Where does jiu jitsu come from? The origin story. (2023)

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has grown into one of the most widespread martial arts in the world. Boosted in popularity by MMA, it has even become a sport in its own right.However, the origins of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu may still be unclear to the general public.One of the most frequently asked questions is also: Where does Jiu Jitsu come from? This article will discuss the roots of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and how it became a staple of the martial arts. Follow to the end and enjoy the article.

The first roots of Jiu Jitsu

We can trace the origins of Jiu-Jitsu to Japan, where Japanese samurai developed it as a fighting style for use on the battlefield. These warriors engaged in firefights and developed jiu-jitsu as a last line of defense when unarmed and on their feet. Heavy armor limited their mobility, and so they preferred chokeholds, joint locks, and throws to offensive techniques.

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu evolved into a variety of styles over time, with the emphasis gradually shifting from armed combat to general self-defense. While each style was different in its own way, the emphasis on throws, chokes and joint locks remained a constant theme.

Jiu-Jitsu in Japan

if someone asksWhere does jiu jitsu come from?the answer is thisJiu-JitsuIt originally comes from Japan, from where it spread to Brazil in the early 20th century.. However, its oldest roots are not known. India is widely considered to be the source of Jiu Jitsu, although there is insufficient evidence to support this claim. We can find many ancient Japanese writings showing different techniques, which means people have been practicing this for a long time.

Jiu-Jitsu means "gentle art" or "gentle art". However, it wasn't that smooth because it involved a lot of dangerous techniques.The phrase "gentle art" expresses the philosophy of Jiu Jitsu, which uses strength in the most efficient way.. Instead of fighting strength with strength, it's all about using the opponent's strength against them, using techniques to overcome power and aggression. According to this principle, a smaller person can hope to defeat a larger and stronger one.

With the modernization of Japan and the decline of the samurai, people began to focus on other things. Therefore, Jiu Jitsu was no longer needed, which is why it declined in the 19th century.

(Video) Brazilian Jiu Jitsu History in 5 Minutes

Where does jiu jitsu come from? The origin story. (1)

Jiu-Jitsu und Judô

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo have always been historically linked. After all, both martial arts come from Japan and have the same roots: Japanese Jiu Jitsu. Although they look very similar, there are some obvious differences between them.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu focuses on ground fighting and specializes in chokeholds and joint locks. Judo, on the other hand, uses fewer submissions and emphasizes stances and throws. That being said, the two martial arts developed in very different environments. Judo originated in the Japanese school system and became the national sport. Rather, Jiu-Jitsu was primarily a self-defense martial art tried out in the crime-ridden streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mitsuyo Maeda, the man who taught the Gracies Jiu Jitsu, was himself a judo practitioner. He trained under the legendary Jigoro Kano, the founder of Kodokan Judo. Let's take a look at the history of these men and see how they influenced both arts.

Jigoro Kano - The Birth of Judo

As a child, Jigoro Kano began learning Jiu Jitsu to improve his weak physique and avoid bullying. While studying Jiu Jitsu, Kano saw problems he wanted to solve. Back then, Jiu Jitsu was just a collection of techniques and there was no strategy behind it. Another issue was the lack of "live" battles. This is because the martial arts involved many dangerous moves like groin punches, eye slits, hair pulling, etc. In response to these problems, Kano strived to improve it and make it a better martial art overall.

In the early 1880s, Kano opened his school, the Kodokan, and employed new teaching methods. Kano's most significant innovation was randori, or live combat. To make this possible, Kano eliminated dangerous Jiu-Jitsu moves such as punches, leg locks, spine, fists, shoulders, etc. By training in this way, students can fight at full strength with little risk of injury.Kano realized that the number of techniques does not indicate the effectiveness of a martial art..

Instead, it was much more important how the students practiced these techniques. To distinguish his martial art from traditional Jiu Jitsu, he named itJudo. "Ju" means "smooth" or "smooth". "Do" means "way" and refers to a broader view of how one should live one's life. Rather than being a set of techniques, judo should be a whole way of life. It included many moral, spiritual and social values, as well as combat effectiveness.

