In my years covering combat sports legal developments I’ve never delved down to the granular level of a local school district voting. That said a local bit of combat sports news from Victoria BC seemed worth highlighting.
The Greater Victoria School District, which operates 7 secondary schools (high schools), just approved Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as an authorized course for Grade 10, 11 and 12 students.
The details of the course were set out in the January 6, 2020 Agenda and partly read as follows as per below. I reached out to the School District and they confirm that motion for BJJ as set out in the Agenda was indeed carried this week. Students won’t be rolling for school credit just yet as the school board still has to make final approvals which then must go to the BC Ministry of Education but in the near future it appears that Victoria high school students will have the opportunity have BJJ as an option for their physical literacy education.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), also known as the gentle art, is a martial art, sport, and self-defence system that focuses on the safe and measured
control of an opponent, using technique, leverage and strategy. BJJ develops students’ athleticism, benefits their mental and emotional
wellbeing and fosters a positive and inclusive sense of community among practitioners.
Goals and Rationale:
As specified in the Statement of Education Policy Order, the purpose of the British Columbia school system is to develop the “educated citizen.”
Human and social development is a key attribute of a well-educated citizen. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) helps students nurture their potential in these areas by increasing their sense of self-worth and personal initiative; exploring cultural diversity; developing an understanding of the importance of physical health and well-being; teaching students how to accept, respect, and advocate for themselves and others.
BJJ also aligns with BC’s Policy for Student Success, which calls for learning to be student-centered. Progress and personal development in the
field of martial arts is infused with choice and flexibility in how learning occurs. As students advance, their skill is demarcated by progressing
through different colours of belts. To do so, there are movement techniques, tactical techniques and self-defence strategies a student has to
master. How students practice and progress in each of these areas is ultimately up to the student, and relates to their own personal goals and
motivation for practicing BJJ. They will do so through large group, paired, and individual practice opportunities. The teacher will demonstrate
and provide multiple access points to learning. The student can self-select how they go about developing their own skills. BJJ is not about taking
in and demonstrating learning back to a coach, but rather looking inward, setting goals and developing your practice in a way that is most
meaningful and personally-connected to the student.
The BJJ curriculum is also aligned with the personal awareness and responsibility core competency. BJJ will help students to cultivate their sense
of wellbeing, self-advocacy, and self-regulation, which are all facets of the personal and social core competency. Through the practice of martial
arts, students will hone and refine the skills and dispositions they require to lead healthy and active lifestyles, set goals while monitoring
progress, regulating emotions, and while learning to respect themselves and others.
BJJ is a martial art that focuses on positional control and controlled submissions without the use of strikes (punching or kicking). As such, BJJ is
primarily about self-defence. In this process, students learn about self-control and self-regulation, as well as verbal communication and conflict
resolution skills. Training methods include technique drills in which techniques are practiced against a non-resisting partner; isolation sparring
(commonly referred to as positional drilling) where only a certain technique or sets of techniques are used; and traditional sparring where each
practitioner tries to subdue their opponent through technique rather than force.
Physical conditioning is also an important aspect of training in BJJ. Students will develop their physical fitness, body awareness, balance and
coordination. They will also come to understand aspects of health, wellness, and nutrition and how that impacts their physical performance
through sport. Learning BJJ is a lifelong process that motivates students to maintain a healthy lifestyle.