Why the Sport of Grappling Needs to Matter to the BJJ Community

The USA Wrestling sport called Grappling is essentially what will become Olympic Jiu-Jitsu if we ever manage to come together as a community and stop bickering among ourselves. Many may argue that Olympics will ruin Jiu-Jitsu and then often point to Judo as an example of a ruined sport. Truly, there is not a more foolish, ignorant, and stupid argument to make. Judo is doing just fine and has done a fantastic job of separating out and balancing sport Judo and traditional, self-defense Judo.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, on the other hand, is filled with divisiveness and tribalism. Too many practitioners want to argue about the merits of self-defense vs sport BJJ. The arguments are often taken to the extreme, believing that uhonly one side can be correct in their assumptions. This is simply not the case. The two can peacefully coexist and even help one another thrive. There is no reason to believe that the art must be all one or all the other.

I see the sport of Grappling as a unifier. Yes, it is a sport version of Jiu-Jitsu; but like Judo, it has the potential to be the competitive version of our martial art.

There are many complaints regarding the IBJJF, NAGA, JJWL, and others; advantages and the inconsistent manner in which they are awarded, referee’s decisions and the supposed “Brazilian bias”, a lack of action and double guard-pulling, and even the lack of competitor pay. Some organizations such as EBI, Polaris, and Metamoris have tried to remedy the lack of action and have tried to pay the competitors (though one of those organizations in particular has been stiffing competitors on pay; looking at you, Ralek). EBI has even developed over-time rules to rid themselves of referee decisions and have even eliminated points all-together.

Those changes have been wonderful for EBI and have made for some very entertaining and well-run events. That said, 13237802_10207571451897970_3735862797254568326_nthey are invitational matches and the rest of the BJJ
community is left with the organizations that are still rife with problems.

Enter Grappling. The sport of grappling negates the lack of action in matches by penalizing guard-pulling and awarding extra points for big takedowns. It also rids the sport of referee decisions by implementing over-time rules that share some similarities with EBI. There are no advantages, a competitor either wins decisively or not at all. The only current issue that the sport shares with other organizations is that it also does not pay competitors.

Were grappling to gain the support of the BJJ community it would be able to solve this issue for the top-level competitors. Admittedly, it would likely not solve the issue for the regular competitors; but with time, it could easily develop into an Olympic sport. It already has the backing of United World Wrestling and with a push from the greater BJJ community, the support from Team USA Wrestling could become what it needs to be to finally see an Olympic-level exposure of our beloved martial art.

Grappling has the potential to be the highest level of Jiu-Jitsu for amateur athletes. The IBJJF does not have this potential. If BJJ is ever to be an Olympic sport, as it should be, then Grappling needs our support.



  1. I think the major issue is that wrestling emphasizes pinning, which is direct opposite of BJJ. In wrestling your back is death and in BJJ it can be your home, or at very least a safe position.

    This is purely my opinion, but the there is a secret about the olympics nobody wants to acknowledge and that’s that the Olympics actually lose NBC Universal money. They run dozens of events across about 4-5 networks every day at all hours and do abysmal ratings for funding.

    So BJJ being ‘semi-underground’ is probably a good thing. The only way for people to get behind BJJ is to understand it at it’s base, and that’s not something people can do. When it come to sports like American Football, football/soccer, baseball, etc. a lot of people can relate to those even if they’ve only had the rules explained to them.

    With BJJ, there are like 3 major leagues, none of them pay money, and then there are 3 other leagues that pay money, but the others ‘legit’ leagues treat like trash, it’s an insult to athletes. Organizations talk about ‘growing’ the sport, but do actions that blatantly exclude it for self-interest.

    • I’m not sure what pinning has to do with anything in this article. There is no pinning in grappling and nowhere is it mentioned.


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