About BJJ

BJJ is a martial art based on ground fighting. The fighter uses different moves to get into the most advantageous position, so that he could use a variety of techniques - such as joint locks and chokes - to force his opponent to give up.


The history of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu started in 1917 when the Japanese Mitsuo Maeda arrived to the Brazilian state of Para in order to found a Japanese colony. Gustao Gracie was politically active at that time and helped Maeda on several occasions. As a token of gratitude and friendship, Maeda offered to teach his son, Carlos, in the ways of the Japanese martial art of jiu jitsu. Maeda was a champion of Japan in this martial art and although teaching jiu jitsu outside of Japan was strictly forbidden, Maeda didn’t really care, as Gustao’s son was of very small stature. He couldn’t have imagined back then, that within a few years Carlos will create a brand new fighting style - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Maeda trained Carlos for seven years, after which he had to return to Japan. Carlos didn’t know what to do with the gained knowledge, so he continued in his training and in the perfection of the techniques. Later he took under his wings his younger brother Helio and together they headed for Rio de Janeiro, where Carlos founded the first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy in the world.     Helio contributed to the next stage of development of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), devoting 40 years of his life to honing the art. As Helio was of a small body frame, he wasn’t allowed to participate at the trainings instead he was sitting in the corner and watched every training session. One day when Carlos was late for training, Helio unwillingly lead the whole lesson. The client offered Helio to train together. When Carlos arrived and apologised for being late, the satisfied client wanted young Helio as his trainer.  Helio wanted to introduce his new knowledge to Carlos, who nevertheless doubted it. Therefore Helio challenged one of Carlos’s famed instructors and claimed he will defeat him and other three instructors within 20 minutes.  The challenge was accepted. The next day Helio submitted the first three opponents in 7 minutes and the next one in another 5 minutes. Carlos was surprised and finally recognized his own brother as one of the best instructors in the academy.   Despite the continuous fighting the Gracie brothers were more than just fighters to the people of Rio. They were defenders of the poor and heroes, who saved a drowning man from the shark infested sea, into which none of the onlookers was willing to go.