IBJJF Points Scoring System: Explained In-Depth

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the points scoring system is a complex and intricate system that can be difficult to understand for newcomers. This article will explain the system in-depth, so that you have a clear understanding of how it works. We’ll go over the different types of points and how they are awarded, as well as what factors influence point totals. By understanding the points scoring system, you’ll be able to follow along more easily when watching BJJ competitions!

IBJJF Point Scoring System

PositionPoints scored
Knee-on-belly2
Takedown2
Sweep2
Guard pass3
Back control4
Back mount4
Mount4

Source: IBJJF

This system is used by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), the Sports Jiu Jitsu International Federation (SJJIF) and gi matches in the North American Grappling Association (NAGA). Grappling Industries also uses this system, but also awards two points for a submission attempt that was close but happened outside of bounds.

The IBJJF point system favors position over submission, as you can see from the points awarded for each position.

How does the BJJ point system work?

Points are rewarded to competitors for gaining certain dominant positions and the actions they take to get there. Advantage points are given for “almost” earning a point or submission. Also, if your opponent does something unacceptable, he will be disqualified, which will give you the match.

How do you score points in IBJJF?

There are three main types of points that can be scored in BJJ: takedowns, sweeps, and positional advantage. Takedowns are worth two points, while sweeps and positional advantage are each worth four points. In order to score points, you must first gain control of your opponent. This can be done by taking them down to the ground, sweeping them, or achieving a superior position. Once you have control, you will earn points based on the type of move that you used to gain control.

There are also two types of Penalty Points which can be awarded: advantages and warnings. Advantages are worth one point, and can be given for things like having a better position or nearly completing a move. Warnings are given when an infraction is committed, such as stalling or illegal techniques.

In IBJJF rules, advantage points are usually awarded when an athlete almost scores points or almost submits their opponent. For example, an advantage is generally awarded when an athlete gets a points-scoring position but is unable to hold it for the full three seconds.

The winner of a match is the competitor with the most points at the end of regulation time.

Takedowns can be performed from a standing position. To score a takedown, you must take your opponent to the ground and achieve a position of control. The most common positions of control are side control, full mount, and back mount.

Techniques That Score Points

In most BJJ rulesets, the following positions and methods earn points. The definitions are based on the IBJJF regulations.

Takedown

A takedown is when one competitor starts with two feet on the mat and causes the opponent to land on their back, or in a sideways or seated position. To the two (2) points for a takedown in the IBJJF ruleset the attacker must keep a dominant position after the takedown for three seconds.

Knee-on-belly

If an athlete on top puts his knee on the stomach of their opponent, holding onto their collar or sleeve with one hand and their belt with the other, they get two (2) points. If the person underneath them doesn’t let them do this or they don’t do it completely, they won’t get two points but an advantage.

Sweep

This is when an athlete has his opponent in between his legs (in the guard position) or one of his opponent’s legs between his legs (in the half guard position). The athlete can then get on top of his opponent by inverting his position and gets two (2) points.

Guard pass

When the top contender overcomes the bottom opponent’s legs in the guard or half guard to end up in side control or north-south position, it is known as a guard pass. To score three points, the passer must maintain side control or north-south for three seconds.

Mount and Back Mount

Mount is when someone sits on top of their opponent, with their head towards their opponent’s head. The top player must have two knees on the ground or one knee and one foot on the ground. They must hold this position for three seconds to score. The back mount is a different way to do the mount where both athletes are facing down towards the ground. The top athlete has a position on the opponent but they are over the opponent’s back. There are four points scored for this move, but one must hold for three seconds to score. The top player can be standing on one foot.

Back Control

When you have control of your opponent’s back, it is called “back control.” This happens when you use your legs and feet to trap your opponent’s thighs, and at the same time, keep one of their arms trapped. If the attacker crosses or triangles their legs, they will not get any points but rather an advantage.

Other BJJ Points Scoring Systems

ADCC

The Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) competition is unique because most of its matches don’t allow scoring of positive points in the first half of the match. Once the first half of the match is complete both positive and negative points can be scored.

The ADCC points system is as follows:

PositionPoints scored
Knee-on-belly2
Mount 2
Takedown (ends with you in the guard or half guard)2
Sweep (ends with you in the guard or half guard)2
Guard pass3
Back mount with hooks3
Clean sweep (ends with you passing the guard) 4
Clean takedown (ends with you passing the guard)4

Source: ADCC

NAGA

In NAGA no gi rules, takedowns score 1 or 2 points depending on the quality of the takedown and the response of the defender. 

For example, if you force your opponent onto their back, side or rear end and keep a dominant position for two seconds, you earn two points. If the opponent immediately rolls away and leaves you in the bottom position, you only earn one point.

Unlike other competition rule sets, obtaining side control earns you two points. Submission attempts are treated similarly – two points are awarded for submissions that make the defender “in danger” of having to tap out, and one point is awarded for significant submissions that do not put the defender in danger.

The NAGA points system is as follows:

Position/maneuverPoints scored
Takedowns1-2
Submission attempts1-2
Sweeps2
Side control variations2
Mount 2
Back grab / back control2
Knee on belly2

Source: NAGA

How Do You Win A BJJ match?

You can win a BJJ match by scoring more points than your opponent or submitting your opponent.

If there are no successful submissions before the clock runs out, matches are generally decided by the points score. If there’s a points tie, the different methods below are used to decide who wins.

What If There’s A Tie?

The way a winner is picked in a tie depends on the rule set.

IBJJF: If one athlete has more advantage points than the other, they will win. If they have the same number of points and advantages, the athlete with fewer penalties will win. If they are still tied, the referee decides who wins based on how close they came to scoring or getting submissions during the match.

Grappling Industries: no advantages, and penalties are not used in the event of a tie-breaker, so the referee decides the winner.

Advantages and penalties

In IBJJF rules, athletes are awarded advantage points if they almost score or almost submit their opponent. This can be for example when an athlete gets a points-scoring position but is unable to hold it for the full three seconds. Penalties, on the other hand, are awarded for serious fouls or lack of combativeness.

In a tied IBJJF match, advantages are used to determine a winner, and the competitor with the most advantages wins. If there’s still a tie after utilizing advantages, penalties are utilized.

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