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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is self defense, combat sport, and a self defense system that concentrates on grappling and particularly ground fighting.

It teaches that the smaller, weaker person can successfully avert a greater, stronger assailant with the use of leverage and proper technique-most notably through the use of joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the other person. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training may be used for sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition or self-defense . Sparring (known as ‘rolling’) and live drilling play a huge role in training, plus a premium is affixed to performance, particularly in competition, in relation to progress and ascension via the grades/belts.

The art began with Mitsuyo Maeda aka Conde Koma, or Count Coma in English, a part of the then-recently-founded Kodokan. Maeda was amongst five of Judo’s top groundwork experts that Judo’s founder Kano Jigoro sent overseas to show and spread his art around the globe. Maeda left Japan in 1904 and visited quite a few countries giving “jiu-do” demonstrations and accepting challenges from wrestlers, boxers, savate fighters and other other mma fighters before eventually arriving in Brazil on November 14, 1914.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is recognized as more than simply a method of fighting.

Since its inception in 1882, its parent art of judo was separated from older systems of Japanese jujutsu by a vital difference that was given to BJJ: it’s not solely a martial art: it is additionally a sport; an approach for promoting physical fitness and building character in youth; and, ultimately, a way of life.

It is often claimed that BJJ can be a growth and development of traditional Japanese jujutsu, not judo, and that Maeda was obviously a jujutsuka. However, Maeda never trained in jujutsu. He first trained in sumo as a teenager, and following interest generated by stories regarding the success of judo at contests between judo and jujutsu that have been occurring at the time, he changed from sumo to judo, transforming into a student of Kano’s Kodokan judo. He was promoted to 7th dan in Kodokan judo the day before he died in 1941.

In 1914, Maeda was presented with the opportunity to travel to Brazil as part of a huge Japanese immigration colony. In Brazil, in the northern state of Para, he befriended Gastão Gracie, an influential businessman, who helped Maeda get established. To demonstrate his gratitude, Maeda agreed to teach Judo to Gastão’s oldest son, Carlos Gracie. Carlos learned for some years and eventually passed his knowledge to his brothers.

When he was fourteen, Helio Gracie, the youngest of the brothers moved in with his older brothers who lived and taught Jiu-Jitsu in a house in Botafogo, a borough of Rio de Janeiro. Following doctor’s recommendations, Helio would spend the next few years limited to only watching his brothers teach because he was naturally frail.

Eventually, when Helio Gracie was 16 years old, a student showed up for class when Carlos had not been around. Helio, who had memorized most of the techniques from watching his brothers teach, offered to start the class. Once the class was over, Carlos came and apologized for his delay. The student wanted Helio to carry on being his instructor, Helio Gracie then gradually developed Gracie Jiu Jitsu as an adaptation from Judo as he was not able to do many Judo moves.

Helio Gracie also held the rank of 6th dan in judo.

When Maeda left Japan, judo was still being often referred to as “Kano Jiu-Jitsu”, or, much more generically, simply as “Jiu-Jitsu.” Higashi, the co-author of “Kano Jiu-Jitsu” wrote within the foreword: “Some confusion has arisen over the employment of the term ‘jiudo’. To make the matter clear I will state that jiudo is the term selected by Professor Kano as describing his system more accurately than jiu-jitsu does. Professor Kano is one of the leading educators of Japan, and it is natural that he should cast about for the technical word that would most accurately describe his system. But the Japanese people generally still cling to the more popular nomenclature and call it jiu-jitsu.”

Outside Japan, however, this distinction was noted even less. Thus, when Maeda and Satake arrived at Brazil in 1914, every newspaper announced “jiu-jitsu” despite both men being Kodokan judoka.

The Japanese government itself did not officially mandate until 1925 that the correct term for the self-defense skill taught in the Japanese public schools should be “judo” instead of “jujutsu”. In Brazil, the art is still called “Jiu-Jitsu”. When the Gracies went to the United States to spread their art, they used the terms “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” and “Gracie Jiu-Jitsu” to differentiate from the already present styles using similar-sounding names. “Jiu-jitsu” happens to be an older romanization that was the initial spelling of the art under western culture, and it’s still in commomn use, whereas the modern Hepburn romanization is “jujutsu.”

The art may also be referred to as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (GJJ), this name was trademarked by Rorion Gracie, but following a legal dispute with his cousin Carley Gracie, his trademark towards the name was voided. Fellow members from the Gracie family often call their style by personalized names, for instance Charles Gracie Jiu-Jitsu or Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and similarly, the Machado family call their style Machado Jiu-Jitsu (MJJ). While each style and its instructors have their own aspects, they are all basic variations of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Today you will find four major branches of BJJ from Brazil: Gracie Humaita, Gracie Barra, Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Alliance Jiu Jitsu. Each branch can trace its roots back to Mitsuyo Maeda and the Gracie family.

Maeda met an important businessman named Gastão Gracie who helped him get established. In 1916, his 14 year-old son Carlos Gracie watched an exhibition by Maeda at the Teatro da Paz (Theatre of Peace) and decided to study the art. Maeda accepted Carlos as a student, and Carlos went on to turn into a great exponent of the art and ultimately, together with his younger brother Hélio Gracie became the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In 1921, Gasteo Gracie and his family moved to Rio de Janeiro. Carlos, then 17 years of age, passed Maeda’s teachings on to his brothers Osvaldo, Gastão and Jorge. Hélio was too young and sick at that time to master the art, and due to medical imposition was prohibited to take part in the training sessions. Despite that, Helio learned from watching his brothers. He eventually overcame his health problems and is now considered by many as the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu though others, such as Carlson Gracie, have pointed to Carlos as the founder of the art.

Helio competed in several submission-based competitions which mostly resulted in him winning. One defeat in Brazil in 1951 was by going to Japanese judoka Masahiko Kimura, whose surname the Gracies gave to the arm lock used to defeat Hélio. The Gracie family continued to build up the system throughout the 20th century, often fighting vale tudo matches, during which it increased its focus on ground fighting and refined its techniques.

Today, the leading differences between the BJJ styles is between traditional Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’s emphasis on self-defense, and Sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s orientation towards competition. There’s a large commonality of techniques involving the two. Also, there’s a wide selection of ideals in training in different schools in terms of the utilization of pure or yielding technique versus skillful application of pressure to overcome a rival.

Jiu-Jitsu came to international prominence in the martial arts community in the early 1990s, when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Royce Gracie won the first, second and fourth Ultimate Fighting Championships, which during the time were single elimination martial arts tournaments. Royce fought against often much-larger opponents who were practicing other styles, including boxing, shoot-fighting, karate, judo and tae kwon do. It has since become a staple art for many MMA fighters and is largely credited for bringing widespread attention to the importance of ground fighting. Sport BJJ tournaments continue to grow in popularity worldwide and have given rise to no-gi submission grappling tournaments, such as the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) came to international prominence in the martial arts community in the early 1990s.

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