For almost a decade, the annual Canadian championship in Brazilian jiu-jitsu has gone off without a hitch. That changed this past weekend when officials called off the event at the last minute upon discovering that it was illegal in the eyes of police. In a Facebook post on Saturday, a day before the event was to take place in Montreal, the Canada National Pro Jiu-Jitsu group announced the competition would be postponed until March 5 because police had threatened to arrest the 240 registered participants, aged 9 and up, reports the CBC. The reason: Canada's Criminal Code states only combat sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee are allowed in the country. Jiu-jitsu is not in the IOC's program.
However, event organizers say Brazilian jiu-jitsu isn't a combat sport at all according to the Criminal Code definition of "an encounter or fight with fists, hands, or feet." While punching and kicking is allowed in Japanese jiu-jitsu, Brazilian jiu-jitsu involves grappling, an organizer explains. "For us, it was a huge shock because it was never a problem before," he says. Organizers say an attempt to notify police of the differences in the two sports proved fruitless, leaving them with no alternative but to postpone the tournament, a qualifying event for the Abu Dhabi World Pro, per Flograppling.com. Organizers say it will be moved to a city with a cooperative police force. CTV News reports police in Gatineau are amenable. (A Canadian cop sent to break up a "fight" instead got involved.)