The Ju-Jitsu Para athletes have taken center stage in Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Ju-Jitsu athletes have taken to the mats on the 26th of October in the all-inclusive multisport event, the World Combat Games 2023 in the associated competition discipline for people with determination (POD) called Ne-Waza.

Ju-Jitsu, also known as Yawara, is an ancient Japanese martial art with origins dating back to the sixteenth century. As the legend is told, Shirobei Akiyama witnessed how the branches of most trees broke during a blizzard, while the more elastic branches of the willow bent and efficiently freed themselves from the snow. From this realisation, the ‘Gentle Art’, or ‘Art of Suppleness’ was born; utilizing the power of an attack to rationally be absorbed and converted into energy back to the opponent’s own detriment.  Ju-jitsu aims to defend oneself with a flexible reaction to violence.

The golden age of ju-jitsu lasted until 1869 upon the emperor’s return to Japan, and the abolition of feudalism made the samurai lose their privileged status. Samurai tradition nevertheless kept ju-jitsu alive, and travelers brought the art to all four corners of the world. From Japan, ju-jitsu spread across the world and developed as sport, violence prevention, and modern self-defense.

The associated competition discipline is called Ne-Waza, which is a newer discipline in the official JJIF competition program. It was first included in 2010 and thereafter established in the World Games 2013 in two initial categories, men -85kg and women -70kg. In this discipline, the two opponents start by standing upright. After the fight begins, the referee only interrupts during critical moments. Usually, the main part of the fight takes place on the ground, with the goal to win by submission, or with a lock on the joints, strangulation, or by points. Punches and kicks are not allowed. During the time of six minutes, it is possible to gain points for throws, takedowns, controlling positions and certain actions that give an advantage in the progression of the fight. The rules of Ne-Waza have been modified for the all-abilities athletes in several categories including Sensory Impairment, Brain Deficient, and Handicapped.

JIFF President, Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, said:

“We are grateful for this opportunity as for many years it was a dream to include people with disabilities. Now it has become a reality.”

JJIF Sport Director Joachim, Joe Thumfart said:

This competition promises to showcase to the world that regardless of ability, there is a place for everybody in sport.

To learn more about Ju Jitsu and the International Ju Jitsu Federation (JJIF), visit