AJP Tour – History, Ruleset, Weight Classes and Prizes

Last updated on 16.09.2023 by

The AJP tour became everyone’s focus a few years ago, emerging as a global tournament available in many countries at least once a year, featuring highly organized events, quality referees, and many opponents to rival any IBJJF tournament. But where did they come from, and how did this global expansion come to be in such a short time? 

Today, we’ll cover everything on the subject of the AJP. 

What does AJP stand for in Jiu Jitsu?

AJP Tour Explained

AJP stands for Abu Dhabi Jiu Jitsu Pro, the organization’s official name that runs the AJP Tour. 

The UAE Jiu Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) founded the AJP in 2019 as a subsidiary. They aim to promote and develop BJJ globally by organizing high-level tournaments, providing professional services, and supporting athletes and academies.

The AJP Tour is the flagship project of the AJP, consisting of a series of events that occur throughout the year in different countries and continents. 

Such events offer a unique opportunity for Jiu Jitsu practitioners of all levels and backgrounds to compete locally and internationally, to the point of earning a place in the AJP Worlds event for free, given a certain degree of success.

Systematization of the Abu Dhabi Jiu Jitsu Pro Tour

The AJP Tour follows a standardized system that regulates all aspects of the competition, from registration to results. The focus is on fairness, transparency, safety, and quality for all participants and spectators.  

Their system is very similar to the IBJJF. Competitors are divided into weight, age, sex, belt categories, and uniform-based divisions (Gi and/or No-Gi). 

Here is how it all works:

AJP Tournaments

AJP Tour Tournaments List

The AJP Tour consists of several types of tournaments that vary in size, scope, and prestige. 

These tournaments are divided into four main categories:

  1. Grand Slam: These are the most prestigious and lucrative events of the AJP Tour, featuring the best athletes in the world competing for ranking points and cash prizes. There are six Grand Slam events per season, each one hosted in a different city: Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Tokyo, London, and Abu Dhabi.
  1. Continental Pro: Regional events that qualify athletes for the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship, the ultimate goal of the AJP Tour. There are five Continental Pro events per season, each one representing a continent: Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and South America.
  1. National Pro: These are national events that qualify athletes for the Continental Pro events. There are dozens of National Pro events per season, each one representing a country or a region within a country.
  1. International Pro: These are international events that offer ranking points and medals for the athletes. International Pro events are in the hundreds every season, each open to all nationalities and belts.

The AJP Tour also organizes special events, such as the Abu Dhabi King of Mats, the Abu Dhabi Queen of Mats, the AJP Teams Cup, and the AJP Awards.

A unique part of the Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Competion is the organization of Para Jiu Jitsu tournaments for disabled atheltes several times throughout the season. 

AJP Weight Categories

AJP uses different weight categories than other Jiu Jitsu organizations, such as the IBJJF or ADCC. The variety tehy offer allows more options for competitors, and in turn, reduces the need for weight cuts. 

They include 7 weight categories for men, 5 for women, 8 for kids, and 10 for youth.

Here is the entire weight range of AJP weight categories for adult men and women competitors:

  • Men: -56kg, -62kg, -69kg, -77kg, -85kg, -94kg, -120kg
  • Women: -49kg, -55kg, -62kg, -70kg, -95kg

The weight limit does not include the gi (unlike IBJJF), and two weigh-in periods are available, either before their first match on the day of their division or one day before.

AJP Ruleset

The AJP employs a ruleset that is similar to other competitions however, there are some significant differences. 

These differences are in line with the main goal of the AJP in encouraging more action and less stalling in the matches, and rewarding offensive techniques while penalizing defensive tactics. 

Key aspects of their ruleset include:

  • Advantages are replaced by one point for near submissions or dominant positions.
  • Penalties are replaced by one point for the opponent for fouls or passivity.
  • There are no referee decisions in case of a tie. Instead, there is an extra minute with a golden point (the first to score wins), or if no one scores, the last to score wins.
  • Coaches can request one video review per match using the Falcon Eye system.
  • Some special rules for specific situations include 50/50 guard, worm guard, knee reaping, etc.

The AJP tour ruleset is constantly updated and improved based on feedback from athletes, coaches, referees, and fans. You can find the latest version of the ruleset HERE.

AJP Dress Code

AJP Tour Uniform Requirements

A strict dress code for athletes and coaches must be followed at all times during the events. It aims to ensure professionalism, respect, hygiene, and safety for everyone involved.

  1. Athletes must wear a clean and properly fitted Gi in one of three allowed colors: white, blue, or black. 
  2. Male competitors can wear a rash guard under their Gi if they choose to, but it must be made of elastic material. Both long and short-sleeve options are allowed.
    For female competitors, rashguards under the Gi are mandatory
  3. All athletes must wear underwear under their Gi pants. 
  4. No jewelry or accessories that may cause injury or damage to themselves or their opponents are allowed.
  5. Coaches must wear a polo shirt or t-shirt with their academy logo or name on it. They must also wear pants or shorts that cover their knees and shoes that cover their feet.
  6. Coaches must not wear any hats, caps, sunglasses, headphones, or earphones during the matches.

