What do you need to know as a white belt competitor?

5. 2. 2019

In this short article, I will go through a few most important things and rules you should know when you are going to compete. First, before we go to competition rules there are some unwritten rules or things that are right to do before and during fights.

When your category starts you have to be in the warm-up area with your ID card or passport looking for your ring coordinator. Who is your ring coordinator? When brackets are released on their web page you can check the time of your fight, opponent and mat area that you fight on and this will tell you the number of your ring coordinator. So when you see him you show him your ID and he will check you and you will have to follow him to weigh-ins and referees which will check your Gi if it’s allowed for competition. Gi has to be a BJJ Gi with the right length of sleeves, and pants and also the width of your Gi and positioning of your patches. More you can see on the picture below or read on


Once you’re Gi and weight has been check you can proceed to the second warm-up area where you wait till your fight starts. Weigh-ins are also different between BJJ leagues! IBJJF weight ins are in Gi and before your first fight, UAEJJF weigh-ins can be the day before the tournament or few hours before tournament plus you can weigh-in in shorts and t-shirt.

So let’s continue from the second warm-up area when the time of fight comes ring coordinator will find you and lead you to your mat area where you will give your ID to referee behind the table.

If both competitors have the same Gi they will give to one a marker belt that is green and yellow color (IBJJF) or red color (UAEJJF). You have to tie this belt over your belt but it doesn’t matter that much how you tie it because it’s just a marker (as modern BJJ is evolving in the lapel games etc. and people like to use belts also for worm guards etc. there are few tricks how to make your marker belt shorter or harder to use…but this may be in some other post! ;) ). 

Rules and unwritten rules

When the referee calls you up you should shake his hand and shake your opponent's hand to show respect. And you should do it also when the fight ends and doesn’t matter the result! You will not get DQ if you don’t do it but it is the right thing to do.

Now let’s go thru a few most important rules that you need to know, what you can and can’t do especially as white belt competitor. 


-          Jump guard is illegal for white belts. Pull guard is legal but you cannot jump on your opponent and close guard or jump into De la Riva guard like many people like to do and think they will get away with it.

-          Scissor takedown is also illegal. Pretty much everything that is dangerous for opponents or your knees is illegal.

-          Sumi gaeshi when opponents head is not under your stomach but is outside. Or when the opponent is doing single leg takedown with head outside and you throw him back on his head.

-          Suplex aka. Ura nage over your head and on to his neck is illegal. You can do ura nage sideways.

-          Grabbing fingers is illegal standing and on the ground. You can grab a pair of his fingers (4) but can’t grab individual fingers.

On the ground:

-          Knee reaping is illegal and is probably the most common DQ at lower belts. So watch out the position of your foot when you are attacking and controlling the opponent’s legs. Your outside foot cannot go over opponents hip/leg and cross his center line as it can be dangerous for his knee. Plus even if you don’t knee reap and spin with him in the wrong direction is also a DQ especially if you hold and control his leg with legs and hands. If you don’t hold it with hands it can be legal if you do certain inside ashi garamis. More about it you can read in IBJJF rule book on page 32.

-          Grabbing sleeves or pants from the inside

-          Neck cranks and all neck and spine submission are illegal.

More you can check in the table below from IBJJFs rule book.

During the fight, you also need to watch out so you are quiet! You cannot talk to the referee or opponent. If you have a minor injury like blood coming out of finger etc. you show to referee and maybe he stops the fight and calls the doctors to patch it. If the referee doesn’t react you continue with the fight or you can get a penalty or DQ. Also if you scream while the opponent is doing action or submission it can be understood as a tap out. Trash talking and making unrespectful gestures against opponent or referee leads to immediate DQ even if you submit/win him and are celebrating in an unrespectful way.

Once your fight is over you untie your marker belt and leave it by the table at your mat area, take your ID card and go back to 2nd warm up are if you won your fight and wait there for your next fight.

I hope you liked this article and that it gave you some basic guidelines about competition. If you like it please comment, like and share on our FB page. If you have any additional questions you can text us or put a comment under the article!


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