the context of a greater jiu-jitsu spectrum.

It is no secret that the IBJJF is run by the same president as Gracie Barra, from my experience I have found their curriculum well-catered to having success in IBJJF tournaments. They are positionally sound, fight hard for the guard pass, and have strong guard sweeps. This is a trend you may notice at certain Checkmat or Alliance schools as well. Similarly, it should come as no surprise that at 10th Planet Headquarters Eddie Bravo frequently runs EBI overtime drills partly in an effort to prepare his students for his tournament rulesets. It should thus be clear why 10th Planet students have unusual success at EBI overtime rule tournaments. The Gracie Academy model on the other hand caters to a model of self-defense therefore often drawing their reference as the rules of the ‘street’, citing punch protection as their main concern in virtually any drill they do. Furthermore, the ADCC brand of tournaments will always favor the dominant wrestler, as the rules are unique in that they penalize guard-pullers once the matches reach the halfway point. Even Jeff Glover came up with his own ruleset for the recent High Rollerz tournaments, a ’10 or tap’ rule where competitors win if they either score ten points on their opponent or achieve a submission. No one philosophy is more right than the other, everyone has the right to display the art how they see fit. They all serve to grow the art.

For as much flak as Gordon Ryan might receive on social media, athletes like him are rare. To be an ADCC champion, IBJJF No-Gi World Champion, and multiple time EBI champion means mastering the art of winning in different sets of rules. His armbar, back, and leg attack system put him on the map as it was displayed front and center in his early EBI days. In his ADCC victories a couple years back, he displayed poise on his feet and an ability to work carefully strategizing opponents into his system of submission attacks. Furthermore at No-Gi worlds this past year, he relied on his strong guard skills to take home double gold despite a minor injury that prevented him from displaying his stand-up skills as much as he would like.

What can we learn from this? Rather than complain about different rulesets and how they do not cater to your game, it should be understood that different organizations practicing by different rules helps grow and develop the sport. Athletes need to be more well-rounded in their game if they hope to branch out and have success in tournaments other than those promoted by their school. Cross-training is not frowned upon these days as it was back in traditional BJJ lore, it is not unheard of for even top athletes to catch a few training sessions with friends at other schools to experience different teaching and competitive styles. There are varying sets of skills and a never-ending array of abilities that we continue to improve upon as we step out onto the mat day-in day-out. Rather than hurl criticism at an athlete for having success in a tournament branded by their founder, the differences in skills ought to be celebrated. It is refreshing to see highly developed armbar and back attacks in EBI overtime rule tournaments.

At this past weekends tournament Joao Miyao had a back and forth performance with Geo Martinez in regulation, being dominated in overtime by an opponent who clearly had drilled attacks and defense of the position far more. Miyao undoubtedly rarely trains back defense as most of his time is probably spent attacking the acquisition of the position despite being a multiple time IBJJF champion. To be a complete jiu-jitsu practitioner, no skill must go undeveloped. Even a highly-touted IBJJF champion showed gaping holes in his game when exposing himself to a different ruleset outside of his comfort zone. One must always educate themselves on the rules of a tournament and drill situational rounds with respect to those rules. Only then can we truly consider ourselves open-minded, only then can we fully develop every facet of our game, and only then will jiu-jitsu continue to evolve into a melting pot of people from all walks of life sharing in and celebrating the same art, rather than remain bitter and territorial about their team’s stake in the greater grappling universe.


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Dr. Arman Fathi
Dr. Arman Fathi is a staff contributor for the Jiu-Jitsu Times. He is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic in the State of California and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under the Redzovic family in Chicago. He is currently living in Southern California training under Professor Eddie Bravo at 10th Planet HQ and Professors Ryron & Rener Gracie at Gracie University HQ. He is the head instructor and owner/operator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Laguna Hills. Learn more and claim your free 10-day trial at www.gracielagunahills.com. Alavanca fight gear www.Alavanca.com Quikflip Apparel Visit www.quikflipapparel.com and enter code FLIP10 for 10% off any order. Arman can be found on Instagram @Dr_Arman_Hammer.

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