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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

21 September 2010

Interview - Romulo Barral on BJJ in the Olympics

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Last week, Romulo talked about BJJ in the UK, online training and his favourite DVDs. In the fifth and final part of the interview, Romulo discusses the Olympics, before we wrap things up. Do you think it would be a good thing – and this has been mentioned quite a lot recently - if BJJ somehow managed to get into the Olympics, or could that result in watering down the sport due to rules changes?

Romulo Barral: Yeah man, that’s a good question too, you know? [laughs] Everybody wants to see BJJ in the Olympics, who wouldn’t. But at the same time, I think it would change a lot of rules. I want to see BJJ, because it would be a big sport, because I think everybody knows what it takes to become an Olympic sport, so when jiu jitsu becomes an Olympics sport, for sure it’s gonna be very big.

But, I don’t know, I’m a little bit scared about the rules, like what are they going to change. I hope if it goes to the Olympics, they don’t change too much, so it can be a fun sport to compete and to do as well. Yeah: when I’ve thought about this question, there’s the other option, which is FILA trying to get what they just call ‘grappling’ into the Olympics. So, that wouldn’t be as BJJ, it would just be a grappling event that BJJers could enter, along with people that do judo, do wrestling etc. That would seem a bit safer, because you wouldn’t have this danger of changing the rules, because it wouldn’t be BJJ, it would be ‘grappling’.

Romulo Barral: Yeah, I’ve heard of that: that’s good it’s not BJJ, because I don’t like it at all. [laughs] It’s like a very weird sport man, I don’t like it. People, they invite me to compete in this stuff, but I say, you know what, I don’t know, I never train this thing, so what am I going to compete? So, I'm going to stick with my jiu jitsu. [laughs] Do you have any interests outside of jiu jitsu, or does that completely consume you?

Romulo Barral: Like outside of fighting, something like that? Yeah: for example, Cobrinha is known for his love of baking. So do you have something, that’s nothing to do with jiu jitsu, but you enjoy doing?

Romulo Oh man, that’s a tough question. You can ask my wife this one! [laughs] I think I like, it’s just BJJ. It is so hard for me to do something that is not jiu jitsu, even like the small things. I don’t know man, I enjoy the jiu jitsu. It’s not just the competing, I enjoy, it's great, you know? Besides doing that, just relaxing: I save my energy to do jiu jitsu, nothing else besides that. [laughs] Before we end, is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers?

Romulo Barral: I think we did a great interview, so I’d just like to say, to the people from the UK, it was a great pleasure to be there, great people, and I hope in the future, when I come back to the UK, they will be better, and then the jiu jitsu will be bigger. That’s especially for people from the UK. I had a great time there, I have a couple of students, I had a great time with Braulio, and then in a lot of places.

I hope in the future when I come back, probably next year, I will see everybody much better and then I will see jiu jitsu, BJJ, much bigger in England. Thanks very much, Romulo.

Romulo Barral: Thank you my friend, my pleasure, and thanks for the interview.

Thanks again to Romulo, I very much enjoyed the chance to speak with him. He’s not only an elite competitor, but a really nice guy. If you're interested in doing an interview with me too, or just having a chat about BJJ, feel free to drop me an email. Finally, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out, and you can also follow Romulo on Facebook and Twitter

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