Jiu jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu and its Philosophy

The roots of Jiu-Jitsu date back to the dawn of human civilization, and it has become phenomenally popular in the hearts and minds of the martial arts community. Its philosophy is based on two pillars: the first is the use of mental strengthto gain an advantage over opponents. This will help not only in resisting strikes, but also in avoiding hostile situations and ultimately overcoming them. The second pillar is the use of unarmed combat to improve fitness levels, flexibility, self-discipline, focus and composure. This discipline and focus also helps in setting and achieving targets.

History and Origins

Jiu-Jitsu shares some common roots with other martial arts. India is the birthplace of the sport, and Buddhist monks developed and refined its features. They focused on balance and strength to limit the use of weapons that were used at the time.

It then found its way to China and Japan where it attracted a lot of attention, participation and popularity. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu techniques are known as "The Gentle Way," and are based on the core values of loyalty, justice, morality, serenity, humility, honor, self-confidence and respect.

Despite the emergence of various martial arts like Aikido, Karate and Judo, Jiu-Jitsu retained the true spirit and values of the original art.


In 1915, a Japanese fighter named Mitsuyo Maeda gave Jiu-Jitsu demonstrations and exhibition fights that quickly popularized the sport in Brazil. He settled in Belém and helped new Japanese immigrants to settle in the community while also teaching Jiu-Jitsu. One of his best students was a teenager called Carlos Gracie - the son of Gastão Gracie, who was a business partner of the American Circus in Belém.

Carlos Gracie soon became renowned for his skill, defeating opponents who were physically stronger than him. In 1925 he opened the Gracie Jujitsu Academy in Rio de Janeiro, the first academy of its kind, and helped to spread Maeda’s philosophy.

Between1940-2004, the Gracie family won many tournaments against physically superior fighters. For the Gracies, Jiu-Jitsu was more than just a martial art; it was a way of life. They refined the techniques of Jiu-Jitsu into a national sport that became known as ‘Brazilian-Jiu Jitsu’ and is practiced by martial artists all over the world.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan: Championing Jiu-Jitsu in the UAE

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has demonstrated his commitment to making the UAE a center for Jiu-Jitsu by designating it as the UAE’s national sport. This strengthens the philosophy of “healthy mind, healthy body” which aims to make Abu Dhabi a health-conscious society.

Following the launch of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club in 1999, the first year proved to be a major success with applications flooding in from around the world. This event is now regarded as the largest and most prestigious of its kind. With its new competition rules, the event was so successful that it soon branched out from Abu Dhabi to various countries.

The World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup was launched in 2009. Five years later, with the help of Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, this sport is now on the curriculum of over 100 Abu Dhabi government schools, benefiting more than 40,000 boys and girls.

The Jiu-Jitsu also greatly benefited from the support of His Highness Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan: Founder of Jiu-Jitsu in the UAE

In each country, Jiu-Jitsu was founded by a spiritual father who propelled its success and spread its popularity to different segments of society. In the UAE, the sport’s spiritual father is His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who deserves most of the credit for the rapid impact and evolution of the sport, and its spread across various areas.

His Highness first developed a passion for the sport in 1995 while studying in San Diego, US, where he was pursuing the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Enthusiasts of the sport were scattered in various parts of the US. HH Sheikh Tahnoon joined Gracie Barra, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association, to learn the principles of Jiu-Jitsu. After his return to the UAE in 1997, HH Sheikh Tahnoon was keen to spread the sport across the country, due to its significant mental, physical and social benefits.

Abu Dhabi founded a Jiu-Jitsu club that same year, and the vision was to make the city the global capital of the Jiu-Jitsu community. New rules and a points system helped to minimize brutal strikes, with emphasis on using the hands to attack in a more tactical way. All this attracted more enthusiasts to the sport.

HH Sheikh Tahnoon is known for his deep passion in all types of martial arts, and he has mastered martial combat since childhood - including Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Sambo and others. In addition, he was the first Emirati to be awarded a black belt.

