A brief history of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

by | Jun 5, 2014 | Sports Equipment

Hundreds of years ago Buddhist monks travelled throughout India attempting to gain converts to their faith, in days long gone many people were wary of total strangers and as a result it was necessary for the monks to find ways to subdue those who meant them harm, but in true Buddhist fashion they needed a way to restrain the aggressor without killing him. Eventually their fighting style found its way to Japan where it became known as Jiu Jitsu, what we know today as Judo is a direct spin-off.

The Japanese tried to keep this fighting style hidden from the rest of the world but this proved impossible as a Japanese Judo master went to Brazil to conduct business and was lodging in the home of a Brazilian by the name of Gracie. While staying in the home the Judo master taught the fighting form to the children of the family, including the smallest youngster, Helio.

As Helio was at a disadvantage due to his small stature he found it impossible to be successful with Judo, the result was the development of a fighting form that was based on leverage rather than brute strength and refined fighting from one’s back. This fighting form is what is today known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu came into its own in 1993 when the son of Helio Gracie, Royce won the open weight, minimal rules category at the first UFC, Ultimate Fighting Championship match.

Since the introduction of this fighting form in the first UFC match it has become extremely popular and most combatants today have it in their arsenal. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is now taught in many camps and is a popular competition sport. Those who represent their school or organization are set aside as they all wear BJJ patches on their uniform which is known as a Gi.

This form of contact sport is highly disciplined as are all forms of martial arts; this discipline extends to the positions that are allowed for the BJJ patches that are worn. There are only 13 locations on the entire Gi that are legal, these locations have been chosen as it gives the opponent space to grab.

It is not uncommon for fighters to wear patches on their Gi that represent their training gyms or the sponsors that support various competitions: in many competitions BJJ patches are the awards.