Coach stops fight when boy uses 'highly dangerous' move on girl, 7, in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition

Submitted by Stomper Celine

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She could have been seriously injured.

Fortunately, the girl's coach jumped in to stop the Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) match when he saw her opponent using an illegal move.

This was during the Singapore Ju-Jitsu Open 2024 by BJJ Roots at Far East Plaza on Feb 25.

Stomper Celine, who is the girl's mother, shared a video of the match, which shows her seven-year-old daughter in white and her male opponent in blue on the mat with an adult referee in black.

About 30 seconds into the match, the girl was lying on her stomach and the boy was sitting on her buttocks when he pulled her torso up, arching her spine backwards.

Her coach, who was at the side of the mat, quickly jumped in to stop the match.

"An illegal and extremely dangerous move was performed and was only stopped by our coach jumping in in time to stop it," said the Stomper.

"The referee was inexperienced and slow to react and had to consult the head referee who was coaching his kids in another match. He allowed the move and eventually my daughter decided she wanted to finish the match.

"The other child went on to win as my daughter was visibly shaken from the encounter."

The mother told Stomp: "My daughter came off the mat shocked and crying saying that she had been taught by her coaches from the Gentle Art Academy that they always need to be careful when on anyone’s back as you could injure someone quite seriously.

"She was completely blindsided by the move and stunned by the decision, but later on, made the call herself to go back and finish the fight."

In response to a Stomp query, the Gentle Art Academy said: "During the event, we saw a move that we believed to be highly dangerous and life-threatening about to be applied with the referee not ready to intervene. So our coach had to jump in before any serious injuries were sustained."

The Stomper expressed disappointment in how the organiser, BJJ Roots, handled the situation.

"As parents, we accept certain risks putting our kids in competitive sports, especially martial arts," she said.

"But we also hold the organisers of such competitions to have experienced and impartial referees to keep the kids safe. We hold the coaches to a standard of fair play, professionalism and sportsmanship because that is why we as parents want to send our kids to take part in sports."

Stomp has contacted BJJ Roots for more info.

BJJ Roots posted a three-hour YouTube video of the Singapore Jiu Jitsu Open's second day, which was the day of the Stomper's daughter's match.

The Singapore Jujitsu Association (SJJA) president, Dr Henry Kothagoda, told Stomp that the event was not organised or supported by the association and BJJ Roots is not an affiliate.

"As we did not attend this event, we would not be qualified to discuss the event," he said.

"According to Ju-Jitsu International Federation (JJIF) rules, pressure on the spine is disallowed in all JJIF events. SJJA adheres to such rules."

Stomp also contacted the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF).

Its rules department told Stomp: "The IBJJF does not approve, endorse or express an opinion on tournaments held by third parties.

"What we can say, for informational purposes, is that if the movement in the video had been carried out in an official IBJJF championship, the fight would have been stopped immediately as it is not allowed according to our rule book, aimed to preserve the safety of the competitors."

The Stomper said she and her husband are still observing their daughter for any lasting damage.

"My goal is just to highlight how important it is for competition organisers to have their priorities right. They ought to be held accountable for the poor referees they chose and the lack of safeguards for the young ones," added the mother.