Jiu-Jitsu is Growing… But How Much?

by Caleb on December 8, 2012

One of the great things about Brazilian jiu-jitsu is that it encourages asking questions. It’s built for curious minds who want to understand the how’s and the why’s of self-defense and sport jiu-jitsu techniques because it fosters innovation and evolution of the art.

The innate drive to understand jiu-jitsu is not limited to what happens on the mat, and here on the FightWorks Podcast we’ve been asking questions for some time. We have been gathering data on jiu-jitsu beliefs, customs, and attitudes in polls since 2008.

December always brings reflection and when you pause for a moment to think about jiu-jitsu since the time you began training, you must notice that jiu-jitsu is gaining popularity. There are more jiu-jitsu schools, more jiu-jitsu videos on youtube, more local jiu-jitsu tournaments*. In sum, more jiu-jitsu.

We were wondering exactly how one might measure the growth of jiu-jitsu. Getting a tally of jiu-jitsu practitioners everywhere is hard, because it’s hard to know exactly how many jiu-jitsu schools there are out there. One imperfect measure might be to compare the number of tournaments out there took place this year compared to past years. While iCompete.org has a very large list of jiu-jitsu events out there, it does not capture every single event around the globe. In the end, the number of International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation events per year should be a relatively representative measure of the growth of jiu-jitsu around the world because it’s the organization that the vast majority of jiu-jitsu practitioners consider the sport’s authority.

IBJJF Jiu Jitsu Tournaments

In the image above you can see a dramatic increase in the number of IBJJF events per year. From 1996 through 2007 the Federation held ten or less events per year. Since 2007 the number of IBJJF tournaments per year has more than tripled! Would you have guessed that the Federation is that active?

If the metric used here is a valid reflection of jiu-jitsu’s future growth, BJJ practitioners around the world have a lot to look forward to because if there is one thing we crave, it’s even more jiu-jitsu.

Coincidentally, if it is any measure of the maturation of jiu-jitsu, today the inaugural IBJJ Pro League takes place. It’s the very first IBJJF event will be held where prizes are awarded. A free, live broadcast will be offered at ibjjftv.com.

*our sister site iCompete.org has published over 1,300 BJJ & submission grappling events since December 2008!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kenneth Brown December 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Jiu-jitsu has definitely grown over the last few decades, but there is so much more potential. There are still significant amounts of people who have no idea what Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is. They just give you blank stares when you mention it to them.

Chuck Doyle February 27, 2013 at 6:26 am

What are the % of BJJ practitioners at each belt level?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: