No, the ref didn’t rob you.

“I was robbed”

How many times have you seen a social media post by a competitor along the lines of the following- “Great day at X competition today. Won 2 matches but was robbed by ref in the final. Didn’t get awarded points for……

I recently saw a post just like this by a teammate who had also posted a video of said match. After watching the match I explained to him that the ref was in fact correct in his judgement and he did not get the 2 takedown points as his opponent was still attempting a sweep. My teammate thanked me for informing him but it made me wonder how many other competitors were putting up similar posts. Yes referees often make mistakes but more often than not they are correct!

Feeling that you won and not getting the result is understandably very frustrating. But before you launch a social media tirade and blame everyone else for your loss, why not stop and actually learn the most common ruleset applied to the sport. It can save you from looking stupid, and it will actually benefit your game and increase your chances of winning.

Take the time to learn the rules

If you think about the amount of time people spend training for competitions, it seems criminal to think that so little of this time is devoted to learning the rules. So many IBJJF ruleset matches are decided by the smallest of margins and knowing the rules better than your opponent can be a massive advantage. For example, did you know that getting a cross face while in top half guard is counted as an advantage?

Even with the rise of sub only comps the IBJJF rules remain the most commonly used ruleset in the sport. The IBJJF rule book is a PDF document that can be found here. It is quite technical but the language used is simple which helps you to understand the various rules and situations. Once you have read a couple of times you will begin to understand the system and the way that the referees look at matches.

The best way to learn the rules is to think about them every time you roll or watch other people roll. Award the points in your head and try to spot advantages, fouls, and technicalities. By continuously doing this you will soon develop an understanding of the system and will be able to know what points/advantages are applicable in particular transitions. A complete knowledge of the ruleset may take years to develop but like anything this depends on the amount of time your devote to the learning of them.