We attended the 5th American National Jiu-Jitsu Championship last Sunday in Torrance, California and had a chance to speak swith the head of Gracie Barra in Brazil, Carlos “Carlinhos” Gracie Jr. about the tournament and his thoughts on the standardization of rules in the sport. Carlinhos gives his opinion on how consolidating the tournament rules of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu globally is the path to the appearance of BJJ in the Olympics some day.
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Excerpt from interview:
Caleb: Alright everybody this is Caleb with The FightWorks Podcast and we are here with Carlinhos Gracie. How are you Carlinhos?
Carlos Gracie Jr.: I am good! Nice to talk to you here.
Caleb: We are at the fifth U.S. National Tournament, right? What’s the official title?
Carlos Gracie Jr.: Yes, it is the National Tournament. It’s the fifth one. We try to every year do one like this to [raise awareness about] this tournament. In a few years we will make the American team of the United States to [compete against] other countries.
Caleb: So you have a vision that in the future – not far in the future – but sometime in the near future that you want to have official teams from each country go to battle at larger tournaments elsewhere?
Carlos Gracie Jr.: Yes. That’s how all the major sports work, and we have to follow this path to achieve countries’ representation.
Caleb: It sounds like the sort of the idea that is the foundation for the Olympics, right? Where you have a national team that goes and fights elsewhere.
Carlos Gracie Jr.: Yes the idea in the end is to try to put jiu-jitsu in the Olympic games. This is the only way we have to follow to achieve this goal.
Caleb: So what are the differences between your tournament and some of the others in Southern California, because there are some differing rules that are being used. You alluded a little bit to the standardization of rules and everything.
Carlos Gracie Jr.: Yes, these rules are [in accordance with] all the world’s. We represent the International Federation (of Brazilian jiu-jitsu) that works with all countries’ federations. And our idea is to make standard rules in all the world. Some people sometimes try to work by themselves and do whatever they want but I don’t see a future in this. For the future, you have to walk with everyone, and that’s what we are doing here: setting the rules so the same rules are running here as running in Europe, as running in South America, in Asia, and that’s it, so we have a common sense about one sport we have to work everybody together.
Caleb: Before I started the interview you mention the level of skill in the United States and elsewhere. Talk to the listeners about where you see the level of jiu-jitsu in America and where you see it in the future.
Carlos Gracie Jr.: What I see in America is people love sports, no? All kind of sports. [This helps] jiu-jitsu grow and be strong. Jiu-jitsu already became strong in the United States. We see tournaments everywhere you go, and everybody’s excited [about it]. I think we just need now to settle the rules and everybody go the same way.
Caleb: I think in the next eight weeks or so there’s probably like ten tournaments across the United States, which is pretty amazing, in the next two months to have that many going on. So I think you have a great point that if there’s not standardized rules, who knows what jiu-jitsu will look like in five years.
Carlos Gracie Jr.: Yeah, jiu-jitsu is growing fast and you need right now to set goals for everybody. I don’t see too many problems for this; I see the rivers run to the ocean. The International Federation is the ocean because it joins all the world. And then what I see is that if you want to grow, you have to go this way. If you go a different way, people will fail.
Caleb: Excellent, thank you very much Carlos.
Carlos Gracie Jr.: Thank you too my friend.