What Exactly Is Car Jitsu and Why It Is So Popular in Russia

Last updated on 20.01.2023 by

Jiu Jitsu can be quite weird for a casual observer who has no idea at all about what is going on during a match. However, there are instances of BJJ competitions that make even experienced grapplers wonder what exactly is going on. The Russian Car Jitsu championship is one such example. 

What is Car Jiu Jitsu?

Car Jitsu is exactly what it sounds like – a Jiu Jitsu match held inside a parked car. As funny and goofy as it sounds, this is a sport that draws knowledgeable crowds to watch and cheer and has rules and referees, penalties, and champions. 

Competitors can wear a Gi or No-Gi gear and have the right to use whatever is in the car as long as no striking is involved. 

This “combat sport” has really kicked off in Russia, where entire venues are now being booked to host the events, and the car parked in the center is a convertible so that the crowd can see clearly what is happening in a match. 

Despite no events being held outside of Russia, the YouTube popularity of these crazy for of Jiu Jitsu is off the charts. I guess it is a question of time before a version of it will appear in the US and Europe. 

Who Invented Car Jitsu? 

Car Jitsu is the project of Vik Mikheev, a Judo and BJJ black belt. He came up with the idea during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, when lockdowns were in effect worldwide. 

His original idea was to develop a setting allowing practitioners to use Jiu Jitsu within a confined space. To be honest, getting comfortable fighting inside a car does have real-world self-defense applications. Even Rener Gracie did something similar in one of his self-defense videos a few years back. 

In 2020, I came up with the idea of doing competitive grappling in vehicles. Since October of 2020, I and my friends run small tournaments of Car Jitsu to study the aspects of jiu-jitsu application in such a confined space.”

Said Mikheev in an interview with RollingTimes Mag.

A few videos appeared online of Car Jitsu matches taking place, and they quickly drew the attention of the BJJ community. Vik no has a YouTube channel with millions of views, and his idea has grown into a full-blown championship in Russia. 

The Russian Car Jitsu Championship

Currently, the Car Jitsu Championship has moved from Vic Mikheev’s parked old vehicle, with windows open and several cameras following the action, to a convertible car placed in the middle of a venue. 

There are two referees (one on each side of the car) carefully monitoring the action and doing what referees in BJJ matches usually do. 


The rules of Car Jitsu are pretty simple. 

There are two three-minute rounds in each match. Competitors switch the driver and passenger seats at the start of each round. 

There are points awarded for positional dominance, which is not unlike in a Jiu Jitsu match on the mats. Competitors get four points for mount or back control and two points for achieving knee on belly. 

Submissions, of course, are the preferred way to win. 

A submission, however, does not decide the match but only a round. If both competitors score a submission in each of the rounds, an overtime round then takes place in the backseat of the car. This round lasts four minutes and also features points and submissions. 

Everything inside the car, including seat belts, steering wheel, mirrors, seats, window, and door frames, is legal for use as long as no striking or hitting is involved. 

In fact, “creative use of the environment” has been stated as a key aspect that decides victory in a Car Jitsu match. 

Popular Moves And Tactics

People competing in Car Jitsu have been working on offensive and defensive moves and tactics that can bring them victory in the front or back seat.

Seatbelts are the weapon of choice for everyone, as they are conveniently located at a spot where everyone can find them, they feature quite a length and can be used very creatively to choke or restrain opponents during a match. 

The seatbelt choke is arguably the most effective submission to use in Car Jitsu. 

Using the spaces below the stirring wheel, in between the seats, etc., is also key, as there is not much space to begin with. Whoever dominates the space and ends up on top has a better chance of winning a Car Jitsu match. 

When the matches are held inside cars that are not convertible, oxygen levels also play a role, as getting tired in a confined space with a person mounting you is a great way of getting tired quickly. 

Window frames are also quite effective, where you use them to enhance submissions (Kimura over the window) or to give yourself better leverage in order to shoot a triangle choke

What’s Next? 

As it seems, Russians will not wait to see where Car Jitsu leads them but are already pushing its “evolution.” 

So far, there has been a match where adult movie stars participated in a Car Jitsu match, much to the pleasure of the quite large audience. 

However, one direction that might catch on a lot more in Russia is Car MMA, which is, again, something already taking place at the same events as Car Jitsu matches. 


Crazy Russian spin-offs aside, Car Jitsu does not sound at all like a bad idea. Of course, a car or two would have to be sacrificed for the sport, which makes it a costly endeavor, but still, it is definitely something I’d personally love to try., at least once. What about you?