Over 400 people have found my highlight video on YouTube of the last Cornhusker State Games Jiu-Jitsu Tournament by searching for some form of the phrase “Jiu-Jitsu Olympics”. I guess they’re not aware that Jiu-Jitsu is not actually a part of the Olympics, yet. When I started training Jiu-Jitsu in 2009, it wasn’t even included in our State Games in Nebraska. My school, Roseberry’s Martial Arts Center, has been directing two of the three martial arts at the Cornhusker State Games for many years (we’re in charge of Karate and Judo, and another school runs Taekwondo), but Jiu-Jitsu wasn’t one of them.
Then a few years ago, my Jiu-Jitsu teacher Conan set about trying to convince the State Games to add Jiu-Jitsu to the competition. I don’t know how much work was involved, but in the end he was successful, and Jiu-Jitsu was added to the lineup in 2010. Conan also took on the (mostly thankless) job as the director of the tournament. Then he convinced a few of us students to help promote it by going to the dojo at 5am and rolling on live TV! Good times.
I do have some personal reservations about what might happen to the art if it does become an Olympic sport, but my desire to see it exposed in a positive light to the maximum number of people overrides any concerns I may have. The Olympics have a large, world-wide audience, which is exactly what I want for Jiu-Jitsu. Karate isn’t part of the Olympics, either, but everyone already knows what that is!