Brazilian jiu jitsu schools can trace their roots to the early 1920s when the Gracie family began to learn jiu jitsu from a master visiting from Japan. Gracie Jiu-jitsu developed from the teaching Helio Gracie and his brothers received into a discipline that would allow a smaller fighter to best a bigger and stronger one. Helio continued to adapt the martial art techniques so that they became even more efficient and soon he was earning the respect of those around him.
As he grew more skilled, Helio introduced the world to the origins of Gracie Jiu-jitsu in a succession of high profile matches. In spite of not necessarily claiming victory in these contests, Helio won acclaim for lasting a great deal longer than anybody thought he would be able to against stronger and more practiced opponents. In 1951 he took on Masahiko Kimura, then considered to be the best jiu jitsu fighter in the world. Kimura claimed that if the competition continued more than three minutes, then Helio should be proclaimed the champion; Helio lasted for thirteen. In 1955, the longest fight in the world happened when Helio held off a combatant twenty years his junior and forty pounds heavier for three hours and forty minutes.
When Rorion Gracie, Helio’s son, departed Brazil to bring Gracie Jiu-jitsu to the United States, he intended to continue his father’s legacy. The Gracies intended to create jiu-jitsu academies to share the martial art methods that they had modified after decades of concentrated study with the rest of the planet, and the United States was the ideal place to do so. Although Rorion initially faced many problems in establishing his Brazilian Jiu jitsu institution, he gained progressively larger numbers of students mostly by issuing the Gracie challenge. This was a call to any fighter of any branch to meet him in hand-to-hand combat so as to see whose field was stronger.
Gracie Jiu-jitsu truly arrived in the 1990s. Mixed martial arts tournaments were becoming an exciting new event, and in 1993 the Ultimate Fighting Championship was held. This tournament pitted fighters of different disciplines against each other in order to determine not only which fighter would be the ultimate victor, but which fighting style would prove to be the most effective. Royce Gracie took the Gracie name and made it immortal by winning the first UFC, and a total of three of the first four events. Everyone in the sporting world soon knew the Gracie name, and it became synonymous with victories against larger and stronger opponents.
Of all the martial art disciplines out there, Gracie Jiu-jitsu is probably the most well known. It was a long hard road, going from Japan to Brazil, then to California and finally the rest of America and the world. Jiu-jitsu academies all over the world have students who have signed up based on watching what Royce Gracie did in the Ultimate Fighting Championships, and then from learning about what his ancestors accomplished.
One of the best forms of martial arts to study if you are interested in MMA fighting is Brazilian jiu jitsu. With its grappling holds and close combat style, the jiu-jitsu technique is a favorite among UFC contenders.
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