An international Jiu-Jitsu tournament scheduled for Montreal has been postponed after organizers were told police would arrest participants.
The competition was supposed to take place this weekend at Pierre Charbonneau arena with 240 athletes registered, some as young as nine years of age.
Organizers say a dozen amateur Jiu-Jitsu tournaments were held last year in Montreal so they are puzzled by the reaction from police.
They believe police may have been given the legal opinion that the tournament is similar to Japanese Jujitsu. That form of the sport includes kicks and punches and meets the definition of a prize fight which is illegal under the criminal code.
Montreal Police spokesperson Benoit Boisselle says they would have no choice but to make arrests should the tournament go ahead as planned. He says participants, promoters and some spectators could be arrested based on Article 83 of the Criminal Code.
“It's wrestling, sort of, and all the fight events or wrestling events have to be approved by the IOC [International Olympic Committee],” he said.
But organizers say this tournament was to feature Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which doesn’t include kicks or punches.
The tournament has been rescheduled for March 5th and the promoter hopes they’ll be allowed to continue. If not, organizers say the Gatineau police department has said they could move the tournament there.