Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) jujitsu or jujutsu goes back through the Gracie family to their original teacher, Mitsuyo Maeda, also known as Conde Coma. Mitsuyo Maeda trained at the Kodokan,the home of Judo, and was one of the greatest fighters in history. He was a Sumo fighter and a lifelong champion of Jiu-Jitsu’s self-defense techniques. Made was sent around the world by the Kodokan to spread Judo, and faced opponents across differing martial sports.
In July 1914 he landed in Brazil, and in 1917 settled in Belem and opened an academy of Jiu Jitsu. One of his students was Carlos Gracie. Other students were Luiz França and Oswaldo Fadda. Carlos Gracie with his brothers opens his first academy of jiujitsu and took Meada’s technique to real street fighting.
Issue the Gracie Challenge
All challengers were welcome to come and fight with the Gracies in no-holds-barred (NHB) matches. The Gracie fighters emerged victorious against fighters of all different backgrounds.
Hélio Gracie gradually further developed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a softer, pragmatic adaptation from judo that focused on ground fighting, as he was unable to perform many judo moves that require direct opposition to an opponent’s strength.
Carlos Gracie would go on to have 21 offspring, 13 of whom became black-belts. Helio would have 10 children that all did jiujitsu. The Gracies are now in the 4th generation of BJJ practitioners.
Strengthening the art and adding one more link to the chain
Although the Gracie family is typically synonymous with BJJ, another prominent lineage started from Maeda via another Brazilian disciple, Luiz França. This lineage had been represented particularly by Oswaldo Fadda.
Jiu-Jitsu came to international prominence in the martial arts community in the early 1990s, when Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Royce Gracie won the first, second and fourth Ultimate Fighting Championships, which at the time were single elimination martial arts tournaments.