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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu History
The martial art of Jiu Jitsu can trace its history back at least two centuries in Japan with roots in other forms of grappling-related combat such as judo. The distinctive modern style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) was truly born in this country in 1915 when a legendary Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Judo master named Esai Maeda met a businessman named Gasto Gracie, a native Brazilian Scottish. If you’ve ever heard of mixed martial arts (MMA) competitions or the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) today, and you’ve probably heard of it, because it’s currently the sport that’s experiencing the fastest growing in the United States and the world, so much of this is due to the historic day nearly 100 years ago when Gasto Gracie met Esai Maeda, who later in life would be known in Spanish under the honorific name of “Conte Comte”, meaning “The Count of Combat”.
Maeda was born in 1878 and was one of the top students of the original founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, at the famed Kodokan Academy in Japan. In 1904, he traveled to the United States to introduce the techniques of judo to Americans, including cadets at West Point Military Academy and US President Theodore Roosevelt, who was himself an avid boxer and arts student. martial. After several years of touring North America, Esai Maeda finally moved south to settle in Brazil. At that time, Brazil had one of the largest Japanese immigrant communities in the world, and Maeda decided to help new Japanese immigrants settle in Brazil and learn to love the country like him.
In this work he met and befriended Gasto Gracie, who had moved to Brazil from Scotland. To thank Gracie for his help, he taught his son Carlos the basic techniques of Japanese Jiu Jitsu. Carlos Gracie undoubtedly quickly began to apply his new fighting skills to his brothers Oswaldo, Jorge, Gasto (Jr.) and Helio, as the brothers are known to do, and thus the seeds of the famous style Brazilian Jiu Jitsu were planted for the first time. By 1925, the four brothers had mastered the principles of Japanese Jiu Jitsu and incorporated their own ideas enough to open their first school, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu began to be shared with the rest of South America.
There is a direct link between the style of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu first taught by these four elderly patriarchs of the Gracie family and the birth of UFC fighting championships in the early 1990s, when a descendant named Royce Gracie challenged martial artists of any style to fight. Until the rest of the world notices how incredibly effective Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is in real fights and learns to imitate it, martial artists of all persuasions would eventually find themselves in the field when fighting the UFC, usually without knowing how to stop Gracie from choking or hitting them with submission holds. In the 21st century, many fighting styles and fighting systems have learned to incorporate BJJ grappling techniques in order to operate in the field.
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