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Brazillian Jiu Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu History

Jiu-Jitsu, translated as ‘the gentle art,’ is the oldest form of martial art. It has also been defined with terms like yielding, softness, and pliability. Its origins date back to India more than 2,000 years before Christ. From there it spread throughout asia and eventually settled in Japan. 

In 1914, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu champion Esai Maeda arrived in Brazil to help establish a Japanese immigration colony. Once in Brazil he was aided by Gastao Gracie, a Brazilian scholar and politician of Scottish decent. To show his gratitude, the oriental master taught the ancient secrets of that ancient fighting style to Gastao’s son Carlos Gracie. Carlos taught Maeda’s techniques to his brother : Oswaldo, Gastao, Jorge and Helio and in 1925 they opened the first Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Botafogo, a district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is where the brothers, prompted by Carlos, essentially designed and laid the foundation for ‘Brazilian’ Jiu-Jitsu.


Carlos, A boxer, was also interested in no-rules type competitions. He took what he learned and developed it further through these no-rules competitions and street fights until it became the martial art we know today as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). He learned through these competitions and street situations that all fights end up on the ground. Operating under this premise, Carlos and his brothers expanded on their grappling knowledge, developing new and innovative techniques. (BJJ) is a system of one-on-one ground fighting, where the objective is to achieve a superior position for joint locks, chokes and strikes. Carlos and his brothers passed this new form of Jiu-Jitsu on to all in their families, including their cousins, the Machado’s.


The Machado Brothers have developed their system of Jiu-Jitsu (gentle art) over the last 25 years. The Jiu-Jitsu they learned in Brazil has been refined by their clan into a modern and unique style which is increasingly popular in the United States. Chuck Norris has called Machado Jiu-Jitsu “the style of the 90’s”.

Emanating from Brazil, their family has demonstrated the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in many “no rules” tournaments. The Machado Brothers, advancing their spirit of a top-quality fighting style tempered with humility and friendship, have kept away from these types of violent and decisive exhibitions. They have demonstrated their superiority on the mat, winning numerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Russian sambo and even western wrestling. The system is rooted in one-on-one ground fighting, achieving superior position for joint locks, chokes and strikes.


Since basing themselves in the United states, the Brothers have continued to develop their grappling style, branching out into all styles of grappling in search of new techniques and concepts. Rigan Machado Machado remains unbeaten in Brazialian Jiiu-Jitsu in more than 13 years of competition. He also placed second in the 1994 Sambo World Championships. The numerous victories of the Machado brothers are amplified by the success of their American students. The Machado team has won more medals than any other American-based team and boasts five American born and trained black belts, all top international competitors.


The Machado’ philosophy is not to prove or impose their system onto other styles or martial artists. Their main concern is to share what they have, always with their minds open for new ideas. This attitude has helped the Machados’ to establish themselves in the martial arts community and given them many friends and followers. Their attitude of balance is reflected not only in the way they fight, but also in the healthy lifestyle they have adopted since childhood.

Jiu-Jitsu is one of many “Martial Arts”, a term which refers now to a wide variety of Asain styles of hand-to-hand combat. Although there is much dispute concerning the exact beginnings and history of the martial arts as we know them, and although we also know that Japan may have been one of the last of the Asian countries to acquire the martial arts, it is the Japanese forms and styles which are most widely practiced in the Western World.


Jiu-Jitsu, or literally translated “Flexible Art”, developed from many individual martial art systems that either originated in Japan, or were taken to Japan from neighbouring countries. The practice of Jiu-Jitsu has been traced back in history as far as 2000+ years. Evidence shows us that Jiu-Jitsu techniques, although not necessarily under that name at the time, were included with warrior training circa 1100 AD.


With the passing of the Tokugawa era (ca. 1800), Japan became somewhat united and there were many changes in Japanese society. One of the results of these changes was the reduction of the Samurai warrior to the status of the common citizen. In his new position, the Samurai could no longer carry a sword. He was forced to rely solely on empty-handed techniques as a means of defending himself.


In the 1880’s, Jigro Kano developed Judo, or the “the Gentle Way”, from the harsher techniques of Jiu-Jitsu in an effort to popularize the martial arts and to provide a safe sport. Kano is credited with the first development of the modern Belt-System. Judo was based on selected techniques taken from Jiu-Jitsu. With modern emphasis on sport Judo, self-defence and other intrinsic elements embodied in the original Judo have been all but overlooked.

In the 1920’s, Morihei Ueshiba developed the art of Aiki-Jitsu, once again drawing on the techniques of Jiu-Jitsu and refining them intoa more specialized and esoteric art. In 1942, he began to teach a fully-developed form called Aikido.


Jiu-Jitsu, as an art unto itself, made its way into the west in the early 20th century as well. While there is no single style of Jiu-Jitsu that predominates in North America today, most practitioners seem to cover the same material in their studies, although there are a number of variations in the emphasis, be that towards the impact, throwing, or locking sides.


Jiu-Jitsu is a devastatingly effective self-defence system. While the actual number of techniques may be relatively small (50) , the variations and flexibility within the system is limited only by the practitioners ability to understand and apply the techniques. Jiu-Jitsu is now undergoing somewhat of a rebirth, as people re-discover the numerous benefits, both practical and personal, of this dynamic and effective Combat System. 

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