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China sees growing popularity of Brazilian jiu-jitsu practice

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-03-25 21:05

People practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu at a gym show in Shanghai on April 7, 2021. [Photo/VCG]

TAIYUAN -- At the Shangrou Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Dojo gym in Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi province, a dozen of young people in gis are practicing jiu-jitsu skills just taught by their coach, as the sounds of wrestling and cheers reverberate in the room.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu, an alternative form of the Japanese martial art, diverged from the strict rules of jiu-jitsu and judo into a more forceful and practical sport.

Fan Huizhi and his family opened the Shangrou Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Dojo in 2017. Fan has been practicing traditional Chinese martial arts since childhood and was introduced to Brazilian jiu-jitsu by chance at a boxing gym.

"I was attracted to Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the first time I was introduced to it," Fan said.

To further his study of BJJ, Fan came to Beijing in 2014 and began his formal study. After eight years of training, Fan received a black belt in June 2022, becoming the 50th black belt holder in China and the first in Shanxi Province.

When Fan's dojo opened, the exotic martial art was unfamiliar to people in the central Chinese city, but with the tireless advocacy of Fan and his friends, more and more people began to participate in the sport.

"I learned about Brazilian jiu-jitsu on the internet, and I found it interesting and started learning it with my coach," Zhao Shiping, a student at Shangrou Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, said. "Brazilian jiu-jitsu not only improves my body strength but also gives me more energy."

Now Fan's dojo has taught more than 300 students; among them, the youngest is only four years old, and the oldest is 55. In recent years, two more BJJ gyms opened in Taiyuan, and a local association has set up to establish a platform for fans to share their experience of learning it.

Beyond Shanxi, BJJ has also grown in popularity around the nation. Brazilian jiu-jitsu associations have been established in cities including Shenzhen and Dalian, with gyms covering almost every major city in China, attracting increasing numbers of students, some inspired by international and domestic competitions as well as China's rise in mixed martial arts.

In October 2021, the General Administration of Sport of China established the China Jiu-jitsu Council to promote the sport with a more standardized organization and system and to attract more jiu-jitsu practitioners by holding training camps and school Jiu-jitsu activities all over the country.

Cao Tao, secretary-general of the China Jiu-jitsu Council, said there are about 30,000 jiu-jitsu participants in China, and the council will push for more competitions to be held in the country in the future so that fans can communicate with each other on the field.

Fan is happy with the rapid growth of the number of BJJ learners in China. "More and more people are joining us to experience the charm of this martial art," Fan said.

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