Jiu jitsu is one of many ancient martial arts practiced in the world today. Martial arts has continued to be popular in today’s world, despite the ancient origins; in the U.S. in 2017, approximately 2.38 million people participated in mixed martial arts. But where does jiu jitsu, specifically Brazilian jiu jitsu, come from? How did this style become so popular in America?
Jiu Jitsu Origins
BJJ, like many fighting styles today, originates from ancient martial arts. Jiu jitsu specifically derives from ancient judo, a style that focused primarily on grappling and wrestling techniques. Even today, Brazilian jiu jitsu shares many techniques and strategies with judo; this may be why the two are often mistaken for one another. Both styles are preferred by smaller fighters; this is because the style can be used even by those unable to take advantage of their physical size. Ultimately, the differences boil down to geographic and historical influences on the art forms.
Moving To Brazil
Jiu jitsu first moved into Brazil during the early 1900s, where it was quickly picked up by many as an excellent self-defense form. The style naturally evolved into what is more recognizable as modern BJJ over several years, as the teachers who originally learned jiu jitsu in Japan passed on knowledge to their students. As the knowledge passed from teacher to student, it gradually evolved farther from its traditional origins. Generally, the Gracie family is credited with largely shaping the style of BJJ that is most practiced today, though this is hard to say for sure.
Brazilian jiu jitsu was later introduced to North America by a descendant of the Gracie family, who brought the knowledge of the ancient martial arts with him when he relocated to the United States. Since then, BJJ has become increasingly popular among a variety of people, from children learning self-defense to professional athletes looking to build their repertoire. Despite its origins as an ancient martial art, Brazilian jiu jitsu has grown to be an incredibly popular fighting style, especially for those who lack the physical size to perform techniques in other fighting styles.
For more information on the history of ancient martial arts like BJJ or to learn more about learning these styles yourself, contact NW Fighting today.