Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu is one of the oldest forms of martial arts known to man. It is said to have originated over 2,000 years ago by Buddhist monks from northern India, a few miles north of Bernares, where a man, known today as Buddha, the “Enlightened One,” lived a peaceful life. The monks who followed the Buddha’s teachings wandered the countryside divulging Buddhism. In these journeys, they were often robbed and murdered. In response to this, they created a system of fighting techniques designed to defend themselves against their oppressors and attackers. Because it was against their religious principals to harm others, they developed a system without the use of any weapons and violent techniques.

These grappling techniques came to Japan between the late 17th and mid-19th century. The method of unarmed grappling and self-defense came to Japan and evolved to what is known today as jujutsu or jiu-jitsu. The term jiu-jitsu is translated as “art of gentleness.” This “art of gentleness” was practiced and perfected by the Japanese over centuries, kept hidden from other nations.

In the 1800s, the Japanese opened their ports and began commerce with the English and other nations. The foreigners visiting Japan were amazed with jiu-jitsu, which to the foreigners was a new strategy of fighting. It was a fighting style where weaker and smaller were capable of defeating bigger and stronger opponents. Jiu-jitsu continued to flourish and develop, helping give birth to many other styles of martial arts, including judo – an art developed by Jigoro Kano (1860-1938).


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was born in the early 1900s in the same manner. It was planted in fertile ground in a family of Scottish immigrants. In 1914, Mitsyuo Maeda (1878-1941), a man representing the Japanese government, arrived in the city of Pará, Brazil. He befriended the Gracie family, particularly the family’s patriarch, Gastão Gracie. Gastão was a “Carioca” (person from Rio de Janeiro) and a descendant of Scottish immigrants. He had eight children: Carlos, Gastão, Osvaldo, Jorge, Lika, Helena, Mary, and Hélio Gracie. Gastão Gracie helped Maeda, also known as “Conde Koma”, prosper in his business in Belém. To show his gratitude, Maeda taught Carlos Gracie, Gastão’s eldest son, the techniques of Japanese jiu-jitsu. Carlos, in turn, passed along those teachings to his brothers.

Carlos Gracie soon relocated to Rio de Janeiro, and there he began to teach jiu-jitsu. Just as it was taught to him, Carlos passed along the techniques and principles of jiu-jitsu to all of his brothers — most notably, to the smallest of his brothers, Hélio Gracie.

Hélio was, as a child, small and physically frail. Kept away from physical activity at a doctor’s recommendation, Hélio spent years limited to only watching Carlos and his brothers teach and train.

One day when Hélio was 16 years old, a student arrived for class and Carlos was nowhere to be found. Helio, who had memorized the words and techniques of his older brother, offered to start the class. Soon after the class ended, Carlos arrived and apologized for his delay. The student answered, “No problem. I enjoyed the class with Hélio very much and if you don’t mind, I’d like to continue with him.” Carlos agreed and it was then that Hélio became an instructor.

Helio Gracie

Hélio soon realized that some of the techniques he had memorized from watching Carlos teach were difficult, owing to his small size and lack of strength, for him to execute. It was at this time that Hélio began to adapt those moves to his frail body’s abilities, improving the leverage in the execution of some of those techniques. Daring to break away from the traditional Japanese style, he began experimenting, modifying and perfecting simple techniques that would be effective regardless of stature. Many of the traditional facets of the art that depended on physical prowess and strength were removed and replaced with flowing techniques. Through trial and error, techniques were modified and perfected, emphasizing efficient technique and strategy over brute strength and force. It was through this process that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu (or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) was born.

Hélio and his brothers continued to modify and perfect the techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu through years of training and countless challenges matches. The Gracies would take on all comers, of any size and from any art, in order to perfect the art. For seventy years, represented by the family champions (including Hélio, Carlson, Rolls and Rickson), the family remained undefeated and in doing so, left an indelible mark on the world of martial arts and fighting. In more recent times, through events such as the Ultimate Fighting Championships, Pride Fighting Championships, K-1 Mixed Martial Arts, Deep, Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championships and the Campeonato Mundial de Jiu-Jitsu, the Gracie family and other representatives of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu continue to prove the devastating effectiveness of this beautifully efficient art.

Today, this tradition of flawless technique is carried on by Hélio’s sons – Rorion, Relson, Rickson, Rolker, Royler, Royce and Robin – as well as thousands across the world. Fighters and teachers, men, women and children alike use the principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a myriad of purposes, including self-defense, fitness, sportive combat, and professional vale-tudo (“anything goes”) fighting.


