What is Tapping Out in BJJ

What is Tapping Out in BJJ? (Explained)

Tapping out is a regularly used term in many martial arts, such as in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But what does it mean to tap out in BJJ?

Tapping out means submitting and basically telling your sparring partner or opponent to stop. By tapping out, you tell your opponent that they win the fight. The reason you should tap out is to avoid getting your arms or joints broken due to a joint lock, or getting choked out.

Let’s take a closer look into why tapping out is necessary for BJJ.

What is tapping out in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

As mentioned above, tapping out basically means giving up, before you get hurt.

Tapping out is done by gently tapping on your opponent, yourself, or the floor. If your hands are tied up, there are alternative ways to tap out as well. We will look into those further below in this post.

After someone taps out, the winning participant must immediately stop applying force to the choke or lock. This is to avoid any injuries that can come, when applying too much pressure on a certain joint, for example.

Tapping out is part of martial arts. It is an essential part of training, and nobody should try to “win” every sparring match in class. Nobody counts those “wins” or losses. Classes are meant to be learned at.

Don’t be the guy who uses all their strength even when practicing and refuses to tap out. That makes you simply a person who nobody wants to spar with. If you are unfamiliar with what sparring is, read this article.

Tapping out in BJJ competitions is also necessary. There is a point in every lock and choke, where you can not escape if they are done correctly. There is no point risking your health and well-being for one win.

Having your arm or joint broken due to a competition can have long-lasting consequences. It might force you to take a break or quit BJJ for good.

I will also add a video to demonstrate how tapping out works in reality below. I am not the creator of this video.

When should you tap out in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?

I will divide this into two different categories since tapping out in class and in competitions are very different. Let’s start with tapping out in class when sparring.

When should you tap out in BJJ while sparring?

As you learn new techniques in the class, tapping out sooner rather than later is good. When you see your opponent has done the technique correctly, you can tap out before you feel any pain.

There is no point in trying to escape, especially if your sparring partner did the technique correctly. Classes are about learning, not “winning” a play fight.

Also, try not to use too much force when learning new techniques. You don’t want to break your sparring partner’s arm.

When should you tap out in BJJ competitions?

Competitions are a bit different, compared to sparring and classes. Tapping out works the same, but how far you should wait before tapping out is up to you.

If you feel like you could escape without getting hurt, competitions are the place to try it out. That is where winning matters something, unlike in class.

No matter how big of competition, try still not to take tapping out too far. Your opponent will do their best to make you submit, therefore, they will also use a lot of force. That might cause you to break an arm or have other injuries.

Different ways to tap out in BJJ

Tapping out the regular way on your opponent, yourself, or on the floor is not always possible. You might have your hands all tied up, and you are unable to move them.

In this case, it is completely okay to tap out with your leg or shout something to let your opponent know you submit.

Not having your hands available should not keep you from tapping out. Do whatever it takes to let your opponent know that that’s enough. There is no point in risking your health and well-being.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, tapping out tells your opponent that you submit. They have successfully made a joint lock or a choke, and you tell them to stop.

After you tap out, they should immediately stop what they are doing, to avoid any unnecessary injuries.

Try not to wait until the last second to tap out when in class. Competitions are different, that’s where you could try to escape if you feel like you have a chance. (Without risking your health of course)

Hopefully this was helpful, have a wonderful day!

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