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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art, combat sport, and self-defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. Brazilian jiu-jitsu was formed from Kodokan Judo ground fighting (Ne-Waza) fundamentals that were taught to Carlos Gracie by master Mitsuyo Maeda.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu eventually came to be its own art through the experimentations, practices, and adaptation from the Judo knowledge of Carlos and Hélio Gracie, who then passed their knowledge on to their family.

Grandmasters Helio & Carlos Gracie practicing.

The History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The Birth of a Movement

Also known as BJJ, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu originates from the early 20th century in Brazil. The roots of BJJ trace back to Japanese Judo and traditional Japanese Jujutsu, arts that encompass grappling and ground fighting.

The story of BJJ begins with Mitsuyo Maeda, a prominent Japanese Judoka, who immigrated to Brazil in the 1910s. Maeda was a student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, and he was instrumental in Kano’s vision of spreading Judo across the world. Settling in Brazil, Maeda befriended the Gracie family, notably Carlos Gracie, who he taught the fundamental techniques of Judo.

The Gracie family, and particularly Carlos Gracie’s younger brother, Helio Gracie, adapted the techniques to suit their more diminutive physiques, emphasizing leverage and technique over brute strength and speed. This adaptation allowed a smaller or weaker individual to defend themselves against a much larger and stronger opponent. Over time, these modifications gave birth to what is now recognized as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.