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BJJ Statistics: Jiu Jitsu by the Numbers

Now, I know what you're thinking – "Statistics? Yawn!" But trust me, this isn't your typical snooze-fest of numbers and charts. We're talking about BJJ, the martial art that's as much about mental strategy as it is about physical prowess.

So, why are we talking stats today? Because BJJ isn't just a sport; it's a growing global phenomenon! From its roots in Brazil to mats across the world, this art form has exploded in popularity.

But how popular is it, really? And what moves are ruling the roost in competitions? Buckle up, as we're about to embark on a journey through high-level statistics like the soaring popularity of BJJ, and then grapple with more sport-specific stats like the most effective submissions that'll make you go "Oss."

High Level Jiu Jitsu Stats

Let's kick things off with a high level overview of the sport of Jiu Jitsu and it's growing popularity.

How many Jiu Jitsu Gyms are there?

Did you know there are over 10,000 BJJ gyms in the good ol' USA? Yep, that's right. Out of around 50,000 martial arts dojos nationwide, nearly 20% are all about BJJ.

Think about it: before 1993, BJJ in America was pretty much "Brazilian what-jitsu?" Now in a city like San Diego, Jiu Jitsu is more like Starbucks – there's one on every corner!

How many Jiu Jitsu Black Belts are there?

Let's talk about the elite of the elite – BJJ black belts. There are 8,783 of these BJJ ninjas registered with the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation.

But wait, there's more! Over 2,000 have gone the extra mile to verify their belt status on So, the real number? It's anyone's guess! It has to be well over 10,000 though.

Here's a shocker: 90% of people who start BJJ never even make it to blue belt. Even Rener Gracie, the head of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (which is known for promoting students relatively quickly), says so. Maybe the path to blue belt is like the Bermuda Triangle of BJJ...

How many people train Jiu Jitsu in the USA?

Lastly, let's talk numbers. Between 500,000 and 1 million people in the USA are rolling on the mats, doing BJJ. With over 10,000 gyms, that's a lot of chokes and arm locks happening coast to coast!

Ok, now that we've covered BJJ statistics at a high level, let's jump into the sport 

Jiu Jitsu Technique Stats

How many Jiu Jitsu Submissions Exist?

Did you know there are 77 legal submissions in BJJ? I've done my homework, trust me. Eight years in the game and a slight obsession with submission videos on YouTube. Arm bars, heel hooks, you name it – if it's a way to make someone tap, I've probably seen it.

Speaking of submissions, the arm bar reigns supreme. It's responsible for 30% of the submissions in gi matches and 20% in no-gi.

How often do Jiu Jitsu matches end in a submission?

Here's a fun fact: about a third of BJJ matches end in a submission. The rest? They go the distance, and it's up to the points or the ref to decide who's the winner.

How often do Jiu Jitsu matches start with a guard pull?

Now, here's something that makes me a tad sad: guard pulls are 8 times more common than takedowns in BJJ. At the 2022 IBJJF World Championships, it was like a guard-pulling festival. I mean, I get it, but can we get some more takedown action, please? The fans want more wrestling!

Jiu Jitsu in the UFC Stats

In the high-stakes world of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), BJJ techniques have proven to be quite effective, especially when it comes to submissions.

What is the Most Effective Jiu Jitsu Submission in MMA?

One particular move stands out: the rear-naked choke. It's the most successful BJJ submission in the UFC, responsible for nearly half of all choke finishes. To be precise, it accounts for 539 out of 1086 choke finishes, which is about 49.63%. That's quite a significant number, indicating the rear-naked choke's effectiveness in high-pressure situations.

Is the Guillotine an Effective Submission in MMA?

Not far behind is the guillotine choke, another BJJ staple. This submission, in its various forms, is responsible for 21% of choke finishes in the UFC. It's a testament to the guillotine's versatility and the skill of the fighters who execute it.

How often is an MMA fighter choked unconscious?

Interestingly, 11.6% of BJJ choke submissions in the UFC result in the loser losing consciousness. This statistic highlights the seriousness and effectiveness of choke submissions when properly applied.

Is the Anaconda Choke an Effective Submission in MMA?

Among these, the Anaconda choke stands out for its efficiency. Approximately 35% of Anaconda choke submissions in the UFC end with the loser losing consciousness. This high rate of "Loss Of Consciousness" underscores the potency of this particular choke technique in the realm of professional MMA.

BJJ's impact in the UFC is undeniable, with these statistics painting a clear picture of its effectiveness, particularly in the realm of submissions.

Jiu Jitsu Safety Stats

How safe is BJJ? Is it a dangerous sport? Let's see what the statistics say.

BJJ Injury Statistics in Competition

BJJ competitions, while highly competitive, do carry a risk of injury, primarily orthopedic in nature. One study revealed that out of 5,022 matches, there were 46 injuries, with the most common being:

  • Elbow injuries: 14
  • Knee and rib fractures: 7 each
  • Foot and ankle injuries: 5
  • Hand and shoulder injuries: 4 each
  • Lacerations requiring medical care: 3
  • Hip and cervical injuries: 1 each

It's interesting to note that heel hooks were not allowed in these competitions.

BJJ Injury Statistics in Regular Training

Training injuries in BJJ are also a point of interest, as practitioners spend more time in gyms than in competitions. Several studies highlight different findings:

  • A 2019 study indicated the knees, shoulders, and ribcage as top injury areas.
  • A 2018 study among 180 novice and advanced BJJ athletes found shoulder and knee injuries most common.
  • A 2017 study pointed to hands, fingers, feet, toes, and arms, elbows as common injury locations, with skin infections, knee injuries, and foot, toe injuries being medically diagnosed most frequently.

The 2019. study found that 59.2% of athletes had suffered at least one injury in the previous 6 months. Unsurprisingly, athletes with more training years and higher weight had fewer injuries, while those attending more classes per week and instructors had an increased risk.

Training vs. Competition: What's Riskier?

The 2018 study revealed that injury rates were slightly higher in training than in competition for novices, but the reverse was true for advanced athletes.

  • Novice athletes: 54.5% in training vs. 45.5% in competition.
  • Advanced athletes: 33.9% in training vs. 66.1% in competition.

Common Injury-Causing Techniques

One study based on over 2,500 competition matches in Hawaii found most orthopedic injuries were caused by the arm bar, followed by takedowns.

BJJ Injuries Compared to Other Martial Arts

A 2014 study from Hawaiian BJJ competitions showed BJJ has fewer injuries compared to judo, MMA, taekwondo, and wrestling. BJJ had the lowest injury rate per 1,000 athlete exposures.

Is BJJ Hard on Your Knees?

Knee injuries, such as MCL and LCL sprains, are relatively common in BJJ, caused by various mechanisms like passing, takedowns, and sweeps.

Tips for Minimizing Injuries

  • Tap out early to prevent injuries from submissions like arm bars.
  • Be aware of high-risk positions and understand the mechanics and risks of techniques like heel hooks.
  • Educate yourself on common injuries and skin infections to avoid them.
  • Choose your sparring partners wisely.
  • Avoid overtraining, which is a significant cause of injuries in novices.

Treating BJJ Injuries

If you do get injured, the first 24 hours are crucial. Follow the RICE technique (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and see a physiotherapist or physical therapist after 24 hours. Keep your body mobile, use Epsom magnesium salt baths, consider remedial massage therapy, and use anti-inflammatory pain relief as needed.