Sunday, March 26, 2017

IBJJF Referees rules meeting/course 2 April 2016 - updated 25 March 2017

Updates made after the rules meeting on 25th March 2017 are in bold. The notes here are not designed to replace the rule book. I only note issues which I feel were discussed or explained at a level of detail not available from the rule book.

The takedown must start on blue (inside the match area). If you start with both feet on blue and take it out to yellow (safety area) and stabilize in the safety area you can get the points. Then move them back onto blue, same position.

You may start on blue, go out on yellow duuring the takedown and finish on blue. No need to stop or move them then.

Takedowns that start from the knees in a continuous movement will not be awarded points. The opponent must be in a position to be taken down for takedown points to be awarded, i.e. at least one foot must be on the ground.

Pulling someone on top of you is not a takedown.

If the opponent flees the match area to avoid a takedown or sweep: PAROU (stop the match), bring them back to the centre, apply a penalty to the one running away, and give 2 points to the athlete performing the takedown or sweep. Restart standing.

On a takedown or sweep where the opponent ends up on his knees, a full back clinch is not necessary, but you must keep control and be behind the line of the opponent's shoulders to get the points.

If an athlete attempts to pull guard, messes it up and the opponent makes some sort of passing move to a stabilised position, the opponent can earn 3 points for a guard pass.

The athlete must be presented with some sort of guard to pass, and the opponent have a chance to sweep, to be awarded guard pass points.

If an athlete in his opponent's guard gets double underhooks and flips the opponent straight back in the air onto his knees, this does NOT constitute a guard pass. Neither 3 points nor an advantage should be awarded.

The advantage is given when the opponent goes to his knees to prevent his guard being passed. An advantage should not be given if the opponent goes to his knees when no passing pressure is made. 

A guard pass should finish with the opponent on his back, in side control, front control, kneeride or mount. The double underhook flip to put the guy on his knees is not regarded as a passing attempt. 

You never EARN or ACHIEVE an advantage. Advantages are for point scoring moves that fail and/or are incomplete. Getting to half guard with 3 seconds of control is the only exception.

Advantages given for failed submission attempts should only be applied when in your judgement the sub is taken close to its limit, but there is no tap and the opponent escapes, or similar.

Facial expressions are not a yardstick for how close the submission comes to the limit. Whether or not the opponent defends the submission attempt is not a consideration.

Do not award advantages until there is NO chance of the athlete achieving the position, pass, sweep, etc. If an athlete gets a hook in in back control, he is entitled to an advantage. But do not award it yet! He may still get the other hook in eventually and then earn the points. The example was given where a guy got a hook in from the back, switched off and performed a twister roll, and then got proper back control with both hooks. That should be 4 points. No advantage should have been given for the initial hook, as it was treated as only the prelude to the full back take. Mistakes here might be understandable.

A guard pass that ends up in a kneeride on the opponent's back will be awarded the 3 points  for the pass (plus 2 for kneeride?), provided the opponent is stabilised for the required 3 seconds.

A guard pass that ends up in reverse kneeride (facing the legs) or reverse mount and held for 3 seconds will accrue the 3 points for a guard pass. There will of course be no kneeride or mount points.

Getting top position when the opponent gets deep half guard will not be awarded an advantage. Who has control? Is the criterion.

If an athlete pulls regular half guard and the opponent stabilises in the top position, the opponent is entitled to an advantage.

Mount, back mount, and back control are all separate positions, and achieving each from any of the others with a 3 second control will incur an additional four points.

If you have back mount held for 3 seconds and got 4 points, and the opponent then gets to his knees and you get back control from there with both hooks in and can hold for three seconds, you will get an additional 4 points for the back control.

If you get sidemount on the guy first up, this is counted as a mount after 3 seconds. If he goes belly down or face up from there, do not treat that as an additional mount. If he then goes from face down to face up, or face up to face down, and you hold that mount or back mount for 3 seconds, that is an additional 4 points.

If he goes from underneath mount to sidemount, then back to mount, treat it as only one mount.

Stepping the foot over from side control and immediately pulling the opponent into back control does not constitute a sidemount or a mount.

Removing and then replacing hooks in back control does not accrue additional points or advantages.

A sweep which ends up on top of the kneeling opponent's back with both hooks in could be treated as a sweep followed by back control (2 + 4 points).

