Most people think that BJJ comes from Brazil (hence the name, “Brazilian” jiu-jitsu). But Where does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Come From? really? If you trace its origins back far enough, you’ll notice that it actually comes from Japan. Around 1914, a man by the name of Esai Maeda arrive in Brazil in an attempt to establish a Japanese colony. However, he wasn’t an ordinary immigrant – he was actually one of the direct pupils of Jigaro Kano, the founding father of judo. After decades of passing down the knowledge of this martial art, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was eventually born in Brazil in 1925.

Where does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Come From?

Where Does BJJ Come From?


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Where does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Come From?

Helio Gracie

Heli Gracie was considered a “small” person, weighing in at only 135 pounds on a heavy day. Being so small, he was never included in the original instructions of the martial art. But he would sit on the side of the mat each day, watching his brothers learn and practice. One day, one of his brothers failed to show up and teach his class. Helio jumped in, teaching students “modified” versions of the martial art.

He spent a great deal of his time preaching about the use of leverage, rather than strength. These concepts eventually became the structural building blocks for how Brazilian jiu-jitsu is still practiced today. To prove how effective this martial art actually was, the Gracie family began challenging anyone and everyone to a real fight. These challenges started to be called “Vale Tudo”, which in Portuguese literally meant “anything goes”.


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BJJ and the UFC

The popularity of jiu-jitsu was rising, but not as quickly as the Gracie’s had hoped. They needed a new outlet, one that could get the marital art in front of more eyes. That’s when they decided to try and showcase jiu-jitsu in a UFC bout. In 1993, Rarion Gracie, Helio’s oldest son, held a UFC fight in Denver, Colorado. It was designed to be more of an exhibition fight for showcasing how effective jiu-jitsu really was

Where does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Come From?

Where Does BJJ Come From?

Royce Gracie was the grappler chosen to represent the Gracie family. The results were astonishing to viewers and fighters: Royce was submitting and beating opponents more than 80 pounds heavier than he was! He end up winning three of four fights, and established that jiu-jitsu was in fact a martial art that deserved recognition in the fighting community. Where does BJJ come from? Now, its origins aren’t so mysterious. In the future, it’s safe to say that this is a marital art that will continue to thrive all around the world.


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