BJJ has made a huge step towards mainstream recognition in the UK as it is now eligible to form part of the curriculum for GCSE PE in schools across the country. This means that the sport has the opportunity to be brought to more children than ever before and that can only ever be a good thing for the growth of the sport. The move has been driven by the UKBJJA, who have been consulting with the CCEA (Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment) in order to run pilot studies on the idea of offering BJJ as part of GCSE PE, which is a qualification generally taken by teenagers aged 14-16 in schools.
Given that there’s plenty of evidence to support the idea that BJJ is beneficial for children, it’s easy to see why schools could be interested in including it in the PE curriculum. The UK isn’t the first country to take this idea on board either, as Slovakia recently introduced MMA as a PE option in schools too. Now it’s possible for children and adults to be assessed in GCSE BJJ, provided they have some prior experience in the sport and their local authority is willing to offer that option.
In a statement published on the UKBJJA website, the Chair of the organization Neil Williams gave the following comment on the news:
“This exciting news is a reflection of the relentless efforts that take place, often behind the scenes, by our board members to further grow and legitimise the presence of BJJ as a sport across the whole of the UK. We’re very proud to be able say there is now a route to recognised, national qualifications in BJJ. When paired with the safeguarding, coaching, first aid and referee courses available via the UKBJJA this builds a strong arsenal of skills to all sports leaders within jiujitsu so that we may continue to raise standards and provide a positive environment within which UK BJJ can grow.”
This will eventually apply to Northern Ireland as well, with it expected to be rolled out in May 2023. The UKBJJA Director for Northern Ireland, Robert Cullinan, also commented on BJJ becoming eligible to be part of the GCSE PE curriculum for schools in the UK:
“I’m thrilled to see this now formalised and out there in the public domain as an opportunity for anyone who is passionate about developing their BJJ through a formal and nationally recognised route. Working with the CCEA has been a pleasure and we’re very grateful to them for their collaboration and support on making this project a success”