Is Jiu-Jitsu an Olympic Sport?

By Logan •  Updated: 02/14/22 •  4 min read

Contrary to many opinions worldwide as to whether Jiu-Jitsu should be an Olympic sport; Jiu-Jitsu is not currently a sport in the Olympic Games, and is unlikely to be one in the future too. 

Read this article to find out more about why Jiu-jitsu isn’t a sport in the Olympic games and if it ever has the possibility to be considered. 

Is Jiu-Jitsu an Olympic Sport

Is Jiu-Jitsu a sport?

Jiu-Jitsu is certainly a sport that is participated in worldwide. It is a contact sport that involves you using your body weight to tackle and take down your opponent. Many believe the sport is mostly linked to self-defence and should be taught to people of all ages. 

If you take part in the sport, it’s a workout especially if your opponent is larger and stronger than you. Most people find that Jiu-jitsu is a sport that you can only do for a few years as it takes its toll on the muscles and bones in the body and many people suffer from back and hip problems in later life due to this sport.

Why isn’t Jiu-Jitsu an Olympic sport? 

The main reason why Jiu-Jitsu isn’t a sport in the Olympics is that Judo is already an Olympic sport. Although some may argue that these sports are very different, the IOC, the International Olympic Committee, believes that Jiu-Jitsu is a derivative sport and that it and Judo are too similar. 

Why does it matter if sports are similar? This is because if the IOC accepts Jiu_Jitsu into the Olympics, it’s likely that this action won’t give the IOC or the Olympic Games any benefit at all. They believe that including Jiu-Jitsu will not increase the number of people that watch the games and therefore funding to add Jiu-Jitsu will have been wasted. 

The second reason why Jiu-Jitsu isn’t an Olympic sport is that it simply doesn’t have a large enough following worldwide. In total, only Japan, Brazil and the United States have enough competitors that are on a high enough level to compete in the Olympics, and there are not many of them. 

Thirdly, it’s a relatively new sport. Jiu-Jitsu didn’t begin to receive a following until the early 90s and this means that people still don’t know much about the sport to be interested in it and it also hasn’t given people enough time to train and become professional at the sport too. 

Lastly, because the sport is still effectively new, the rules for Jiu-Jitsu haven’t been set in stone yet. Several federations in different countries argue about which rules should be followed in international Jiu-Jitsu events and this concretes why the sport isn’t part of the Olympics. The IOC demands that for each sport the rules are clear as day, for Jiu-Jitsu they simply aren’t…yet. 

Will jiu-jitsu ever be an Olympic sport?

Unfortunately, many say that Jiu-Jitsu will never be an Olympic sport. As long as Judo stays in the Olympics, Jiu-Jitsu will never be considered. 

This also has a lot to do with how the sport is viewed, as mentioned above this sport is still new and maybe one day, if Judo is removed and people learn more about Jiu-Jitsu, it could be considered. But there’s a lot to do before then.

As the sport gets more well-known people will start to gain more interest in it and this increases the sports’ following. If the IOC sees this happen then this could push them to include it in the next Olympic games, but that’s unlikely to happen for many years. 

In addition, the rules for Jiu-Jitsu must be ironed out before the IOC will even think about considering the sport. Hopefully, this is something that will happen naturally as the growth and recognition of Jiu-Jitsu continues around the world. 

This is something that cannot be changed, the sport will forever be the same as it has been for many years, it can never be adjusted to accommodate people of all physical capabilities and ages and therefore, isn’t likely to ever be a sport that the IOC allows into the Olympic games. 

Final Thoughts

The idea of jiu-jitsu becoming an Olympic sport has been gaining traction in recent years. On one hand, some argue that the groundwork for it to be accepted is already laid out since the International Olympic Committee (IOC) added judo, taekwondo and wrestling in London in 2012. 

On the other hand, some argue that jiu-jitsu has not yet achieved enough popularity to become a full-fledged Olympic game.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

Keep Reading