Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art indigenous to Brazil. It was founded and developed by the Gracie family beginning with Carlos Gracie, who learned Jiu-Jitsu from an immigrant Japanese family gardener and judoka named Maeda. The art’s roots are derived from pre-war kodokan judo, western wrestling, and Maeda’s own insights into combat.

From the beginning this great art was modified and adapted by Helio Gracie, the brother of Carlos. Helio, who was smaller than his brothers, had to adapt the art to make better use of leverage and positioning. After 70 years of challenge matches and continuous refinement, Helio’s version of his family’s art proved to be the most effective.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stresses bringing an opponent to the ground and relying on grappling techniques to subdue the opponent. BJJ players utilize strikes, but also employ chokes, armlocks and leglocks. This strategy overcomes the advantage of an opponent who might have superior striking skills. It can also mitigate the advantage of a stronger and much larger opponent by relying on leverage, superior positioning and technique.

The sportive aspect of BJJ is embodied in BJJ tournaments. Competitors wear jiu jitsu “jackets” and pants called GI’s just like their judo counterparts but the rules favor strategies and techniques more oriented toward combat effectiveness.

A lot of martial artists and their instructors claim their art to be the most effective for street self-defense, but only BJJ has continuously proven that claim for over 70 years. After the overwhelming success of BJJ in the Ultimate Fighting Challenge (UFC) in the early 1990’s, alot of styles integrated BJJ techniques into their systems. The UFC was actually started by the Gracie family to help bring the effectiveness of their Brazilian art to the rest of the world. The Gracie family has undoubtedy succeeded in doing this, with an impact on the martial arts world unlike any other style or individual before them.