Canada’s weirdest laws: jiu-jitsu championship cancelled because event violates Criminal Code

Competing in a jiu-jitsu competition could get you arrested, if the Montreal police (SPVM) have a say. The martial arts championship was supposed to have been held in the city last week, until it was declared illegal and postponed until March 5th.

Police even threatened to make arrests had the competition taken place but not because of the combat-nature of the event. Sadly, the reason is more mundane but still a head scratcher: the sport was not in compliance with the International Olympic Committee.

Montreal police spokesman Jean-Pierre Brabant told the CBC: “When we were advised of the event, we met with the promoter mentioning that if he was going to do the event — because he was not part of a federation or that he didn't get the [approval] of the International Olympic Committee — there could be some consequences to the event.”

The Criminal Code of Canada (Section 83) states that only contests of combat sports "on the programme of the International Olympic Committee or the International Paralympic Committee" can be held. Unfortunately that disqualifies jiu-jitsu as it is not on the IOC’s program.

The organizers could have applied for an exemption the province but felt that their form of jiu-jitsu shouldn’t be regulated under the law as it has more in common with grappling than boxing. Organizer Danny An Khoi Vu suggested to the CBC that Montreal police might be confused with the different forms of the sport. Japanese jiu-jitsu involves punching and kicking where their form of Brazilian jiu-jitsu does not.

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