As reported on the Underground, the Eddie Bravo Invitational, a leading no-gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament based in California, is looking to add limited striking to its events.
In an interview with BJPENN.com Radio Bravo noted
“Imagine EBI just the way it is, 16-man jiu-jitsu tournament, same stage, everything looking the same, same 10-minute rounds with the overtimes, except when the competitors are on the ground, open palm strikes, old Pancrase style to open up the submissions, to increase the submissions even more….No punches, no MMA gloves … no elbows, no kicks … we’re going to have that in 2017”
While this limited striking philosophy can add excitement to events and lead to more openings and more submission finishes, it is a rule change that likely brings a BJJ tournament from a self regulated event to one that is captured under the umbrella of State regulation.
The California State Athletic Commission has jurisdiction over “all professional and amateur boxing, professional and amateur kickboxing, all forms and combinations of forms of full contact martial arts contests, including mixed martial arts, and matches or exhibitions conducted, held or given within (California)”
A submission based tournament would not fall under this definition. However, as soon as striking is added, even open handed palm striking, the event likely meets the definition of “full contact martial arts contests” which are defined as follows:
the use of physical force in a martial arts contest that may result or is intended to result in physical harm to the opponent, including any contact that does not meet the definition of light contact or noncontact.
Light contact is defined as follows:
the use of controlled martial arts techniques whereby no contact to the face is permitted and no contact is permitted which may result or is intended to result in physical harm to the opponent.
Given that open handed slaps to the face are being called for (and if you don’t know these can cause “harm to an opponent” just watch some old school Bas Rutten Pancrase bouts) the definition of ‘light contact’ is not met and this rule change will likely bring EBI events under CSAC regulation. This opinion is bolstered by the position the CSAC has taken on pankration events with limited striking.
I have reached out to the current Executive Director of the CSAC for comment and will update this article if/when he replies.