Jiu-Jitsu is a sport of the mind, body and soul. It has great benefits for the individual and the wider community :

Physical benefits
  • Promotes greater strength, flexibility, agility and stamina
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Reduces cholesterol and builds a stronger heart
  • Greater control of muscular and cardio-vascular health
  • Learning techniques in a structured environment
  • Improved blood circulation and reduced blood pressure
  • Builds a stronger immune system
  • Better balance, posture and graceful movements
  • Greater speed of mind-to-body coordination
  • Helps build more stable sleep patterns

Mental and Emotional Benefits
  • Builds self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Teaches patience and composure
  • Improves discipline and self-control
  • Better ability to multi-task
  • Enhances the ability to maintain concentration for long periods
  • Promotes willpower, perseverance, hard work and commitment
  • Encourages dignity and being humble
  • Promotes a motivational and upbeat spirit even after setbacks
  • A higher level of overall happiness

Social Benefits
  • Teaches respect for peers and adults
  • Builds strong spirit of camaraderie and new friendships
  • Maintains sportsmanship and the spirit of fairness
  • BIncreases cooperation, interaction and teamwork
  • Prioritizes self-defense instead of aggression
  • Socio-economic benefits from reducing obesity and related health complications

The color of the belt signifies the athlete’s technical knowledge and practical skills. Although there are no set standards that determine when a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is ready for promotion to the next level, the instructor or the academy usually qualifies the student after rounds of tests. The belt color is determined by the coach or Academy / Technical Committee which the athlete is affiliated with.

white belt
White Belt
This belt is the lowest ranking in Jiu-Jitsu. It signifies that the athlete is at beginner level and is yet to master advanced techniques, knowledge or experience of the sport.

gray belt
Gray Belt
As the second level in Jiu-Jitsu, it signifies that the athlete has acquired the basics of Jiu-Jitsu. Athletes as young as 4-6 years can enter this classification in preparation to learn higher skills.

yellow belt
Yellow Belt
This level is for young people aged between 7-15 years. Athletes participate in the yellow belt category according to the rules of the International Federation of Jiu-Jitsu.

orange belt
Orange Belt
This level is for athletes who have acquired a number of additional skills. Young athletes between the ages of 10-15 years can participate in this category, according to the rules of the International Federation of Jiu-Jitsu.

green belt
Green Belt
In this category, athletes gain more advanced skills and experience. Athletes must be between the ages of 13-15 years, and they participate according to the rules of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation.
blue belt
Blue Belt
This belt bridges the gap between beginners’ level and intermediate level. A blue belt practitioner must acquire vast amounts of technical knowledge in all aspects of Jiu-Jitsu to implement the moves efficiently.

The International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) requires that a practitioner be at least 16 years old to receive a blue belt.

purple belt
Purple Belt
This is the intermediate adult ranking. The IBJJF requires that a student should be 16 years or older and have spent a minimum of two years as a blue belt to become eligible to receive a purple belt.

brown belt
Brown Belt
This is one of the first elite ranks, considered a level for refining techniques and practical skills rather than accumulating new ones. The IBJJF requires that a student be at least 18 years old and have spent a minimum of one and a half years ranked as a purple belt to be eligible to receive a brown belt.

black belt
Black Belt
This is the highest rank within the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF). It denotes an expert level of technical and practical skill. The IBJJF requires that a student be at least 19 years old and have spent a minimum of one year ranked as a brown belt to be eligible to receive a black belt.

Valid moves are those that seek to neutralize, immobilize, strangle and apply any kind of pressure on the twisting joints, as well as knocking down one’s opponent by a take-down.

Non-valid moves that are considered illegal are: biting, hair pulling, sticking fingers in the eyes or nose of one’s opponent, striking the opponent’s genitalia, finger twisting, and any other move that gains unfair advantage with the use of one’s fists, feet, elbows or head.

Competitions are the lifeline of the sport, but victory should never be obtained through unfair means.