The Baratoplata can be performed as like either a kimura (legal at all levels) or as a bicep crush (legal only at brown and black belt).

The (Victor) Estima footlock can be performed as either a straight ankle lock (legal for 16-17 years and all adults) or a toe hold (legal only at brown and black belt).

(In both cases, telling them apart can be difficult and possibly contentious)

If an athlete has a lasso guard in place, but the opponent passes the guard to kneeride and stabilises it, the guard pass and kneeride points should be awarded. The lasso in its own does not constitute a guard.

One can be awarded cumulative points for successive point scoring moves ending in a stabilized position, e.g. guard pass to mount gets 7 points. They are also entitled to cumulative advantages if the final position is not held for the full 3 seconds - 2 advantages in that example.

If an athlete's gi is rendered unusable, give him a time limit, say 5 minutes, but give him more time if he is actively trying to find a replacement gi. We do not want to DQ an athlete who is sincerely trying to find a replacement gi.

Knee reaping - if neither athlete has a submission in place, the DQ should not occur unless the foot passes across the outside line of the body - they should still receive a penalty if the foot crosses the body's midline and have their position reset.

Knee reaping - if either athlete has a submission in place, crossing the foot over the midline of the body results in disqualification for the perpetrator. This applies to both the athlete applying the submission and the athlete caught in it.

Knee reaping - You should stop the fight (PAROU), apply the penalty, return the foot to the position it was the moment before the reap, and then restart the fight (COMBATE).

Knee reaping - always try to stop at a penalty stage before a DQ position is reached. If they have a submission in place, this will not be possible, and the immediate DQ applies once the foot crosses the midline, or the foot gets stuck.

Before the 2017 seminar, I thought knee reaping was a lot more cut and dried than I do now. I had thought that any movement with the legs towards inside ashi garami or the saddle / 411 / honey hole would be an automatic DQ. But such positions are fine provided that the lower part of the "reaped" leg is not stuck between armpit and hip. If it is above the shoulder line or the arm, or the foot is free, there is no reap. 

One of the guys demonstrated a type of calf crush from the saddle which is legal despite the position of the legs, because the foot of the reaped leg is underhooked, not overhooked ,and thus tnot rapped between hip and shoulder. 

Will post a photo if I can remember how it looked, or work it out with Messrs. Lange and Nagel.

The rabbit hole here runs pretty deep. Any notion that you don't need to know all the cool leglocks because they are IBJJF-illegal doesn't stack up. If anything, you have to understand them better than you might otherwise to be able to adjudicate about them correctly. 

For illegal grips - the action should be stopped, the perpetrator penalised, and the athletes restarted in the position that occurred before the illegal grip was applied. If the illegal grip resulted in a sweep before the action was stopped, the sweep should be disallowed and the action restarted in the position that occurred before the sweep. The illegal grip should not be replaced by a legal grip. You should restart without the grip in place. To do otherwise would give the infractor an unfair advantage - he may have just managed to get that illegal grip, and to give him a legal one will put him in a better position, unfairly.

Stepping on the inside of the skirt of the opponent's gi is treated as passing a limb inside the gi, and incurs a penalty.

Any grip on the opponent's uniform or your own uniform in nogi matches is illegal and incurs a penalty.

20 seconds are allowed for an athlete to retie a belt, 20 + 20 seconds if they are also wearing the green and yellow belt and need to retie both belts.

The referee and athletes should not speak unless the referee is issuing one of the four verbal commands (COMBATE, PAROU, LUTE, FALTA) or for the athlete to communicate a medical issue or problem with his uniform. We do not wish to "break the wall". You do not have to ask or require the athletes to bow or shake hands.

The rule book says that the athletes should not communicate with the referee unless reporting a medical issue or a problem with their uniform, but we should use common sense for other situations. For example, if one of the athletes notices the scoreboard is not working or the clock not started, and reports it, that is a benefit to the competition and a penalty would be inappropriate.

If both athletes stand after a LUTE or FALTA command where the rules do not require it, call PAROU so that one does not get an unfair drop on the other. then COMBATE. You can do this in a number of situations, including reorienting the athletes if they look to be on their way out of bounds.

