Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a form of martial arts, combining the use of joint locks and submission holds to allow smaller, weaker people to defend themselves against stronger assailants. As of July 1, 2017, the government ban has put Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments on hold.
The Ontario government does not recognize Jiu Jitsu as “Prize Fighting’’ under the Prize Fighting Offence in the Criminal Code. In order for Jiu Jitsu to be legal as an amateur combat sport, the government needs to appoint and recognize a Provincial Sports Organization (PSO).
This ban is affecting many Jiu Jitsu practitioners across Ontario and abroad. Many children and adult competitors are now seeing their passion for the sport be ruined by this legislation. Many competitors are now not able to participate in competitions and must seek tournaments in the United States that are often costly for competitors.
Owner and head instructor at Action Reaction MMA, Professor Fernando Zulick comments, “A lot of students want to compete in these tournaments. It’s disheartening to see that the government has chosen to make this decision, which hinders the progress of competitors.”
The communications representative of the province’s ministry of tourism, culture and sports, Denelle Balfour said that, “the ministry is working to identify a PSO for Jiu Jitsu and will be providing an update in the near future.”
Professor Zulick also commented regarding the designation of one official governing body for Jiu Jitsu in Ontario. “We will see how it plays out, but I believe the government should not designate the Ontario Jiu Jitsu association as the sole governing body of the sport, and allow multiple associations to run freely and allow the sport to grow more freely”.
The sport of Jiu Jitsu competition is not only facing turmoil in Ontario, but also in Quebec. Last winter, the Canadian Jiu Jitsu Championship was scheduled to be hosted in Montreal at the Pierre-Charbonneau Centre. Unfortunately, the competition was forced to be cancelled for the first time in nine years after Montreal Police (SVPM) threatened to make arrests at the venue.
The fate of Ontario Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition in Ontario is still uncertain.
Story by Michael Macki.