Combat Jiu-Jitsu – A Beginners Guide

Back in 2013 Eddie Bravo came up with the idea of “Jiu-Jitsu with slaps on the ground”, at the time the idea of combat Jiu-Jitsu was brushed off as another crazy “Eddie Bravo trend”, similar to 10th Planet. Roll on to 2017 when the first Combat Jiu-Jitsu matches introduced to the Eddie Bravo Invitational it piqued an interest in a sport, which was getting tired of “non-realistic” sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques.

What is Combat Jiu-Jitsu

Combat Jiu-Jitsu is all about the idea of creating a bridge between Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, with open palm strikes. In order to keep the idea of Jiu-Jitsu alive, both competitors will start standing, when the match goes to the ground, that is when the open-palm strikes can start happening.

Eddie Bravo started the idea of 10th Planet, with a huge focus on distance management in MMA, the rugger guard position was designed to keep the distance closed on the ground to stop the person on top throwing punches, from there it’s evolved into the system we know today.

The idea of open palm strikes or slaps on the ground allows professional MMA athletes an even playing field against skilled Jiu-Jitsu athlete. The strikes can create openings for finishes, or can even be used to finish the match via TKO, something BJJ and MMA veteran Vagner Rocha does quite a lot in a match. 

Slaps and strikes keep the action moving because if someone is stalling in half guard on the bottom, a few swift strikes to the head will get them moving.

Combat Jiu-Jitsu Rules

The current rules of Combat Jiu-Jitsu are as follows:

  • Rounds are 10 minutes long, with up to EBI overtimes available.
  • Strikes and slaps are only allowed once one competitor has been “downed”. No strikes can be exchanged with both parties are standing
  • No closed fist strikes, only open palm.
  • Strikes to the face and body are allowed.
  • A “downed” competitor is considered when one person has both their knees on the ground or their buttocks on the floor.
  • Standing grappling will go on for 1 minute maximum after 1 minute of stand up a horn will sound indicating to the referee that the match needs to be grounded. The referee will stop the match and enforce the “Get Down” rule. Here they will flip a coin to decide position. The winner of the coin-toss can decide to be on top in butterfly guard with double underhooks or to be on the bottom.
  • “Purgatory” position is when one competitor is grounded and the other is still standing and not engaging in a leg entanglement or guard position. A competitor is allowed 30 seconds of “purgatory” for the entire match, after which any further time spent there will be added onto their overtime result. This is to discourage any stalling and to encourage active guard passing from the person on top. Once the person on top’s knee touches the ground and he is seen to be passing, the timer stops. The timer will resume if the person stops being active and stands if their competitor is grounded.
  • If a person is standing while their competitor has a full guard or is in a leg entanglement with them, that is not considered purgatory. If the standing competitor disengaged from a leg entanglement or breaks guard they are allowed 10 seconds to re-engage before the purgatory timer starts.
  • All submissions are legal.
  • A match can be won by Submission, EBI overtime rules or by TKO.

Combat Jiu-Jitsu in Practice

So the rules sound good and encourage a lot of action, but how does it fare in a competition scenario. Well when the first 4 guinea pigs Nick Honstein, Chad George, Sheridan Moran and JM Holland took to the mats at EBI11 for the 135lbs CJJ title,  it turns out very well. 

All three Combat Jiu-Jitsu matches were probably one of the most exciting matches of the night, receiving encouraging comments on twitter from competitors in the BJJ and MMA scene.

The crowd were vocal every time a strike or slap was delivered, sometimes with shock and awe and sometimes with laughter as a slap rang across the mats. 

Since then Combat Jiu-Jitsu has seen huge growth, with Eddie Bravo deciding to take a break from the EBI format to focus more on Combat Jiu-Jitsu World Championships. It looks like CJJ is here to stay.

If you’re interested in watching Combat Jiu-Jitsu in full, check out UFC Fight Pass, or watch Combat Jiu-Jitsu Worlds 1 for free below!