Penalty for a hand or foot on the face - face is regarded as area containing eyes, nose and mouth. There should be no penalty for such contact with the chin, forehead, of side of the head.

White belts - kids and adults - are not permitted to jump to closed guard. Flying armbars and triangles are also considered as jumping closed guard and are similarly proscribed for white belts. All coloured belts, both kids and adults, are allowed to jump closed guard with no penalty.

Upon applying the fourth penalty to an athlete, do not bother applying the penalty, just PAROU and signal the disqualification - unless there are three referees.

If one of the penalties was for exiting the match area to avoid a takedown or sweep, incurring a penalty and two points to the opponent, this is treated as part of the standard ascending hierarchy of penalties.

An example:

First penalty, for an illegal grip - penalty only.

Second penalty, for exiting the match area to avoid a takedown - for other serious fouls, this would incur a penalty and advantage to the opponent. But this specific foul incurs a penalty and two points.

Third penalty - stalling - the usual step in the hierarchy, penalty and two points to the opponent.

Fourth penalty - disqualification. You could signal a fourth penalty before the DQ, but it is redundant.

Stalling is not considered when the athlete is in a correct scoring mount, back mount, or back control. However, if from back control with hooks in, then moves to a body triangle or crosses their feet or another non-scoring back control position, and stalls (no attacks) from those positions for 20 seconds, they can be penalised for stalling.

Do not set the timer on your watch or similar to start the 20 second count for stalling. The staller or their coach may notice this and use it to their advantage. 

A "double guard pull" does not occur unless both athletes pull guard simultaneously. If they pull guard simultaneously, whoever gets top position first will get an advantage.

If athlete A pulls guard, then athlete B pulls guard as well in response, this is not a double guard pull. In this situation, were athlete A to come on top and stabilise, he would be awarded 2 points for a sweep. Were athlete B to come on top, he would get neither points or an advantage.

If there is a double guard pull, and one athlete stands up and then sits back down, the double guard pull and the associated 20 second period no longer apply. The example discussed at the course were if one athlete stood up to apply a footlock on the other.

Positions are expected to be achieved in ascending order of dominance (and points). Thus voluntarily moving from mount to kneeride will not attract the 2 points for kneeride. If the opponent escapes mount to some sort of scramble and then is put back in kneeride, then the 2 points should be applied.

The referee is expected to consider the age and rank of the athletes when considering whether to stop the fight because of possible or actual injury. A straight arm in an armbar might be enough to stop a kid's match, while an adult black belt would be expected to know when to tap to avoid injury in any circumstance.

You can attempt to warn kids if they look to be about to do something illegal, but if they ignore the warning then you must disqualify them. DQ'ing a kid is something we want to avoid if possible.

Adults are expected to know the rules. We are not coaches, we are referees.

If an athlete appears to have suffered an injury but does not withdraw or verbally submit, you should stop the match at an appropriate point and ask the medical staff to decide whether or not the competitor is fit to continue. It is not our decision to make. We are not doctors, we are referees. IIRC Jacare won the Worlds or similar one year with an obviously broken arm.

If an athlete is bleeding while applying or in a submission hold so that the match needs to be stopped for the bleeding to be attended to, 2 points should be awarded to the submitter and the match restarted if/when the bleeding has been dealt with. Separate bleeding injuries are each entitled to two attempts by the medics to stop the bleeding.

If a competitor vomits (or has similar problems) during a match, he is deemed to have lost the match. If the competitor submits his opponent, or the time limit expires, and then he vomits, that has no bearing on the result. The match was over. If he got the submission or points, or the ref chose him if points were tied, his spewing is of no consequence to the result.

If the match finishes and one of the competitors runs off the mat to vomit in a more acceptable place like in a trashcan or on his towel, etc., it would be inappropriate for him to be penalised for exiting the match area before the result is announced. He is trying to assist the competition. be sensible. (I had a kid vomit on the mat once after winning a match, after I had raised his hand. He couldn't help it, but cleaning it up under time pressure wasn't easy. It would have been much better if he had managed to exit the mat first. As I say, not his fault.)

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Trivial but Useful hack for Belt Stripes

You are sensible, and want to wash your Jiu Jitsu belt after every session.

Jiu Jitsu knowledge and your Qi do not accumulate in your unwashed belt. Accumulating ringworm, staph and hep B might, no matter how good the mat hygiene at your gym.

