Black belts must earn points in lower-tier competitions to qualify for Worlds, Pans, and European tournaments.
A big change is coming for black belts who look to compete in IBJJF events. On Wednesday, the organization announced rule changes that call for black belts to accumulate ranking points in order to participate in their “grand slam” of events – European Championships, Pan American Championships, and World Championships. This is a major change that will impact the names that are available to sign up for some of the biggest competitions in the sport.
As reported by FloGrappling, this change is meant to “ensure only elite-level athletes qualify to compete in the best IBJJF tournaments in the world.” Athletes are now required to earn these points through “lower-tier” events before being able to qualify for one of the bigger, showcase tournaments. Competitors wishing to take part now must earn medals and points via other local tournaments. This ranking system only applies to gi events at the time as a rule and ranking set for no-gi is still in development.
The point scale varies within weight class and absolute divisions. In a weight class first, second and third place earns nine, three and one point respectively. In the absolute division, those same finishing positions earn 13.5, 4.5, and 1.5 points each. To make things even more complicated, multipliers are added based on the level of the tournament and the year in which the points were earned. Points remain “active” for three years, meaning the 2018 World Championships will include those who’ve earned enough ranking points starting after the 2015 World Championships.
There are exceptions to the rule:
· Ranking points will not transfer between belts (i.e. brown to black)
· Ranking points will not transfer between age groups
· Athletes who are in brackets alone will earn credited points
As professional promotions continue to change the landscape of grappling, it will be interesting to see how this change impacts the tournaments and those that are able to compete each year. For more information about these changes and IBJJF announcement as whole, visit the IBJJF website.