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Over the last few years, the landscape of BJJ changed dramatically with a new competition style called “Combat Jiu Jitsu.”
What is Combat Jiu Jitsu? Combat Jiu Jitsu is a new form of BJJ competition that allows open handed strikes on the ground. Combat Jiu Jitsu was conceptualized by Eddie Bravo to bring more excitement to BJJ competition by incorporating the palm strikes into the EBI rule sets.
In this article, we are going to break down everything you need to know, from its origins, creator, rules, and also the biggest competition, and famous grapplers that participate in these competitions.
To ease reading a bit we’ll occasionally refer to Combat Jiu Jitsu as CJJ throughout this article.
It has grown immensely in popularity in the last few years. It is now the standard for no gi sub only BJJ competitions.
Thanks to EBI, some of the most grapplers today were able to make a name for themselves. Like BJJ athletes from the Danaher Death Squad, Craig Jones, and the 10th Planet Freaks.
Rules of EBI
Here are the rules and structure of an EBI match.
One 10 minute round
All Submissions Are Allowed
If at the end of the 10 minute regulation there is no submission, the match goes to overtime. The overtime is basically a 3 round shootout.
Each competitor gets a dominant position. They either have to submit their opponent or ride them out. If there are no submissions within the 3 overtime rounds, the competitor with the longest ride time wins.
Birth of Combat Jiu Jitsu
After the success of EBI, Eddie Bravo had the opportunity to create his other pet project. This would be having BJJ competitions that include striking.
Not like MMA that has strikes from standing that include punches, kicks, elbows, and knees. It was something a little different.
This type of competition would be somewhere between MMA and BJJ.
Influences For Combat Jiu Jitsu
Below are the main things that influenced Bravo to create this type of competition.
Eddie Bravo got into Jiu Jitsu because of his love of MMA. It was the whole reason he made the 10th Planet System. He wanted to make a style of Jiu Jitsu that was tailored to be used in MMA.
A lot of what you see in CJJ are the ground n pound scenarios you’d see in MMA. Minus the closed fists and elbows you’d see in an MMA fight.
Just open palm strikes to open the opponent up for a submission. Many MMA fighters past and present are even participating in this style of BJJ competition. Look for many more to continue participating in events in the future.
Old School BJJ Training
In the last decade or so BJJ training has transitioned to more of a sports based style of training. Gearing more towards training to get points and advantages.
This is much to the chagrin of BJJ traditionalists that believe this not how BJJ was meant to be trained. They believe that BJJ training is supposed to be more realistic.
In their view BJJ was created for self defense. In some old school academies, they would include strikes in some of their classes. Open palm striking for their students to be aware that they need to defend themselves, while on the ground.
CJJ mimics a lot of what that old school type of training is. Except the rolling is competitive and competitors are trying to hurt each other.
For many longtime fans of combat sports, they noticed something very familiar about Combat Jiu Jitsu. The strikes look a lot similar to the old Japanese hybrid wrestling promotion of Pancrase.
In Pancrase, there were no gloves and competitors could only do open hand strikes. A lot of the grappling was very similar to what you see in CJJ today.
There are of course a few key differences between Pancrase and CJJ. Pancrase rules allowed striking from standing that included kicks.
Also in CJJ, competitors aren’t allowed to wear speedos and wrestling boots like was the regulated uniform in Pancrase.
Rules Of Combat Jiu Jitsu
The rules of Combat Jiu Jitsu are similar to that of EBI rules.
10 Minute Round
All submissions are legal
If there’s no sub in regulation, the match goes to EBI overtime rules.
These rules are the same as EBI rules. Here are the extra rules and structure of Combat Jiu Jitsu.
Strikes: The only strikes permitted are open hand slaps or palm strikes in Combat Jiu Jitsu.
You are only allowed to strike on the ground.
You can strike to the face or body.(No groin shots)
Striking is only allowed when both competitors are on the ground. If one competitor is standing, neither are allowed to strike.
A “downed” grappler is a grappler on both knees or on their butt.
