Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a Martial Art

Traditional martial arts refers to training in a martial art that is rooted in the tenets set forth by the original master of the art. Subsequent masters are chosen to carry on the traditional teachings of that particular art. As such, traditional martial arts training implies that a student uphold the philosophical principles of the art and practice its techniques in a fashion similar to the founder’s or in the style’s natural progression. The lineage between students and masters is very important in traditional martial arts training.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s roots began in the early 1900s. Mitsuyo Maeda, a former jujitsu champion in Japan, brought the art to Brazil when he befriended Gastão Gracie, and 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, also known as Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

Helio’s eldest son, Rorion Gracie, moved to the US in 1978 and formed the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to showcase BJJ’s effectiveness.  Royce Gracie dominated the early UFCs despite having a size and athleticism disadvantage.  This accelerated the expansion of the sport, and BJJ has become an essential skill in Mixed Martial Arts.

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