The Olympic Games are in full force as I am writing this and we also got news that Muay Thai will be a sport in the future for the Olympics. This makes me wonder, would Jiu-Jitsu fit in the Olympics?
In some ways, I guess this is a controversial subject because I know that many wouldn’t want BJJ to be a part of the Olympics. Mainly because of the fear on how the rules would change to fit the event. I do think this is a valid concern but I also wonder how much would really change?
The first thing people bring up is Judo and how they completely stripped that martial art from the ground game. I do agree here, but I also think Judo was already on that path before it became an Olympic sport. The focus has always been throwing, and that’s what they zeroed in on in the Olympics, too.
The next sport people bring up is boxing and how it became point fighting in the Olympics, and that the boxers are forced to wear headgear. This is a quite a big change from the sport outside the Olympics, but here I can understand it because of the violence. Hence why I also think that MMA never will be an Olympic sport. It just looks too violent from the outside. It will be interesting to see how the ruleset will be in the Olympic form of Muay Thai. Will they allow elbows and knees? Will they use headgear? Shin-guards? We’ll see.
Where does this leave Jiu-Jitsu? I think that if it would be in the Olympics, they would want to separate it from Judo, so I do not think they would want another ”throwing sport”. Jiu-Jitsu is also less violent than boxing, so I don’t think the rule-change wouldn’t be too bad. I guess some submissions would be taken out and I suspect the referee may stop the fight earlier to prevent broken limbs or people getting choked out. So in this regard I think it would work. Would it be interesting to people who don’t grapple themselves? On the other hand, we have many sports like that in the Olympics, and I think with how big the Jiu-Jitsu community is around the world, it would draw enough attention.
Bottom line is that I personally would like to see Jiu-Jitsu as an Olympic event and I think it would be good for the sport. The rule-sets are already different from competition to competition, so I do not think a new set of rules for the Olympics would damage anything sport-wise.