Standing grappling will go on for 1 minute and after that a horn will sound. When the horn goes off both grapplers are stood up and a coin flip is done. Winner of the coin flip decides to be on top or bottom. This I referred to as “the get down rule.”
Purgatory Position: This when one grappler is on the ground doing a leg entanglement or guard and a standing competitor isn’t engaging. In this purgatory position, they’re allowed to stay here for 30 seconds and any more time will be added to overtime. This is to deter stalling and extra time will stop being added once the top competitors knees hit the ground.
If the competitor is in a leg entanglement or standing and engaging this is not a purgatory position. If they break out the guard or leg entanglement, they have 10 seconds to engage before purgatory time starts.
On top of submission and decision. A competitor can win their match by TKO, ref stoppage, and doctor stoppage.
Combat Jiu Jitsu Referee
In a normal EBI match, the referee would be Eddie Bravo. Eddie does not officiate CJJ for a few reasons.
Since there are strikes in CJJ, the state athletic commission needs to be involved. They must abide by regulations and a state licensed referee is designated to officiate.
A referee that usually officiates MMA is assigned to work CJJ style matches. Known refs such as Dan Mirgaliotta and Herb Dean have officiated past CJJ matches.
Combat Jiu Jitsu VS Normal BJJ Competitions
There are quite a few differences between Combat Jiu Jitsu and normal BJJ competitions. Here are the biggest differences.
Striking: There are absolutely no striking in normal BJJ competitions. This is the major difference between Combat Jiu Jitsu and normal Jiu Jitsu competitions.
Submissions: In normal BJJ competitions that are sanctioned by the IBJJF, you are restricted on the types of submissions. There are no heel hook, reaping, cranks, or slicers allowed in IBJJF competitions. All submissions are legal in Combat Jiu Jitsu.
Points/Advantages: There are no points or advantages given in Combat Jiu Jitsu matches. IBJJF style BJJ competitions keep track of points/advantages and a competitor can win by these if there’s no submission.
Combat Jiu Jitsu VS MMA
As we said earlier, CJJ gets a lot of inspiration from MMA. But there are huge differences between the two types of competitions. Here are the major differences between the two listed below:
Striking: In MMA, punches kicks, elbows, and knees are allowed. Combat Jiu Jitsu only allows open palm strikes.
Where you can strike: An MMA fighter can strike from standing or on the ground. In CJJ, competitors are only allowed to strike when both fighters are on the ground.
Match Time: A professional MMA match consists of 3:5 minute rounds and 5 rounds for championship fights. A Combat Jiu Jitsu match has a 10 minute regulation with 3 overtime rounds. There are no overtime rounds in MMA.
How matches are won: In both competitions, a competitor can win by submission and TKO. Where they are different is that in MMA, a fighter can win by judge’s decision. There are no judge’s decisions in Combat Jiu Jitsu.
The First Combat Jiu Jitsu Matches
The first test run for Eddie Bravo’s CJJ happened in 2017. We first heard Eddie Bravo throw the idea of having a BJJ competition with palm strikes on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Six months later we would have the first taste of Combat Jiu Jitsu.
On an EBI card that was headlined by a welterweight tournament that included Ritchie Martinez and Wagner Rocha. Combat Jiu Jitsu would be introduced to the world.
A four man tournament with the winner being crowned the Combat Jiu Jitsu 135lb champion. This four man tournament featured Nick Honstein, Chad George, Sheridan Moran, and JM Holland.
The future rested in the hands of these individuals. How this tournament went dictated what the future would hold for CJJ.
It turns out that these three matches brought some of the most exciting moments of the night. The crowd was into the matches and were raucously louds.
There were also some laughs from the audience. Some of the crowd thought it was funny that the competitors were spastically attacking each other with open hand slaps. Like bad ground n pound in MMA.
After the event some jokingly called Combat Jiu Jitsu “slap jitsu.” But all in all, the experiment was a positive one. The groundwork was laid down and Bravo knew how to make Combat Jiu Jitsu better.
Bravo would continue to sprinkle in CJJ bouts into his EBI show, while secretly planning a big event.
Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds
Eddie’s next idea would be something he would call Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds. There would be two 8 man tournaments in the lightweight and and bantamweight divisions.