(Video) The History of Jiu-Jitsu (Part 1)

Mitsuyo Maeda

Kano had a desire to spread judo around the world and make it an Olympic sport. So she sent several representatives to the United States to demonstrate the sport. One of them was Mitsuyo Maeda, one of Kano's best students. Maeda originally trained in classical jiu-jitsu, but switched to Kodokan when she was eighteen. He was known for his exceptional ability, which made him an obvious choice to show judo to the world.

After training and teaching in the United States, Maeda traveled throughout Central and South America and competed in many boxing matches. He had a tremendous wrestling background that made him a legend. Through many professional fights, Maeda violated the strict moral codes of Kodokan judo. Probably for this reason, he often referred to his fighting method as "Jiu Jitsu" instead of "Judo". If you want to learn more about Mitsuyo Maeda, I recommend you read theBiography. Here is one tooVideoYou can see.

How Jiu Jitsu came to Brazil

A diplomatic mission in the 1920s sent Maeda to Brazil. He met a man named Gastão Gracie who was a Scottish immigrant.Their friendship grew and eventually Maeda offered to teach Gastao's children Jiu Jitsu.. This is a pivotal moment in history, as were Gastão's childrenHelio and Carlos Gracie,the founders of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

maeda and thank you

Carlos Gracie, the eldest of the Gracie brothers, became one of Maeda's students. It remains unclear what Maeda taught Carlos as Maeda made many changes to the martial arts herself. However, the key lessons and principles were:

  1. The Grappling skill can be used as a highly effective fighting style that can nullify opponents' strengths and exploit their weaknesses.
  2. Live combat or "randori" was an integral part of the training. This came from Maeda's training with Kano.
  3. Real Jiu-Jitsu techniques.
  4. The basic strategy of throwing an attacker to the ground, draining them of their greatest power (punches and kicks) and subjecting them to submissions.

Carlos opened his school in 1925 after training alone with Maeda for a few years. However, Maeda gave the Gracies a general strategy for how a fighter can control and dominate a fight.In addition, he left behind a training methodology and philosophy of using real combat as the ultimate test of martial arts.. That was the legacy Maeda left to the Gracies in the short time he tutored Carlos.

(Video) The History Of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Untold Story)

Where does jiu jitsu come from? The origin story. (2)

the grace family

Talking about the origins of Jiu Jitsu and where Jiu Jitsu came from might be impossible without mentioning the Gracie family. The brothers Carlos and Helio are considered the founders of Jiu-Jitsu and developed a new fighting style together with their sons. Proving their skills on the streets of Rio, they fought to prove that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the best of all martial arts. Let's discuss some of the innovations the Gracies made and how they changed Jiu Jitsu forever.

The Evolution of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

After Mitsuyo Maeda toured Brazil and other countries, the Gracies had to develop their jiu-jitsu skills on their own. However, several advantages allowed them to make rapid progress.

one of them wasPay. He had four children who were very interested in Jiu Jitsu. This meant there was never a shortage of training partners to practice and hone techniques. The four brothers had many children, many of whom became enthusiastic Jiu-Jitsu students and teachers. They, in turn, had many children who also took over the family trade, making Gracies a family of martial artists.

The Gracies had tooAutonomy. In traditional martial arts, it is common to have a strong sense of tradition. Modifications can be viewed negatively and as a dilution of the original martial art. Being independent, the Gracies had no one to answer to but themselves. Efficiency, not tradition, was the only criterion that mattered to them.

Overcoming Limitations by Jigoro Kano

Much of the development of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was a rejection of certain limitations that Kano had placed on martial arts training. Kano removed many dangerous elements from grappling and wrestling training. To avoid injury, only elbow submissions were allowed along with chokes. All leg locks, neck cranks, spine locks, shoulder locks, wrist locks, and crosses were illegal. However, these were very effective fighting techniques. The Gracie family added these techniques to regular sparring, making Brazilian jiu-jitsu more effective.

