History of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) in 5 Minutes • Martial Arts Journey


History of BJJ
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or simply BJJ is one of the most influential martial arts of the
modern day. It has touched the lives of thousands thought the whole world. But where and how
has all of it started? Hi, my name is RokasLeo and today we are going to look at a brief
history of BJJ. Although the name of BJJ strongly emphasizes
“jiu jitsu”, not everyone knows that it’s roots are actually that much closer to Judo,
than one could think. It all started in Japan in the late 1800, when professor Jigoro Kano
started reinventing the traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu, which was strongly loosing it’s
popularity because of the changing times of the Meiji Restoration and the end of the samurai
class. Sensei Kano was strongly influenced by Jiu Jitsu himself, which helped him become
not only stronger, but also a better person, what lead him to the passion of sharing his
experience. The more he taught the traditional Jiu Jitsu, the more he realized that he wanted
to change the emphasize of his style so that it would be not only more efficient, but also
more accessible and profound. As his art grew and became widely known, he slowly started
introducing the name of Judo (“The Gentle Way”), yet to most it was still know as
simply Kano’s Jiu Jitsu. In 1904, one of the senior students of Sensei
Kano, Mitsuyo Maeda, together with a couple of other Kano’s students, were offered a
chance to move to the States, which they saw as a great chance to further promote the already
increasingly popular Kano’s Jiu Jitsu. Their demonstrations were very well received across
the whole nation and in the further years Maeda even traveled around Europe to give
demonstrations there as well. In 1914 Maeda ended up in Brazil where he continued to give
demonstrations. A series of his demonstrations were presented in a circus in Belem, where
he met Gastao Gracie, a business partner of the circus, and became good friends. In 1917
Gastao’s son Carlos Gracie, at the time only 15 years old, was so impressed by Maeda’s
demonstration, that he decided to start learning from him. Maeda took on Carlos and a few other
Brazilians as his students, teaching them his way of Jiu Jitsu. Although technically
it was already Judo, one of the brothers of Carlos in a much later interview said, that
he learned of the name Judo only in 1950’s when Judo was introduced as a sport in Brazil
and that Maeda himself referred to his style simply as Jiu Jitsu.
Carlos Gracie dedicated himself to the study of this Jiu Jitsu and later on shared his
knowledge with his siblings , from which, most notably, was Helio Gracie. Carlos and
his brothers where often training, what sometimes involved even actual fighting, yet Helio was
not able to join their brothers, since he was too frail and sickly. Nevertheless, he
continued to watch his brothers train and slowly started developing his own training
methods and techniques which relied less on physical strength and more on skills. As the
Gracies, alongside Helio, continued to develop their Jujitsu to be as effective as possible,
Judo was slowly emphasized more as a sport, focusing less on ground techniques. With time
these differences between the two styles became increasingly evident, what today, makes them
hardly recognizable as once being so close to each other.
In 1925 Carlos opened the Gracie families first BJJ academy. The academy was managed
by his family members, of which most, also practiced Jiu Jitsu. During this period, the
Gracies not only taught their martial art, but also participated and even organized their
own rule-less fights, which back then were known as Vale Tudo. The Gracies were able
to win most of their fights and thus became famous. Their students started including famous
artists, architects, politicians and various doctors. Later on, members of the Gracie family
move on to the States, to further promote their art. Here they started organizing the
Gracie Challenges – open events which invited masters of different martial arts to challenge
members of the Gracie family and their style of Jiu Jitsu. Rorion Gracie, son of Helio,
even offered 100.000$ to anyone who could defeat him or his brothers in these matches.
Following the success of these matches, the Gracie’s became notorious in the martial
arts world. To differentiate between the other Jiu Jitsu styles that were practiced in the
day, they started referring to their style as the Gracie Jiu Jitsu or was sometimes reffered
to as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The fame of the Gracies was already high,
yet Rorion wanted to make it even more popular to the main public. In 1993, this desire eventually
lead to the creation of “The Ultimate Fighting Championship” or UFC, which was co-hosted
by Rorion, a no “holds barred”event, similar to that of Vale Tudo and the Gracie challenges.
It was promoted to find out who would be the strongest fighter, bringing eight different
practicioners of various martial arts to fight each other. Rorion hand picked Royce Gracie,
his younger brother, to represent the Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Royce was able to win the tournament,
mostly by using his Jiu Jitsu skills. The UFC proved to be very successful, thus bringing
a huge amount of attention, specially to the winning style of the event. Although already
relatively successful, after the event the Gracie’s Jujitsu’s popularity sky rocketed.
Many people of the time, started seeing it as the most effective martial art with other
fighters even implementing it’s skills to their regime too. These events lead to hundreds
of thousands of people training BJJA not only in MMA, but also in it’s own popular sports
form as BJJ tournaments. The Jiu Jitsu which touched the Gracie family
and was developed by them, continues to be highly respected and further evolved not only
by it’s family members, but also by dedicated people through the whole world.
Thanks for watching our Brief History of BJJ. If you want to know how BJJ effected the lose
of popularity in Aikido, click on the video on the left. If you want to know more how
BJJ influenced MMA, click on the video on the right. Also, let me know in the comments
what Brief History video would you like next.

