History - The Gentle Art

The core of Jiu Jitsu’s origins can be traced back to Buddhist monks. Concerned with self-defence, these monks favoured perfecting position and leverage over strength and weapons. Over time, these learnings made their way through to China and Japan. It was in Japan where Jiu Jitsu was continually developed and improved, and is where the martial arts popularity grew.

By the 19thcentury, many Japanese Jiu Jitsu masters immigrated to other countries, spreading their teachings and competing against other martial artists. Esai Maeda Koma, one of these immigrating Japanese masters, travelled to many places through Europe and America. Koma eventually settled in Brazil in 1915, where he met Gastao Gracie. Gracie assisted Koma with establishing a Japanese immigrant community within Brazil. Thankful for his efforts, Koma taught Gastao’s son, Carlos, the secrets of the ancient martial art known as Jiu Jitsu.

Within 10 years, Carlos Gracie had trained his other 4 brothers, and by 1925 they had opened the first ever Jiu Jitsu Academy in Brazil. For the Gracie brothers, teaching the art was more than just an occupation, it had become their passion. The attention to detail and understanding of leverage and positions allowed them to submit much larger and stronger opponents. With their skills, abilities and new techniques, Carlos and his brothers successfully challenged many fighters, many of which were 50 or 60 pounds heavier. Word quickly spread of the Gracie family and their ability to defeat larger opponents.

Attracted to the new market of Jiu Jitsu, many Japanese practitioners moved to Brazil to open their own Academies, but none of which matched the notoriety of the Gracie brothers. This was because the Japanese still focused on take-downs and throws, whilst the Gracie brothers focused more on ground fighting and submissions. As time went by, the Gracie’s techniques completely altered Jiu Jitsu and thus their brand became known as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Today Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly organised sport, with its largest governing body being the International Brazillian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). It is practiced by millions around the world. In Australia, Peter de Been, under the guidance of Carlos Gracie Jnr, founded the Australian Federation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (AFBJJ). This was the first International Federation outside of Brazil at the time.

Why Train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a fantastic workout. It gives you the opportunity to exercise your whole body without even feeling like you are at the gym. Almost anybody can practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It is not limited to the sporty, strong and athletic types. In fact, boys and girls as young as 4 can begin training!


Furthermore, while training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you constantly learn new skills, develop friendships, and maintain an overall healthier life style. Otherwise known as ‘human chess’, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners develop different strategies and techniques to win their match. Students can be exposed to hundreds of different techniques within their first few years of training. This keeps each class new, fresh and exciting.

As for kids, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a great way to build core strength and make new friends. Knowing that many real-life encounters end up on the ground, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a fantastic last line of defence for kids.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu prides itself on being known as the ‘gentle art’, where a smaller, weaker opponent can use techniques and leverage to defend themselves against a much larger opponent.