Ethical behavior is what gives the sport credibility and security, which are indispensable factors to our sport. Only through these valueshas the sport evolved into a spectacular international sport. Since we hope to be part of the greatest show on earth - the Olympics - we must stay focused on Jiu-Jitsu as a viable modern sport.

fighting areas

Each area (ring) must be composed of a minimum of 64 square meters and maximum 100 square meters. This area will be divided into two areas: the inner area composed of at least 18 blue tatames(mats); and the outer area consisting of 14 red tatames.

The match referee is the highest authority on the match and has the authority to disqualify competitors during the match. No one can overturn his decision. In special cases Jiu-Jitsu International federation can review and overturn a referee’s decision if the decision is unjust.

The referee is assisted by the timekeeper during matches. In cases where a referee shows himself incapable to continue refereeing because of obvious mistakes, the inspector of the event has the authority to replace him.

During the match the central referee should always direct the competitors to the center of the ring. In the event that the competitors move out of bounds during the match, the referee will call "PAROU" and at the same time make the gesture according to the command, where upon the competitors must hold their position without movement.

The same procedure will be followed if 2/3 of any competitor’s body is outside the boundary. The referee may be assisted by the timekeeper in moving the athletes back to the center of the ring. In case the referee and the timekeeper are unable to move the athletes back to the center of the ring, the athletes will be asked to walk back to the center and continue from the same position.

The referee will not allow interference from outsiders during the match. A medical team or nurse will be allowed on the match at the referee’s discretion.

During the match, the referee or persons at the scoring table are not allowed to converse with the competitors; this will be strictly enforced.

Expiration of time will be determined by the timekeeper during the match. The timekeeper will notify the central referee immediately with an auditory and visual signal.

After the table gives the whistle signaling that the match is over, the referee can give an advantage point to the combatant for attempting a submission or for attempting to establish a dominant position without maintaining it for the required time; except for take-downs (since athletes don't need to establish a dominant position to award points).

The judges’ table will note the referee’s gestures on a scorecard. The table will have two scoreboards with green, yellow and white cards for scoring the points and advantages.
A. The kimono must be washed and dried with no unpleasant odours.
B. Toes and fingernails must be cut short and clean.
C. People with long hair must keep their hair from interfering with their opponent or themselves during the match.
D. Athletes are not permitted to paint their hair with spray and may be disqualified by the referee for doing so.
Competitors are required to use kimonos according to the following specifications:

A. Constructed of cotton or similar material and in good condition. The material may not be excessively thick or hard to the point where it will obstruct the opponent.

B. Colors may be black, white or blue; no combined colors (for example a white kimono with blue pants)

C. The jacket is to be of sufficient length down to the thighs; sleeves must reach the wrist with arms extended in front of the body. The sleeve should follow the official measures according to CBJJ and IBJJF, from the shoulder to the wrist.

D. Belt width should be 4-5cm, with color corresponding to rank tied around the waist with a double knot, tight enough to keep the kimono closed.

E. Athletes are not permitted to compete with torn kimonos, sleeves or pants that are not of proper length, or with T-shirts underneath the kimono (except in the female divisions).

F. It is not allowed to use painted kimonos, except for the teams.

G. Competitors must abide by the hygiene and kimono specifications to compete, otherwise the opponent will be declared the winner.
There is never a draw. Bouts will be decided by:

Submission occurs when a technique forces an opponent into admitting defeat by:

1) Tapping with the palm against his opponent or the floor in a visible manner

2) Tapping with his feet on the ground (if he is unable to use his hands)

3) Requesting verbally to the referee that the fight be stopped (if he can neither tap with his hands nor his feet)

4) Requesting that the fight be ended if the athlete gets injured or feels physically incapable or unprepared

5) The referee may end the fight and give victory to the athlete who applied the lock if he sees a lock being properly applied and is certain that the athlete is exposed to serious physical damage

6) A coach of one of the athletes may request that the fight be ended, either by directing himself to the referee or by throwing the towel into the ring for any reason

7) When an athlete is under a submission position and he screams or says"Aï", it will be the same as if he taps
The referee may end the fight when one of the athletes is injured or the doctor’s examination proves he is incapable of continuing. If this occurs, the victory will be given to the opponent as long as the injury was not caused intentionally by conduct worthy of disqualification

8) When the athlete requests “Caimbras”, it will be the same as if he taps

Serious fouls are those that lead to immediate disqualification by the referee.

