It’s important to state how far down the line it is before jiu-jitsu can become an Olympic sport. Jiu-jitsu, although growing in popularity globally, pales in comparison to other Olympic and non-Olympic sports.
Let’s start with the basics: in order for a sport to become an Olympic sport, it should be practiced in a certain number of countries world wide. In actuality, it should not just be practiced, but also organized with its own legitimate governing institution. At the moment, jiu-jitsu is like the wild west – anyone with money and a bit of a reputation can go ahead and start an organization that can attempt to become the new international governing body of the jiu-jitsu world. But between the IBJJF and the World Pro, nothing has truly been able to stand up against those two behemoths of the grappling world. They both have the experience, money, and history. Even then, the IBJJF is not really focusing on any Olympic goals. The United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) is at least making the effort to showcase the sport via individual countries. This can allow for the development of the sport in countries outside Brazil, USA, and Japan. At the World Pro we saw plenty of countries like Mongolia and Jordan making real progress. But even with these efforts, it could take decades to reach the same point as judo when it was accepted into the Olympics.
The fact that most of the world calls the sport “BJJ” is already counter-productive for this cause. Brazilian jiu-jitsu suggests that the sport ‘belongs’ to one country. The sport name should be completely unbiased in its nature but even that presents another issue.
Removing the name ‘Brazilian’ would leave us with ‘jiu-jitsu’. In Brazil, ‘jiu-jitsu’ does refer to what everyone else calls ‘BJJ’ but in places like Japan, or in international traditional martial art circles, ‘jiu-jitsu’ refers to the original ancient art that was popularly used by the samurais. This was the broader art that gave birth to not only BJJ, but judo, kendo, and other Japanese combat sub-arts.
So what to do? Remove the ‘Brazilian’ before ‘jiu-jitsu’ from all major tournament marketing? That could be a good start. The World Pro does not use ‘Brazilian’ in combination with ‘jiu-jitsu’ in any of their marketing because they understand the ramifications of this use pertaining to their goal, which is to create a global organization of jiu-jitsu. However, it seems that the IBJJF does not see this to be an issue, as “Brazilian” remains in their name. They could always change it to IJJF, which would make more sense, except that federation already exists for the original jiu-jitsu (even though it seems to be a very outdated and unused federation when looking at their website).