HISTORY OF GRACIE JIU JITSU
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art developed by the Gracie family from Brazil based on the Japanese arts of jiu-jitsu and judo. Jiu-Jitsu (sometimes spelled as “Jujitsu”) had existed in Japan for centuries. Its origins are not entirely clear, although most historians believe that Oriental martial arts originated in India, and from there migrated to China, Korea and Japan.
Jiu-jitsu translates as “gentle or soft art”. The reason for this term is the jiu-jitsu’s underlying concept of using one’s strength and leverage in the most efficient way to overcome an opponent. The focus is on disabling (submitting) an opponent using technique and leverage, rather than brute strength. Utilizing this principle, a smaller person can defeat a stronger and larger opponent.
In the 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda, a jiu-jitsu and judo practitioner moved to Brazil to help establish a Japanese immigrant community. A local man, Gastao Gracie, whose family had immigrated to Brazil from Scotland had helped Maeda in his endeavors. The friendship that developed between Maeda and Gracie resulted in Maeda offering to teach jiu-jitsu to Gastao’s sons. Carlos Gracie, Gastao’s oldest son, became one of Maeda’s students, and subsequently taught his brothers, including Helio Gracie himself.
Maeda’s principal fighting method involved throwing a low kick or elbow to set up a clinch to take the fight to the ground. Once there, he focused on ground-grappling submissions to finish the fight – a general strategy used by today’s modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitors and Mixed Martial Artists.
Most of the technical knowledge and evolution of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was discovered and developed by the Gracies themselves. The Gracie brothers were all relatively small in stature, which required more efficient use of leverage to get techniques succeed in submissions.
The Gracie brothers and their offspring have further developed this martial art style by engaging in challenge matches, often without time limits (i.e. the match would finish when an opponent would give up or be rendered unconscious). These predecessors of today’s mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions were also known as no holds barred (NHB) or vale tudo (anything goes) matches. This development made the world recognize this 'new' JuJitsu as Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Gracie Jiu Jitsu now is know for being one of the worlds best Martial Arts for Self Defense as well as for cage fighting.