A) The use of foul language, cursing or other immoral acts of disrespect towards the referee or any of the assisting officials.

B) Biting, hair pulling, putting fingers into the eyes or nose of one’s opponent, intentionally seeking to injure genitalia or the use of fists, feet, knees, elbows or head with the intention to hurt or gain unfair advantage.

C) When the fighter has his kimono ripped during the fight, the referee will give him a set time to change it. If the fighter does not change it in time he will be disqualified.

D) The fighter must wear shorts under the pants, keeping in mind the risk that the suit might get torn or come off. If this occurs, the athlete will be given a set time determined by the referee to find another pair of pants to wear. If the athlete cannot change within the set time, he will be immediately disqualified.

E) When an athlete has been putting a lock and he runs out of the ring to avoid tapping out, he will be immediately disqualified. In such cases when it is considered a technical foul (not a disciplinary foul), the offender may return to the competition to fight the absolute division or in a bracket of three.

F) When the athlete breaks any rule of the article.


- On the first offense the offender will be given a verbal warning.
- On the second offense the offender’s opponent will be given an advantage.
- On the third offense the offender’s opponent will be given two points.
- After the third offense the referee may disqualify the athlete for any further fouls.

A) The athlete will only be allowed to kneel after having taken hold of his opponent’s kimono.

B) When either of the athletes run to one of the extremities of the ring to avoid combat, or while ground fighting they flee by crawling or rolling out of the ring, or by standing up and avoiding engaging, or purposely stepping out of the ring to gain time.

C) When the athlete avoids engaging by taking off his kimono or by allowing it to be taken off with the intention of stopping the fight to allow himself rest or to avoid the attacks of his opponent.

D) When the athlete inserts his fingers inside the sleeves or pants, or with both his hands on his opponent’s belt.

E) When the athlete stalls the fight, holding his adversary and not seeking to engage or gain submissions when in the guard, on top, at the bottom.

Holding the opponent, standing up, or any position designed to stall. Noticing this the referee will request that 20 seconds be marked and say “LUTE” while making the gesture. At the end of the 20 seconds if the athlete hasn’t changed his position or shown visible signs of engagement, the referee will again say “LUTE” and make the same gesture, penalizing the athlete and giving an advantage to the other athlete. If he continues stalling the referee will stop the fight by saying “PAROU”, and he will penalize the same athlete, giving 2 points to the other athlete. Both athletes will return to their feet at neutral positions, with the possibility of disqualification on the next offense.

F) NOTE: A penalty with immediate loss of 2 points occurs when an athlete runs from the ring in order to avoid a sweep that the referee believes would have been completed, or when the athlete flees the ring to avoid a lock that has not yet been completed and not engaging in the article "E" for disqualification.
One of the two opponents is defeated after losing consciousness by any of the valid moves: strangling, pressuring, take downs or accidents in which the adversary has not committed any foul worthy of disqualification.

The sport by its nature makes athletes use their technical abilities to attempt to finish or neutralize their opponents. The goal is to use superior techniques by applying positions and negative points on the adversary.

The athlete cannot score new points when he is in a position where he received points previously, changes position intentionally and returns to the same position.

Example: For knee on the belly and switching sides, there will be no newpoints awarded.

The fight can be an ascending condition for techniques, looking to dominate the adversary, working to finish the opponent.

No points will be awarded to the athlete who is attaining a position while in a submission. Points will only be awarded after the submission iscompletely defended.

Example: When one athlete is mounting his opponent but is in a guitine, the points of the mount will be awarded only when the submission is defended.