These tournaments were inspired by other tournament style BJJ championships like ADCC and IBJJF Worlds. Only with Combat Jiu Jitsu rules in place.
Top grapplers in the world like Vagner Rocha, Nathan Orchard, Chad George, Wilson Reis, and Ben Eddy competed.
This night was filled with a lot of exciting action with most of the matches being won by TKO and submission.
The bantamweight final had Chad George vs Sidemar Honorio. The match would go back and forth with no winner in regulation. George was able to take Hornorio’s back and submit him in overtime becoming the first Combat Jiu Jitsu World Bantamweight Champion.
In the lightweight bracket Vagner Rocha and 10th Planet standout made it to the tournament final. Rocha was dominant throughout the match. Getting mount and throwing relentless strikes before the ref stepped in to stop the fight.
CJJ Fight Night Problems
In early 2019, Eddie Bravo announced the most anticipated Combat Jiu Jitsu event would take place in late February. He assembled a star studded card that included a 4 man heavyweight tournament of MMA and BJJ champions.
It included Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Rustam Chsiev for what was supposed to be the biggest show ever.
Unfortunately in putting on combat sports events things don’t work out. All 4 original competitors in the tournament pulled out either due to injury or other circumstances.
This left Bravo scrambling to find replacements to save the show with everyone in his main attraction out of action.
The replacements Bravo got world BJJ champ Yuri Simoes, MMA fighter Kevin Casey, and grapplers Jon Blank and Stephen Martinez. Womens BJJ world champion Beatriz Mesquita was also added to the card in a special attraction match against EBI veteran Kayla Patterson.
The show saw Yuri Simoes winning the inaugural heavyweight tourney beating Martinez by escape type and Blank by kneebar. Mesquita would also beat Patterson by kneebar in the co-main event.
Not the event Jiu Jitsu fans were hoping it to be, but these things happen in grappling. Bravo made a positive out of a negative and learned from the experience.
Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds 2019 Events
After the disappointing Combat Jiu Jitsu Fight Night, Eddie went back to work and started work on the next installments of the Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds in 2019.
The first was in May with the bantamweights again, August with the welterweights, and November with the middleweights. Overall the events were again met with positive feedback, but the attention stayed about the same.
Combat Jiu Jitsu 2020
This year, there are so far 2 planned events for this year. The first one is the Combat Jiu JItsu Worlds 2020 Featherweight tournament.
The featherweights will compete Match 8th at the Orpheum Theatre in LA. This tournament will include Reigning champ Richard Alarcon, Geo “freakazoid” Martinez, and legendary footlock specialist Imanari. It’ll definitely be an exciting card and a good start to the year for the competition.
The next event is set to take place in September, which will be a special event. It will be the first Combat Jiu Jitsu event that will be a team competition.
Bravo got the inspiration from the Quintet BJJ competitions that his 10th Planet team competed in and won. So far, there are no teams announced, but the event is still 6 months away and is still being planned.
No EBI Events Planned
If you aren’t a fan of Combat Jiu Jitsu and prefer EBI, there is bad news for you. As of now, there are no EBI events planned in the near future.
Bravo has put all his attention on making Combat Jiu Jitsu blow up. Who knows if he’ll succeed, but CJJ has carved out its niche within combat sports.
Where To Watch
You can watch Combat Jiu Jitsu events on the UFC Fight Pass.
All of the events are on there for you to view, as well as the next event March 8th 2020.
You can also find alot of them on YouTube as well.
That cover everything we could think of and we hope you enjoyed the read.
With upcoming CJJ events in 2020 we will do our best to keep this up to date and add to it as this side of the sport grows.
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Let's Roll BJJ aims to be the leading source of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling information and news on the web. Dorian, the owner and editor of Let's Roll BJJ is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and has been training and competing for over 6 years.
Apart from being a BJJ geek, Dorian is a software developer by trade, a husband, and a father of two wonderful kids who he's recently began teaching Jiu Jitsu. When he's not training, coding, or writing, you can find him hiking, camping or occasionally binging on video games.