The AJP reserves the right to disqualify or remove any athlete or coach who does not comply with the dress code.

AJP Prizes

A unique feature of the AJP is that it offers attractive prizes for the athletes who compete in its events, some of which are in the form of cash prizes.  

The prizes include:

  • Cash Prizes: The AJP Tour distributes millions of dollars in cash prizes every season, mainly in the Grand Slam and Continental Pro events. The cash prizes vary depending on the event, the division, and the athlete’s rank. 
  • Ranking Points: The AJP Tour has a ranking system that awards points to the athletes based on their performance in the events. Points determine the seeding and qualification of the athletes for major events, such as the Grand Slam and the World Pro. 

This ranking system also determines the winners of the AJP Awards, which recognize the best athletes of each season.

  • Medals and Trophies: The AJP Tour awards medals and trophies to the athletes who place first, second, or third in their divisions. The medals and trophies vary in design and quality depending on the event category.
  • Travel Packages: The AJP Tour offers travel packages to some of its events, especially the Continental Pro and Abu Dhabi World Pro events. The travel packages include flight tickets, hotel accommodation, transportation, and registration fees. 

Athletes who qualify through the National Pro events or through the AJP ranking are eligible for travel packages based on their ranking status.

AJP Tour 2024

The AJP Tour 2024 is the upcoming season of the AJP Tour, which will start in September 2023 and end in April 2024. The AJP Tour 2024 will feature more than 300 events in over 50 countries, with more than 100,000 athletes expected to participate.

Some new features and improvements are also coming via the  AJP Tour 2024, such as:

  • New Weight Categories: 2024 will see the introduction of  two new weight categories for both men and women:
    • -50kg and
    •  -105kg. 

These categories will replace the -49kg and -95kg categories, which will be discontinued, with the goal of creating more opportunities for athletes of different sizes and body types to compete.

  • New Ruleset: The new ruleset will also introduce some changes to encourage more submissions and less stalling:
    • No advantages or penalties for any division or belt.
    • No referee decisions for any division or belt.
    • No time limit for black belt finals in Grand Slam events.
  • New Venues: The AJP Tour 2024 will expand its reach to new countries and cities that have never hosted AJP events. 

The AJP Tour 2024 will return to some of its most popular venues, such as Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Tokyo, London, Miami, and Abu Dhabi.


AJP Tour

Let’s try to answer a few more questions about the AJP Tou that usually come up:

What is the prize money for the AJP Tour?

The prize money for the AJP Tour varies depending on the event category, the division, and the athlete’s rank. The highest cash prize is $15,000 for the black belt male and female champions of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship*, which is the final and most prestigious event of the AJP Tour. 

*ADWPJJC is organized under the generous patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.

The Grand Slam events also offer generous cash prizes for the top three athletes of each division, ranging from $500 to $2,500. 

Is the AJP taking over from IBJJF?

The AJP is not taking over from IBJJF, but rather offering an alternative and complementary platform for Jiu Jitsu competition. The AJP and IBJJF have different visions, goals, and approaches to BJJ and cater to different community segments. 

AJP focuses on providing professional services, attractive prizes, innovative rules, and global exposure for its athletes and events. 

In contrast, IBJJF focuses on preserving the tradition, history, and values of Jiu Jitsu, as well as maintaining a consistent and standardized system for its athletes and events.

What is the UAEJJF?

UAEJJF stands for the United Arab Emirates Jiu Jitsu Federation, which is the governing body of Jiu Jitsu in the UAE. They aim to promote Jiu Jitsu as a sport, a lifestyle, and a tool for social development in the UAE and beyond. 

 UAEJJF is also the parent organization of the AJP.

Can anyone compete at AJP?

Yes, anyone can compete at AJP as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Register with AJP through its online platform.
  • Provide a valid ID or passport that matches their registration information.
  • They comply with the AJP ruleset, dress code, and code of conduct.

The AJP welcomes athletes of all nationalities, belts, ages, genders, and affiliations to compete in its events. It is also open to both amateur and professional athletes alike. 

Is AJP Tour only Gi?

No, the AJP Tour is not only Gi. It offers both Gi and No-Gi divisions for its athletes. However, most of the events are Gi-based, as Gi is considered the main modality of Jiu Jitsu by the AJP. The No-Gi divisions are usually offered as an additional option for some events, such as the Grand Slam or the World Pro

In Summary

The AJP Tour is a remarkable phenomenon in the Jiu Jitsu world that has revolutionized the sport in many ways. It offers a professional, exciting, and rewarding platform for Jiu Jitsu practitioners of all levels and backgrounds to showcase their skills, challenge themselves, learn from others, and have fun. It also contributes to the global development and recognition of Jiu Jitsu as a sport.