The positions sought technically are presented in terms of the fighter’s strategy and the finishing technique. If there is no finish the positions established will be translated into points to determine the winner.
Positions are achieved through proper technique. If there is no submission at the end of a match, the athlete gains victory by scoring more position points than his opponent.

Any kind of knocking down the opponent or being taken down on his backside: 2 points. If the athlete is thrown to the ground and does not land on his back, the thrower must pin him to the ground in the same position for at least 3 seconds to gain the points of the take down.

Observation 1: A take down that lands outside the fighting area and into the security area will be valid as long as the athlete that applied it stood with both feet in the fighting area while making the take down.

Observation 2: If the athlete has one of his knees on the ground and is taken down, whoever applied the take down will be awarded 2 points as long as he has both feet on the ground. If the athlete has both his knees on the ground and is knocked down, the standing athlete will have to pass to his side and maintain this position to receive an advantage.

Observation 3: When an athlete attempts the double leg and the opponent sits on the floor and executes a sweep, the athlete who attempted the take down will not receive points, but the one who executed the sweep will.

Observation 4: When a competitor throws his opponent and ends up in the bottom position, the competitor throwing will receive 2 points and the opponent on top will receive an advantage. If the competitor executing the throw lands in his opponent’s guard and is swept, both will receive 2 points.
This is when the athlete that is above his adversary or between his legs, moves to his opponent’s side, establishing a perpendicular or longitudinal position over his adversary’s trunk, dominating him and leaving him no space to move or to escape the position - even this is on his side or back:3 points

NOTE: if the athlete that is underneath avoids the move by getting to his knees or standing up, the initiative will not be awarded 3 points but will be awarded an advantage.
When the athlete on top puts his knee on his adversary’s stomach, holding his collar or sleeve and belt with his other leg towards his adversary’s head: 2 POINTS.

Observation: if the athlete who is underneath does not allow his adversary to put his knee down onto his belly and if the one on top does not establish the position completely, this will not be awarded 2 points but an advantage.
This is when the athlete sits on his opponent’s torso; the opponent can be lying on his stomach, side or back. The one mounted can be on top of one of his opponent’s arms, but never on both. It will also be considered a mount if he has one knee and one foot on the ground:4 POINTS.

Observation: No points will be awarded if the athlete’s feet or knees are on his opponent’s leg. Also, if an athlete applies a triangle while in the guard and in so doing lands mounted on his opponent, it will be considered a sweep, not a mount. (See the Guard)
This is when the athlete grabs his adversary’s back, taking hold of his neck and wrapping his legs around his opponent’s waist, with his heels leaning on the inner side of his opponent’s thighs, not allowing him to leave the position: 4 POINTS.

NOTE: The points will not be awarded if both heels are not properly positioned on the inner part of the adversary’s thighs. If the athlete has his leg over one arm of the opponent but never grabs both arms, no points will be awarded.
This is when the athlete who is underneath has his opponent in his guard (between his legs) or the half guard (having one of his adversary’s legs between his) and is able to get on top of his adversary by inverting his position: 2 POINTS.

Observation 1: It will not be considered a sweep if the move does not begin from inside the guard or half guard.

Observation 2: When the athlete sweeping advances his position to the back of his opponent during the attempted sweep, he is awarded 2 points.

Observation 3: If an athlete starts in a guard position and attempts a sweep and both athletes return to their feet with the competitor attempting the sweep executing a takedown remaining on top, he will be awarded 2 points.


Penalties are given to an athlete after committing a third offence such as avoiding engaging, staling or not seeking ways to finalize the fight.

Stalling: In case the athlete makes the classic stalling on the cross side or North South position without seeking ways to submit.

