Jiu-Jitsu, one of the oldest Japanese Martial Arts, can trace its origin back more than 2,000 years, Samurai warriors used Jiu-Jitsu's empty hand techniques for combat. Traditionally, Jiu-Jitsu was practised as a self defence art believed too lethal to ever become a viable sport because of the high risk of injury, yet today with creative and skilful modifications over the past 25 years Jiu-Jitsu has entered a new arena. SJJ although relatively new to some, is quickly becoming a popular martial sport throughout the world.

SJJ transcends other forms of martial art's competition because it encompasses all fighting ranges. For example, although a fighter may become a world champion in Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Judo, or Grappling arts like Wrestling, unless he/she is versatile and can blend principles from all systems, he/she will not be a successful SJJ competitor. SJJ challenges fighters not only to develop hand and foot speed, but also to have the versatility and skill to go into grappling using take-downs and submissions.

The art of Jiu-Jitsu consists of: Ukemi waza (break falling techniques) Nage waza (throwing techniques), Katame waza (grappling techniques), Atemi waza (striking techniques), Kaansetsu waza (joint locking techniques) and Shime waza (strangulation techniques) Many styles of Karate that are primarily striking arts have their roots in Jiu-Jitsu. Judo and Aikido which are primarily grappling arts also have their roots in Jiu-Jitsu. Therefore, a competition that consists of only striking without grappling is not true SJJ because it is missing a very important element of Jiu-Jitsu and so is more like a point Karate tournament. Also a tournament which consists of only grappling and no striking cannot legitimately be called SJJ because it too is missing a very important element of Jiu-Jitsu. Without strikes it is only a grappling tournament, often called submission wrestling. A true SJJ tournament represents the art's totality and consists of all the physical elements.

SJJ competition is not exclusively for Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, the rules have been designed for the spectator as well as the competitor and intend to be fair for all players regardless of style. There are three levels of competition in SJJ and they are: Kyu belts (under Black Belt) Juniors (under 16) and Black Belts. Players in the Kyu rank, Jr. & Sr. and Black Belt semi contact competition are awarded points as follows: 1 point for a crisp clean technique to the body, 2 points for a controlled kick to the head (light contact only), 2 points for a half throw, 3 points for a full throw, and a submission is an automatic win.

Each SJJ Black Belt match consists of two 2-minute rounds with 30 seconds grappling time once competitors go to the ground. Many argue that a time limit on the ground makes the competition unrealistic because studies show that up to 90% (depending on the survey) of all street altercation's end on the ground. However studies also show that less than 10% last longer than 30 seconds once they do go to the ground. Therefore SJJ encourages a competitor to learn how to finish more quickly which in turn is more realistic than having an unlimited amount of time to finish your opponent.

There are different governing bodies for SJJ in various countries. The objective of the WORLD KOBUDO FEDERATION is to bring these governing bodies together to unify rules and to pave the way to the Olympics.

For information on tournaments, seminars, etc. regarding SPORT JIU-JITSU contact THERIEN JIU-JITSU (World Kobudo Headquarters) at (613) 746 5402, or contact the SPORT JIU-JITSU COORDINATOR, ROBERT KRANSTZ (905) 632 3100, 4281 LONGMOOR DRIVE, BURLINGTON, ONTARIO, L7L 5A4, or Email


Is SJJ competition for Jiu-Jitsu practitioners only? Absolutely not, the rules and regulations are designed to be equally fair for all players regardless of style, as long as they practice the elements involved in Jiu-Jitsu.

How does SJJ differ from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments? SJJ consists of all the physical elements of Jiu-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments do not allow the element of striking and are primarily submission wrestling events.

How do I find out who is in charge of SJJ for my country or area? Contact the WKF headquarters listed above, or the SJJ coordinator.

How does an athlete qualify to represent his/her country in International competition? First they must be a members in good standing with the WORLD KOBUDO FEDERATION and be an active participant on the SJJ tournament circuit. Team members are usually selected based on their performance in competitions.


