Combat Jiu-Jitsu: Everything You Need to Know

Combat Jiu-Jitsu or CJJ is a combination of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It is BJJ plus open-palm strike or MMA minus many other strikes.

CJJ is more realistic compared to BJJ and for this reason, it adds more thrill and excitement to the game. Moreover, the rulesets of the game encourage the match to end in submission.

Here I will share with you everything you may like to know about CJJ as a beginner- its history, its rules, the criticism of CJJ, and so on.

Who Started Combat Jiu-Jitsu?

Eddie Bravo. Yes, the founder of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu Eddie Bravo introduced Combat Jiu-Jitsu to the world in 2013.

Eddie felt that BJJ didn’t have enough entertainment value. It was really boring to watch the slow grappling techniques of BJJ and those techniques were also not practical in real-life situations.

So, to make BJJ more interesting in the game and more effective for practical life, Eddie created 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu to introduce a submission-only format that later on became the basis for the development of CJJ.

Eddie has been known for his crazy ideas in the Jiu-jitsu circuit. And CJJ was considered as one more such idea of Eddie where he added open-palm striking or slapping as a technique in a grappling match.

In a traditional BJJ match, the competitors can take a defensive posture against a grappling technique and remain in the same position for pretty long.

However, in CJJ open-palm strikes compel the opponent to strive to change position to not only come off the grappling but also to avoid strikes. This makes the game more dynamic, exciting, and offers a more practical approach to face such situations in real life.

Combat Jiu-Jitsu vs MMA: What’s The Difference?

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Despite a few similarities, CJJ and MMA are two entirely different types of competitions. Not only in the style of playing the game, but both also have different formats and rules.

1. Mixed Martial Arts, as the name suggests is a mix of various martial arts that the athletes play both in the standing position as well as on the ground. CJJ, on the other hand, though begins in the standing posture, gets quickly on the ground.

2. The other big difference is in the striking rules of both the competitions. In MMA you can punch your opponents, kick and elbow them on standing as well as on the ground. In CJJ you can only use open-palm or slapping for striking your opponents and that too when on the ground.

Combat Jiu-Jitsu vs BJJ: What’s The Difference?

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There are of course many similarities between BJJ and CJJ as the latter is derived from the BJJ only.

However, in making CJJ more practical and entertaining, there are few new dimensions added to the traditional BJJ competition.

1. BJJ doesn’t permit striking your opponent in any way while the CJJ allows for open-palm striking when on the ground.

2. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has both gi and no-gi competitions while CJJ is only no-gi. Besides, unlike BJJ male competitors can play in CJJ without wearing the rash guard.

3. BJJ is a slow speed competition where the competitors score advantage points through their positioning and by using the different grappling techniques during the entire game. It takes into account the performance throughout the game by awarding advantage points for different positions. CJJ, however, encourages submission to win the game.

Combat Jiu-Jitsu Rules (Official)

Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) has following set of rules for all EBI grappling competition for CJJ:

  • Each round of CJJ is of 10 minutes duration plus EBI overtime rounds if needed.
  • The competitor can use open-palm striking when the opponent is on the ground. No competitor can strike unless one of the competitors is on the ground. 

Important Terms and Rules in CJJ

1. Open-palm Striking: The Slaps

  • Striking the opponent with an open-palm is called slapping.
  • You can slap your opponent only when at least one of you is in the downed position. 
  • Downed position means that the competitor’s knees or butts are on the ground. 
  • Striking is permitted with open palm only, closed fist striking is not permitted.

2. Two Positions: Standing and Grounding

Standing grappling is the position when both the competitors are standing on their feet.

  • Standing is permitted only for one minute.
  • One of the competitors has to down the opponent within one minute.

If none of the two could ground the opponent, the referee intervenes and asks both the competitors to stop the game and be on the ground.

The referee initiates the toss of a coin to decide the position of both the competitors on the ground.

The toss decides between the top and the bottom positions for the opponents. The competitor on the top will have a double under hook position and the opponent will have a butterfly defense posture.

Winner of the toss can select between the two positions.

3. Purgatory

  • Purgatory is essentially the inactivity time of the competitor on top. It is recorded and penalized to encourage activity of the competitor who is standing.
  • Purgatory is the position where the opponent on top neither engages in leg entanglement nor takes a guard position with the opponent on ground for a fair degree of time.
  • Each competitor gets 30 seconds of Purgatory during a match. Time, over and above 30 seconds that gets added to the results of overtime rounds.
  • If the competitor is standing while the opponent is either in a leg entanglement or has taken a guard position, it is not a Purgatory position.
  • However, if the competitor who is standing disengages from a leg entanglement or leaves guard position has to regain entanglement or guard position within 10 seconds to avoid Purgatory.

4. Winning The Match

  • ​Submission is the basic way of winning a CJJ match. You can win the match by forcing submission within 10 minutes of the match.
  • You can also win the match through Technical knockout (TKO). It happens if the opponent tries to play around without showing any intention of active participation or changing the position.
  • In case no submission or TKO the match enters the overtime rounds.

5. Overtime Rounds

Overtime will have up to two rounds. Both the rounds will be of 3 minutes each. The overtime rounds also begin with the toss of a coin.

A competitor who wins the toss can decide between the two positions,

  1. Back control
  2. Spiderweb position

Competitors will then flip positions between attacker and defender.

The following are the criteria to decide the winner,

  • If no submission takes place in the overtime rounds, then the competitor who has more control time in the two rounds wins the match.

In case of submission:

  • The competitor having the quickest submission finish in any of the rounds wins the match. And the match ends up in that round.
  • In case both competitors have the same submission time during the 1st round the match will go into the 2nd overtime round. The control time of the 2nd round will decide the winner of the match.
  • In case both competitors have the same submission time during the 2nd round, the winner of the match will be adjudged on the basis of the control time of the 1st round.

What Are The Criticisms of Combat Jiu-Jitsu?

1. Some critics of CJJ consider it to have unrealistic and inferior striking as compared to MMA.

2. Stalling is a big concern as unlike MMA there are limited striking options. 

3. It is riskier as compared to BJJ. Though BJJ too has chances of injuries, due to open-palm striking the chances of injuries increase in the case of CJJ.

Should You Be Interested In Combat Jiu-Jitsu Training?

For BJJ practitioners, training CJJ can be very helpful in improving their grappling technique as you need to improvise your attack and defence techniques to adjust to CJJ’s new attack system.

CJJ will definitely take the traditional BJJ to the next level through the increased level of competition and new approach towards the game. It will also benefit the practitioners to help improve their game.

However, if you are a beginner in BJJ, it won’t be advisable to train CJJ before you perfect the basic grappling techniques.

Besides, if you want to exclusively participate in IBJJF competitions, training CJJ won’t be of much help to you as both the games have very different rulesets.

Most Popular Combat JiuJitsu Athletes

There are many BJJ and MMA athletes showing their keen interest in CJJ competitions. Some of the more famous celebrities include Denny Prokopios, Masakazu Imanari, Nathan Orchard, Wilson Reis, and so on.

But Vagner Rocha is the most popular name in the world of CJJ who is a former UFC athlete who now exclusively plays Jiu-Jitsu including Combat Jiu-Jitsu.

Final Words

The open-palm striking in CJJ has really increased the entertainment value of Jiu-Jitsu. Besides, it has made the game more practical and realistic.

With these changes, many more practitioners are showing their interest in CJJ. With a large number of spectators also coming out to watch the Combat Jiu-Jitsu Worlds tournaments, it is a clear indication that CJJ will attract much more attention in the years to come and will grow in its popularity.

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