How long is a BJJ match?

Everything you need to know about how long matches are in BJJ

I recently decided to start competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) again, and was curious how long matches are in different competitions and at different belt levels.

BJJ matches are typically 5 minutes long for white belt adults, 6 – 8 minutes long for more experienced belts and 10 minutes long for black belts. Kids’ BJJ matches are generally 2 – 4 minutes long depending on age.

The exact length of a BJJ match will depend on the competitor’s age bracket, belt, ruleset and the event itself. In some events matches even have no time limits! 

Some competitions also have longer matches for finals than they do for qualifiers. ADCC trials and national championships are one example, where qualifying round matches are 6 minutes long and finals are 8 minutes long. 

The exact BJJ match times for different competitions are below.

Table of contents

IBJJF 

The IBJJF is the largest organisation in BJJ and runs a long list of competitions around the world each year, culminating in the prestigious annual World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship. IBJJF match times for adults, kids and masters are in the tables below:

Adults

CategoryMatch time
White belt5 minutes
Blue belt6 minutes
Purple belt7 minutes
Brown belt8 minutes
Black belt10 minutes

Source: IBJJF

Note: Adults are defined as: (Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 18

Adult masters

CategoryAgeMatch time limit
Master 1 – white and blue belt(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 305 minutes
Master 1 – purple, brown and black belt(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 306 minutes
Master 2(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 365 minutes
Master 3(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 415 minutes
Master 4(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 465 minutes
Master 5(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 515 minutes
Master 6(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 565 minutes
Master 7(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 615 minutes

Source: IBJJF

Kids and teenagers

CategoryAgeMatch time limit
Mighty Mite I(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 42 minutes
Mighty Mite II(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 52 minutes
Mighty Mite III(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 62 minutes
Pee Wee I(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 73 minutes
Pee Wee II(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 83 minutes
Pee Wee III(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 93 minutes
Junior I(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 104 minutes
Junior II(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 114 minutes
Junior III(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 124 minutes
Teen I(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 134 minutes
Teen II(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 144 minutes
Teen III(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 154 minutes
Juvenile I(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 165 minutes
Juvenile II(Current Year) – (Birth Year) = 175 minutes

Source: IBJJF

ADCC

The Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) was founded by Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan with the purpose of growing martial arts in the United Arab Emirates. The ADCC runs one of the most prestigious no-gi grappling competitions in the world and has more relaxed rules around some submissions compared to IBJJF rules. 

EventQualifying RoundFinals
World championships10 minutes20 minutes
Trials6 minutes8 minutes
Nationals6 minutes8 minutes

Source: ADCC

Grappling Industries

Grappling Industries is a gi and no gi competition organisation which runs events in North America, Australia and Europe. The key difference between Grappling Industries and IBJJF competitions is the use of a round-robin tournament system. This means competitors have up to four matches, versus a normal elimination style tournament where a competitor might only get one match if they lose. 

Match times are similar to IBJJF, although matches are shorter at higher belts compared to IBJJF.

CategoryMatch time limit
Adults5 minutes
Teens4 minutes
Kids3 minutes

Source: Grappling Industries

SJJIF

The Sport Jiu-Jitsu International Federation (SJJIF) is an organisation which aims to get Brazilian Jiu Jitsu into the Olympics. It also runs a calendar of events around the world and has its own annual world championship in both gi and no gi. Match lengths in SJJIF competitions are very close to IBJJF and can be seen below:

Adults and Juvenile

CategoryAdult match lengthJuvenile match length
White belt5 minutes5 minutes
Blue belt6 minutes5 minutes
Purple belt7 minutes5 minutes
Brown belt8 minutes
Black belt8 minutes

Source: SJJIF

Masters

CategoryMasters 30 – match lengthMasters 36 and up – match length
White belt5 minutes5 minutes
Blue belt5 minutes5 minutes
Purple belt6 minutes5 minutes
Brown belt6 minutes5 minutes
Black belt6 minutes5 minutes

Source: SJJIF

Kids

CategoryMatch length
Kid 12 minutes
Kid 22 minutes
Kid 33 minutes
Kid 44 minutes
Kid 54 minutes
Kid 64 minutes

Source: SJJIF

JJWL

The Jiu Jitsu World League (JJWL) is an organisation founded by Rigan Machado, a BJJ icon and pioneer. JJWL match lengths are similar to IBJJF, although shorter at higher belts:

CategoryMatch length
Toddler2 minutes
Kindergarten, youth and pre-teen3 minutes
Junior teen and teen4 minutes
Juvenile, adults white to brown belts, all masters5 minutes
Adult black belt6 minutes
Master black belt5 minutes

Source: JJWL

What if there’s a draw at the end of the match? Is there overtime in a BJJ match?