Selecting of Referees and Judges:

The combat art of Jiu-Jitsu can only be altered or modified to become a safe competitive sport if one important element becomes part and parcel of the sport itself. This foremost element in SJJ is well trained officials. He/she must be thoroughly knowledgeable in understanding, interpreting and administering all aspects of the rules. This can only be accomplished through diligent study of the rule book and actual physical training under competition conditions. Officiating shall be considered a prestigious position and only those who have diligently studied and trained are to be considered and accepted as experts in the field of rule etiquette.

Officials chosen to participate on the international level must be certified by the WORLD KOBUDO SPORT JIU-JITSU BOARD. Officials on the national level must be certified by their respective countries for SJJ.



A: Each player must present him/herself suitably attired in a clean, traditional martial arts gi (uniform) with sleeves no more than one fist distance up the arm from the wrist (a jiu-jitsu or judo top is recommended). If a player's uniform becomes bloodied or torn in a manner that may affect the outcome of the match, he/she will be asked to replace it immediately or forfeit the match.

B: All jewelry (rings, watches, necklaces, etc.) must be removed.

C: Wearing of eye glasses during competition is prohibited

D: Competitors may be required to wear a coloured flag or belt during the actual match for identification purposes

E: All competitors must be suitably attired with proper safety equipment, (see article 2)


The use of safety equipment such as approved sparring gloves, sparring shoes, shin pads, mouth guards, and a groin protector is mandatory. Head gear is mandatory in all divisions below the age of sixteen (16). Although head gear is not mandatory in other divisions, it is recommended for personal safety. Approved sparring gloves and shoes shall consist of a minimum ½" thick pliable material covering all of the hand and foot striking areas with the exception of the sole of the foot and palm of the hand. No abrasive, rough, tattered, torn or loose equipment will be permitted. No protective equipment shall be allowed to contain any metal or hard plastic.


The competition surface must have proper floor matting with suitable thickness to accommodate throws. Matting must be laid flat and held secure. Any seams or tears must be covered with suitable tape. The contest area itself shall be no less than 16 X 16 foot square, and no more than 20 X 20 foot square, and there should be a safety border around the fighting area..

Medical personnel shall be available at all times and easily recognizable.

A chief referee and arbitrator will be appointed prior to the beginning of the tournament.

Equal training emphasis must be placed on officials as well as competitors. Only highly trained official who have a working knowledge of the rules can be accepted for international competition. The chief referee in his/her wisdom, may select or reject officials who do not meet these criteria at any time during the tournament, with no recourse for protest or debate.

Each contest must have: One referee, two judges, one scorekeeper, and two timekeepers, (one to time the duration of each round, and one to keep time for the 30 second ground fighting).
NOTE: Tournaments other than major National or International, may get by with one timekeeper.
All officials should be identifiable by wearing appropriate clothing, (for international competition).


The referee does not keep score. The referee is charged with supervision of the match. He/she administers and controls the tempo of the contest, enforces the rules, and ensures fair play. To this end, he/she starts and stops the fight, calls and enforces all penalties.

( The referee shall communicate clearly with the scorekeeper and timekeeper, as well as announces the winner of each match. The referee shall announce in a loud clear voice all official decisions, and shall indicate with voice and gestures the player affected by his/her decisions.
Centre referee is the only person who can call for and administer a penalty
The centre referee is encouraged to give verbal commands throughout the competition where a penalty has not been called, such as "watch the contact, or, stay in bounds, etc."
The referee is responsible for counting the five (5) second allowed for stand up grappling.
The referee will check the score counters at the end of round one, to declare the leader, and at the end of round two in order to declare the winner
When the competitors are on the ground and a hold down has started, the referee will extend his/her arm out over the competitors, this is the signal for the timekeeper to start the ground time. (For juniors and Kyu belts the referee may count the time)
Only the centre referee may call time out. He/she must do so for the following reasons:

A: To allow equipment adjustments.
B: To award points, assess penalties, administer warnings.

C: To attend to an injured competitor.
D: To hear a legal protest.

The centre referee will occasionally confer with the judges when in his/her opinion the scores are not consistent, this will help to ascertain the competence of the judges.


