BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU – HOLLYWOOD THEATRICS OR AN EFFECTIVE FIGHTING ART?
Years ago when I was looking for a physical activity to do other than working out at the gym, a friend suggested that I try out this “new” martial art – BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU. Jiu Jitsu was something familiar to me, but what exactly was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Like many at the time, I had this misconception (thanks to Hollywood) that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was some mystical martial art that involved rituals and formalities that most likely I would not relate to. It was not until I found Precision Martial Arts with instructor Professor Tom Dinklage that I came to appreciate the significance and validity of this martial art form.
ESAI MAEDA AKA “COUNT KOMA” TOOK JIU JITSU FROM JAPAN TO BRAZIL
In Japan many different variations of the art of Jiu-Jitsu had taken shape, including Karate, Aikido, and Judo. But these arts were missing essential pieces of what the complete art of Jiu-Jitsu originally held. It wasn’t until the sport oriented art of Judo and the combat art of Jiu-Jitsu were introduced to the Gracie family in Brazil that the real art of Jiu-Jitsu would be brought to life. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu – which was practiced as Judo – was introduced to the Gracie family in Brazil around the year 1915 by Esai Maeda. Maeda had left Japan and settled in Brazil staying in Sao Palo. He was responsible for establishing a Japanese immigration colony in Brazil. At this time Brazil held the largest population of Japanese people outside Japan. He was aided in helping the Japanese community settle in Brazil by Gastao Gracie, a Brazilian of Scottish decent.
THE GRACIE BROTHERS ISSUE A CHALLENGE – FIGHT US – NO HOLDS BARRED – VALE TUDO
Maeda was very appreciative of the help given by Gastao Gracie. To show gratitude to Gracie for his help in the colonization, Maeda taught Gastao’s son Carlos the basic techniques of Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos Gracie then taught his brothers Oswaldo, Jorge, Gastao, and the infamous Helio Gracie. In 1925 the Gracie brothers opened their first school, and Jiu-Jitsu was developed into a more effective martial art and sport known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. What made this version of Jiu-Jitsu more effective was the constant exposure of its practitioners to real situations. Between their own schools, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu players would compete in a sportive way to keep the techniques of their art sharp. The Gracie family would issue a challenge to all others fighters of various styles to fight them without rules. In these no rules or ‘vale tudo’ fights, the Gracie family and their students would evaluate the techniques of their fighting art. As far as anyone knows, no one in the Gracie family at this time ever lost a challenge fight.
An ad that would run in newspapers in Brazil during the 1920’s was—-
“If you want to get your face beaten and well smashed, your ass kicked, and your arms broken, Contact Carlos Gracie at this address…”
BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU – INTRODUCTION TO THE UNITED STATES
Through the last fifty years, many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools have opened and broken away from the original members of the Gracie family. Each school would make slight differences in styles within Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Machado Jiu-Jitsu, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are all different schools of the same art. The Gracie family itself has hundreds of members who do not all associate with one another.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was introduced to the United States in the 1970′s, but was not made popular until 1993, when Royce Gracie defeated much heavier opponents with the birth of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This type of fighting was known in Brazil as Vale Tudo (anything goes) and would later become known as NHB (No Holds Barred) here in the United States.
THE MOST EFFECTIVE FIGHTING ART TO DATE – BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU.
The effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu over so many other fighting styles (boxing comes to mind) made Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu known to the martial arts community and the world. This was America’s first look at MMA fighting. As the UFC and MMA gained in popularity, it became very evident that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was indeed NOT “VOODOO” but a very efficient and disciplined fighting art. Unlike some other martial arts, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gained its reputation and popularity through effective fighting and not through gimmicks or theatrics.