Is Jiu-Jitsu considered a Sport?
Jiu-Jitsu is gaining popularity worldwide ever since the Gracie’s entered into the UFC. Many people have not seen it as a sport in the past due to its technical movements and the inability to understand what is happening. However, with the UFC and many other mixed martial arts competitions, Jiu-Jitsu has become more of a household familiarity.
Let us take a second and break down a few of the reasons people tend to be misled.
At the highest levels Jiu Jitsu takes extreme athletic ability and strategy, this alone would lead one to believe it would be considered a sport of its own. However, with the lack of understanding of the sport to the mainstream audience we can see how it could be overlooked.
As competitions grow around the globe, and MMA gains in popularity, the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu is evident. People have a tendency to look at Jiu Jitsu during an MMA match as boring, when a grounded fighter is controlling the pace, but not striking, when in reality you have 2 world class athletes in a combat situation, where the Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is in control.
In most professional sports a strategy playing upon your strengths is always praised, however, as Jiu-Jitsu is not always as flashy as striking it can be off putting to some spectators.
Many mixed martial arts fans tend to look down upon certain jiu-jitsu techniques as they are specific to the sport and not applied directly to MMA. For example, you would not compare the game of Cricket to the game of Baseball and expect the players to be able to transfer sports. Sure, the players could have some success based on athletic abilities, but that is where the abilities would stop. It is essentially apples to oranges or Jiu-Jitsu to Karate, they simply are not the same.
Jiu-Jitsu is an artform in itself, and a sport of its own, as there is no other combat sport that you can live drill at 100% without damaging your opponent. As Jiu-Jitsu grows it is important for the spectators to understand what is happening, and just like any sport there are highs and lows. In Jiu-Jitsu it is not uncommon in competition for athletes to play for points over submission.
These points focused tournaments are becoming less and less as time goes along, and promoters realized that it may not be the most interesting event for the novice spectator. With the invention of Sub Only and EBI rulesets this greatly expanded the excitement and gave jiu-jitsu competitions more of an edge that was once previously lacking in traditional IBJJF ruleset competitions.
In conclusion, lets face it, Jiu Jitsu is a sport of its own, and hopefully one day we see it in the Olympics. Not only are the athletes at a world class level who cross train and occasionally transition to MMA, but as a global sport it is growing more and more each day.
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