Two corner Judges keep score with lap counter type devices, one Judge has a counter with a red flag attached and one Judge with a white flag attached, in order to identify the competitors. The Judges will count all striking and throwing points of their designated competitor that are to a legal target area, using a legal technique, while standing and while on the ground. The centre referee will instruct the appropriate Judge as to how many points should be counted in the event of a hold down. The centre referee will check the scores at the end of round one in order to call the leader, then the Judges will exchange counters without erasing the scores. Judges are required to limit their motions to their respective areas of the ring, and they must never interfere with the motions of the referee or competitors. The Judge that is closest to the score-keeping table will be responsible for relaying signals and commands between the referee and the timekeeper, and scorekeeper.

Call for Leader: During the thirty second break between rounds the referee will check the score counters to determine a leader.

Awarding a Win: At the end of the match, the centre referee will check the Judges scores and indicate which competitor has won.

A Tie: When the centre referee checks the scores and determines that it is a tie, he/she will indicate and call this a tie, and further rounds will be held to break the tie. (See Article 12 - Duration of rounds)

Out of Bounds: A competitor, whether throwing or striking, is considered in bounds and eligible to score if one foot is still in the fighting area. However, a competitor may not be considered officially out of bounds until the centre referee stops the fight. It should be noted that it is the centre referee's voice which signals an end to scoring opportunities for the competitors. A Judge should not base his/her scoring on the in bounds or out of bounds of a competitor, but only on the techniques that are happening, unless otherwise advised by the centre referee. If competitors go out of bounds, the centre referee will stop the match momentarily and immediately resume the match once the competitors are both in bounds. If a competitor runs out of bounds simply to avoid engaging his/her opponent he/she will be warned only once by the centre referee, (see article 5, Re: verbal commands). The second time this occurs a penalty will be called. Further offenses of this infraction may be cause for disqualification.

K ARTICLE 7: DUTIES OF THE TIMEKEEPER Timekeepers shall be seated adjacent to the competition area and shall stop and start time according to the referee's signal to do so. When the fighting has stopped for more than three seconds and if for some reason the centre referee fails to call time out the timekeeper should automatically stop time, and then restart time with the referee's signal, or when fighting resumes. Timekeeper #1 shall, by verbal and visual signals, such as throwing a bean bag or suitable substitute into the centre of the fighting area, inform the referee when time has run out, or when he/she has received a formal protest. Time officially runs out only when the centre referee calls the signal to stop. Timekeeper #2 will begin timing when he/she sees the competitors go to the ground, and shall indicate the end of ground time by sounding a whistle or other means of communicating (See: Duties of Judges). Timekeeper #2 will have a second stop watch to keep track of the hold down time, as per the referee's signals, and at the end of ground time will advise the referee as to how long the hold down was in effect.

Scorekeeper shall keep count of all penalties awarded to competitors, as instructed by the centre referee. He/she will maintain scores sheets and call up each competitor, including those on deck. All the required score sheets, hand counters, stopwatches and necessary flags must be at the scorekeeper's table.

A legal or formal protest can only be lodged for a noncompliance of the rules and can only be introduced by a head Sensei, or designated coach, the tournament director, or his designate. A legal protest to be acted upon during a match must be lodged with the timekeeper, who will immediately notify the centre referee. The centre referee will then call a time out to deal with the protest.


1: For crisp, clean striking techniques delivered with either hand or foot to legal target areas, (To score a point to the body in Black Belt division medium to hard contact is mandatory) Hand strikes to the head (to the head gear area) with light or touch contact only, will be awarded one point. (The head contact must indicate that the potential was there for a harder blow)

1: Kicks to the inner and outer thigh with light to medium contact using roundhouse kicks only (mawashi geri) will be awarded one point. (Kicks at or near the knee will be a major penalty loss of 2 points)

1: A flurry may be considered a repetitive number of doubtful strikes and only one point will be awarded. (At judges discretion).

1: Each strike must be seen to be a potentially damaging or injurious blow and will be awarded one point.(except for head kick)
5: Any combination strikes will be considered on their own merit, they will be considered as multiple points or a flurry, at judges discretion.

