What are the rules for sparring at Samurai BJJ?

For the purposes of sparring at our gym, we follow the IBJJF rule set by default.  In other words, training partners may always use the techniques permissible at the lower-ranked training partner’s belt level.  Thus, if a brown belt is training a blue belt, both would use the techniques that are legal under IBJJF rules at the blue belt level.  However, we do permit training partners at blue belt and above to agree to use other techniques, such as footlocks and heelhooks if they both agree to do so.

Regardless of belt rankings, rule sets, or agreements between students, we require all students always to train with their partner’s and their own safety in mind, as well as the safety of others who may be training on the mat at the same time.  Accordingly, if you are applying a submission, it is your responsibility to provide your training partner with a fair opportunity to tap out before they are injured and to release the submission immediately in a safe manner after the training partner taps.  Likewise, if you are defending a submission, it is your responsibility to protect yourself by verbally and physically tapping out before you are injured.  It is always better to err on the side of caution.  It is far better to release a submission early before your training partner taps rather than risking injury to your partner.  By the same token, it is always better to tap early rather than risk injury to yourself.


The following “techniques” are NEVER permitted:

  • Finger/Thumb/Toe/small joint manipulations, crushes, breaks, twists or anything else intended to injure the digits of the hand or foot.
  • Biting
  • Spiking, slamming or picking up and dropping your training partner
  • Intentionally throwing or pushing your training partner into a wall or off of the mat
  • Punching, striking or kicking any part of your training partner’s body
  • Pinching
  • Gouging
  • Elbowing/kneeing the face
  • Grinding your training partner’s face (e.g., with an elbow, forearm, knee or shin)
  • You get the idea.  Don’t do dirty stuff to your training partner that you wouldn’t want them doing to you.