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History of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

A brief of history and the exportation of Japanese "Ju-jitsu" to the country of Brazil. Ju-jitsu seems to have simply been a name for unarmed combat in the Samurai period though this may be an oversimplification on behalf of modern scholars. In any case there were definitely striking and percussive movements within the general subject of Ju-jitsu.

It was the advent of Kodokan Judo under the venerable Jigoro Kano that initiated the first grappling revolution or shall we say an isolation of grappling-type techniques. Judo practitioners practiced an art and sport which featured no punches or kicks but rather focused solely on throws, sweeps and locks. These chokes and joint locks are potentially fatal is paradoxical in respect to the "gentle" nature of both Judo and Ju-jitsu.

A certain "Count" Maeda found himself in Brazil around the beginning of the 20th Century and it is from this point in history that Gracie and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu begins. This Count Maeda aka Count Koma instructed two sons of a locally prominent fellow by the name of Gastao Gracie. These sons Carlos and Helio went on to develop both the Gracie style of Jiu-jitsu as well as the Gracie diet.


This stripped-down variant of the original Ju-jitsu eliminated techniques which relied on strength favoring maneuvers that focused on leverage and technique. The Gracie family followed in the path of Count Maeda which involved challenging stylists of other fighting systems to a no-rules or in the Portuguese "Vale-Tudo" matches in order to prove the effectiveness if not invincibility of this somewhat obscure art.

These early Vale-Tudo matches gave way to the Gracie sponsored Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) which clearly demonstrated to the entire fight world the importance of ground-fighting skills and the unbelievable effectiveness of the Gracie-method of Jiu-jitsu.


Nothing in life remains stagnant and fighting isn’t any exception. Modern MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) competition as typified by the UFC, Pride, Strike Force, Bellator Fighting Championships and many more that showcase fighters of various disciplines including Greco-Roman, Wrestling, Muay-Thai, Kickboxing and of course Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Rather than BJJ remaining a singularly-dominant method of achieving victory in MMA it has become an aspect of the larger fighting elemental recipe alongside boxing, wrestling, kicking and takedown defense.

BJJ training is usually conducted in three manners: Sport BJJ, No-Gi BJJ and BJJ for MMA.

Sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


This is the most traditional type of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practice and involves wearing a "Gi" or Judo/Jiu-Jitsu uniform. Very similar if not nearly identical in many respects to the Judo practice of Ne-Waza.

No-Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


As the name suggest this is BJJ practiced minus the dynamics of the Gi. This type of grappling practice is nearly indistinguishable from the American designation of "Submission Grappling" as most widely exemplified by the North American Grappling Association (NAGA) and Grapplers Quest and its regularly hosted events which are open to grapplers of any style.



The inclusion of striking techniques drastically alters the concerns of the Jiu-jitsu artist but not entirely so. The strategies utilized by a BJJ fighter remain essentially the same though necessarily modified to address the concerns of striking while grappling. It is this variant that is the most relevant to the MMA-fighter and in fact may be seen as simply something to defend against rather than use offensively as in the case of many fighters who while very difficult to submit rarely attempts any sort of Jiu-jitsu finishing technique.

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