We all heard it before: “Jiu jitsu isn’t realistic because there’s no hitting. What good is the closed guard if someone’s raining punches on you from above?” These are valid objections. That’s why it’s important to enter the world of Combat Jiu Jitsu (CJJ). With a philosophy built around making ground fights closer to real-life scenarios, CJJ introduced strikes on the ground.

I haven’t tried Combat Jiu Jitsu myself, but it’s sooo fun to watch! Truly a genius idea. Let me break it down for you what it is and why it’s so useful to learn.

Combat jiu jitsu practitioner has his advisery in headlock position
AspectBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)Combat Jiu-Jitsu (CJJ)
OriginsBased on leverage and technique for control and submissionTakes BJJ basics and adds MMA elements
PhilosophySkill beats size; control and submit your opponentAdds realism; control, defend, strike
TechniquesGrappling: sweeps, takedowns, joint locks, chokesGrappling + open palm strikes when both competitors are grounded
Competition GearGi or no-giNo-gi only
ScoringPoints for dominant positions and advancementPoints like BJJ + strikes
Real-World UseHighly effective control and submission; no strikesMore realistic with the inclusion of strikes
EventsVarious BJJ tournamentsCombat Jiu Jitsu Worlds
Rules for StrikesNo strikes allowedOpen palm strikes are allowed when both competitors are grounded
Unique RulesNone“Get Down” rule, Purgatory Position, EBI overtime
GoalSubmission or win by pointsSubmission, knockout, or quickest escape time in overtime
BJJ vs CJJ: Comparison

1. What’s The History Of Combat Jiu Jitsu (CJJ)

When it comes to revolutionizing martial arts, Eddie Bravo is no stranger to pushing boundaries. Founder of the famous 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system, Bravo found a way to make jiu jitsu more adaptable to real-world scenarios. But what drove him to create Combat Jiu Jitsu?

The traditional Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) system, while highly effective in grappling exchanges, showed a gap when transitioning to real-life or mixed martial arts (MMA) scenarios. In BJJ, you’re not typically worried about someone dropping punches on you, especially from dominant positions like the closed guard. In MMA we often see that BJJ practitioners struggle when strikes get involved.

Eddie Bravo saw this gap and felt a need to bridge the difference. Combat Jiu Jitsu (CJJ) is a system where the gentle art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu meets the practicality of MMA. Unlike pure BJJ, where strikes are illegal, CJJ encourages open palm strikes when both competitors are grounded.

It’s not pure MMA where everything goes, but it’s also not purely BJJ, where strikes are forbidden. It challenges practitioners to be aware, adapt, and employ jiu-jitsu techniques while being cautious of open palm strikes.

Eddie Bravo launched the Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds, an event that put CJJ on the map and opened eyes around the martial arts world. Competitors not only had to grapple but also had to be strategic about when and how to strike, adding a layer of complexity and danger to the matches.

Eddie Bravo’s vision with Combat Jiu Jitsu was clear: He wanted to give jiu jitsu practitioners a platform where they could test their skills in a setting that was closer to a real fight scenario without the full brutality of MMA. It was about evolving the art, making it more practical in real-life situations.

From the mats of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, a new combat sport emerged, changing the landscape of martial arts competitions. Combat Jiu Jitsu, with its unique combination of grappling and striking, proved that innovation and tradition go hand in hand.

Eddie Bravo, the founder of Combat Jiu-Jitsu, talks about his invention

2. What Are The Rules of CJJ?

Combat Jiu Jitsu (CJJ) is becoming a dominant force in the world of combat sports. It brings a shift towards more realistic grappling scenarios that bridge the gap between traditional Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA. Here’s a look into the rules in combat jiu-jitsu:

