Misconceptions of IBJJF Competition Age Brackets

There are very common misconceptions regarding IBJJF competition age brackets. In this article, we explain the truth behind these misunderstandings.

1. Misconception #1: I can enter the Adult Division once I turn 18 years old.

Although it is true that the Adult Division starts with the age of 18 year old, the athlete does not need to have already aquired that age. The athlete must be or WILL turn 18 years old in that current year. For example, an athlete aged 17 years and 3 months old at time of registration will still need to register as an Adult if the athlete will turn 18 years old that same year.

2. Misconception #2: Masters athlete can enter any age division if they are alone in their bracket.

Athletes are only allowed to compete in their age bracket or younger down to the Adult division. Therefore, a Master 2 athlete can compete as Master 2, Master 1 or Adult but is NOT allowed to compete in Master 3. Even if both the Master 2 and Master 3 athletes are alone in their brackets, the Master 3 athlete must drop down to Master 2. The Master 2 athlete cannot move up to Master 3.

3. Misconception #3: Masters divisions increase every 5 years. I can join Masters 1 and 30 years old and Master 2 and 35 years old.

This is one of the most misunderstood rules in IBJJF age divisions. Although athletes can join the Master 1 division at 30 years old, they cannot join the Master 2 division until 36 years old. The concept that the Masters division increases every 5 years is false as this only occurs beginning with the move from Master 2 to Master 3 and forward. 

4. Misconception #4: Kids of all ages, belts and weights might compete together.

Kids also have designated divisions based on age, belt and weight. However, some kids may participate in "exhibition matches" where the age, belt or weight might differ slightly. These matches are not counted as part of the real competition and are available as a courtesy. Parents who see matchups between kids of different belts and sizes may misinterpret the match as "official".

Now that the main misconceptions have been cleared up, we hope you will be able to navigate the IBJJF competition registration process more easily!

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