Your problem? The stripes on your belt are duct tape. Not real good in the washing machine, right?

You and your significant other do not have the sewing skills or inclination to sew on something more elegant or permanent.

Your solution: strapping tape, like you use for taping up your fingers. Stays on after multiple washes, no problem. If you have the red bar on your black belt, or the black bar on your different coloured belt per the IBJJF official requirements, you can use the easy-to-get white tape. I use the 1.25 cm width.

Should you have no black bar, or want specific other colours, try kinesiology tape, which comes in many colours, though blue, purple, black and brown (well, beige) are easily obtainable, which should satisfy most adults. You should be able to get all the kids' colours except possibly grey. You may have to trim it to a narrower width than that in which it is sold, but it still beats fiddling around with needle and thread or a sewing machine.

The picture above shows my belt after about ten jiu jitsu sessions and washes - an intense, one wash, two rinse, spin cycle - with a stripe of white strapping tape on one end and one of black kinesiology tape on the other. Some fraying, no loosening. If, and when, it does start to lift off ... I'll replace it with a new piece of tape.

Try it. It works!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

John Will Seminar 5 Mar 2017 - Ashi Garami 2.0

Seminar was held at Rick Spain's gym, Red Boat Wing Chun Academy, in Redfern.


Today's seminar concentrated on what John calls "Inside" leg control.

If you sit facing each other, and you have his L leg trapped in your R armpit, this is "Outside" leg control.

If, in the same position, you have his L leg trapped under your L armpit, John calls this "Inside" leg control.

This is complicated by the references to inside and outside ashi we made in the previous seminar, which are pretty standard.

There is a need for standardization on the terminology here. As I discuss further down, I see problems with inside and outside as discussed above, as they do not match the usual terminology used for upper body controls (and Wing Chun, for that matter). But ... later.

Entries to the Position

From a "Lazy" Toreandor Pass

Preparation Drill

His feet are on your hips. Grab his pants about halfway up the shin in each hand. Bunch up the fabric so there is no slack. Step back to disengage, then move laterally to the L - laterally, directly to the side, not in a circle. Drop into a horse stance, dragging his R leg to the outside of your R hip with your L hand. Grab his R knee with your R hand and pinch his ankle to your R hip with your R elbow and the top of your R thigh.

Return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side. Repeat, continue.

To Inside Ashi

Start your "lazy" toreandor pass and grab the R knee with the R hand and pinch the R ankle into the R hip with the R elbow as before.

Put your L hand on the mat. Do not sit down yet!

Take your weight on your hand and put your L foot on his ribs. Make sure you keep hold of his R knee.

Now you can sit down, moving your butt  in close to him. Use both knees to keep his R leg controlled.

Hand - foot on ribs - butt  - the order is important. A smart guy will try to back out fast and get his leg out. If you put your butt down before you put your foot on his ribs, you can't chase him. If your butt is still up in the air and weight on your hand, you can keep moving in further as he tries to scoot away.

You should still have control of his R knee with your R hand and his R ankle trapped with your R elbow.

Use your R hook to elevate his L leg, opening the "honey hole" so you can get your L hook under his L leg as well to an inside ashi position.

Turn onto your L side, pinch your knees together tightly above his knee, try to get the outside of your L knee on the floor. Keep a tight hold on his leg with your R arm as you adjust your position. His R leg should be bent.

Not easy to find a really good picture of this. No reflection on the skill of the athletes in the pic

Some people like to triangle their legs here, John recommends just pinching with the knees and thighs as he feels this gives a tighter control.

This position is variously named the Saddle, Honey Hole, 411 and Inside Sankaku. (The last isn't really appropriate for us, as "Sankaku" is Japanese for triangle, per Sankaku-jime for the triangle choke, and we do not do that with our legs.)

John wants to call it Inside Inside Ashi. Uh-oh.

Entry via the Knee Slide Pass

He is on his back with his feet on the floor and knees up.

Step into the hole with your R foot.

Slide your R knee across the inside of his R thigh. Move it out to the L a bit further than you normally would for a proper knee slide pass. You want to encourage him to turn to his R (which is NOT what you want for the pass proper.