  • Rooted in BJJ
    Rules in CJJ spring from the foundational rules of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This means all submission techniques in BJJ are allowed in a CJJ match. From chokes to joint locks, if it’s allowed in BJJ, it’s good to go in CJJ.
  • Open Palm Strikes
    Where CJJ is different is with the introduction of open palm strikes. Once a competitor is grounded (meaning their butt or knees touch the mat), open-palm strikes to the face and body are allowed. This changes the strategy of the ground game, making it more dynamic and fast-paced.
  • The “Get Down” Rule
    Stalling is not an option in the CJJ rule set. If competitors are still on their feet after one minute, the “get down” rule is enforced. This means the fight is taken to the ground. How? A referee toss decides who gets the choice of position. The winning competitor can choose to start in butterfly guard or have their opponent in their butterfly guard.
  • Purgatory Position
    A unique aspect of CJJ, the purgatory position, happens when one competitor is standing and the other is on the ground. This position is time-limited to 30 seconds. Should an athlete touch their knee to the ground, for whatever reason, the purgatory position ends. If both athletes are inactive for over 10 seconds, purgatory time starts ticking. The goal? To keep the action flowing and avoid the more boring elements sometimes seen in grappling matches.
  • Submissions – Anything Goes
    Every submission that’s legal in BJJ is also legal in CJJ. There’s no point system; it’s all about the submission, making it very attractive for the fans.
  • How to Win
    Victory in CJJ can be achieved through submission, knockout, or overtime. If competitors reach an overtime round and neither submits the other, the one with the quickest escape time is declared the winner.
  • Overtime Dynamics
    Eddie Bravo’s influence shines through in the overtime rules. Competitors get two minutes each in both attacking and defensive positions. There are two primary attacking positions: the spider web (a back attack) and the armbar position. The goal? Submit your opponent or escape their submission attempt in the shortest time possible.

In Conclusion

CJJ stands as a testament to the evolution of combat sports, taking the art of BJJ and introducing some more realism of MMA. Whether you’re a competitor or a fan, understanding these rules offers a deeper appreciation for the sport and the strategic depth it offers. CJJ aims at making the sport of Jiu Jitsu more attractive to the fans, and from my experience, it’s super fun to watch!

3. How Does It Differ From Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

When we talk about ground combat sports, Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) stands out. CJJ is a version of jiu-jitsu that tries to build on that. Here’s a breakdown:

Origins and Philosophy

  • BJJ
    Brazilian jiu-jitsu got popular because it puts emphasis on using leverage and technique to control and submit opponents. It’s a sport where size and strength can be overcome by skill. The main goal? Control your opponent and get a submission.
  • CJJ
    Evolved by Eddie Bravo, CJJ took the foundational principles of BJJ and combined them with elements from MMA. It’s not just about submissions; it’s about defending, controlling, and striking when necessary. The philosophy is to add more realism to ground fighting by introducing strikes and making BJJ more suitable for self-defense.

Allowed Techniques

  • BJJ
    BJJ primarily revolves around grappling. You have sweeps, takedowns, joint locks, and chokes. Striking is not permitted, making it more of a “gentle art,” as some describe it.
  • CJJ
    Here, while grappling remains at the core, open-palm strikes are allowed. But these strikes are only permitted when both competitors are on the ground. This addition changes the dynamic, making competitors rethink strategies, especially in dominant BJJ positions like the closed guard.


  • BJJ
    Matches can be with a Gi (traditional kimono) or no-gi rash guards. Points are scored for achieving dominant positions and advancing positions. The ultimate goal is to submit the opponent, and one of the competitors taps out. But if that doesn’t happen, the competitor with the most points wins.
  • CJJ
    CJJ competitions are no-gi. In addition to regular point-scoring like BJJ, the addition of open palm strikes puts another layer of strategy. While submissions are the main objective, the threat of being hit forces competitors to adapt their techniques and strategies therefore changing the approach of the athletes.

Which One Is Better For Self-Defense?

  • BJJ
    Due to its non-striking nature, critics argue BJJ doesn’t prepare you for a real-life altercation where strikes are involved. However, it offers control and submission techniques, which can be highly effective in many situations. So if you are training only BJJ you’ll have a high advantage over those won’t practice BJJ.
  • CJJ 
    Being a bridge between BJJ and MMA, Combat Jiu Jitsu aims to prepare practitioners for real-life scenarios better. The addition of strikes makes it more aligned with situations where opponents might not just grapple but also throw punches. It exposes which BJJ moves won’t work in street fights and offers a better understanding on what happens in street fights.

In Summary:

While BJJ and CJJ have a lot in common, their rules sets them apart. BJJ is a pure grappling art focusing on positional control and submissions. On the other hand, CJJ introduces the MMA element of ground strikes, making it a better approach to ground combat. Whether you’re a purist or someone seeking a more complete fight experience, both arts offer unique challenges.

