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Jiu-Jitsu arrived in Brazil when the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo champion, Mitsuyo Maeda, arrived in Largo do Paiçandu in 1914. Less than two years after his arrival, he would get introduced to the Carlos Gracie and the Gracie family whom at the time was operating circuses and entertainment venues. Members of the Gracie family was quite impressed with this new style of martial arts and shortly after started practicing the art themselves. This new style of wrestling was then further developed by the Gracie family through the 20th century and would eventually take its own path and become what we know as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu today.


Technically the main element that separates Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or “BJJ” for short, from Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, is that BJJ focuses on floor combat. There are no Japanese schools (perhaps with the exception of Kosen Judo) that put as much emphasis on floor fight techniques as in BJJ.


Carlos opened a jiu-jitsu academy in Rio De Janeiro and startet promoting the Gracie Challenge tournaments, where practitioners of other martial arts could test their mettle against the Gracie’s fighting style. The Gracie Challenges quickly gained traction in Brazil. Carlson Gracie was the family champion till the 1970’s, where he would open the second Gracie Jiu-Jitsu school in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. In the 1990’s Carlsons cousins would travel to the United States and start what is today known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC. The popularity of the UFC boosted the popularity of Cracie Jiu-Jitsu which gradually changed name to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and prompted Carlsson Grace Jr. to move to the US and start schools Chicago and California.

Carlson Gracie and Augusto Miranda Brazi

*Carlson Gracie Jr. and Augusto Miranda, demonstrating BJJ submission techniques in Rio, 2004.


In recent years BJJ has enjoyed increased popularity, due to its heavy use and high success rate in Mixed Martial Arts “MMA” competitions such as, the UFC and ONE. The grappling techniques of BJJ is unmatched by anything seen in MMA so far, which is why most contestants in MMA competitions today also study and train BJJ.


BJJ techniques include a vast variety of chokeholds, and submission methods, which makes it an ideal martial art for self-defense classes. This applies especially, but not exclusively to women and children, as these techniques allow for the pacification of strong adversaries with little effort.

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