23 thoughts on “History of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) in 5 Minutes • Martial Arts Journey

  1. Very useful in it's sport role. If any of you out there are considering BJJ training in your future know that one it is almost entirely sport focused and two it attracts douchebags like moths to flame. Think of it as an online session of Call of Duty buy in real life, know that up front going in. For a couple of years there Tapout and Affliction shirts were the official douchebag uniform.

  2. I like BJJ and plan to go back and do it again when I reach my black belt in aikido but the one thing I despise in the BJJ/MMA community is when people say "BJJ is the best and it can beat anything" or "it has been proven to be the most effective martial art in the world" yes it works and has some great techniques in it and yes it is effective but it is not the most effective art in the world no art is the most effective art its all down to you on how effective you can make them.

  3. hello bro,I would like to have a private talk to you. can I have your email or whatsapp numer if you hs? thank you: Paulo Silva

  4. It was very good, but Kano did not like ground fighting, and famously said "Human beings were meant't to walk, not crawl". It was only after until Tanabe's Jiu Jitsu beat the Kano's students were Judoka where inspired to learn more ground fighting or taught by Tanabe directly. Even after Maeda left, ground fighting became more popular, and people like Oda did research and training outside of Judo to learn more ground fighting. However, even though Oda insisted to make judo a "50% to 50%" style, Kano resisted and all but put an end to Kosen rules by 1925, banning guard pulling, leg locks, etc. Maeda might have waived the Judo flag but his ground fighting was neither from Judo or Kano.

  5. Love BJJ and much prefer it to Judo nowadays due to the rule changes in Judo, however I hate the ego and the Gracie cult that comes with it, I respect the Gracies for their contribution of spreading the art but I hate how they make it out as if they had taken the art of Judo (then called Jiu Jitsu) and completely reinvented it, im not saying that the Gracies had nothing to do with the changing the art but techniques are always going to be refined and 'Reinvented' if there is a more practical way to do so for the individual. In fact Maeda was much more focused on ground technique than most Judo practitioners due to being used to training and competing with larger catch wrestlers, which likely means the Jiu Jitsu/Judo taught to the Gracies was a lot more ground oriented. Im not saying that Heilo had nothing to do with changing the art but to claim you had completely reinvented an art and slap your name/nationality on it is ego driven madness.

  6. 3:33 sure it was 100.000 dollars on the poster it says pts .. is Dollar not the same name all over the globe ?

  7. It started from the samurai. Brazil had nothing to do with it. BJJ is basically a stolen system from the samurai.

  8. I was wondering since you did a Brief History of BJJ, Would love a Brief history of these two arts. Luta Livre (A Rival Grappling Style of BJJ) and Shooto.

  9. This is a rare and exceptionally good video on the topic. More accurate than the majority. Just one clarification, although the Gracie's claim they've never heard about Judo until the 50´s when it was introduced in Brazil, it is well established that Judo was introduzed in Brazil and South America between 1910 and 1920, including by Maeda himself.

  10. I really love BJJ and Judo. But, they’re honestly my weakest points. Definently something I need to work on.

  11. Not to be THAT guy or a know it all but its been disproven by Maeda's descendants that he taught Carlos Gracie. When it was actually Maeda's Student Donatos Pires that taught Carlos and only for a few years up to blue belt.
    And HELIO GRACIE was not a frail sickly boy before Jiujitsu, that is a lie as explained by Reila Gracie and with photos of Helio Gracie in his private school as the head of his swimming and rowing team…..https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTHk1TQk-PQ9Y7-Yu4BLXibXQ4zC22Uedu-9Ex5nv7QsY1-HNmH

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