What is Combat Jiu Jitsu – An Introduction to a Slapping New Experience in Grappling!

What is Combat Jiu Jitsu – An Introduction to a Slapping New Experience in Grappling!

As Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been growing in popularity in mainstream media, it seems that it continues to grow and evolve. There are more and more tournaments and rulesets that are introduced to the world of grappling. In an attempt to make grappling more exciting for spectators, tournaments like the Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI), Polaris, and Quintet Grappling come to surface to get more action for the fans. But it seems like all the craze lately is Combat Jiu Jitsu.

But just what exactly is it? Well, in short Combat Jiu Jitsu is simply grappling with slapping! And just when you think grappling rules can’t get any crazier, why not add slapping to the mix?

Enter Eddie Bravo’s Combat Jiu Jitsu. With this new approach to grappling, competitors are allowed to slap their opponents! Certainly, sounds crazy, but maybe Eddie’s onto something here?

Read on below, find out what all the craze is about!

The Idea Behind Combat Jiu Jitsu

Combat Jiu Jitsu (CJJ) was a concept that was first introduced by 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo.

In the world of grappling, Eddie can sometimes be called an enigma compared to many grapplers. He has a totally different approach to grappling. He has a notion that the traditional BJJ is simply “boring to watch in TV” and ineffective in a real-life situation.

That in part is the reason he created the 10th Planet style of Jiu Jitsu and the EBI submission-only tournament format.

In an attempt to shake things up some more, in 2013 he came up with the notion of adding slaps to a grappling match. Of course, it was perceived as another crazy idea by Eddie. But maybe he was on to something there?

Combat Jiu Jitsu Slaps

Eddie has always been a proponent of making things a little more realistic and more entertaining to fans. And that’s exactly what we would get with Combat Jiu Jitsu.

CJJ is sort of the bridge between MMA and straight Jiu Jitsu. By adding open palm strikes to opponents on the ground, it forces your opponent to move around to get into a better position.

Sometimes grapplers can get comfortable in a position for an extended period of time, stalling and looking for an opening before going for an attack. This ruleset eliminates that aspect of the match and gets your opponent moving.

Combat Jiu Jitsu certainly adds an entirely new aspect to the sport of grappling. With the added element of danger from slaps, it changes the whole dynamic of the sport!

Combat Jiu Jitsu Rules

The ruleset for Combat Jiu Jitsu follows the same format of the EBI Tournament of Submission Only Grappling. If your familiar with the EBI Ruleset, CJJ is simply an EBI tournament – with slaps!

General Rules

Matches are fought in a 10 Minute Round.

All Submissions are legal. Submission Only Rules.

The match starts off with both competitors at the standing position in the middle of the ring.

The Slaps

  • Slaps are allowed only after one opponent is in the “downed position.” 
  • An opponent is considered in the downed position if both their knees are on the ground or if they’re in the seated position.
  • You are only allowed to slap the face or the body.

Standing and Grounding

  • Standing grappling (when both opponents are on their feet) will only be allowed for one-minute tops. 
  • Once the limit has been exceeded, the referee will stop the match. Both fighters will then be required to be grounded on the floor.
  • When opponents are forced to be grounded, there will be coin toss to see which position to be in.
  • You can either be on top of your opponent’s butterfly with double under hooks or the bottom with your butterfly guard.
  • The winner of the coin toss gets to decide which position to be in.


  • When one opponent is grounded while the other is standing and the person on top is not engaging for an extended period of time, you go into a Purgatory. 
  • If you don’t engage by actively trying to pass your opponent’s guard, you get penalized.
  • You have 10 seconds after getting out of contact with the bottom player to attempt to pass or regain contact.
  • You are allowed 30 seconds of purgatory for the duration of the match. Anything above this will be tacked onto your total time during the overtime rounds.

Winning a Match

You can win a match by submitting your opponent within the allotted 10-minute time limit.

Competitors can also win via TKO stoppage. The stoppage occurs when the opponent is simply covering up and not trying to actively improve their position (similar to what you would see in the UFC).

If no one gets submitted or gets TKO’d you go into overtime rounds.

Overtime Rounds

For the overtime round, competitors flip a coin to see who goes first.

The winner of the coin toss decides to either start attacking from the back or the Spiderweb Position (the arm bar position from mount).

Competitors will then take turns from their chosen position.

If one competitor submits the other during their attacking turn and escapes during the defending turn, then they are declared the winner.

If both competitors escape the submission attempt (neither gets the submission), then you go back to another overtime round.

There are three overtime rounds max. If there are no submissions during three overtime rounds, the competitor with the fastest combined escapes during all three rounds wins the competition.

Combat Jiu Jitsu in Action

Although Combat Jiu Jitsu was just a notion in the past, this idea came into fruition in 2017. Eddie Bravo decided to incorporate the new ruleset during EBI 11.

So how did it do? Surprisingly well actually!

The first four fighters to try it out were JM Holland, Chad George, Sheridan Moran, and Nick Honstein for the first ever 135lbs CJJ Title. At the end it was Nick Honstein that came out on top on the first experimental stage.

These matches were some of most exciting ones to watch during the competition! It seemed like it was received well during the match. The added slaps didn’t only bring out some heavy cheers from the crowd, it brought in some laughter as well.

You can certainly make the argument that laughter shouldn’t be a part of the equation when it comes to a serious grappling competition. But who doesn’t find slaps funny? Not only does it add an entertaining aspect to the game, it certainly made competition that much more unpredictable.


Adding strikes definitely made things more interesting for the world of grappling. It changed the whole dynamic of the matches.

With the added strikes, it adds a new element to the game. You are no longer waiting for an opening in your half guard to get the sweep. Now you got to worry about getting smacked in the mouth too!

Overall, Combat Jiu Jitsu has made a huge impact to the Jiu Jitsu community. More and more practitioners are trying their hands at it. For many this could be the entry point to MMA and to some its simply another avenue to test their skill against a different set of rules.

CJJ has grown quite a bit since its first upbringing. Today, we have the Combat Jiu Jitsu Worlds as the official CJJ tournament. With a great turnout with the first few CJJ tournaments, we are sure to see some more high impact grappling and slapping action in the future!

One man that did really well transitioning to the CJJ format is Vagner Rocha. Check out his highlights at Combat Jiu Jitsu!