Guardian Grappling, A New Take on The Jiu-Jitsu Ruleset

5 min read
If you’re looking for a more Self-defense/Combative grappling tournament look no further and sign up today

Guardian Grappling, A New Take on The Jiu-Jitsu Ruleset

If you’re looking for a more Self-defense/Combative grappling tournament look no further and sign up today

Location: Kennedy Space Center, FL.

Interviewee: Monte Massey

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Photos by: Monte Massey

Grappling/Jiu-Jitsu tournaments have been around for decades, with nearly all ever-increasingly favoring a sport Jiu-Jitsu style/ruleset framework. Which has its pros and cons depending on who you ask and for what purpose. However, now there is a new tournament company with a fresh outlook on what a grappling tournament ruleset should be. 

In fact, brand new! Guardian Grappling just held its grand debut this past January 22nd. Monte Massey’s, Guardian Grappling’s founder, main goal is to challenge the rulesets for a more combative/self-defense approach to grappling… an exciting and refreshing change to the grappling tournament landscape. In our interview with Monte, he shared some auspicious plans for the future, some fresh yet grassroots perspectives on Jiu-Jitsu/grappling rulesets, and where you can come experience this awesome event yourself. 

Guardian Grappling… The beginning

The inaugural tournament was a success with over 100 competitors and over $6,000 in prizes, a considerable prize share for almost any local tournament, but especially for their first one. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about single elimination with Guardian Grappling as every competitor gets to compete multiple times… A great value as many of us pay upwards of $1,500+ to make each tournament before we even account for missed work or opportunity costs.

Photo by: Monte…. Fresh, new Mats

They are also a veteran’s first tournament with military personnel, police officers, and veterans handing every winner their medals. They are even big supporters of Gi’s for GIs, a fantastic organization that gives Gi’s, puts on events, and supports all Jiu-Jitsu practitioners who serve our country and put their lives on the line. 

You can find out more here:

Also, with Guardian Grappling, even the metals are different. Instead of the typical neck-hung medals, they give each champion a double-sided gold coin, pretty cool, right!

Video by: Monte…. The coin

The Guardian Grappling Ruleset

Their mission, as outlined on their website, is the following: “Guardian Grappling’s rule system was developed to better support the purpose and mission statement of jiu-jitsu as a self-defense by applying a rule set that has minimum influence on style yet supports good combative habits.” Simplicity is the name of the game with their ruleset, as Monte puts it. To this aim, they offer the following unique outlooks and rules:


“Advantages are like awarding failure. Every time I play basketball, I tell my friends if I hit the backboard, I get one point, and they look at me like I’m crazy, but in Jiu-Jitsu, if we go for and miss a submission and get an advantage or point, no one cares…. The intent is fine, but the intent and execution are different with this rule.”

Should better fighters fight longer?

“Better people should not fight much longer matches… in reality, no combat sports match or round should go 10 mins long… However, Jiu-Jitsu black belts often go for 10 mins, but it’s just not conducive to oxygen capabilities, athleticism, and doesn’t really work in combat sports as the only solution is stalling…. nearly no one can fight full-on for 10 mins straight at a time.” 

Additionally, according to Guardian Grappling’s ruleset, stalling is defined as the person who has the most points and uses the clock to their advantage. So, if the leading competitor is not trying to improve their position, they are stalling. For this, the penalty is two warnings followed by points for your opponent… In his words, “why take away points when you can just add it to their opponent…. an incentive to keep going strong to the end,” Monte.

Takedowns and pulling guard

“If you pull guard, you concede the takedown. No matter what, you have two people standing at the start of the match, and to get to the floor, a takedown was achieved…. So, it doesn’t matter if an opponent makes it easy for you with pulling guard…. If you want to be a mixed martial artist, you don’t want to get in the habit of pulling guard… unfortunately, some of the training with Jiu-Jitsu is running down the wrong path of realism,” as Monte explains.


According to Monte, “Many times, you need a black belt to ref matches because you need them with their vast experience to lawyer the verbiage with the grey areas to come to an accurate outcome. With our ruleset, a dedicated Blue Belt can be a referee.” 

…. “The beauty is the simplicity of the ruleset.” – Monte. 

One interesting thought is that some of the first Jiu-Jitsu commercials and promotional content was to achieve the clinch and get the takedown. And according to Monte, “today the ruleset has diverged away from that and needs to get back to its roots.” 

Photo by: Monte…. Monte and the team

At first, you may think Guardian Grappling is trying to completely change the current standard Jiu-Jitsu rules or is anti-Jiu-Jitsu. However, nothing could be further from reality. They’re really just trying to simplify the rules, help grappling and Jiu-Jitsu get back to a more self-defense/combative frame of mind, and make it more MMA conducive. After all, Vale Tudo was the name of the game in Brazil at the beginning of everything, and their Jiu-Jitsu style matched it; it had to.

The future of Guardian Grappling

Monte has big plans for the future of his new company with big goals for putting on many tournaments in the southeast of the U.S. in 2022, hosting in 8 major cities 3 times each a year, and alternating between Gi and No-Gi each time to keep it new and exciting. 

Photo by: Monte…. Kids getting ready to compete

Hosting Pro fights while integrating them into the standard tournament environment as opposed to solely a super fight setup is a primary milestone for them as well. Monte speaks about the “Grappling ecosystem” as something he wants to cultivate with professional athletes and local competitors competing side by side to encourage more extensive team participation and a more grassroots vibe. 

Where can I sign up!?

Their next tournament is heading to South Florida soon in March. Exact details and venue location are yet to be announced, but if it’s anything like their last tournament, you are in for a treat!

Check them out on Smoothcomp for the latest tournament info and on their website and insta account as well:

… There is no losing, just winning and learning in the remarkable journey of Jiu-Jitsu… Train hard and get out there and compete!                 




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