Brazilian Jiu Jitsu History And Origin

The origin of Jiu-Jitsu may be traced back to ancient Japan when samurai warriors created it as a method of self-defense. Then, Jiu Jitsu developed several styles and techniques throughout the ages, each with its ideas and philosophy.

Source: LateNightStories

Jiu Jitsu was brought to Brazil in the early twentieth century by Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka who taught the discipline to Carlos Gracie. The Gracies created Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a combat style emphasizing ground fighting and grappling tactics.

Source: LateNightStories

This article will inform you about the history of Jiu-Jitsu and some historical events that led to the development of the BJJ martial art. Stay tuned!

Where Did Jiu-Jitsu Originate?

The Jiu-Jitsu wrestling techniques have existed since Ancient Greece when the Olympic Games conducted people to fight one another.

Indeed, you heard the myth of Heracles a powerful man who uses wrestling and boxing techniques (pankration) to beat their opponents.

Otherwise, During the Greek Olympic Games, the fighters employed a spread of techniques to strike their opponents and to take them from the standing position to the bottom. Therefore, they submitted him.

This evidence proves the origin of Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling in Greek society around the 7th century BC.

Many years after -between the 8th and 16th centuries- Japan was in a war where the samurai protected themselves by implementing many sorts of Japanese Ju-Jitsu.

At that time, the art of Jiu-Jitsu was used on the battlefield to conquer armored and armed opponents.

Japanese Samurai Contribution to the History of Jiu-Jitsu

Jujutsu is one of the oldest martial arts styles first seen in Japan as a combination of Sumo and other old Japanese martial arts such as Shinden Fudo-ryū, Tenshin Shōden, Katori Shintō-ryū, and Takenouchi-ryū.

At that time, jujutsu martial arts helped warriors perform close and ground combat to defend themselves if necessary.

Thus, several Japanese Samurai used many sorts of Ju-Jitsu as a self-defense method.

As you may know, the Samurai mastered the art of sword combat to defeat their most potent enemies.

However, on the battlefield, they could lose wind up bereft of their swords or spears.

Moreover, in these circumstances comes the need to develop solid Jiu-Jitsu self-defense techniques other than using the sword.

As a result, a new self-defense art was born called Kenjutsu, which means “methods, techniques, and the art of the Japanese sword.”

Kenjutsu may be a combination of the art of sword fighting art and some jujitsu techniques extracted around the 20th century from the ko-budō Japanese swords martial art.

Therefore, the Japanese Samurai could also perform takedowns and other jujitsu ground fighting techniques well.

However, the heavy samurai’s armor restricts their mobility; therefore, they prioritize choke submissions, joint locks, and throws over the striking techniques.

Briefly, in Japanese jujitsu history, many schools were a niche of several combat styles over time. Therefore, they focused on throws, chokes, and joint locks with maximum efficiency and minimal effort. Then, the notion of self-defense art starts to grow up.

History of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil

history of jiu jitsu

In 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda moved to Brazil taking with him a large experience in the field of Judo and Jiu-Jitsu ground fighting.

After a while in Brazil, he met Gastão Gracie which maybe happened at one of Maeda’s judo demonstrations. Thus, 1914 may be a reference year in the history of BJJ.

First Maeda’s Jiu-Jitsu School in Brazil

In 1921, Maeda opened his own Judo Ju-Jitsu academy in Brazil, where he taught Carlos Gracie (Gastao’s son).

Because Gastao thought that training in Judo martial art would make Carlos a more disciplined person.

Carlos took his first lessons in Kano Ju-Jitsu under Coach Mitsuyo Maeda. Also, he spent the next eight years training and studying Jiu-Jitsu martial art.

Moreover, when he was 22, he decided to form his proper Jiu-Jitsu direction.

The First Gracie Jiu-Jitsu School

In 1925, Carlos got a black belt, and he decided to open the first Gracie Ju-Jitsu martial art academy in Rio.

Right away, he started teaching his younger brothers (Oswaldo, Gastao, George, and Helio).

Hélio Gracie had difficulty executing Kano Judo JuJutsu’s techniques because of his size and lack of strength.

Therefore, he began to adjust the techniques he had learned, refining them until he could use them to submit to anyone, no matter the opponent’s size or strength.

Thus, the BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) saw life from these facts.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu History: The Gracie Family Vs. the World.

jiu jitsu history

Over the next few years in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu History, the Gracie family tested the efficiency and refined the art of BJJ by challenging other martial arts in many fights.

For example, the famous fight between Helio Gracie and Masahiko Kimura (Judo martial artist champion) in 1950.

Unfortunately, Hélio lost this martial art fight. But, it was soundproof of the efficiency of the Kimura Lock submission that was included after these events in BJJ submissions systems.

The art of Jiu-Jitsu continued to grow over the years, eventually incorporating aspects of wrestling and other grappling arts into the curriculum.

History of BJJ: The Move of Rorion Gracie to the US

In the late 1970s, BJJ gained a new appearance when Rorion Gracie (Hélio’s son) immigrated to the U.S. to spread Brazilian JiuJitsu art.

Besides, this move changed the way people viewed the art of combat fighting forever.

brazilian jiu jitsu history

When Rorion Gracie moved to the United States, it was difficult to demonstrate the effectiveness of the BJJ art without challenging matches against other famous martial artists such as wrestlers.

Therefore, Rorion and his colleagues began to look for the proper martial arts tournament to show the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to the world.

The Gracies vs. other martial arts match “the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).”

UFC Contribution to the History of Jiu-Jitsu

source: MagnumMMAmadness

The first UFC fight (UFC 1) happened in 1993 when Royce Gracie was the representative of BJJ in the tournament.

Moreover, Royce met his family’s expectations by showing remarkable effectiveness in the art of Jiu-Jitsu.

Royce Gracie, the most diminutive fighter in the tournament, shocked the spectators by dominating opponent after opponent.

As a result, Royce’s UFC victories were a world recognition that BJJ could defeat bigger, more vigorous opponents using the right technique and mindset.

Winning several subsequent UFC fights by Royce Gracie was an essential event in the BJJ history that led many martial artists to rethink martial art efficiency.

Therefore, many of them around the planet have begun learning the art of BJJ.


Jiu-Jitsu is an enthralling and sophisticated martial art with a long history and several benefits.

Many practitioners believe in Jiu-Jitsu as a powerful martial art and a lifestyle. And it continues to be highly effective in self-defense and Mixed Martial Arts competitions.

Speak your mind; Does it make sense to know Jiu-Jitsu history?