What Submissions Are Legal For White Belts? [Explained]

Have you recently stepped into the world of BJJ as a white belt? Congratulations on embarking on this incredible journey of learning and self-improvement! As you dive into the intricacies of BJJ, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines set by organizations like the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF).

In this article, we will explore the IBJJF white belt rules regarding submissions. So, let’s unravel the mysteries and clarify what submissions are legal for white belts.

Different Belt Levels in BJJ

Now let’s delve into the fascinating world of belt levels in BJJ. Similar to other martial arts like Karate or Taekwondo, BJJ has a ranking system represented by colored belts.

These belts signify an individual’s progress and mastery of the art. The journey starts with the white belt – the beginning level for all aspiring grapplers.

The white belt represents a blank canvas upon which one begins to paint their jiu-jitsu journey. It is at this stage that students are introduced to fundamental techniques like positioning, escapes from various holds, and basic submissions like armbars and chokes – the building blocks that form the foundation of future proficiency.

As white belts gain experience through regular training sessions and sparring with more advanced practitioners under proper guidance, they gradually move up the ranks toward achieving higher belts such as blue belt (representing further knowledge), purple belt (signifying technical growth), brown belt (indicating advanced skill), and ultimately the prestigious black belt (symbolizing mastery and dedication).

As the foundation of the BJJ hierarchy, white belts are encouraged to absorb as much knowledge as possible while focusing on their technique and developing a strong understanding of positioning.

It’s an exciting phase where beginners embark on a transformative journey, embracing challenges, learning from setbacks, and honing their skills with every roll on the mat.

Now that we have set the stage for our exploration of what submissions are legal for white belts in BJJ, let’s dive into the specifics.

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Can White Belts Compete at IBJJF?

FIrst things first.

Before we delve into the specifics of submissions, let’s address an important question: can white belts compete at IBJJF tournaments?

Absolutely! The IBJJF offers divisions for practitioners of all belt levels, including white belts. Competing at IBJJF events can be a great way to test your skills, gain experience, and challenge yourself in a supportive environment.

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Are Knee Bars Legal for White Belts?

Knee bars, a submission that targets the knee joint, are a powerful technique utilized in BJJ.

However, the IBJJF white belt rules prohibit knee bars for safety reasons. As a white belt, you must focus on developing a strong foundation of fundamental techniques before diving into more advanced submissions like knee bars.

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Are Wrist Locks Legal at White Belt?

Wrist locks, which exert pressure on the wrist joint, can be highly effective in controlling your opponent.

In IBJJF tournaments, white belts are not allowed to apply wrist locks. It’s essential to exercise caution and ensure proper technique execution to avoid causing unnecessary harm to your training partners.

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Is the Banana Split Legal at White Belt?

The banana split, a submission that targets the groin and hip area, is an eye-catching technique commonly seen in advanced BJJ competitions.

According to IBJJF white belt rules, the banana split is allowed at the white belt level.

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Is Omoplata Legal for White Belts?

The omoplata, a shoulder lock submission, is a versatile and effective technique in BJJ.

Good news for white belts – the IBJJF allows the use of omoplata submissions at the white belt level. Embrace this opportunity to learn and apply the omoplata technique responsibly under the guidance of your instructors.

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Are Toe Holds Legal for White Belts?

Toe holds, submissions that target the ankle and foot, can be highly effective in immobilizing opponents.

However, white belts participating in IBJJF tournaments are not permitted to apply toe hold submissions. This restriction ensures the safety and well-being of white belts, focusing their efforts on mastering fundamental techniques.

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Are Ankle Locks Legal for White Belts?

Ankle locks, which target the ankle joint, are potent submissions widely utilized in BJJ. However, according to the IBJJF white belt rules, white belts are not allowed to use ankle locks in competition.

This rule is in place to prioritize the development of fundamental techniques and safeguard the participants’ well-being.

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Can White Belts Pull Guard?

In BJJ, pulling guard refers to the act of intentionally going to the ground from a standing position to initiate a ground-based technique.

White belts are allowed to pull guard in IBJJF tournaments. It can be a strategic move to neutralize an opponent’s attacks and control the pace of the match.

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Can White Belts Perform Shoulder Locks?

Shoulder locks, such as the kimura or Americana, can exert significant pressure on the shoulder joint, making them effective submissions.

As per IBJJF rules, white belts are permitted to execute shoulder locks. However, it’s crucial to approach these submissions with care and apply them responsibly to avoid causing unnecessary harm to your training partners.

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Legal Submissions for White Belts in BJJ

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Chokes and Strangles

When it comes to chokes and strangles in BJJ, these techniques can be highly effective in gaining control over an opponent.

It is essential, however, to approach them with caution, especially as a white belt.

Chokes and strangles primarily target the opponent’s neck, restricting their air supply or blood flow, ultimately leading to a tap-out. As a white belt practitioner, you have access to several legal chokes that are both safe and valuable in your training journey.

One of the most common chokes is the Rear Naked Choke. This technique involves securing your arm around your opponent’s neck from behind and applying pressure on their carotid arteries with your forearm.