The Gracie Jiu Jitsu Fundamentals Program consists of a continuous 16 week course, designed to teach the overall self-defense strategy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It will teach you the basics, from learning how to fall, to clinching, taking down and successfully setting up and applying a submission hold as well as various escapes. This technique repetition filled stage of your training will slowly prepare you to begin drilling at a full resistance in the following program.

The student will then be able to attend the Intermediate Program, in parallel the student will be still able to continue the Fundamentals Program. This is the most exciting part of your training. Attempting to submit your training partners as they resist and counter act with their own moves is as real as it gets! You will drastically improve your conditioning, strength and confidence. You’ll drill and work with more experienced students benefiting your learning journey. Besides moving up in rank and making a big progress towards mastery of the art, this will give you the experience necessary to enter the Black Belt Program.


Judo, which is translated as the “gentle way”, teaches the principle of flexibility in the application of technique. This is the flexible or efficient use of balance, leverage, and movement in the performance of Judo throws and other skills. Skill, technique and timing, rather than the use of brute strength, are the essential ingredients for success in Judo. For example, in Judo classes you may learn how to give way, rather than use force, to overcome a stronger opponent.

The principles of Judo, such as “Maximum Efficiency” and “Mutual Welfare and Benefit”, can also be used in our dealings with others in life. The ultimate goal in Judo is to develop oneself to the maximum extent possible, always striving for perfection, so that you can contribute something of value to the world.

The Kodokan Judo

In 1882, Dr. Jigoro Kano (The Father of Judo) made a comprehensive study of the ancient self-defense forms and integrated the best of these forms into a sport which is known as Kodokan Judo.

The term Kodokan breaks down into ko (lecture, study, method), do (way or path), and kan (hall or place). Thus it means “a place to study the way”. Similarly judo breaks down into ju (gentle) and do (way or path) or “the gentle way”.

Prof. Kano adopted the superlative parts of all the Jujitsu schools, got rid of precarious parts and the Kodokan Judo was recognized in a few years to be excellent since its students overwhelmed the Jujitsu athletes at the Police Bujitsu Contest.

The categorization of Kodokan Judo was completed about 1887. The Kodokan had three broad aims: physical education, contest proficiency and mental training.

The Olympic Sport

Proceeding with the organization of the Kodokan and enacting the regulations of Judo, Prof. Kano became the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee in 1909 and worked for the spread of Judo world-wide. Judo became an official event in the Olympic Games of Tokyo in 1964, backed by Judo fans and sport promoters all over the world.

Jigoro Kano

In his lifetime, Jigoro Kano attained a doctorate degree in Judo, a degree equivalent to the twelfth dan, awarded to the originator of Judo only. He constantly worked to ensure the development of athletics and Japanese sport in general, and as a result is often called the ”Father of Japanese Sports”. In 1935 he was awarded the Asahi prize for his outstanding contribution to the organizing of sport.

Children’s martial arts program

If your child really wants to try out martial arts and you are afraid that they may punch or kick someone at school or home then this is the perfect place for you! Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a self-defense system that enables the people who practice it to defend themselves by using leverage to submit opponents. This is done without throwing punches or kicks. Using our proven techniques your child will be able to defend themselves from bullies even though we do not teach them how to strike. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fantastic way to promote an active and healthy lifestyle for kids of any ages. Parents of our students often find that their children gain self-esteem through athletic achievement and learn how to carry themselves better in situations that require them to deal with pressure. If your son or daughter is acting overly aggressive in school, lacks focus and or discipline then we recommend you start them out with a private lesson to introduce them to the sport and class structure. They will learn that Commitment, Respect, Focus, Self-Discipline and effort always make a rewarding experience and bring positive results.

Besides self defense skills that will give children a high degree of self confidence. Our Kids and Juniors programs will also work on:

  • Developing listening, obedience and focusing skills
  • Improving social skills
  • Improving self-control, respect and discipline
  • Increasing physical attributes such as hand-eye coordination, strength, agility and flexibility

What makes Gracie Jiu-Jitsu so effective for kids is the fact that instead of learning moves through katas or prearranged set of movements carried out on a cooperative training partner, they will learn how to apply grappling techniques on a resisting training partner who’s not cooperating and is counteracting with his own moves, much like as what you’d see on the streets.