Holding the opponent, standing up, or any position designed to stall. Noticing this, the referee will request that 20 seconds be marked and say “LUTE”; while making the gesture. At the end of the 20 seconds if the athlete hasn’t changed his position or shown visible signs of engagement, the referee will again say “LUTE”; and make the same gesture, penalizing the athlete and giving an advantage to the other opponent. If he continues stalling, the referee will stop the fight by saying “PAROU”, and he will penalize the same athlete, giving 2 points to the other athlete. Both athletes will return to their feet at neutral positions, with the possibility of disqualification on the next offense.
It is considered an advantage when the athlete attempts but does not complete any of the fundamental moves of the fight such as a sweep, take down or submission.

• Advantages through takedowns: When there is a visible loss of balance in which the adversary nearly completes the takedown. A visible loss of balance during an attempted throw will also result in an advantage.

• During closed guard (when the athlete on the bottom has his legs wrapped around his opponent’s waist):

A) The one on top will earn an advantage by being on the offensive, trying to dominate his adversary’s guard (pass the guard). For the referee to consider it an advantage, the athlete on top must come close to passing the guard, forcing his adversary to exert energy to regain position such as half guard, or almost immobilizing.

B) The one underneath will earn the advantage if he almost sweeps his opponent, putting him in a dangerous position, as well as when he attempts a lock that forces his opponent to defend.

NOTE: For the sweep attempt to be considered worthy of an advantage, the athlete underneath must open his legs.
When there is a tie situation on the scoreboard, it is up to the referee to decide if he will award an advantage, using the following judgments:
Disciplinary Infractions
  • When an athlete removes any part of the uniform or kimono when inside the competition area.
  • When an athlete does not wear shoes and walks barefoot within the competition area or in other areas where it is required to wear shoes.
  • When coaches or athletes in the audience use offensive language against members of staff or encourage other athletes or teammates to exhibit disrespectful behavior in the competition area.
  • When an athlete uses offensive language or gestures directed at the opponent, staff, crowd or referee whether inside or outside the competition area.
  • When an athlete disagrees with the referee decision or clearly demonstrates an unsportsmanlike attitude inside the competition area, such as by avoiding shaking the hand of their opponent or arguing with the referee
  • When an athlete demonstrates an undisciplined attitude and blocks or delays the competition flow.
  • When an athlete jumps over the barriers that separate the competition area and the public area to argue with staff or athletes.
  • When an athlete shows physical aggression to the opponent, referee or staff during the competition.
  • When an athlete competes in a different belt division to that of their current belt level.
  • When an athlete deliberately damages any equipment belonging to the UAEJJF or the local organization.
OBS: Negative actions or misbehavior not described in this item may be subject to administrative punishments to be defined according to UAEJJF Disciplinary Committee criteria.

Disciplinary Sanctions
  • Written warning
  • Suspension
  • Exclusion
  • Fine
OBS: An athlete who violates one or more of the rules of conduct described in this item may receive administrative punishments to be defined according to UAEJJF Disciplinary Committee criteria.

  • A written warning is applicable in the case of infractions 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3
  • In the case of multiple infractions, the UAEJJF Disciplinary Committee can agree to progress the punishment to “suspension”
  • Suspension is applicable in the case of infractions 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9 and 2.0. In these cases, the athlete will be suspended at the time of the competition, accompanied by the withdrawal of any medal or title earned.
  • In the case of infractions 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6, the UAEJJF Disciplinary Committee can suspend the athlete for a period of one to three competitions
  • In the case of infractions 1.7, 1.8, 1.9 and 2.0, the UAEJJF Disciplinary Committee can suspend the athlete for a period of six months to three years and remove up to XXX ranking points from his team.
  • Exclusion is applicable in the case of infractions 1.8, 1.9 and 2.0. In these cases, the athlete will be excluded from all UAEJJF competitions indefinitely.
  • A fine is applicable to all infractions described at cap 1, starting from one time the competition registration price up to ten times the competition registration price, to be defined according to UAEJJF Disciplinary Committee criteria.


After the decision, the Disciplinary Committee will inform the punished athlete by email, letter, phone call or personally. It is an athlete duty to keep his personal information updated on the UAEJJF system.

If the athlete can not be successfully contacted, the committee will send the notification to the coach responsible for the athlete punished.