The Guillotine Choke is another legal option where you trap your opponent’s head under your arm while squeezing tightly. There’s the Triangle Choke which utilizes both of your legs to create a tight triangle shape around your opponent’s neck.

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Joint Locks

The application of joint locks is instrumental in controlling an opponent by targeting their vulnerable joints such as elbows, shoulders, wrists, and ankles.

These techniques put immense pressure on these joints, forcing the opponent to submit or risk injury.

As a white belt delving into joint locks within BJJ, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of proper technique execution and mindful control over these submissions.

Some essential legal joint locks include the Armbar (or straight arm lock), where you hyperextend an opponent’s elbow joint by controlling their arm; the Kimura Lock which aims at manipulating an opponent’s shoulder joint by rotating it beyond its capacity; and the Americana Lock (also known as keylock or figure-four lock), which targets the shoulder joint as well but from a different position.

Another effective joint lock for white belts is the Straight Ankle Lock, focusing on applying pressure to your opponent’s ankle by controlling their foot and lower leg.

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Sweeps and Reversals

While submissions are vital in BJJ, sweeps and reversals play an equally important role in gaining advantageous positions over your opponent. Sweeps involve using leverage and timing to off-balance your opponent and bring them down to the ground while maintaining control.

As a white belt, it’s essential to learn sweeps that not only work effectively but also adhere to the rules set for your level of experience.

The Scissor Sweep is a popular technique where you use one of your legs to hook behind your opponent’s knee while pushing with the other leg, causing them to lose balance and fall onto their back.

The Flower Sweep involves trapping one of your opponent’s arms between your legs while simultaneously pushing against their upper body with both hands, creating an opportunity for you to roll them off-balance.

Flower Sweep

Another useful sweep is the Hip Bump Sweep (also known as the Upa), where you bridge against your opponent while trapping one arm, allowing you to reverse positions and gain top control.

Stay tuned for section IV of this article where we will explore additional techniques available for white belts in BJJ that can further enhance their grappling skills and overall understanding of this art form.

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Escapes from Bottom Positions

When it comes to techniques, white belts in BJJ have a world of possibilities to explore. One important area of focus is learning effective escapes from bottom positions.

Being able to escape from underneath an opponent is crucial for survival and turning the tables in your favor. One popular escape technique is the “shrimp.” This involves using the hips and legs in a coordinated manner to create space and regain control.

Another effective technique is the “bridge and roll,” which utilizes momentum and leverage to reverse positions.

As a white belt, mastering these escapes will provide you with the foundation needed to survive against more experienced opponents.

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Guard Passes

A fundamental aspect of BJJ is understanding how to pass an opponent’s guard, which refers to their leg control when on their back.

Since white belts are often faced with opponents who rely heavily on maintaining their guard, learning guard passes becomes essential. One popular technique for passing the guard is known as the “knee slice.” This involves sliding your knee across your opponent’s thigh while controlling their upper body, ultimately leading you into a dominant position such as side control or mount.

Another effective technique is the “torreando pass” or bullfighter pass, where you redirect your opponent’s legs by using precise footwork and hand placement.

By dedicating time to practicing these guard passes, white belts can gain confidence in navigating through their opponent’s defenses.

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What Submissions Are Legal For White Belts Reddit Discussion

Let’s gather ’round and have a look at the discussion on the BJJ subreddit about the submissions that are legal for white belts.

Ankle locks (straight ankle locks)Allowed in IBJJF competition, but some schools discourage them for white belts
Leg locks (other than straight ankle locks)Not allowed
Bicep slicersNot allowed
Neck cranksNot allowed
FocusIt’s suggested to focus on a few maneuvers and master them rather than trying to learn too many new submissions
Importance of basicsEmphasized the importance of mastering basic techniques such as kimuras, triangles, and arm bars
Transitions, passes, sweeps, and takedownsWhite belts should also focus on these aspects of BJJ, as they make up a significant portion of training
Consult instructorIt’s advisable to consult with the instructor for guidance and specific recommendations

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IBJJF White Belt Rules

To summarize, let’s take a look at the key IBJJF white belt rules regarding submissions:

  • Knee bars are not legal for white belts.
  • Wrist locks are not legal for white belts.
  • The banana split is allowed for white belts.
  • White belts are allowed to perform omoplata submissions.
  • Toe holds and ankle locks are not legal for white belts.
  • White belts can pull guard as a strategic move.
  • Shoulder locks, like the kimura or Americana, are legal for white belts.

Remember, these rules are in place to ensure the safety and development of white belts in their BJJ journey.

It’s essential to focus on mastering fundamental techniques, building a strong foundation, and progressing gradually as you advance through the belt ranks.

Now that we’ve explored the IBJJF white belt rules regarding submissions, let’s take a moment to appreciate the importance of understanding and following these guidelines.

By adhering to the rules, we can create a safe and inclusive environment for practitioners of all skill levels.

Understanding and respecting the rules of BJJ not only ensures your safety but also contributes to the integrity and growth of the sport.

So, embrace the journey, train hard, and always prioritize the well-being of yourself and your training partners. Happy rolling!

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