6: Once stand up grappling commences, multiple strikes will be allowed and counted for both competitors within the 5 seconds allowed, then they must break the grappling hold.

B. One Point - is awarded for any takedown, other than a half or full throw. (Where it is shown that one competitor initiated and was in control of the takedown)

C. Two Points - are awarded for a controlled kick to the head that makes no more than light or touch contact to head gear area.
D. Multiple Points - Will be awarded for achieving any legitimate hold down position during the allotted ground time.

Points for hold downs are: (Black Belts) 2 points for every 10 seconds up to the 30 second time limit.
(Kyu belts and Juniors). One point for every 5 seconds up to the 15 second time limit. The time will be monitored and determined by the timekeeper. The hold down time will start officially by a signal from the centre referee (his/her arm extended out over the competitors).
*NOTE* A competitor cannot be saved by the bell (time limit of rounds) once a hold down has started, it will be allowed to continue to completion for 2 points Black Belt, or 1 point Junior or Kyu Belts.
This will apply only if ground time has not run out.

E. Two Points - are awarded for a legitimate and controlled half-throw or sweep scored on an opponent that causes one foot to leave the mat, (Such as O'Soto Gari, or Ko Soto Gari).

F. Three Points - are awarded for a full throw or sweep scored on an opponent that causes both feet to leave the mat. (Such as various hip throws, or shoulder throws).

G. Four Points - are awarded for a submission by referee intervention, (this is when, in the opinion of the centre referee there would be severe injury caused if the lock or choke continued).
*NOTE* Any submission that causes a competitor to tap out is an automatic win.

What constitutes a submission? A competitor tapping out, from a joint lock or choke, or a competitor who receives a strike to the body, (without malicious intent), or a throw, (without malicious intent) and cannot continue within a 10 second count will constitute a submission (Black belt only). Also, (See previous 4 point submission).
*NOTE* If there has been a penalty assessed to a competitor that deems he/she loses 2 points, two points are to be added to the opponents score, since the counters cannot deduct points.


The criteria for grappling allows a competitor to hold his/her opponent in any legal manner for approximately five (5) seconds while in a standing position, after which time if there has been no takedown or throw, the competitors must release the hold, (on a command by the centre referee). Multiple strikes from either competitor will be allowed during this encounter. The timekeeper will start the ground time (30 seconds for Black Belt, and 15 seconds for juniors and Kyu belts) when one or both competitors have been taken to the ground by use of a legal technique. The competitors on the ground can score with legal striking techniques to
legal target area. (No strikes to the head by either competitor)
.competitors may also score with counter throws, hold downs or submissions.
At the end of the time limit they will be separated, brought to their feet and will resume stand up fighting.
If a hold down has started, or it looks like a submission is close, the referee can use his/her discretion as to calling out of bounds.
Absolutely NO neck restraint techniques (chokes) for juniors will be allowed, the primary objective for juniors on the ground is to achieve a hold down, although arm locks will be allowed for junior blue belts and above.
A competitor who ends up on the ground because of an illegal technique may not be scored upon.
If there is a penalty call while competitors are on the ground, depending on the position of the competitor, the referee may stop the fight and assess the penalty, or he/she may let it continue, (if the penalty was against the competitor that was being held down), and assess the penalty after they stand up
During the ground time if in the opinion of the referee there is a stalemate and no action is happening, the referee can order the fighters to stand up without waiting for the ground time to run out.

K ARTICLE 12: DURATION OF ROUNDS Each match consists of two -2 minute continuous action rounds (Black belts), all others will consist of two -1 minute rounds, with approximately 30 second break between rounds. Continuous action refers to the fact that the competitors are scoring or have the opportunity to score without a break in the action for calling points. During the thirty second break between rounds the referee will check the judges' score counters to determine a leader, the centre referee will then indicate who the leader is, and then the referee will signal for the second round to begin after the judges have exchanged counters.
The scoring counters are not to be cleared between rounds, so that the total accumulated points at the end of the match will determine the winner. At the end of round two the centre referee will assemble the competitors in the centre of the ring, he/she will then check the judges' counters and declare the winner.
In the event of a tie, additional rounds will be fought. (duration of overtime rounds to be determined by the tournament coordinator)
In order to establish competition between an odd number of competitors, some may be given an automatic win, this is classified as a "BYE". The remaining competitors will then compete against each other in the normal manner, this may be double, or single elimination. A bye is established by means of a draw that is done during the first round of fights.

