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Incorporating Elo Ratings into JiuJitsu

In the ever-evolving landscape of Jiu-Jitsu, the incorporation of Elo ratings has emerged as a fascinating method to enhance the competitive setting of the sport. It's an interesting prospect. Whether it's ever instituted, who knows. If we did it, here's how Elo ratings could positively impact the world of Jiu-Jitsu.

Understanding Elo Ratings in Jiu-Jitsu

Originally designed for chess, Elo ratings provide a systematic way to gauge the skill levels of competitors. Imagine a scenario where each practitioner is assigned a numerical representation of their proficiency – this is the essence of Elo ratings in Jiu-Jitsu. I'll admit my Elo rating in Chess is not very good and I've been playing for a few years now.

Precision in Matchmaking

In the context of in-person instruction and seminars, precision becomes crucial. Elo ratings facilitate accurate matchmaking, ensuring that competitors are pitted against opponents with similar skill levels. This not only raises the caliber of matches but also creates a learning environment where each encounter contributes significantly to a practitioner's growth.

It would be interesting to see how this would potentially affect things like belt rankings in competition. While I'm not sure if it's beneficial for all belts, I think it would be interesting in terms of perhaps the Brown and Black Belt pro divisions. A competition like ADCC's for example, where they attract submission grapplers from different arts, it may make some sense.

Enhancing the Seminar Experience

Consider a seminar where participants are grouped based on their Elo ratings. This approach not only fosters an engaging learning atmosphere but also allows instructors to customize their content to suit the specific skill levels present. It's a strategy that enhances the overall seminar experience.

If you've been to seminar at some point, sometimes the subject matter isn't appropriate for everyone. You can be a few months into the sport and sign up for a Toe Hold or Heel Hook seminar. The issue isn't necessarily on if a new student should learn these techniques, much so, does it slow the learning process for everyone else?

Having a minimum may help with some of that.

Reinventing Remote Coaching

In the domain of remote coaching, Elo ratings take on an even more significant role. Through video analysis, coaches can evaluate performances, update Elo ratings, and provide targeted feedback. This ensures that remote coaching sessions remain dynamic and finely tuned to the evolving skill levels of practitioners.


Elo ratings bring a new dimension to the competitive setting of Jiu-Jitsu, offering precision and adaptability. Whether in-person, at seminars, through private lessons, or via remote coaching, the incorporation of Elo ratings can guide practitioners toward a future where every match contributes meaningfully to their development in Jiu-Jitsu.

In researching Elo ratings and how they may work for Jiu-Jitsu, I actually came across the app Roll Rank. Very interesting concept, I'm curious if it gain any traction in the coming months and years.

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