Is Jiu Jitsu in the Olympics? [FAQ Answered]

For years, the question of whether BJJ will be included in the Olympics has intrigued both enthusiasts and athletes. The concept of BJJ in the Olympics remains a compelling topic, sparking curiosity and discussion among martial arts aficionados and sports enthusiasts alike. Let’s delve into the details to uncover the truth behind the potential inclusion of Jiu-Jitsu in the prestigious Olympic Games.

Is Jiu-Jitsu an Olympic Sport?

At present, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu isn’t part of the Olympic Games. While recognized as a highly regarded martial art globally, it hasn’t yet secured a spot among the Olympic sports lineup. Its absence raises questions and a yearning among BJJ practitioners and followers about its potential inclusion. But at the same time, a lot of discussions have been going on for years against the inclusion of BJJ to the Olympics global sports wheel.

Why isn’t Jiu Jitsu in the Olympics?

The journey of any sport to Olympic recognition involves a stringent process, and BJJ is no exception. There are several reasons for its non-inclusion, primarily revolving around the criteria established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Reasons to Consider Why BJJ Isn’t in the Olympics

Points RaisedMain Points
BJJ is a Terrible Spectator SportIt’s challenging for the uninitiated to understand and can seem like two people hugging, not visually engaging for the majority.
Changes to Rule SetsThe fear that rule modifications to make it flashier and more spectator-friendly might dilute technical purity and effectiveness.
Corruption in the OlympicsConcerns about the Olympics being corrupt and potentially exerting pressure to change BJJ’s rules, impacting its authenticity.
Complexity for ViewersUnderstanding BJJ requires a high educational bar and extended training, making it difficult for casual viewers to follow the matches.
Potential Commercialization and Spectator AppealThe risk that commercial interests might influence the sport’s traditions and values, and the need for simplicity to appeal to the masses.
Limited Global ParticipationBJJ has fewer participating countries compared to other combat sports, which may hinder its qualification for Olympic inclusion.
Lack of Unified Governing BodyBJJ lacks a single established governing body that oversees and standardizes the rules and competitions.
Dominance by Certain CountriesBrazil’s dominance in BJJ competitions might create imbalance in medal distribution, contrasting the Olympics’ goal of international inclusivity.
Similarity to Judo and WrestlingResemblance to existing Olympic sports like Judo and Wrestling might deter the IOC from adding BJJ as a separate entity.
Impact of IOC’s InfluenceFears that IOC interference might lead to rule changes that prioritize entertainment over technical proficiency, as observed in Judo’s evolution.

The reasons why BJJ isn’t in the Olympics stem from concerns about its suitability as a spectator sport, potential changes to the sport’s essence due to Olympic influence, issues with corruption, complexity for the uninitiated, and its similarity to existing Olympic sports. The sport lacks a unified governing body, has limited global participation, and could face dominance by certain countries, hindering its chances for Olympic inclusion.

Does Jiu-Jitsu count as a sport?

Absolutely, BJJ is undeniably a sport, namely a grappling combat sport. Its competitive nature, physical demands, and structured rules categorize it as a martial art and a sport. It requires discipline, skill, and technique, much like any other recognized sport.

Will Jiu-Jitsu be in the Olympics soon?

The prospect of Jiu-Jitsu’s entry into the Olympics remains uncertain, but the growing popularity of the sport increases its chances. However, certain significant developments must transpire for it to become a part of the prestigious event.

What needs to happen for Jiu-Jitsu to become an Olympic sport?

For Jiu-Jitsu to enter the Olympics, it must meet stringent IOC criteria. Factors like widespread global participation, established governing bodies, anti-doping measures, and standardized regulations are crucial for its consideration.

What are the criteria for a sport to be included in the Olympics?

The IOC follows a rigorous set of criteria to include a sport in the Olympics. The prerequisites include global participation, gender equality, adherence to the Olympic values, an established international governing body, and stringent anti-doping measures. A sport requires extensive participation by males across a minimum of 75 countries spanning four continents and by females in no less than 40 countries across three continents.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Jiu-Jitsu being part of the Olympics

Advantages of Jiu-Jitsu in the Olympics:

1. Global Exposure and Recognition

  • Global Platform: Inclusion in the Olympics would provide unparalleled exposure for Jiu-Jitsu on a worldwide stage, enhancing its recognition and popularity.
  • New Participants: More individuals might be inspired to take up the sport, contributing to its growth and evolution.

2. Increased Funding and Support

  • Financial Backing: Olympic status could attract increased sponsorship and funding for athletes, training facilities, and infrastructure development.
  • Professional Opportunities: It might create new professional pathways for athletes, coaches, and officials.

3. Competitive Evolution

  • Improved Standards: The rigorous competition at the Olympics could elevate the standards and skill levels within the sport.
  • Technical Advancements: It might lead to more innovation and advancements in techniques and training methodologies.

4. Unity and Standardization

  • Unified Rules and Governance: Olympic inclusion could prompt the establishment of a single governing body and unified rules for competitions, enhancing consistency and clarity.

Disadvantages of Jiu-Jitsu in the Olympics:

1. Risk of Commercialization and Rule Changes

  • Dilution of Technical Purity: There’s a potential threat of altering the sport to make it more audience-friendly, compromising its technical authenticity.
  • Pressure for Entertainment Value: Changes to suit television audiences might overshadow the traditional essence of the sport.

2. Impact on Integrity and Tradition

  • Risk of Rule Manipulation: The sport’s competitive integrity might be threatened by rule changes driven by commercial or political interests.
  • Threat to Traditional Practices: The Olympics’ influence might alter the sport’s culture and fundamental values.

3. Limited Representation and Dominance

  • Imbalance in Medal Distribution: Dominance by specific countries, such as Brazil, might lead to an unequal medal distribution, contradicting the Olympics’ goal of global inclusivity.
  • Limited Global Reach: BJJ’s limited participation across a wide range of countries may not meet the Olympics’ criteria for inclusion.

4. Potential for Commercial Interference

  • Corporate Influence: Increased commercialization might result in the prioritization of profit over the sport’s genuine development and authenticity.
  • Fragmented Governance: The absence of a unified governing body could lead to challenges in standardization and representation.

The potential advantages of Jiu-Jitsu’s inclusion in the Olympics lie in global exposure, financial support, competitive growth, and standardization. However, this move could also pose challenges, including the risk of commercialization, dilution of its authenticity, dominance by certain countries, and potential commercial interference, which might affect the sport’s integrity and tradition.

Comparison of Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and Taekwondo in the Olympics

FocusGround fighting, submissionsThrows, groundworkKicks, strikes
Scoring SystemPoints for positions and submissionsThrows, holds, groundworkStrikes, kicks
UniformGi (kimono) or No-GiGiDobok (uniform)


The journey of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to Olympic inclusion is a complex and ongoing process. While uncertainties persist, the sport’s growth, global appeal, and unique nature position it as a promising contender for a future spot in the world’s most prestigious athletic event.

As the quest for Jiu-Jitsu’s inclusion in the Olympics continues, the sport’s practitioners and supporters remain hopeful, driven by the passion and dedication that define this thrilling martial art.

For further details and in-depth information, refer to authoritative sources like International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and International Olympic Committee (IOC).

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