MEN'S....Adult Black Belt.....Light.....149 lbs. and under (67.5 kilos)
Middle...............150 lbs. to 164.9 lbs.(67.5 kilos to 75 kilos)
Light-Heavy.......165 lbs. to 179.9 lbs.(75 kilos to 81.5 kilos)
Heavy................180 lbs. to 194.9 lbs.(81.5 kilos to 88.5)
Super Heavy......195 lbs. to 210 lbs. (88.5 kilos to 95.2 kilos)
Open weight ......over 210 lbs. ( over 95.2 kilos)
EXECUTIVE (for team) not over 210 lbs. (92.5 kilos)
Adult Kyu Belts.........Light..................Under 170 lbs. (Under77 kilos)
Heavy.................Over 170 lbs. (Over 77 kilos)

LADIES Adult (All ranks)....Light.........Under 130 lbs. (59 kilos)
Middle................130 lbs. to 159.9 lbs (59 kilos to 72.5 kilos)
Heavy.................160 lbs. and over (over 72.5 kilos)

EXECUTIVE Ages 35 to 45 Light.....Under 180 lbs. (81.5 kilos)
Heavy...180 lbs. and over (81.5 kilos)
Ages Over 45 Light.....Under 180 lbs. (81.5 kilos)
Heavy...180 lbs. and over (81.5 kilos)

JUNIORS UNDER 16 - To be determined by age, size and rank, at the option of Tournament Directors. Male and Female may be in the same divisions, at the Tournament Directors discretion.
*NOTE* Tournament directors have the option to change and alter all divisions depending on the number of competitors in each division.


Top, side, and back of the head, (light contact only) chest, solar plexus, ribs and abdomen are legal striking areas.(light to medium for juniors and kyu belts, medium to hard contact for Black Belts)
Inner and outer thighs are legal target areas for adults only. (must be away from the knee with light to medium contact)

Shaded areas are legal head targets (No facial contact)

K ARTICLE 16: ILLEGAL STRIKING TARGET AREAS Facial area, neck, throat, spine, kidneys, groin, and all joints are illegal striking areas. Punching below the belt is illegal. Low kicks other than outer and inner thigh (roundhouse kicks only)are illegal unless they are a legal sweep. Any kicks to a competitor on the ground is illegal.

A boot to boot foot sweep, boot to calf (unless called as a low kick) and calf to calf sweeps are considered legal techniques. All controlled hand strikes, kicks, throws, and submission holds to legal target areas as well as vascular chokes are acceptable legal techniques, except those listed as illegal. Light contact to the head will be permitted in the adult Black belt division only. Light contact to the head is allowed, but it is imperative that judges and referees distinguish the difference between, light contact, and excessive contact. (See article 19 excessive force)(

A: Head butts B: Hair pulling C: Scratching
D: Biting E: Elbow or knee strikes F: Any finger strikes
G: Any blind techniques
H: Kicking a competitor on the ground
I: Striking to the head while on the ground
J: Kick to the knee (this will be assessed as a major penalty)
K: Intentional attack to nerve points of the head, face, or neck areas.
L: Any finger, toe or heel locks.(twisting of the heel, not ankle lock)
M: Respiratory chokes (across the throat)

JUNIORS - Any technique that puts severe pressure on the neck, such as neck take downs or twisting the neck during hold downs, and all strangulation techniques.

Light Contact: Indicates no target penetration as a result of a striking technique. This type of contact is legal to the head. Touch and Light contact to the head is permitted in all divisions, as specified in legal techniques, and legal striking areas.

Medium Contact: Slight penetration or slight target movement defines medium contact. Only clean crisp techniques delivered to the body's legal target areas with medium contact will be awarded points. (This will vary depending on the ages and experience of the competitors)

Hard Contact: Controlled semi full contact and hard contact strikes to the legal body areas are permitted only in Black Belt divisions and they must be delivered in controlled manner. (If delivered with malicious intent it will be cause for a penalty).

