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Brazilian jiu-jitsu amateurs fight without criminalization in Quebec

These competitions, like many other combat sports, have been banned for 10 years due to an amendment to the Federal Criminal Code.

Adoption of the decree of March 8 decriminalizing the holding of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu amateur fights, subject to the approval of safety regulations by the Department of Leisure and Sports Safety of the Ministry of Education (MEQ).

The said settlement has not yet been approved, but it will be just a formality, according to our sources.

Karate also gets equivalent status, in the fall of 2022. But unlike Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the practice of this sport is supervised by a federation that guarantees respect for safety regulations.

Other protected sports

An amendment to Section 83(2) of the Criminal Code, in 2013, made it illegal to conduct amateur matches anywhere in Canada, except for sports featured in the Olympics as well as games specifically authorized by the provinces.

However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided in 2021 not to introduce karate at the Paris Games in 2024, hence the urgent need to decriminalize holding amateur competitions in this field last year.

On the other hand, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was not an Olympic sport. However, the decree of March 8 decriminalized amateur fights on the field in Quebec. risk analysis MEQ Convince him that Brazilian jiu-jitsu is not more dangerous than other sports, such as judo.

According to our information, the decree also protects the mentioned judo and taekwondo, boxingas well as wrestling (Greco-Roman and freestyle), if these sports lose their Olympic status.

Mixed martial arts will have to wait

The minister responsible for sports, Isabelle Charest, could not be reached for writing this article. However, her government assured us that decriminalizing amateur Brazilian jiu-jitsu fights was one of the priorities she set after her post-election reappointment last fall.

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Such competitions were tolerated in the early years after Section 83(2) of the Criminal Code was amended in 2013. Police began cracking down in 2017, hence the impatience of Quebec fans for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, who had to go to Ontario or the states United to do battle.

If the decree of March 8 rectifies this situation, the problem remains unresolved for many sports, such as mixed martial arts and Muay Thai, whose amateur fights are still prohibited in Quebec, at least for the time being. However, clandestine ceremonies are being staged, as Radio-Canada witnessed last year. (A new window).


An earlier version of this article stated that amateur boxing fights were banned in Quebec. However, these were legalized in 2018.

It is also allowed to submit career battles for some disciplines. This is the case for boxing, mixed martial arts and kickboxing. However, promoters must obtain permission from the Régie des alcools, des course et des jeux, which reserves the right to refuse them.

Union under construction

The decriminalization of amateur Brazilian jiu-jitsu fights stems from the joint work of two separate groups that revolve around instructors Johnny Zemoli, of Montreal, and Stephen McClure, of Magog.

Quebec Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (A new window) in the process, but Quebec has not yet recognized its status. This nonprofit organization claims to represent about 45 schools in the district.

Its boss, Johnny Zmoli, is pleased with the turn of events. The problem is solved once and for allCheer Up Tuesday in an interview with Radio Canada.

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Mr. Zamouli hopes that the publication of safety regulations will confirm that schools affiliated with his federation – which is not one yet – will be able to organize competitions within a fully legal framework. Thus his organization can play a rolemediatorhe explains.

Stephen McClure also hailed the adoption of an ordinance to decriminalize amateur fighting in his favorite discipline, on Sunday, on his One Two Jitsu syndicated podcast. We don’t do this to the rest of us: we do this to those who followDreaming that one day some Brazilian jiu-jitsu fans in Quebec could make a living from their sport, he explained.