The most significant innovation of the Gracie is the creation of a general combat strategy based on awork hierarchy. Some stances offer great advantages in terms of how easy it is to hit or finish off the enemy. Others can be catastrophic. This ranking later developed into the point system we know today in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. By training and competing on this point system, the most effective combat strategy was part of their daily training. This was one of the main reasons for his later success in MMA. John Danaher explains this strategy on his podcast with Joe Rogan. Here he isVideo.

(Video) Joe Rogan - The History of Jiu Jitsu

Where does jiu jitsu come from? The origin story. (3)

Jiu-Jitsu kein UFC

After some members of the Gracie family immigrated to the United States, they wanted to show everyone how effective Jiu Jitsu is. One of Helio Gracie's sons, Rorion Gracie, teamed up with promoter and businessman Art Davie to create thisUltimate Battle Championship. This was an eight fighter tournament and the aim was to determine which martial art was the best. The tournament featured bouts with no weight classes, rounds, or judges. The only way to win the match was via submission, knockout, or corner kick. The Gracie family representative was Royce Gracie, who won three fights by submission. After this tournament, Brazilian jiu-jitsu began to gain wide recognition among the general public. Royce Gracie also won the second UFC tournament,proved that Jiu-Jitsu was one of the best martial arts in the world.

Throughout history, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has had many representatives in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Many of them have become legends when it comes to mixed martial arts. Some of the best fighters representing Jiu Jitsu are:

  • Demian Maia
  • bj stiff
  • Fabricio Werdum
  • Ronaldo „Jacaré“ Souza
  • Nate Diaz
  • Nick Diaz
  • Frank Mir
  • Carlos Oliveira
  • Gilbert Burns

The popularity of Jiu Jitsu today

Thanks to the rise of mixed martial arts around the world, many martial arts have risen in popularity. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a widespread sport today and is practiced by many people. Some do it for fun, some for self-defense, and some become professional athletes. In general, we can say that Jiu Jitsu has improved the lives of thousands of people around the world. As the sport grows it will come as no surprise when it becomes part of theOlympic gamesonce. No matter where Jiu Jitsu comes from, it has become a transnational sport.


Finally, let's answer the question again. Where does jiu jitsu come from? We must always say that traditional Jiu Jitsu was first developed in Japan. Later, Jigoro Kano made some improvements and turned it into a more battle-ready fighting style and created his own version. However, we must never overlook the influence of the Gracie family in the development of this martial art. Through the combined efforts of all these people, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the martial art that we practice today and it is beautiful. Thank you for reading this article; If you want to know more about the history of Jiu-Jitsu I leave some videos below. Also, I recommend you to read some books as well.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique

(Video) Japanese JuJutsu : It's beginning and evolution

Shock: Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil, 1856-1949


Where does Jiu-Jitsu come from? ›

Jiu Jitsu first originated in Japan. Later, it moved to South America via a Japanese diplomat Mitsyuo Maeda to form the modern Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In the early 1900s, it took shape with the help of Maeda.

When did Jiu-Jitsu originate? ›

During Feudal times, Jiu-Jitsu was also known as Yawara, Hakuda, Kogusoko, and an assortment of other names. The earliest recorded use of the word “Jiu-Jitsu” happens in 1532 and is coined by Hisamori Tenenuchi when he officially established the first school of Jiu-Jitsu in Japan.

What is the story of BJJ? ›

The BJJ story begins in Japan, where an early form of Jiu-Jitsu (also called Ju-Jitsu) was developed for use on the field of battle by Japanese samurai. These warriors, who engaged in armed battles on horseback, developed Jiu-Jitsu as the last line of defense in the event that they found themselves disarmed and afoot.

Where did Gracie Jiu-Jitsu come from? ›

The first Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu School was founded in 1925 at Rua Marquês de Abrantes 106, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the age of 23 years old, Carlos Gracie understood well the amazing benefits Jiu-Jitsu could bring to one's life.

