Jiu Jitsu


Jiu Jitsu was born more than 2500 years ago; created by Buddhist monks, a nomadic people and often frail, they were frequently plundered and robbed by others. Due to their religious beliefs they could not use weapons, and so they developed a form of self-defense. Studying the movements of animals, the monks realized the principle of leverage; allowing a much weaker individual to conquer a stronger, heavier opponent. With the spread of Buddhism this fighting style made its way across Asia, finally arriving in Japan, where it became the asset to the samurai; a class of exceptional warriors, whose job it was to defended their lord and masters, and when necessary, with their life. The samurai mastered several fighting techniques such as knives, spears, bow and arrows and Jiu Jitsu, their chosen hand to hand fighting style. Jiu Jitsu stood out, despite the aggressiveness of time by taking advantage of balance, or the lack of it, and flexibility, which is able to overcome brute force.

Jiu jitsu in Brazil

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When the ports of Japan opened to the Western World the Japanese Emperor, in an attempt to preserve the unique culture of his people, declared it a crime to teach Jiu Jitsu to outsiders. However, after the First World War there was a large immigration of Japanese people to Brazil; this is where Count Maeda Koma, a Japanese champion at the time, chose to live. Maeda arrived in Pará in the mid-1920s, where he met Gaston Gracie, a politically influential man in the city of Belém do Pará. Gaston assisted Maeda with his transition in this new land, and out of gratitude to his friend, Count Maeda Koma taught Jiu Jitsu to his eldest son, Carlos, who soon had mastered the techniques he was taught. But it was his brother Helio Gracie, who began to develop Japanese Jiu Jitsu into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Helio, weighing only 63 pounds, easily beat opponents who were more than double his size, thus proving that technique overcomes strength. It was then that Jiu Jitsu began to be recognized as the world’s most effective fighting style.

It was in Japan that this fighting style was given its name. The word Jiu Jitsu means "gentle art," due to it’s principle of giving something to get something, using the weight and strength of your opponent against himself, and also for technique which utilizes leverage to allow you to move an opponent whom is both stronger and heavier, when used together the end result is unbeatable; these guiding principles make Jiu Jitsu an efficient use of mental and physical energy. The objective of Jiu Jitsu is to dominate your opponent; however the traditional principle is self-defense. Three main skills are mastered by Jiu Jitsu practitioners: movement, balance and leverage. Movement is used to cause your opponent to lose their balance, which will provide the opportunity to attack theiir weakened state, since without balance there is no strength. Proper balance should be kept in order to maintain control of your movements and to arrive with ease at a position where leverage can be applied. Leverage is used to enhance your strength and allow you to move or attack your adversary. By mastering these three abilities mentioned above a Jiu Jitsu enthusiast knows that power is only valuable when it can be put into action; pure strength can sometimes win, but when the same caliber opponent is armed with knowledge, this variable is what results in victory. With proper technique, even a child can beat a stronger opponent. The concepts of Jiu Jitsu were designed for the weak and small, but it does not mean that Jiu Jitsu is an exclusive weapon for the frail. Individuals or groups, people both big and strong, if these concepts are coupled with their strength, will become extremely dangerous competitors. The practice of Jiu Jitsu provides several gains for students, such as increased flexibility, weight loss, physical strength, increased self-confidence and self-esteem.

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