5. What Are The Benefits Of Combat Jiu-Jitsu?

Why It Matters
The concept of Combat Jiu-Jitsu (CJJ) is an important step towards enhancing the practicality and effectiveness of traditional jiu-jitsu. In real world events, like street fights, the absence of strikes in BJJ is a weakness.

CJJ fills this gap – here, competitors are allowed to do open palm strikes, thereby making sure that competitors are better equipped to handle situations that purely sport jiu jitsu might not address enough. The core objective? To transition Brazilian jiu-jitsu from a sportive setting into a more realistic self-defense discipline, adding an engaging element for both practitioners and viewers.

The Road Ahead
CJJ events are becoming more and more popular. But it’s not only the fusion of BJJ and MMA techniques that are driving this momentum.

CJJ is redefining BJJ for the modern era, aiming to make it more dynamic and audience-friendly. While traditional BJJ can sometimes be challenging and boring for casual viewers, Combat Jiu Jitsu wants to make it more engaging. CJJ still aims to preserve the art of jiu-jitsu but evolving it to captivate both purists and the broader public.

6. Where Can You Watch CJJ Competitions?

For anyone looking to dive deep into the world of combat jiu jitsu (CJJ), there’s no better way than to watch a CJJ match. Platforms like UFC Fight Pass provide fans with access to numerous combat jiu jitsu events, showcasing competitors grappling with added striking elements.

Eddie Bravo, the mind behind 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, has been a driving force in bringing this martial art to the audience, and watching it on platforms like these brings his vision to life.

Here’s why it’s a must-see:

  • Intensity and Strategy
    Watching combat jiu jitsu gives you a clear idea of how competitors mix the grappling techniques of BJJ with open palm strikes. This fusion not only adds physical intensity but also brings in a fresh layer of strategy, as the competitor must think of submissions while also being wary of incoming slaps.
  • Understanding Differences
    While Brazilian jiu-jitsu focuses largely on submissions, the integration of open palm strikes in CJJ sets it apart. Observing these matches will highlight the stark difference between BJJ and CJJ, making it clear how Eddie Bravo’s creation bridges the gap between MMA and sport jiu jitsu.
  • MMA and Sport Jiu Jitsu Techniques
    For fans of both MMA and BJJ, combat jiu jitsu is a treat. It’s not just about grappling or striking alone. The combination allows competitors to use a wider range of jiu-jitsu techniques, bringing the best of both MMA and sport jiu jitsu worlds into a single competition.
  • Spotlight on Athletes
    Platforms like UFC Fight Pass give fans a chance to see top BJJ and MMA athletes in action. Figures like Chad George, Nick Honstein, Sheridan Moran, and JM Holland have been notable names in the sport.
  • The Evolution of Martial Art
    Combat jiu jitsu, often called the “hybrid version of Brazilian jiu-jitsu”, represents an evolution in the martial art world. Witnessing the competition, with its EBI overtime rounds and purgatory position plays, showcases how the martial art is adapting to modern-day challenges.

In conclusion, to truly appreciate the depth and dynamism Eddie Bravo put into CJJ, one has to watch combat jiu jitsu in action. Whether you’re a seasoned Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner or a casual MMA fan, the sport of combat jiu jitsu offers something unique and thrilling for everyone.

So, the next time you’re browsing through UFC Fight Pass, make sure to check out a CJJ event. It’s everything you need to know about the future of this combat sport.

Final Words

I’m a massive fan of combat jiu jitsu. There are moments during BJJ rolling when I comfortably sit in my closed guard position, but let’s be real — that’s because no one’s dropping elbows on my face! This twist that CJJ brings to Brazilian jiu-jitsu will prepare you better for real-life situations.

I want to try combat jiu jitsu once I get to the purple belt level in BJJ. Watching competitors grapple with the added dimension of striking is making me realize the vulnerable parts of BJJ. CJJ marries the finesse of BJJ with the thrill of MMA, bringing a level of excitement that’s hard to match.

The more attention BJJ gets, the better it is for all of us in the community. I believe that Combat Jiu Jitsu is the bridge that will bring a broader audience to the art we love so much.

Similar Posts