7 Ways To Get DQ’d In A BJJ Match (BJJ Fouls)

BJJ competitions have specific rule sets that you must follow. Failing to follow these rules will either result in point deductions or even an immediate disqualification.

Let’s go over some of the biggest penalties that are included within an IBJJF regulated BJJ competition. Here are seven ways to get points deducted or disqualified in your BJJ Match.

We’ll go through each of these BJJ fouls and explain why they’re illegal, and give examples of each BJJ foul.

Performing Illegal Techniques At Your Belt Level

Each rank has specific guidelines for what techniques they can and can’t do in competition. By committing one of these BJJ fouls, you will either get a point deducted or most likely be disqualified.

What are the illegal techniques at each rank?

Some of you that are new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu may not know what is considered an illegal technique. Here is a list of illegal techniques that are considered BJJ fouls at each belt rank.

  • Closed Guard Compression Lock (white belts).
  • Bicep Slicers (white belt to purple belt).
  • Kneebars (white belt to purple belt).
  • Wrist Locks (white belts).
  • Pulling Fingers Back (illegal at all ranks).
  • Toe Hold (white belt to purple belt).
  • Toe Hold, where you are pushing the foot outward (illegal at all ranks).
  • Heel Hooks (only allowed in adult brown and black belt level).
  • Ankle Lock Turning Inward (illegal at all ranks).
  • Suplexes (illegal at all ranks).
  • Spinal Lock (illegal at all ranks).
  • Scissor Takedown (illegal at all ranks).
  • Locks Twisting The Opponent’s Knee (only allowed in the adult brown and black belt levels).


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Slamming or Striking

We added these two BJJ fouls together because they are the most obvious rules within BJJ competitions. You cannot slam or strike your opponent in any way in a BJJ match.

There are no point deductions for committing these BJJ fouls. If you commit one of these illegal moves, you are not only disqualified from your match but you’re out of the competition altogether.

Examples of Slamming

Some of you may not know what is considered “slamming” in a BJJ competition and need it explained to you. Here are some examples of slamming that will get you disqualified.

  • Suplexes: A suplex is where you lift your opponent vertically over your head and throw or slam them on the mat. They could land on their head or neck, which is why it’s an illegal move.
  • Slamming in the guard: Whenever you’re in an opponent’s guard, you cannot attempt to pass or escape a submission by slamming them. Even if you lift your opponent and accidentally drop them, this will be considered a slam, and you’ll probably be disqualified. 

BJJ Uniform DQ

BJJ Fouls

A uniform DQ will get you disqualified before you even step on the mat. BJJ events regulated by federations like the IBJJF or UAEJJF have uniform checks before each division starts.

An official looks over your uniform to see if your uniform meets the requirements within the rules. If there is any irregularity with your Gi, rashguard, or shorts, you will be disqualified before your match.

Uniform requirements

The IBJJF has stringent uniform rules that you must abide by, or you’ll be instantly disqualified. Here are the uniform requirements listed within the IBJJF rulebook.


  • Must be one solid color (no mixing of colors).
  • Colors permitted include white, royal blue, and black.
  • Only Gis made of cotton or cotton-like fabric are permitted.
  • Patches are only allowed in the permitted areas of the Gi.
  • Patches must also be IBJJF approved.
  • BJJ belts must be 4-5 centimeters wide and not worn or tattered.
  • Pant legs cannot be more than 5 centimeters above the ankle bone.
  • Gi sleeves cannot be more than 5 centimeters from the competitor’s wrist.
  • Lapel thickness cannot exceed 1.3 centimeters.
  • The width of the Gi collar must be 5 centimeters. 
  • Opening of the center of the gi cannot exceed 7 centimeters.

Stalling In BJJ

Stalling is a BJJ foul that is pretty self-explanatory. It’s where a competitor is not actively trying to get to a better position or attempt a submission.

Generally, you’re giving a warning for the first instance of stalling. But if you keep stalling, you will get points deducted or even be disqualified.

Examples of stalling

There are a few different actions that are considered stalling. Here are a few examples of these BJJ fouls.

Holding guard: If you have an opponent in your guard and you’re not actively going for a submission or sweep, that is stalling.

Staying in guard: It’s also stalling if you just stay in an opponent’s guard and not actively try to pass.

Not engaging your opponent: If you’re not actively engaging your opponent during a match, you will be penalized for stalling. Examples of this are not engaging an opponent on the ground or not going for a takedown.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct In BJJ

bjj fouls

When you’re in a BJJ competition, you agree to a code of conduct when you sign up to compete. Any act of unsportsmanlike conduct will result in immediate disqualification. You will not only lose the match but will be removed from the tournament altogether.

Examples Of Unsportsmanlike Conduct

There are a few different actions that are considered unsportsmanlike conduct. Here are a few of the main examples.

  • Profanity
  • Yelling at a referee (you’re not even allowed to talk to them during the match).
  • Yelling at any tournament employees.
  • Insulting your opponents or their coaches.

Leaving The BJJ Fight Area

During a match, you are not allowed to leave the fight area for any reason. Committing this BJJ foul will result in point deductions and even disqualification if done multiple times.

This rule deters competitors from escaping submissions or takedowns by leaving the fight area. If a competitor does leave the mat, they will be deducted a point, and the match will restart in the center.

Knee Reaping

The infamous knee reap is the last BJJ foul that we’ll cover. This is one of the most criticized BJJ fouls by everyone, from athletes, coaches, and fans.

A knee reap is where your outside leg crosses your opponent’s centerline and across their knee. This BJJ foul is an immediate disqualification for anyone who does a knee reap, even by accident.

Although for adult brown and black belt divisions, the knee reap rule was removed when heel hooks were permitted. For all other ranks, the knee reaping rule is still enforced.

BJJ Fouls To Get Disqualified

Committing any of these seven BJJ fouls will undoubtedly result in point deductions or even disqualifications. Be sure to remember these seven BJJ fouls and study federation rules like within the IBJJF before you compete. That way, you’ll know exactly what you can and cannot do in a match and won’t get points deducted or disqualified.

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Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.
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