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Brazilian jiu-jitsu makes a comeback in Quebec this weekend

For the first time in years, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition is being held in Quebec and on Saturday hundreds of athletes are competing in Montreal.

The sport was considered illegal, but has now been given the green light by the province quebec.

About 650 competitors from ages five to 55 are competing. Organizers point out the sport is very popular in Quebec but for years these athletes had to compete outside of the province.

In march, Quebec legalized the sport once again. For close to seven years, competitions were banned because of an update to Canada's Criminal Code in 2013, which made amateur combat sports, including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, illegal.

But a door was left open for each province to legalize the sport. Brazilian jiu jitsu is a martial art that does not allow punching or kicking. Athletes and organizers tried to convince Quebec, but it took years for the government to listen.

Quebec was the only province in Canada where competition was deemed illegal, but the change in status will likely help the sport in the province because younger athletes and those just starting jiu jitsu will no longer have to travel to compete.

"It's important because people don't need to travel in the U.S., in Ontario, anywhere to compete. They can compete in Quebec again, especially for kids and newcomers," said Johnny Zemouli of the Quebec Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation.

The expectation is the sport will only continue to grow. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu federation said it will work to ensure safety is a top priority at every competition. Top Stories

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