What does Jiu-Jitsu stand for? ›

A modern martial arts discipline, with ancient roots.

The word “jiu jitsu” derives from the Japanese “Jū” meaning “gentle” and “Jutsu” meaning “art”; essentially, jiu jitsu is the “gentle art”.

What is the meaning of Jiu-Jitsu? ›

jujitsu, Japanese jūjitsu (“gentle art”), also spelled jujutsu, also called yawara, form of martial art and method of fighting that makes use of few or no weapons and employs holds, throws, and paralyzing blows to subdue an opponent.

What family started Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu (practiced as Judo) was introduced to the Gracie family in Brazil around 1914 by Esai Maeda, who was also known as Conde Koma.

Who invented American Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Carley Gracie, a ninth-degree red belt, was the first member of the Gracie family to bring the art of Jiu-Jitsu to the United States. All Things BJJ gives the outlet for Carley to explain how two U.S. Marines came into his academy, which was the beginning of the story of how Jiu-Jitsu came to the U.S.

Who was the creator of Jiu-Jitsu? ›

A modern-day legend, Helio Gracie gained international acclaim for his dedication to the dissemination of the art and is recognized as the creator of Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Helio Gracie lived to be 95 years old, from October 1, 1913 to January 29, 2009.

Why is Jiu-Jitsu so important? ›

BJJ keeps you healthy by Increasing Flexibility, Strength, Endurance, Cardio and burn more calories than your traditional gym session. 2) Self-Defense. BJJ teaches a safe, simple and REALISTIC way to defend yourself from a would-be attacker. 3) Builds Confidence.

Why do wrestlers beat BJJ? ›

The wrestler has some advantages over a BJJ fighter. As the BJJ techniques are more focused on the ground fighter, whereas the wrestler can easily control any opponent with stand-up techniques. They also have a great ability in taking down any opponent easily with their athlete instincts.

What BJJ teaches you about life? ›

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art that teaches not only ways to control and submit your opponent but also ways to live your life. The lessons and values you learn from BJJ include patience, persistence, humility, respect and loyalty.

Did Jiu Jitsu originate in China? ›

Although jiu-jitsu, the Japanese art of self-defence which originated from the Chinese boxing practices, is known practically all over the world, noting more than the mere fact that there existed such an exercise as Chinese boxing is known to the West.

Is Jiu Jitsu the oldest martial art? ›

Jiu jitsu, the oldest martial art, can be traced back to India where it was invented by Buddhist monks. These monks developed movements based on balance and leverage, in a manner that would avoid reliance on strength and weapons.

What is the difference between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Gracie Jiu Jitsu? ›

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is taught, first and foremost as a system of self-defense, with the objective of giving the student the ability to stay safe and prevail during a real street fight confrontation, whereas Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in most cases, is taught exclusively as a recreational sport.

What is jiu-jitsu weakness? ›

As mentioned, BJJ does not teach striking. So, as a fighter, if you are trained only in BJJ and go up against a more proficient striker, you may face difficulty striking back as it lacks stand-up training for punches and kicks.

Is jiu-jitsu a sport yes or no? ›

This brings me to the question, is BJJ an individual sport? The short answer is no. While, yes, there are some drills and exercises you can do on your own and you compete on your own, the majority of your progress is dependent on your training with others.

Does jiu-jitsu work in a fight? ›

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

It teaches you to get the opponent down to the ground and apply chokeholds, joint locks and submission holds. Brazilian jiu-jitsu can be effective when faced with a single assailant in a street battle but it is rarely effective when faced with many attackers.

What's the oldest martial art? ›

In fact, you might be surprised to learn just how old the oldest known art is. Its name is kalaripayattu, literally, “art of the battlefield.” The art originated in southern India thousands of years ago.

Who has the best Jiu-Jitsu in the world? ›

1. The Top BJJ Fighters in the World. A top-ranking BJJ fighter in the world is João Barbosa. He is a black belt taught by Ricardo Almeida who has won numerous championships, including the ADCC Championships in 2011 and the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2009.