Post out wide with both hands above his head. Forget trying to control his arms or get an underhook. Let him think he has won the underhook war.

Backstep out to the R, over his L leg, with your L leg.
Land on the toes on the mat with the L foot, keep both hand posts on the ground. Now drive your L knee in behind and under his L knee. Pinch your knees together around his L thigh.

Fall off and back onto your R side onto your R hip, grabbing his L knee with your L hand, controlling his L ankle with your L elbow, moving your head away toward his feet. Pull everything in tight.

You should now be in the Honey Hole position on your R side.

Entry Variations

From Half Guard, your R leg inside - Stand up, your R foot now in quarter guard. Back step to the R with your L leg and continue as for the Knee Slide into the Honey Hole position.

From Mount - Bring your feet up on his thighs. Get your R foot between his legs. Backstep ...

From Kneeride, your R knee on his stomach - flip your R foot over his R leg and stand on your R foot between his legs. Backstep ...

From Butterfly Guard - sweep him to your L with your R hook to mount, but leave your R hook between his legs and stand on it. Backstep ...

Any time you can get that foot between his legs by any means and from anywhere, Backstep ...

Heel Hook

You have achieved the Honey Hole position on your R side with his L leg trapped, his L ankle under your L armpit. You can be on your R shoulder or up on the R elbow.

Do NOT try to "scoop" up the heel withe your L forearm. Do NOT turn to the R to apply the heel hook. Instead:

Pull your L elbow and tricep back, pressing his R toes onto your back and shoulder blade. The arm never moves forward, you keep pulling back.

Bring your L hand up palm facing forward in what John call a "Colonel Klink" small Nazi salute (political correctness be damned). Your thumb should be beside your nipple and the ulnar bone inside your wrist right against his heel or achilles tendon. Do not allow the elbow or the hand to move forward at any time.

Now join your hands in a Gable Grip. If everything is tight, you may well get a tap from here without doing anything else.


Three Pressures for the Heel Hook

  1. Try to drive your L elbow up his butt (John's words, not mine).
  2. Lift and turn your knees up and to the R.
  3. Drive and extend your hips forward.

Try each pressure, one at a time. BE CAREFUL. The leverage is immense, and you can easily cause your partner significant damage. Then try all 3 pressures at once, but only move a millimetre.

As a practice to roll safely using heel hooks, John advocated getting to the position, and trying to hold it for ten seconds without cranking on the submission. That way you get feedback on how good your control is, he gets the opportunity to attempt to escape without getting his leg ripped off.

The "American Knot"

You may want to deal with the top (L) leg from here, to stop him rolling, kicking you in the face, etc.

Before you go for the heel hook; you have the Honey Hole with your L hand grabbing his R knee.

Reach and overhook his L leg with your L arm and pull it into your L armpit, as if you were going for a straight footlock. you have to let his L leg come past your L knee to secure the position.

Now weave your L hand under his R leg, catch the R ankle in the crook of your L elbow. Joing your hands in a Gable grip and squeeze tight.

Get on your R side. Put your L foot on top of your R and squeeze your knees together and down. Putting your L foot on top of your R gives you a fulcrum to drive your hips forward to straight footlock his R foot. Other parts of both legs might hurt as well.

Also called the Texas Cloverleaf. John likes American knot because of the symmetry with the Russian Knot we learned at the previous seminar.

A common defence to the backstep and ashi is for the opponent to hide his L ankle by triangling his R leg over it. If this happens, do everything else the same, but just grab the R leg instead of the L and apply the American Knot instead of the heel hook. As John said, "whatever they do, just grab and attack that top leg".

A slightly different entry to the American Knot / Texas Cloverleaf. The finishing position with the feet is slightly inferior to the one we learned in the seminar IMO

A training sequence working towards Eddie Cummings' Heel Hook from butterfly guard

Scissor Takedown (Kani Basami)

Get a collar tie with your R and wrist control on his R with your L hand. to his L side.

Put your R hook behind his R knee.

Hop around counter clockwise and behind him so your L foot is to the L of and slightly behind his L foot. your R hook is still behind his R knee.

Put your L hand on the ground next to your L foot.

Take the weight on your L hand and kick your L leg behind his so your L knee ends up behind and between both of his knees. Take him down to the rear by scissoring your legs.

