The Growth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Other Martial Arts

The Growth of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Other Martial Arts 

As the oldest form of martial art, Jiu-Jitsu originated more than 2000 years before Christ in India, where it was practiced by Buddhist Monks. In order to defend themselves against Barbarian attacks the Monks created techniques that were based upon leverage and balance. Not having to rely on weapons, the Buddhist Monks were able to manipulate the body in a manner where they would not have to use weapons.

Jiu-Jitsu gained further popularity as it spread from Southeast Asia and China and eventually developed in Japan. With the passing years the samurai clans in Japan split the different techniques of Jiu-Jitsu and developed martial arts such as Akido, Judo and Karate (origianally an Okinawan art created by locals to defend against the samurai which was later adopted by Japan) .

Many Jiu-Jitsu masters emigrated from Japan to other parts of the world by the end of the 19th century. These masters taught Jiu-Jitsu to others and took part in competitions.

In 1914 Japanese Jiu-Jitsu master and champion Esai Maeda Koma aka Conde Koma, landed in Brazil after fighting in various countries in Europe and in America. After some time Koma settled in Belem do Para, where he met Gastao Gracie, a Brazilian scholar and politician of Scottish decent.

As the father of three girls and five boys Gastao became a Jiu-Jitsu fanatic. Koma taught Gasteo’s oldest son, Carlos the techniques of the art. For fifteen-year-old Carlos, Jiu-Jitsu became a method for personal improvement. Carlos went on to teach Koma’s techniques to his four brothers.

At nineteen Carlos Gracie and his family moved to Rio de Janeiro and began teaching fighting. Carlos taught classes and proved the power in the sport by fighting people that were physically much stronger than him but beating them. For Carlos and his four brothers Jiu-Jitsu became a passion, a way of life and in 1925 Carlos and his four brothers opened their first Jiu-Jitsu academy in Brazil, known as the Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu.

Although one of the brothers, Helio Gracie took a keen interest to all of the techniques, he was unable to participate because of his small frame and ill health. Once Helio was asked to instruct and because of his size he began to adapt the basic riles of Jiu-Jitsu. Helio introduced leverage to the art which made it possible for a smaller opponent, like himself to defeat a larger opponent.

Helio, Carlos and the brothers adapted the art to make it suitable for everyone regardless of size or gender. These newly found techniques completely altered the principles of international Jiu-Jitsu. The sport then became attached to a national identity and became known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Helio’s skills enabled him to beat some of the world’s greatest Jiu-Jitsu fighters. He is also known for recording the longest fight in record history of 3 hours and 45 minutes of non-stop fighting against Valdemar Santana. Another well known fight that legitimized the Gracie name was with Masahiko Kimura, who widely considered the greatest fighter Japan ever produced.

After the creation of an official governing body to oversee the administration of the sport, competition rules and a grading system were introduced.Today Jiu-Jitsu is a well organised sport that has spread all over the world. Master Carlos Gracie Jr founded the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and the Confederation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CBJJ) enabling him to hold some of the first organised competitions in Brazil, US, Europe and Asia.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion business based in the United States. Mixed martial Arts have fighters who utilise the disciplines of Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Boxing, Kick-boxing, Wrestling and other forms in the Ultimate fighting Championship. Many UFC participants earned their way in to the UFC events by becoming participants in a reality based television series ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’

The story does not end here. The great thing about this art is the fact that it continues to evolve and change with each new passing generation. New techniques come and then branch out a whole new part of the tree as new escapes and counters are created. A perfect example is Roberto Magalhaes.

Roberto Roleta Magalhaes – Creator of the Inverted Guard

Brazil born Roberto Roleta Magalhaes started training the art of Karate at the age of twelve. At the age of seventeen Roleta learnt the art of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and joined Jo Moreira’s BJJ academy and later after gaining his purple belt moved to the Gracie Barra academy in Barra, Rio.

Roberto Roleta Magalhaes soon realised that everyone knew the same techniques so to beat his opponents he needed a new strategy and new techniques. Roleta went about working on his new style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creating sweeps, grips and guard positions that no one had seen before. “I would just think of moves, twenty four seven, I would wake up at night with ideas in my head, grab a piece of paper and write them down, so not to forget them” Roleta explained.

Roleta was criticised for not using traditional Brazilian Jiu-jitsu which only pushed him harder into achieving his goal of becoming the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu National Champion.One move that Roleta invented was the ‘Inverted Guard’ “people would just use their strength and eventually open my closed guard, only to be caught in my inverted guard.”Roleta was given his black belt by Carlos Gracie Jr where he went on to fight and defeat legendary masters including Wallid Ismail. Roleta became Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World champion by using his own techniques. This marked the beginning of his very successful but yet competitive career.

Roleta flew the Gracie Barra flag with pride and went on to become four time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion as a black belt, four time Brazilian national champion and four times Pan American champion. Roleta’s legacy lives on and is widely practiced today. Roleta went on to open three successful academies of his own in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Birmingham, UK and in Switzerland called Roleta BJJ. All of the experienced instructors at Roleta’s academies encourage people to learn BJJ because it can be used as a form of self defense and is a fantastic way to keep fit, not forgetting the history the sport brings with it. Roleta BJJ academies continue to grow with a membership of many people of any age, size and gender who can enhance the quality of their lives and experience the magic of making physical fitness fun while learning.

You can contact Roleta BJJ in the UK through their main website  or via telephone on 0121 288 8678. All the latest BJJ news is also available through the site.

(PRWeb UK) October 6, 2010



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