Excessive Contact: A call for excessive contact indicates that a judge or referee saw a competitor using strength or force in excess of the force necessary to score a point. Any strike, throw, takedown, or submission hold delivered with malicious intent will be considered excessive force and may result in immediate disqualification. Though it is largely a judgment call, indications that contact has been excessive are to be seen in the following reactions
A: Negligent and reckless malicious intent by using techniques without control
B: Visible severe movement of the head from the force of a blow.
C: The appearance of severe swelling or other obvious internal or external injury during the match, is of itself grounds to be called excessive contact. (A bleeding nose would be judged on the force of the blow, not by the blood alone, but would be an automatic penalty for illegal target).

A: Use of excessive contact, (a major penalty).
B: Attacking illegal target areas (kicks to knee area will be a major penalty and will be treated the same as excessive contact)
C: Using illegal techniques.
D. Running out of bounds to avoid fighting. (fighting out of bounds does not apply).
E. Falling on the ground to avoid attack, (A competitor attempting a throw or takedown is exempt this penalty).
F. Continuing to fight after being ordered to stop.
G. Negligent or reckless attacks (regardless if contact is made).
H Disrespect to officials or other competitors..
I. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

The centre referee is empowered to penalize a competitor at any time with a warning, loss of points, or disqualification.

First Offence: - (Depending on the severity of infraction)
A. Warning (loss of two points if excessive contact, or knee kick)
B. Disqualification

Second Offence - Same Infraction

A: Loss of two points
B: Disqualification

Second Offense - Different Infraction:

A: Warning
B: Loss of two points
C: Disqualification

Third Offence: A third offense for any combination of the rule infractions requires that the competitor be disqualified. (Major, or minor disqualification)


A: Loss of two points
B: Disqualification
When a penalty is issued for excessive contact the centre referee must be specific in his/her instructions, and within hearing of the judges and competitors. For example "The next time you use excessive force you will be disqualified, do you understand?" He/she should wait for the competitor to acknowledge his/her official warning and penalty, and the recording of same before allowing the fight to continue.


A second offense of excessive force would automatically constitute a disqualification.

*NOTE* Definition of Loss of two points: Because you cannot deduct points, the centre referee will instruct the judges to add these penalty points to the opposing competitor's score.


Angry and uncontrolled violent displays of behaviour will not be tolerated. If a centre referee believes a competitor is guilty of such an infraction, he/she may cause the offending competitor to be warned or disqualified. Referees should not tolerate undisciplined displays of temper by competitors, or coaches

An act of disqualification against a competitor may eliminate the competitor from further participation in that tournament. All disqualifications should be classified as Minor or Major.

Minor: Disqualification is for the existing contest only (providing there is double elimination, or round robin)

Major: Disqualification is for the balance of the tournament or a designated period to be suggested by the involved ring referee and submitted to the tournament director and the governing body for that Country or area.

Every penalty call should be taken as a very serious offence by competitors and officials, because it could be one of the calls that leads up to disqualification.

Any situation not covered in these rules shall be dealt with by the chief referee, and/or tournament director. Some rules such as divisions etc. may be altered for specific tournaments.

To standardize the procedure of bowing in and out, the centre referee will assemble all the competitors of each group with the judges and bow them in as a group before they compete. The competitors when called to fight will bow in and out to each other and not to the referee.

Verbal commands may be delivered in English or Japanese


Bow - or - Rei To begin and end a match
Begin - or - Hajime To start the competition and timers clock
Break -or - Mate To stop action, time out or end of match
Hold down - or - Osae Komi A hold down has commenced
Outside To indicate the competitors are out of bounds
Time out .To stop the timers clock
Time in To restart the timers clock

The referees voice and commands govern the fight at all times.


Two hand counters shall be available for the judges.

One with a red flag and one with a white flag at each mat area.

Stopwatches shall be available for each timekeeper
(three per table)


All gloves must have ALL striking areas covered with a minimum one half (1/2) inch of medium to soft foam. (Palm is excluded)