CONFIRMED: Order Given To Submit Jiu-Jitsu As An Olympic Sport

News emerged today that a major international sporting body overseeing grappling has ordered its member federations to prepare for Olympic accreditation. 

The news was first reported by jiu-jitsu commentator Mohammed Al Housani, who is an analyst and presenter for Abu Dhabi TV. 

Al Housani wrote on his Instagram page, ​​"Breaking News: The President of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation issues instructions to prepare a file in which all conditions are met in preparation for submission to the International Olympic Committee for accreditation to participate in the 2024 Olympics."

Update: Al Housani took to social media today to confirm the news and clarify matters with this message: 

"It's actually the President of the UAEJJF, HE Abdulmonem Al Hashemi, who has directed the local federation to go ahead with preparing the Olympic File in association with the JJIF.

"HE Abdulmonem Al Hashemi is also the President of the Ju-Jitsu Asian Union (JJAU) and Senior Vice President of the Ju-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF)." 

More can be seen at this link (Arabic language press release).

What is 'Ju-Jitsu?'

Ju-jitsu has been featured at competitions such as the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. The World Games is huge yet little-known event that takes place once every four years, just like the Olympics. Around 3,500 athletes convene to compete in 30 sports not seen in the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, such as kickboxing, roller hockey, powerlifting, sumo, and lacrosse. 

What is the JJIF?

The Ju-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) was formed in 1977 and oversees three different styles or disciplines of the martial art: 
• Fighting system, a hybrid martial art that combines strikes as in karate with takedowns and throws and limited ground fighting.
• Duo system, where pairs of contestants are judged by demonstrating pre-rehearsed "self-defense" techniques. 
• Newaza ju-jitsu, which the JJIF recognizes is also referred to as Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

Their "Newaza' style will be very familiar to practitioners of jiu-jitsu. It features takedowns, throws, chokes, strangles and joint locks. Points are awarded for takedowns and control positions. Matches are six minutes long. 

Action from Newaza competition of the ​2017 World Games. Photo: Bartosz Mokrzycki

How is it different from IBJJF or UAEJJF?

Apart from the spelling of "ju-jitsu," it's not that different. UAEJJF officials have had a lot of input in the development of the JJIF Newaza rules, and you can even see some of the well-known officials in the JJIF rulebook (click here -- PDF opens in new window).

One big difference is that competitors are not divided into categories by belt, only by weight class. At the 2017 World Games, the weight classes were: 
Men: -62kg, -69kg, -77kg, -85kg, -94kg, +94kg, Openweight
Women: -55kg, Openweight 

Athletes represent their country, and not a team. 

How long before ju-jitsu gets into Olympics?

2024 would be the absolute earliest, but this is unlikely. The Olympics is the gold standard of all international sporting events, and the number of sports that feature at the Games is tightly controlled and hard-fought for. 

Preparing for submission for Olympic accreditation is more of a long-term move to inspire regional and national federations to adequately prepare for important international tournaments, which could eventually mean (but does not guarantee) the Olympics. 

​Winners from the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. Photo: Bartosz Mokrzycki 

What does this mean?

Organizations such as the IBJJF are private companies and not governing bodies. That excludes them from government funding or support. 

The JJIF is comprised of four continental federations (Asian, African, European, and Pan American Federations). What exactly is required by them to prepare for submission for Olympic accreditation is unclear but would likely involve initiatives such as development of federations for individual countries, anti-doping measures, and so on. 

Just because the JJIF are seeing Olympic accreditation will not stop other tournaments from operating. Unless there are changes in local laws (as we've seen in Canada) organizations like the IBJJF will be free to host competitions when and where they like. 

What happens next?

The next Olympics is in Tokyo in 2020, with the 2024 Olympic Games to take place in Paris. What exactly the JJIF needs to do and how likely it is to get ju-jitsu included in the Olympics is unknown at this point. Nothing is likely to change in the immediate future, but we will be keeping a close eye on any developments that may affect the global grappling community.

Is Manaus The Dagestan Of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil?

The Dagestan region in Russia is the most talent-rich area for freestyle wrestling in the world. Located in the North Caucasus and bordering the Caspian Sea, a disproportionate number of world champions and medalists come from Dagestan. With a population of just 2.9 million people, Dagestan dominates the wrestling scene and could probably win a team world championship competing as their own country. 

Dillon Danis Takes A Stand Against Bullying

This past week, Dillon Danis came across this heartbreaking video of a teenager being jumped by several other students inside a school bathroom. Dillon reached out to the victim and offered to pay for a jiu-jitsu membership at his nearest BJJ academy. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The Guide To Winning Decisions At ADCC

We're getting down to the nitty-gritty of the ADCC analysis pieces.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Nicky Ryan Promoted To Brown Belt by John Danaher

At only 18 years old, Nicky Ryan is celebrating getting promoted to his brown belt by legendary jiu-jitsu coach John Danaher. Here's what Nicky had to say about his promotion:

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Who Is The No-Gi GOAT?

The no-gi G.O.A.T. topic has been a hot conversation in the community for the last few weeks, ignited by the peak in no-gi interest around ADCC. For every one person who pops up in comments arguing that it’s an irrelevant topic, there are hundreds more ready to debate who they think is the all-time great without the kimono.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

It Wasn't Just The Leglocks That Made Us Love Lachlan Giles at ADCC

As human beings we inherently root for the underdog. That’s just a quality that most people like to see. If you’re not rooting for the underdog, you’re a jerk! And when Lachlan Giles submitted the +99kg champion, Kaynan Duarte, the crowd flipped on its head. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Micael Galvao: The Next Big Thing In Jiu-Jitsu

Manaus has been a hotbed of jiu-jitsu over the last few years; the city in the northern state of Amazonas in Brazil has produced an abundance of talent recently. A disproportionate amount of top athletes in the sport originate from the city of 2.7 million people. 2019 black belt world champion Matheus Gabriel is from there, along with rising stars such as Thalison Soares, Fabricio Andrey, Diego Oliveira, and Meyram Alves.

Mo Jassim Announced as ADCC 2021 Host, World Championships Location Known

After hosting one of the best-received ADCC events of the last 20 years, FloGrappling can exclusively reveal that promoter Mo Jassim has been selected as host for the next ADCC World Championships in 2021. 

Grappling Bulletin: The Rise and Rise of Fight 2 Win

You remember ADCC from just over a week ago? Of course you do. How could you forget the best-looking ADCC in years. The lights, the music, the entrances... it was a level of production that ADCC had been crying out for, and set a new benchmark for what high level grappling events could (and should) look like.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Days After ADCC Tireless Tanquinho Fends Off Matheus Gabriel For F2W Title

With his focus shifting to his MMA career, a new gym and a growing family, many underestimated the relevance of Tanquinho in the current grappling landscape. At last week’s ADCC he went in unranked in the division, but he came out the champion. If anyone doubted it after ADCC, Tanquinho solidified his spot at the top of the -66kg no-gi rankings with another win against Matheus Gabriel.