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The Origins And History Of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

BJJ or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most popular martial arts and nowadays people of all ages are deciding to start practicing due to various reasons. Some of them want to engage to it due to fitness, stress relief, while others would like to learn self-defense.

Since the popularity of MMA, or mix martial arts, emerged, the popularity of jiu-jitsu increased rapidly. For instance, you have probably heard of John Danaher and BJJ championships that he won over the years.

If you want to become like him, you should start training right away. However, before you engage, you should check the origins and history of BJJ:

The Years Of Samurais

Everything started back in Japan when early forms of these particular martial arts became popular. They have developed this particular technique with the idea to use it on the field of battle by Japanese samurai. These warriors developed it as the last line of defense in a case that they find themselves afoot and disarmed.

The main issue was that they could not move the right way due to heavy armor, which is why they used joint locks, chokes,and throws. After a while, masters of this technique developed various styles, with different focuses. It shifted to general self-defense from armed combat.

Of course, each style was different in some specific aspects, but the focus was still on strangles, throws and joint locks. 

Development Of Judo

At the end of 19th century, Jigoro Kano, who was a student of Japanese, traditional Jiu-Jitsu created a martial arts school called Kodokan. This particular school introduced to students the most effective techniques that he learned from Jiu-Jitsu.

These aspects would become eventually known as Judo, with the focus on live sparring. Through live sparring, students would practice takedowns, chokes, throws and joint locks against opponents.

The implementation of live sparring created a departure from the training philosophy of this particular time, which was more about compliance and not about full contact. Thirty years after Kano found Judo; one of his students from Brazil would create a chain of events that will lead to creating of BJJ.

Check this link: to learn more on Judo and its beginnings.

Mitsuo Maeda

Mitsuo started to train at Kodokan in 1894,and after a while, he became his top student. He was best in takedowns and throws, and his specialty was newaza or ground fighting. After twenty years, he decided to travel to Brazil where he found a friend names,GastaoGracia. He started teaching Gastao's son as his student and started with judo for a few years.

Gastao's son, Carlos decided to share his knowledge with younger brothers, while Helio, had issues in judo techniques due to lack of strength and small size. That is the main reason why he decided to adjust judo techniques and to refine them so that everyone could use it regardless of strength and size. That particular innovation brought us to the point of BJJ.

They have refinedthese particular martial arts through challenge matches, which were contests with few rules where students fought against practitioners of other martial arts. They rarely lost which was the reason why other people decided to learn BJJ.

This particular martial art evolved over the years and started to incorporate other aspects of grappling arts and wrestling. However, it was unknown outside Brazil. After Helio's son, Rorion immigrated to the USA that was the moment when he started to spread the art of Brazil Jiu-Jitsu, and that affected the perspective of fighting.


We have mentioned above that Rorion arrived in the USA and he wanted to present his art to the public. He and his business partner decided to create groundwork's for martial arts tournament with the idea to demonstrate the idea of BJJ. This particular contest became known as UFC or Ultimate Fighting Championship.

It had few rules and artists could use various disciplines to fight in an elimination tournament. This was the moment when he showed how BJJ is efficient for self-defense. The first tournament took place in 1993,and his younger brother became the first representative.

He wanted to give his brother a chance because he was slim and had the unassumingappearance, which was the reason why he wanted to show the effectiveness of this particular martial art. People found that smallest participants dominated over bigger ones and spectators thought that it was impossible for the small opponent to defeat the bigger one.

He won several events, which allowed people to understand that BJJ is a great choice for people who want to understand how to defend themselves against stronger opponents.
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