History of Jiu-Jitsu
There are many varying accounts as to the origins of Jiu-Jitsu but some historians say that Jiu-Jitsu (the oldest form of all martial arts), also known as “the Mother of Martial Arts”, can be tracked back to India where it was invented by Buddhist monks. These monks developed movements based on balance and leverage, in a manner that would avoid reliance on strength and weapons.
Jiu-Jitsu later found its way through China and all the way to Japan where it gained even more popularity.
Adopted by the Samurais (Japanese Royal Guards) as a superior form of self-defense and a form of life, the art form highlighted their own code of conduct known as “Bushido” (way of the warrior).
Centered around a number of core values including loyalty, justice, manners, purity, modesty, honor, self confidence, and respect the Japanese named the smooth techniques Jiu-Jitsu “the Gentle Way”
With the end of the feudal system in Japan, Jiu-Jitsu was brought to an end and different forms of the art emerged out of it such as Aikido, Karate, and Judo. However, these new forms lacked essential pieces of what the true art initially held.
In 1915 a Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Master named Esai Maeda Koma, also known as "Conde Koma," migrated to Brazil where he was fundamental in establishing a Japanese immigrant community. He settled in Belem do Para, where he met a man named Gastao Gracie.
Gastao Gracie, a Brazilian politician, and father of eight children, became a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast and brought his oldest son, Carlos, to learn the secrets of the ancient martial art from Maeda.
At the age of 19, Carlos Gracie moved to Rio de Janeiro and began teaching and fighting, proving the efficiency of the sport by beating physically stronger opponents on numerous occasions. In 1925 the first Gracie Academy "Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu" was opened in Rio.
Between 1940-2004 the Gracie family won countless challenges against other martial artists many times their size, launching Jiu-Jitsu back on the top. The family altered and adapted Jiu-Jitsu techniques in such a way that it completely changed the complexion of the international Jiu-Jitsu principles. These techniques were so unique that the sport became attached to a national identity, and is now commonly known as "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu," practiced by martial artists all around the globe.
In more recent times the Gracie family have also been credited for teaching their techniques to Swat Teams, FBI, CIA, and Navy Seals, among other military and law enforcement departments.