Guess what country has the most active judo players? You’ll probably guess China or Russia or France, but you’d be wrong. It’s Brazil. Yes, the country that gave birth to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also the country that is training the most judoka in the world.
In 2012, Brazil’s olympic judo team has a qualified athlete (both male and female) in every weight category. That’s a rare, and a sign that their squad runs deep. The Brazilian women in particular have been dominating on the world stage, and are definite medal hopefuls for both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Just see them dominate in Moscow this month:
I think the popularity of judo in Brazil is facinating. I still think that judo and jiu jitsu are kept seperate in most academies in the world. But when BJJ grows enough to be respected all over the world, the scary day will come when an Olympic judoka will also be competing at the Worlds. And by “scary”, I mean “exciting”.
I hope that jiu jitsu rules will eventually be adjusted to penalize the guard pull (even if just with an advantage) and encourage the grapplers to go at it on their feet. If you watch the video above, that results in some big throws, and a more exciting sport for the spectators.