What president did Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Editor's note: Theodore Roosevelt had a keen interest in martial and combative arts, beginning with boxing as a young man, and later as president — after a blow blinded him in the eye — focusing on wrestling and grappling. While in the White House, he first took jiu-jitsu lessons from Professor John J.

Who was the first black belt in Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Diniz Camara was the first ever Black Belt in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What are the core values of Jiu Jitsu? ›

Discipline, integrity, respect, personal courage, and commitment: these are the core values instilled in the curriculum at Top Level Martial Arts. The knowledge and skills that kids learn in martial arts classes is something that applies directly to their education. BJJ teaches persistence both on and off the mat.

What is the most important in Jiu Jitsu? ›

The most used muscles in the BJJ are core muscles, abs muscles, and hip muscles because these muscles are engaged while initiating submission attacks, bridging, shrimping, and passing the guards. The forearm muscles are more focused for the gi grapplers, while for the non-gi, the legs are more involved.

Why Jiu Jitsu is the best self-defense? ›

It is versatile, efficient, and respects the opponent. One of the main reasons it can be so effective is that the moves that you learn are often to control your opponent and stop them from moving, that way you don't get hit.

Why do most white belts quit BJJ? ›

The common explanations are that jiu jitsu is too hard, takes up too much time, causes injury, or that it is too expensive.

Who would win in a fight karate or Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Karate — Who Would Win In A Street Fight? Athletes trained in BJJ have better chances of beating karateka in a street fight. It is hard to imagine the fight going the other way around as BJJ is superior to Karate in most aspects. Both Karate and BJJ focus too much on competition and fighting under the rules.

Is BJJ effective in a street fight? ›

Originally designed for the U.S. Army, the core moves that make up Gracie Combatives not only teach new students the basics of jiu-jitsu; they are also moves that can effectively be used in a street fight situation.

What does BJJ do to your mind? ›

BJJ can also give your brain a mental boost through stress management. Those same feel-good chemicals help you manage stress. And the physical training itself can help reduce any muscle tension brought on by stress. As you reduce the physical effects of stress, you also lessen the mental impact.

How does BJJ change your mind? ›

BJJ teaches you to persevere no matter what, even when you're not feeling like you're getting anywhere. Within the sport it is important to stay committed and work through the times when you may not feel like training or if you think you aren't getting anything to work.

What will BJJ do to your body? ›

BJJ changes the shape of your body to make you thinner and increase your muscles, primarily on your shoulders, back, neck and legs. You should see Abs soon. It is possible to get bruises on your skin when training bjj, but it is able to toughen up quickly to adapt to new conditions.

Did Jiu-Jitsu come from India? ›

Jiu-Jitsu is one of the oldest forms of martial arts known to man. It is said to have originated more than 4,000 years by Buddhists monks from northern India, a few miles north of Bernares, where a man, known today as Buddha, the “Enlightened One,” lived a peaceful life.

Is Jiu-Jitsu Japanese or Brazilian? ›

While Brazilian jiu-jitsu has its roots in traditional Japanese jujitsu, there are many notable differences in both of these styles today. Traditional jujitsu is often regarded as one of the earliest types of martial arts to ever be taught.

Is Jiu-Jitsu a Buddhist? ›

Wrapped around important Buddhist principles like acting in a non-harmful way, and the pursuit of self-mastery and enlightenment, Jiu-Jitsu served well the self-defense needs of monks and spread throughout Asia towards China and later Japan, following the Buddhism expansion on that continent.

Which is the mother of all martial arts? ›

Kalaripayattu is the mother of all martial art forms. It's gaining in popularity because it uniquely combines defence techniques, dance, yoga and healing systems. It boosts both physical and mental fitness and body flexibility and functioning.

Is Jiu-Jitsu The hardest martial art? ›

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is considered to be the most difficult martial art to learn. Even to athletic students, mastering this discipline is unlikely to come easy. But the difficulty of learning Jiu Jitsu is attractive to many students.

