Stats are a great way to get a snap shot of a sport, so in this article I give your some interesting BJJ statistics. I picked these BJJ stats because they give a clear picture of where Brazilian jiu jitsu is now and where it’s going.
1. There are more than 10,000 BJJ Schools in America
There are just over 50,000 martial arts schools in America (source), and 19.8% of these are BJJ gyms (source). So that’s over 10,000 BJJ gyms in America in 2022.
This probably means that BJJ is the fastest rising martial are in the USA, because before the first UFC in 1993, there were ~0 BJJ gyms in America. In fact, practically nobody had hear about Brazilian jiu jitsu at that point.
2. There are more than 7,425 BJJ black belts
There are 7425 BJJ black belts registered with the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). However, only active competitors in IBJJF events are reuired to register there. So it’s hard to estimate how many black belts there are apart from this database. (source)
Perhaps another useful statistic is that there are more than 2000 BJJ black belts who took the effort to verify their black belt status on beltchecker.com. This is a separate database with people who aren’t necessarily also registered with the IBJJF. As BeltChecker becomes more popular, their statistics might add value.
Also read: Top 7 Black Belts That Take Longest to Get in Martial Arts
3. 90% of people who start BJJ never get promoted to Blue Belt
Blue belt is the second belt in BJJ (after white belt), and according to Rener Gracie, 90% of people who start BJJ quit before they get it. Rener Gracie is the head of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, which has thousands of BJJ gyms under its wings. And Gracie Jiu Jitsu is actually known for handing out belts relatively quickly, so the industry wide statistic might be even more harsh.
4. There are 77 legal submissions in BJJ
There are 77 legal submissions in BJJ (including heel hooks). How do I know? Well, I’ve been in the sport for more than 8 years and I’m somewhat addicted to submission videos on YouTube. I also cross referenced everyone else’s lists on the internet, and nobody mentions a submission that I don’t have in my list.
Also read: BJJ submissions – Awesome list of 70+ submissions
5. The most common submission in BJJ is the arm bar
Highpercentagemartialarts studied 300 BJJ matches at the white, blue and purple belt level. They found that the arm bar accounts for 30% of the submissions in the gi, and 20% in no gi (because heel hooks take a slice of the pie). In both gi and no gi the arm bar was the single most common submission. (source)
Also read: Top 5 Best BJJ Submissions + Full Tier List
6. About a third of BJJ matches end in a subission
About a third of BJJ matches end in a submissions. The other matches end at the time limit and the winner is determined by points. In case of a draw, a referee decides the winner. (source)
7. Guard pulls are 8 times more common than takedowns in BJJ
This BJJ statistic makes me very sad, but at the 2022 IBJJF World Championships, there were 227 successful guard pulls(*) against 28 successful takedowns. That’s for the black belt level and in the gi. I don’t like guard pulling too much, so I hope this BJJ statistic will change in the future. (source)
*A ‘guard pull’ is where a fighter voluntarily falls to his/her back to continue the fight from there – if you don’t do BJJ that probably sounds really weird, but it makes sense in our rules…
8. Between 500.000 and 1 million people do BJJ in the USA
Because there’s not one governing body that all jiu jitsu practitioners must subscribe to, it’s difficult to estimate exactly how many people practice BJJ in the United States. However, we can make some assumptions. With over 10,000 BJJ gyms in America, it’s safe to say that the number of BJJ practitioners is significant.
Assuming each gym has an average of 50-100 students, that would mean there are at least 500,000 BJJ practitioners in the United States. However, this is just an estimate and the actual number could be higher or lower. Some BJJ gyms have way more than 100 students, many gyms have less than 50 students, and some students may train at multiple gyms.
Also read: 7 BJJ Facts That You Didn’t Know