Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Rules

The Tiger Balm Internationals Rules are a unique Round-Robin tournament without elimination where the only way to win is by submission.

Every competitor will fight (up to 10 times) against opponents of varying skill levels.

Jiu-Jitsu Divisions are offered in Gi (all BJJ divisions) and No-Gi (all SG divisions). Competitors need to wear clean, un-torn, properly-fitting outfits.

Basic Rules Matches will start from standing and last 3 minutes for Juniors (up to age 15), and 4 minutes for everyone else (aged 16 and up).

Competitors who move onto or outside the border when standing or in a scramble will be restarted in the centre of the mat in a standing position. If competitors move outside the area while in a fixed position the referee will stop time and move them back to the centre of the mat in their current position for a re-start. Note: If a competitors purposely moves out of the match area while under threat of submission, that competitor will lose automatically if he is still in the submission hold when one or both have left the match area.

Ways to win: Submission (physical and/or verbal)

  • Referee Stoppage (medical or rule infringement)
  • Corner or competitor stops fight
  • Please see the list below for all legal and illegal techniques as well as fouls. Note that the legal techniques apply to the juniors by age, adult white belts techniques apply to novice division and Brown/Black belts= rules apply to the advanced division.

Pg. 24 Table

tiger balms grappling rules sheet


Fouls are technical or disciplinary infractions addressed in the rules that are committed by athletes before, during or after a match.

Foul Classification

Severe Foul

Serious Foul

Combativeness Foul (Stalling)

Severe Foul

Subdivided into technical fouls and disciplinary fouls.

Technical Fouls

  • When an athlete’s gi is rendered unusable and he/she is unable to exchange it for a new one within a period of time stipulated by the referee.
  • When an athlete deliberately flees the match area to avoid submitting to a submission hold applied by his/her opponent.
  • When an athlete intentionally attempts to get his or her opponent disqualified by reacting in a way that places his or her opponent in an illegal position.
  • When it comes to a referee’s attention that an athlete is not wearing an undergarment under his or her uniform.
  • When an athlete applies creams, oils, gels or any slippery substance to any part of the body.
  • When the athlete utilizes any substance that increase the adherence in any part of his/her body.
  • When the athlete utilizes any substance that makes the kimono slippery for the grips.
  • When an athlete strangles his or her opponent ,without using the gi, with one or both hands around the opponent’s neck or applies pressure to the opponent’s windpipe using the thumb.
  • When an athlete blocks the passage of air to his/her opponent’s nose or mouth using his/her hands.
  • When the athlete who is defending a single leg takedown, while the athlete attacking has his head outside his opponents body, intentionally projects his attacker to the ground, by grabbing his opponents belt, to make him hit the floor with the head.
  • The suplex movements that will project or force the opponent’s head or neck into the ground.
  • The suplex take-down is defined by the attacking athlete lifting the opponent at the waist in order to take him/her down, by throwing him backwards or sideways to the ground.

The use of this technique is still permitted provided that the movement does not force the opponent’s head or neck into the ground.

Knee Reaping

Knee reaping is characterized by when one of the athletes places his thigh behind the leg of his opponent and passes his calf on top of the opponent’s body above the knee, placing his foot beyond the vertical midline of the opponent’s body and applying pressure on his opponents knee from the outside, true inside, while keeping the foot of the leg at risk stuck between his hip and armpit.

Illegal Moves

It is not necessary for one of the athletes to hold the foot of his opponent in order for the foot to be considered caught or stuck. For purposes of this rule, when one athlete is standing and bearing their weight on foot of the same leg as the knee in danger, the foot will be considered caught or stuck.

Severe Foul

• When the athlete executes the movement in the characteristics mentioned above, with their foot crossing the vertical midline of the opponent’s body.

Serious Foul

• When the athlete executes the movement in the characteristics mentioned above, moving his foot across the vertical midline of the opponent’s body. The referee shall stop the match, return the position if permitted and issue a penalty to the athletes before restarting the fight.

Normal Situations

Not considered fouls:


When either of the athletes have a submission hold, it will be considered a severe foul for the athlete crossing his foot in the characteristics mentioned above.

Disciplinary Fouls

  • When an athlete directs profane language or obscene gestures at his/her opponent, the centre table, table officials, referee or public.
  • When an athlete exhibits hostile behaviour towards an opponent, referee or any other member of the organizing committee or public.
  • When an athlete bites, pulls hair, strikes or applies pressure to the genitals or eyes, or intentionally uses a traumatic blow of any kind (such as punches, elbows, knees, head butts, kicks, etc).
  • When an athlete exhibits offensive or disrespectful behaviour towards an opponent or the public through words or gestures during a match or in celebrating victory.
  • When one or both of the athlete’s disregard the seriousness of the competition by performing actions simulating or faking combat.