Grab his L knee with your L hand, turn onto your R side, and move to the Honey Hole.

A few variations of the Scissor Takedown

Butterfly Guard to Modified Kani Basami

Get Butterfly Guard with your R arm overhooking his L.

Post on your L hand, bring your L hook out and put your L knee on the mat outside and to the L of his L knee. your R hook stays in, so his L knee is now between both of yours. Keep the overhook.

Back up as far as you can and slide your L knee and shin over his L shin so both knees are inside his.

Roll to your L and pull him over you so you end up on your R side, hiding his L knee with your L hand, catching him in the Honey Hole.

No vid for this one. Might do a homegrown

Butterfly, Elevator, Transition to Honey hole

This is what Eddie Cummings does. It is not easy, therefore difficult to duplicate, therefore difficult ot find training partners skilled enough with it to work counters against. Which may be part of the reason for Eddie's continued success, and a dearth of other people duplicating it.

You need to be able to perform a proper butterfly sweep. If sweeping to your L, you MUST be able to come up on your L toes as you elevate with your R leg, and pull your L elbow behind you so you roll onto your L side and L ear rather than onto your back.

Preparatory drills:
  • Practice the sweep without a partner, to the point where you can balance on your L toes, L ear, and outside of your L elbow.
  • Your L foot is at 12:00. Do the sweep drill as above, but at the apex, hop your L foot to 1:00. Try again taking it to 2:00, then 3:00.

So now, with a partner, butterfly guard. Get a R underhook, grab his belt. Don't bother catching his R arm as you would for the normal sweep. Sweep him to the L come up on the toes. You want to elevate him with the top of your R shin, not the ankle. At the apex of the sweep, He should be posting out with both hands, avoiding the sweep. Hop your L foot far enough out toward 3:00 that it is outside his L leg. Drive your L knee in and behind his, rolling back to the R and onto your R side. Grab his L knee with your L hand and finish in the Honey Hole.

He may try to keep his legs together to avoid the butterfly sweep. This makes trapping the L leg much easier and is proably a good addition to the learning progression.

Below are two L-O-N-G but pretty good breakdowns of Eddie's strategy (11 and 20+ minutes respectively). He is performing these against skilled and successful leglock guys, so it is about as legit as it gets.


After the Backstep, it is possible to either overhook the L leg, turn onto the R hip and go to the Honey Hole, or underhook the L leg, turn onto the L hip, and secure a legbar. This applies to many Honey Hole setups. Certainly to Kani Basami.

Training Partners

You want to train successfully. So you want to be the person that everyone wants to roll with. Be engaged and respectful with your partner. No matter how good you are, there is never an excuse to be disrespectful or contemptuous. Thank your partner, tell them you enjoyed training with them, after the roll and then when leaving the gym. Lie if necessary.

Inside Trip

Somehow this came up. Train it by having your partner stand, elbows by his sides, forearms held horizontal, pointing forward. Hold onto his forearms near the elbows and practice dropping your R knee to where your R footprint was, internally rotating the hip so the shin points out to the R as the knee contacts the floor. Repeat.

The takedown itself comes from a clinch with a R overhook and L underhook. Step between his legs with your R footprint, drop your R knee to the R footprint,your R shin going out to the R behind his L leg. Grab his R leg with your L hand behind the knee. Drive forward and complete the takedown.

Terminology Redux

John calls the position with his R leg in your L armpit "ouside", the position with his L leg in your L armpit "inside". But ...

Inside control from the standing grapple has both my arms inside his. Hence, Inside.

When blocking a punch, I can stay inside and then have to deal with his other hand. Or move to the outside, the blindside. I am outside his arms, he is outside mine.

If I have closed guard, I am inside his legs, am I not? Were I to break his ankle grip from there and take a foot without pushing it across my body or anything else, I have outside leg control, according to John. But I am still inside his legs, aren't I? My body is next to the inside of his leg, is it not?

If I leg drag him from here and get out from between his legs, I am outside both his legs, am I not? But John calls that inside leg control.

This ain't over ...

John is right about terminology, in all seriousness. There's inside and outside ashi (and irimi ashi), inside and outside leg control, and also topside/upside and downside. Some standardisation would be helpful, though perhaps improbable in the Jiu Jitsu universe.

John even got the T shirt!