Is Jiu-Jitsu the strongest martial art? ›

Other martial arts systems recognize the value of grappling as an integral part of a comprehensive system for self-defense or competition. The grappling techniques taught in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are considered to be the finest in the world.

What BJJ rank is Keanu Reeves? ›

Keanu Reeves

Keanu reports that it was the intense training for the role of John Wick that got him to engage in BJJ more frequently. Belt rank: White.

Which is better boxing or Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Comparing the two in a direct battle, BJJ will win simply because it's relatively easy to takedown an unprepared boxer, and ground fighting is jiu-jitsu's specialty. Of course, you can't predict every possible outcome.

Who was the best Gracie at Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Rickson Gracie is widely regarded as the greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner of all time. The 9th-degree red belt (the highest level attainable) is simply the epitome of the word icon.

Is Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian or Japanese? ›

While Brazilian jiu-jitsu has its roots in traditional Japanese jujitsu, there are many notable differences in both of these styles today. Traditional jujitsu is often regarded as one of the earliest types of martial arts to ever be taught.

Why is Jiu-Jitsu so powerful? ›

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu deeply emphasizes live sparring compared to other types of martial arts. From the earliest levels, students are encouraged to practice their techniques against resisting opponents in a safe environment. This experience makes it among the most effective of all martial arts in terms of self-defence.

Is Jiu-Jitsu the oldest martial art? ›

Jiu jitsu, the oldest martial art, can be traced back to India where it was invented by Buddhist monks. These monks developed movements based on balance and leverage, in a manner that would avoid reliance on strength and weapons.

Why is there no GI in BJJ? ›

However, other people prefer to fight without wearing a gi since No-Gi style of grappling is a lot like street fighting. No-Gi BJJ is livelier when compared to fighting while wearing a traditional gi. Additionally, the rules of No-Gi BJJ are more flexible compared to the more traditional Gi BJJ.

Do you punch in Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Striking of any kind is forbidden in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The main purpose of BJJ is to train fighters to win without striking by controlling their opponent. But with the evolution of grappling art, striking in some styles of jiu-jitsu still confuses fighters if BJJ uses any strikes.

What country has the best Jiu-Jitsu? ›

Brazil. It is home to many iconic academies and famous black belts who are still training in BJJ. In relation to BJJ, the Brazilian fighters are very competitive. In the spirit of the martial art competition, no country can be compared to Brazil.

What is Jiu Jitsu weakness? ›

As mentioned, BJJ does not teach striking. So, as a fighter, if you are trained only in BJJ and go up against a more proficient striker, you may face difficulty striking back as it lacks stand-up training for punches and kicks.

What does Jiu Jitsu do to the brain? ›

As your kids practice Jiu Jitsu, their heart-rate is elevated, pumping more oxygen to the brain. As a result, the brain releases hormones that aid in the production of more brain cells. It also leads an increase in growth factors that make it easy for the brain to gain more neuronal connections.

What is the oldest fighting style in the world? ›

Kalaripayattu: India's martial art and the world's oldest - BBC Reel.

Who invented American Jiu Jitsu? ›

Carley Gracie, a ninth-degree red belt, was the first member of the Gracie family to bring the art of Jiu-Jitsu to the United States. All Things BJJ gives the outlet for Carley to explain how two U.S. Marines came into his academy, which was the beginning of the story of how Jiu-Jitsu came to the U.S.

Did Jiu-Jitsu originate in China? ›

Although jiu-jitsu, the Japanese art of self-defence which originated from the Chinese boxing practices, is known practically all over the world, noting more than the mere fact that there existed such an exercise as Chinese boxing is known to the West.


1. The REAL Origin of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!
(Art of One Dojo)
2. The Untold Story of Gracie BJJ's Origins
3. The History of Jiu Jitsu
(Hills Grappling Club)
5. Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu-The True Story of UFC 1
(Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu Technique and Training)
6. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu 101: The History
(Gracie Jiu-jitsu Academy)
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