Hundreds of competitors expected for Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament in Hawkesbury


A lot of people could find themselves in rear naked chokes, Americana arm locks, and guillotines this weekend in Hawkesbury.

Those are all Brazilian jiu-jitsu and grappling moves, and the Ontario-Québec Jiu-jitsu Games, a major amateur tournament, is taking place on Saturday, January 26 at the Robert Hartley Sports Complex.

According to Martin Nguyen of Montréal, founder of Submission Arts United (SAU), which promotes and organizes Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions, up to 600 competitors could be taking part in the tournament.

Originally billed as “Québec’s biggest jiu-jitsu tournament,” there’s a reason it’s being held just over the boundary in Ontario.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions, even amateur ones, are illegal in Québec.

The legal snag goes back to a 2013 amendment to the Criminal Code aimed at regulating mixed martial arts (MMA) that changed the definition of illegal prize fighting that suddenly—and inadvertently put Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s status into question.

Québec does however recognize amateur sports that have an organized governing body in the province. Nguyen said the Fédération jiu-jitsu Brésilien du Québec is still working with the provincial government to get that recognition so it can officially sanction tournaments.

Ontario and British Columbia are the only provinces where Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments are legal.

The tournament in Hawkesbury is sanctioned by the Ontario Jiu-jitsu Assocation (OJA), which is officially recognized by the Ontario government.

Soon competitors coming to the Hawkesbury tournament are amateurs of all ages.

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Last modified: January 23, 2019

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