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Jiu Jitsu Rules for Beginners

Even an absolute novice can start learning Jiu Jitsu - one of the most popular martial arts. Browse through these 10 basic Jiu Jitsu rules and regulations meant for complete beginners and players.

Mastering these ten simplified rules for Jiu Jitsu will help you understand the etiquette and fundamentals. You will learn about the role of teachers and students, the equipment, and how to compete.

Japanese Jujitsu vs. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Jujitsu originated from ancient Japanese battlefield arts, also referred to as Japanese koryu.

Long ago, warriors used martial arts as a secondary means of defense during battles (e.g. after dropping or losing a weapon).

It later evolved into a means of self-defense. More recently, participants use Jujitsu for a range self-improvement benefits.

The art of Japanese Jujitsu embraces self-defense techniques. In fact, there is very little focus on striking out at an opponent.

The aim of Jujitsu moves is to provide leverage over an aggressor. Thus, the training concentrates on a range of blocking and throwing techniques.

Jujitsu techniques consist of joint locks and certain kinds of choke holds, performed from a standing position. The objective is to throw an opponent off their feet or to incapacitate them.

The Jiujitsu uniform that competitors wear is the ‘Gi’ adorned with different coloured belts. The color of the belt indicates rank (from white to black).

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

By comparison, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a competitive sport. It also features throws, joint locks, and chokes. The main difference between Japanese Jiujitsu and BJJ is the way that Judo rules and regulations influence the sport.

Most of the moves in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu take place on the floor. Despite a lot of grappling between the challengers, BJJ does not feature any kind of striking out against an opponent.

Here’s a good example:

Many of the traditional locks and takedowns used in Japanese Jiujitsu work better when they are performed on unsuspecting opponents. So, it makes these techniques difficult to use in elite competitions.

A combination of live training and rolling (competitive sparring) teaches students how to control an opponent. The aim is to create a submission hold (e.g. a joint lock or a stranglehold) in an attempt to get a ‘tap’ (a signal that your opponent cannot escape).

BJJ competition rules allow challengers to wear reinforced GIs. The design of the material helps to withstand the rigors of training. Similar to Japanese Jiujitsu, competitors wear belts to signify rank (also ranging from white to black).

Note: As a rule, progressing between belt levels requires a significant amount of time and commitment. Players will attach stripes to the belt signifying their progress at a specific rank.

Jiu Jitsu Etiquette Rules for Newbies

So, you started Jiu Jitsu training and you’re looking for some tips on the rules and etiquette? In fact, there are a number of unwritten rules you should be familiar with. Here’s 10 basic rules of Jiu Jitsu for beginners!

1. Showing Respect for the Teacher

As a newcomer to Jiu jitsu, it will take some time to learn all the basics. You should never try to teach the techniques to someone else.

Leave the teaching to the coach and to players with higher belts. Partners might try to work out problems of a technique

Even so, it is wise to check with the teacher to find out whether:

  • A problem with the technique really exists.
  • You are over complicating a simple answer to the problem.

Note: Teaching Japanese Jiujitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is much more of a challenge than learning it. Another section has tips explaining how to improve your teaching style.

2. Jiu Jitsu Mat Etiquette

You should avoid walking on gym mats while wearing shoes (or flip flops). They are an expensive item in any Jiu Jitsu equipment list. Objects caught in shoes can damage the mat by ripping or tearing them.

There is another important reason for following the proper etiquette for Jiu Jitsu mats. The soles of shoes carry and spread all kinds of nasty germs.

Walking on a gym mat in footwear is likely to transfer germs and bacteria to the mat. Even newbies would prefer to train on a clean mat – right?

3. Toilet Visits and Hygiene

Wearing footwear on a visit to the toilet is one of the basic Jiu Jitsu rules for beginners to get used to. Let’s face it, bathroom splashes and toilet accidents happen!

You want to avoid walking through the outcome of such an accident and then transferring it to a gym mat.

Note: Proper toilet hygiene while training Jiu Jitsu means washing your hands thoroughly afterwards.

4. Keep Your Fingernails Short

Jiu Jitsu newbies often forget to cut their nails short. A student with long fingernails is much more likely to scratch or claw an opponent during the grips and escapes.

Note: Tiny cuts are annoying at best. But, they can take a long time to heal completely. That means you would need to tape them up for protection (and to stop them bleeding) each time you train.

5. Jiu Jitsu Uniform and Clothing

The 10 basic rules of Jiu Jitsu must include washing your uniform and rash guard after each and every training session.

Let’s face it, no one wants to experience the stinky armpit of an unwashed GI. Besides that, you may not be the most popular choice as Jiu Jitsu partner if you are wearing unclean, smelly clothing.

There is also a potential for skin infections developing from the bacteria that breeds in unwashed uniforms.

6. Personal Hygiene Matters

So, you followed Jiu Jitsu tip number five and now your GI is clean and smells like roses on a summer day. That’s great, but you should keep yourself clean too.

Having poor basic hygiene routines can be off putting for the group. There will be a lot of close-up contact and rolling around on the floor.

7. Tape Up any Cuts

It is not uncommon to have small cuts, particularly on the lower arms and legs, while training in martial arts. If so, you should tape them up.

You should use a hygienic tape that sticks to the skin. Your training partners will not want to have blood on their skin or their clothing (especially a crisp white GI).

8. Punctuality is Alertness

It might seem like a common sense tip, but turning up to class on time is important. The teacher, and the other students, will notice if you arrive late for Jiu Jitsu lessons late as a regular occurrence.

Note: Always join in the warm ups. It shows respect for the coach and for the other training partners.

9. Beware of ‘Strength over Technique’

There is more to free rolling than getting the tap. The focus also relates to the learning experience. Yes, you may be bigger and stronger than your partner. But, laying on them and cranking on their arm or neck is not what Jiu Jitsu is all about.

There is little doubt that you would get the tap in a situation such as this. But, the main objective should be learning how to apply martial art techniques on a resisting opponent.

10. Avoid Jiu Jitsu Training While Sick

There is an unwritten rule in Jiu Jitsu that says you should not train if you feel ill or sick. Suffering from a cold, or the flu, is going to affect your training. Even so, turning up to train while you have some sickness is not a smart thing to do.

Even though the teacher may send you home anyway, none of your training partners will want you there – spreading bugs. The best advice is to stay home and speed up a complete recovery.

Being injured is a different matter. In fact, you can train Jiu Jitsu even with some of the common injuries caused by martial arts.

Note: You should have noticed one common theme running through these ten simple Jiu Jitsu rules. That is, showing respect for the teacher, the gym, and training partners will bring you the same in return.

10 Basic Rules of Jiu Jitsu Made Easy for Novices