In most cases, draws are decided by advantages, penalties, referee decisions or overtime. The rules vary depending on the competition:

IBJJF

In IBJJF competitions, if points are equal at the end of the match, the competitor with the greatest number of advantages will win. If points AND advantages are equal, the competitor with the least penalties will win. 

If points, advantages and penalties are equal, the referee will choose a winner. According to the IBJJF rulebook, the referee will take into account who “displayed greater offense during the match and came closest to achieving possible point- or submission-scoring positions”

Grappling Industries

In Grappling Industries competitions, there are no advantages, so in the event of a draw the referee will choose a winner.

ADCC

ADCC competitions have overtime rules if there is a draw with no advantages. The overtime durations are as follows:

EventQualifying round overtimeFinals overtime
World championships5 minutes10 minutes
Trials3 minutes4 minutes
Nationals3 minutes4 minutes

Note: There are a maximum of two overtime periods for the world championship finals, and one maximum overtime period for all other competitions.

SJJIF

The SJJIF has no advantages and no referee decisions (unless both competitors are injured). In the event that a match ends in a draw, it goes into sudden death overtime.

As the name suggests, in sudden death overtime, the first person to score points or get a successful submission wins. Conversely, the first person to score a penalty loses.

JJWL

In JJWL rules, in the event of a draw the last person to score points wins the match. If no points were scored, the referee will decide the winner based on whoever made the most submission attempts and displayed more “combativeness”.

How does a BJJ match start?

A BJJ match will start when the referee signals for the competitors to enter the mat. The competitors will usually shake hands with the referee and each other, and the referee will make sure both competitors are ready. The referee will then use a verbal and visual command to begin. In IBJJF and SJJIF rules, the referee will extend their arm vertically down to the ground and say “combate” pronounced com-ba-tchee.

Where is the time shown in a BJJ match?

A BJJ match will usually display the time on a scoreboard located on the official’s table, just next to the mats where the match is being held. A competition official will keep track of the match time and note the score on the display board.

BJJ scoreboard graphic

When the match ends, the referee will announce the end of the match.

How long is the rest break between BJJ matches?

This will again depend on the competition. In IBJJF, SJJIF and UAEJJF rules you’ll generally receive a break which is the same length as your match length. So if your match was a five minute match, you’ll receive a five minute break. In finals matches, the break is double the match length time.

How many matches will you have in a competition?

The number of matches you’ll have in a competition will depend on two things: the format of the competition and the number of people in your bracket. 

In most elimination-style tournaments the winner progresses to the next stage while the loser is eliminated.

Elimination style tournament diagram
An example of an elimination-style tournament where “competitor 3” wins.

In a round robin style tournament like Grappling Industries, you’ll be pooled into a bracket and will have up to four matches. If there are more than five competitors, the winner of each pool will face off against each other in an elimination-style tournament to decide the ultimate winner.

How can I avoid getting exhausted in a BJJ match?

Competition matches are generally of a much higher intensity than regular sparring rounds. Once you’ve also factored in adrenaline, any other previous matches you’ve already had on the day, and stand-up wrestling, a competitive BJJ match will be more physically draining than a regular roll at your gym.

Energy conservation in BJJ is a large sub-topic, with whole videos and articles devoted to it. Some basic tips from the excellent book The Blackbelt Blueprint from Nic Gregoriades include:

  • Breathing more efficiently and not holding your breath
  • Being precise with your techniques to reduce the energy required to execute them
  • Knowing when to use more energy (e.g when escaping) and when to back off and conserve energy (e.g in dominant positions).
  • Doing regular cardio training outside of BJJ such as swimming

Interested in more BJJ content? Check out my other articles:

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