There are multiple theories about the origin of Jiu-Jitsu. This art goes so far back, that many have connected the beginnings of the art to different places throughout the world. Although it is very important for you to know where this martial art comes from, we would like to share the version we have accepted, and the one we believe will have the most significance in your journey. To do this, we will focus on the origin of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and how "The Gracie Family" became the most important family in martial arts. The Gracie Family took an art that was already very effective, and turned it into the most efficient martial art today.
Our brief story begins when a student of Kano’s; Mitsuo Maeda (also known as Count Koma) emigrated from Japan to Brazil in 1914. He was assisted by a local politician named George Gracie, whose father had also been an immigrant, hailing originally from Scotland. As a token of his gratitude, Maeda taught Jiu-Jitsu to George’s son Carlos Gracie. Carlos later shared his knowledge with some of his brothers, with whom he opened Brazil’s first Jiu-Jitsu academy in 1925. Over the years, the Gracies (notably Carlos and Helio Gracie) and their students refined the art through challenge matches behind closed doors and on the streets. They used submission ground fighting during their confrontations, allowing smaller men to be able to defend against a larger attacker.
Other influential Gracies came along throughout the years, names like Rolls Gracie and Carlson Gracie, who began to further refine the art by incorporating moves from other arts that would further advance the curriculum and make the art even more complete. Alongside this, the beginning of the first point and rule system was created for Jiu-Jitsu specific competitions.
Carlos, Helio, Carlson, and Rolls were very influential in the development of the art. But the Gracie family kept growing, and other members like Rickson, Royce, Royler, Renzo, Ralph, and Roger, among other very important family figures, would have the opportunity to keep developing and expanding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu throughout the world.
Thanks to the Gracie Family, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ, as commonly known, is the fastest growing martial art in the world; and it continues to evolve through many practitioners today.
Like we stated before, There are many theories about where Jiu-jitsu came from, but we believe this was the best way to provide you with a brief history of the art. We hope you enjoyed!