The technique that we practice and study today was evolved throughout history, starting in India, by Buddhist monks. For religious reasons and the obvious concern with non-violence, the monks developed a system of techniques based on balance, joint locks and leverage, avoiding the use of brute force. With the expansion of Buddhism, Jiu Jitsu migrated through Southeast Asia, China and finally arriving in Japan, where it was perfected and popularized. From the 19th century, some masters migrated to other continents in order to teach their art and to challenge practitioners that represented other martial arts.
Esai Maeda Koma (also known as Conde Koma), a celebrated Japanese instructor, arrived in Brazil in 1915 and settled in Belém
It was there that he met Gastão Gracie, who became a Jiu Jitsu enthusiast. Gastão took his eldest son, Carlos, to learn the techniques from Maeda. In 1925, Carlos founded the first Gracie academy, where he continued to perfect the art and spread his knowledge to his brothers. What brought notoriety to the family was the technical innovation and extreme efficiency in the use of levers which allowed practitioners to beat much stronger and heavier opponents. This evolution allowed them to continue improving and disseminating Jiu Jitsu, producing generations of great fighters.
Jiu Jitsu has now spread across the world, reaching numbers that were previously unimaginable. It continues to be refined and explored by thousands of practitioners.
BACK TO BASICS
There is a reason I wanted to give you this brief history of our sport, a reason that is extremely important at the moment: the importance of self-defense for Jiu Jitsu.