THE BIRTH OF GRACIE JIU-JITSU
The Origins of Jiu-jitsu “Gentle Art” can be traced back to India, where it was practiced by Buddhists Monks.
Because these Buddhists Monks were constantly getting bullied and assaulted by bad people, They were forced to create an empty hand system of self-defense.
Concern with self-defense, these Buddhists Monks created techniques based upon principals of balance and leverage.
With the expansion of Buddhism, Jiu-jitsu spread from Southeast Asia to China, and finally arriving in Japan where it developed and gained further popularity.
In the last days of the 19th century, some Jiu-jitsu Masters immigrated from Japan to other continents teaching Martial Arts as well as taking part in fights.
Esai Maeda Koma, also known as Count Koma was one such a Master that traveled to other continents. Traveling with a troop which fought in various countries in Europe and the Americas, Koma arrived in Brazil in 1914, and settled in Belem do Para the following year.
In Brazil Koma became friends with a man named Gastao Gracie. Gastao, the father of 8 children, among them 5 boys and 3 girls, became a Jiu-jitsu enthusiastic.
Gastao brought his eldest son, Carlos Gracie, to learn from the Japanese Master.
Carlos taught the art of Jiu-jitsu to his brothers. With a goal to prove their Jiu-jitsu superiority over other Martial Arts, Carlos and his brothers, challenged the greatest fighters of their time, creating today as Brazilian / Gracie Jiu-jitsu.
Helio Gracie, the youngest, was the smallest of all the brothers. Helio began adapting some of the techniques the japanese master taught to his brother Carlos.
With this new adapted techniques, it allowed smaller and less strong practitioners the capability to defend themselves against much larger opponents, making Gracie / Brazilian Jiu-jitsu the best form of self-defense in the World.
Because they were fighting and defeating opponents 50 or 60 pounds heavier, the Gracies quickly gained recognition and prestige.
By defeating larger opponents and proving the effectiveness of their style, regular people that saw these techniques being effectively utilized, began to want to learn this self-defense.
It became very popular in Brazil, everyone from polititians, presidents to business men, and everyday men, women and kids began to learn from this big fighting family in Brazil.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, second and third generation of the Gracie Family started to immigrate from Brazil to United States, with the dream to share Gracie Jiu-jitsu to the rest of the world.
They knew if Gracie Jiu-jitsu could be established in the United States, eventually the world would catch on.
To help them establish Gracie Jiu-jitsu to the United States, some of these Gracie family Masters were taking part in fight events as well as teaching seminars throughout the country.
One of the members from the third generation of the Gracie Family, Rodrigo Gracie, was one such a Master.
After fighting and teaching his family’s style of fighting throughout the World, Rodrigo was considered one of the greatest fighters of the Gracie family.