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Illegal moves for white belts

The most dangerous creature on the mat

There are a lot of moves banned in many tournaments for white belt competitors.

The process of making a technique illegal often arises when the governing body or organization identifies a position with the potential to cause injury.

Often, the move or position won’t start off being illegal. It’s only after injuries keep recurring that the move or positions legality comes up for discussion.

Especially, for newer competitors that are often unfamiliar with competing, rules, and controlling themselves.

If you’ve ever watched a white belt match. It looks a lot like a blood sport fight.

When you get two brand new white belts going at it. The match can be very unpredictable.

In fact, there’s almost no technique at this point. Instead, natural instincts take over and it’s essentially a mini mixed martial arts match.

So now we will go over the most common illegal movements specific to white belts in many major gi competitions.

//Jumping closed guard and flying submissions 

I’ve done a few videos on this one but pretty much if the guard jumper messes up their pull. They will very often injure their opponents legs. Seriously damaging the knees if they jump the wrong way.

I mentioned above that new white belts don’t have a lot of body awareness/control. So this is a very dangerous move.

Not to say that jumping guard is bad.

It’s just that you can only jump guard in specific situations. Meaning that you can’t force it or spam it.

So definitely practice this move with a compliant partner before even dreaming of using this in sparring or in a match.

//Wrist locks 

This is a move that you wouldn’t think would be illegal.

But it’s often those moves that seem simple that are easy to get wrong like jumping to closed guard.

The wrist lock is dangerous because it goes from 0 to 100 real quick.

It goes from no pain or maybe a little bit of discomfort to snap-crackle-pop.

Again, if a student doesn’t have control. It’s just a recipe for disaster.

To properly perform a wrist lock from say the side mount. It’s an exercise in escalating force.

That means that once you secure the wrist lock. With control, we have to continually apply force until our opponents taps with out injuring them to the best of our ability.

Also a lot of white belts don’t have the awareness of when they’re in a submission. So they might get caught in a tight wrist lock, but not know that is a wrist lock and be able to act accordingly.

//Leg locks other than ankle locks 

Same as with wrist locks.

Leg locks have to be practiced with a lot control. Because they can deal a lot of damage.

I actually don’t mind teaching white belts leg submissions. Especially in no gi.

But I also understand that also comes with having to watch them more closely and sometimes stopping training sessions in which I feel they may get injured.

//So why are all of these moves illegal in most tournaments for white belts?

The white belt is a person with a novice level of experience and ability in Jiu Jitsu.

If you allowed them the full rule set. I believe that a lot of white belt students would do well.

However, due to the nature of competition.

The anxiety of competing for the very first time or couple of times.

Along with so little experience.

The more moves at their disposal. The more likely they are to try something crazy and potentially injure themselves and their opponent.

It’s not to unusual to see a white belt student just “wing it” and do something super crazy and something they never practiced before in a roll or competition.

In that case, I think it’s okay to have a few limitations for everyone’s safety.

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