Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Maeda Mituyo
Helio Gracie


The story of BJJ begins with Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka who was a student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. Maeda, traveled around the world in the early 20th century, participating in challenge matches and exhibitions to promote Judo. In 1914, he arrived in Brazil, where he met Gastão Gracie, who became interested in learning Judo from Maeda.

Gastão’s son, Carlos Gracie, was also captivated by Maeda’s teachings and began training under him. Carlos studied with Maeda for several years and eventually passed on his knowledge to his brothers, most notably Helio Gracie. Helio, who was physically frail and unable to perform some of the more physically demanding techniques of Judo, adapted and modified the techniques to make them more suitable for someone with a smaller frame and less strength. This led to the development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a distinct martial art.

Gracie family

The Gracie family, particularly Carlos and Helio, played a pivotal role in popularizing BJJ and demonstrating its effectiveness through numerous challenge matches and fights. They organized fights known as «Gracie Challenges,» where they invited practitioners of other martial arts to test their skills against the Gracie family members. These challenges helped to establish BJJ’s reputation as a highly effective martial art, particularly in one-on-one combat situations.

80`s and 90`s

In the 1980s and 1990s, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gained significant international recognition and exposure through the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. Royce Gracie, a member of the Gracie family, competed in the early UFC events and showcased the effectiveness of BJJ by defeating much larger opponents using submission holds and ground fighting techniques. This catapulted BJJ into the spotlight and led to its widespread adoption in the world of MMA.

How it works

In BJJ, practitioners aim to gain control over their opponents using various techniques such as joint locks and chokeholds. The art emphasizes leverage and technique over size and strength, allowing smaller individuals to defend themselves effectively against larger opponents. BJJ is often referred to as the «gentle art» due to its emphasis on using technique.

Training in BJJ involves a combination of techniques, drills, sparring, and live rolling sessions. Students learn how to take an opponent to the ground, gain dominant positions, and apply submissions to force their opponent to submit or «tap out.» BJJ is a highly technical martial art that requires both physical and mental agility, as practitioners must think strategically and react quickly to their opponent’s movements.

BJJ today

BJJ has gained widespread popularity worldwide, and it is often practiced as a sport and as a means of self-defense. It is also a fundamental component of mixed martial arts (MMA) training, as many MMA fighters incorporate BJJ techniques into their fighting style.

Competitions play a significant role in BJJ, with various tournaments and championships held at the local, national, and international levels. The most prestigious BJJ competition is the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (commonly known as the Mundials), organized by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). Other big organization are: AJP (ABU Dhabi Jiu-Jitsu Pro) who holds the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and World Pro. In NoGi the big tournament are organized by Naga (North American Grappling Association) and ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club).

Best website to find Tournaments click here.

Training in BJJ offers numerous benefits, including physical fitness, self-defense skills, improved mental focus, discipline, and increased self-confidence. It is a challenging yet rewarding martial art that can be practiced by people of all ages and skill levels.