What is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that teaches a smaller person how to defend himself against a larger adversary by using leverage and proper technique. The Gracie family, the founders of BJJ, modified judo and traditional Japanese jujutsu to create the art. It contains stand-up maneuvers, but it is most famous for its devastating ground-fighting techniques. Gaining superior positioning—so one can apply the style’s numerous chokes, holds, locks and joint manipulations on an opponent—is the key in BJJ. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s roots began in the early 1900s. Esai Maeda, the chief of a Japanese immigration colony who was assigned to Brazil, befriended Gastao Gracie. Maeda, a former jujutsu champion in Japan, taught the art to Gracie’s son, Carlos. In 1925, Carlos and his four brothers opened the first Jiu-Jitsu school in Brazil. Carlos’ younger brother, Helio, adjusted the techniques to suit his small frame, thereby creating Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In the early ’80s, Helio’s son, Rorion, planted the seeds of BJJ in the United States, where the art has become immensely popular