Serious Fouls

  • When an athlete kneels or sits without having a grip of any kind on the opponent.
  • When a standing athlete flees the bounds of the match area, avoiding combat with the opponent.
  • When a standing athlete pushes his/her opponent to outside the match area without clear intent of attempting a submission or scoring.
  • When an athlete on the ground evades combat by sliding his/herself outside the match area.
  • When an athlete on the ground stands to escape combat and does not return to combat on the ground.
  • When an athlete breaks the grip of the opponent pulling guard and does not return to combat on the ground.
  • When an athlete intentionally removes his/her own gi or belt, causing the match to be stopped.
  • When an athlete grabs the opening of the opponent’s sleeve or pant leg with the fingers placed inside the garment, even if performing a sweep or any other manoeuver.
  • When an athlete grabs the inside of the opponent’s gi top or pants, when he steps inside the Gi jacket and and when an athlete passes a hand through the inside of the opponent’s gi to grip the external part of the gi.
  • When an athlete communicates with the referee by speaking or with gestures, except when he/she is reporting a medical issue or a problem with his uniform.
  • When an athlete disobeys a referee order.
  • When an athlete exits the match area following a match prior to the referee announcing the result.
  • When an athlete deliberately exits the match area to prevent the opponent from completing a sweep or a take-down.*
  • For Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi, when an athlete grabs hold of his/her uniform or that of his/her opponent in any way
  • When an athlete places a hand or foot on his/her opponent’s face.
  • When an athlete intentionally places his/her foot in his/her opponent’s belt.
  • When the athlete purposely places his/her foot on the lapel of his/her opponent’s Gi without having a hand grip to provide traction for his/her foot.
  • When an athlete places a foot in the lapel behind the opponent’s neck, with or without gripping it.
  • When an athlete uses his/her own belt or the opponent’s belt to assist in a choke or any other circumstance in a match while the belt is untied.
  • When an athlete takes more than 20 seconds to tie his/her belts during a match stoppage (when the athlete is also using the identification belt).
  • When an athlete runs around the match area and does not engage in the combat
  • When an athlete unintentionally reacts in a way that places his/her opponent in an illegal position.
  • In the white belt division, it is forbidden for an athlete to jump into closed guard while their opponent is standing. When this movement occurs, the referee will stop the match and restart with both athlete’s standing at the centre of the mat.

Lack of Combativeness (stalling)

Lack of combativeness (stalling) is defined by one athlete clearly not pursuing positional progression in a match and also when an athlete impedes his/her opponent from carrying out said progression.

When both athletes simultaneously demonstrate a lack of combativeness (stalling) in any position in a match.

When both athletes pull guard at the same time, the referee will start a 20 second countdown. If at end of this 20 second countdown, even if the athletes are moving, one of the athletes does not reach the top position, does not have a submission in hold, or is not imminently completing a point scoring move, the referee will stop the fight and give a penalty to both athletes. In this situation, the referee will restart the combat in standing position.

Lack of combativeness (stalling) is not declared when an athlete is defending his/herself from an opponent’s attacks from mount, back-control, side-control or north-south positions.

Will not be considered lack of combativeness when an athlete is in mount or back position, as long as the characteristics of the technical position are respected.

Examples of situations constituting lack of combativeness (stalling).

  • When an athlete, upon achieving side-control or north-south positions over an opponent, does not seek positional progression.
  • When an athlete in an opponent’s closed guard does not seek to pass guard and at the same time prevents the opponent from seeking positional progression from guard.
  • When the bottom athlete playing closed guard wraps his/her arms around the opponent’s back or performs any other controlling movement clutching the opponent to him/her without intending to achieve a submission or score.
  • When an athlete on foot grabs and maintains his/her hand on the opponent’s belt, preventing the opponent from completing a take-down movement and without attempting an attack of any kind.

Important: All legal and illegal techniques listed for adult white belts apply to the “Novice” divisions of the event while all legal and illegal techniques listed for Brown and Black Belts apply to the “Advanced” divisions of this tournament!

Safety Rules:

Only soft cups, ear guards and braces of any kind are permitted due to safety consideration of the other competitors. The referee will try to protect the competitors by stopping the fight to stop a foul or illegal technique in progress. However, the referee has discretion to disqualify a competitor immediately after a serious, dangerous or deliberate foul. The referee can stop or restart a match at any time if he considers it necessary for safety reasons.

Note: Any competitor committing a serious foul causing injury or death may be liable in a court of law so make sure to adhere to all rules and follow the directors and referee’s directions at all time

Scoring system:

Competitors fight in a round-robin within their weight category. 3 points are awarded for a win, 1 point each for a draw (i.e. no decision or stoppage by end of time) and 0 points for a loss. At the end of the round robin the competitor with the highest scores wins.

View PDF of Grappling Rules Here:

tiger balms grappling rules

tiger balms rules sheet