Wassup guys, welcome to another edition of the beginners perspective.
Last time out, we looked at the reasons why, you should look to start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Yet, like a lot of people, I personally was introduced to BJJ through …
UFC - The Ultimate Fighting Championship
Whether it was, Royce Gracie, charging at, GIANT behemoths, dragging them to the ground and choking them unconscious, in what looked like Jedi robes. Or more recently, MMA fighters like BJ Penn, the Diaz brothers or the Korean Zombie to name but a few, dominating on the ground inside the famous octagon. The UFC has rocked BJJ into homes and minds worldwide.
I though it would be good to show you how closely knit, the histories of BJJ, MMA and the UFC actually are.
I have taken this very cool excerpt from an article by Adam Benshea at Paragon BJJ in the US to help explain. Enjoy.
A Brief History of BJJ
In 1914, Esai Maeda, also known as “Count Koma,” arrived in Brazil to establish a Japanese immigration colony. Maeda was aided in his quest by a Brazilian scholar of Scottish heritage, Gastao Gracie. Maeda was no ordinary immigrant; he was a direct pupil of the founder of Judo, Jigaro Kano. Further, Maeda was a master of both Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.
To repay Gastao’s kindness, Maeda taught Gastao’s oldest son, Carlos, the arts of Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. In turn, Carlos then taught the art to three of his four brothers: Oswaldo, Gastao, and George. And in 1925, the first Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy was opened in Rio de Janeiro.
The fourth brother, Helio, was a frail young man, weighing only 135 pounds. Therefore, he was not included in the original instruction. However, he watched attentively from the side of the mat. One day when the other brothers failed to show up to teach class, Helio provided instruction based on his modified versions of the Jiu-Jitsu techniques. Helio focused on using leverage, rather than strength, to apply the techniques.
The concept of techniques based on leverage, not strength, became the essential principle of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ. To prove the effectiveness of their art, the Gracies followed in the tradition of Maeda and provided an open challenge to anyone who doubted the applicability of BJJ in a real fight. These challenges, known as “Vale Tudo” (Portuguese for “anything goes”) matches, manifested themselves in a manner of combat that is the precursor to today’s MMA.
The Founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship
The Gracies’ fame quickly grew as a result of their success of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Open Challenge matches; so much so, that the Gracie family wanted a larger stage to showcase the efficiency of their family’s art.
In 1993, Helio’s eldest son, Rorion, along with Art Davie, held the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the USA in Denver, Colorado. As a means to exhibit the effectiveness of the art, and not the practitioner, the rather meek-looking Royce Gracie was purposely chosen as appose to the much larger Rickson, to represent the family. To the surprise of many viewers, Royce won three of the first four UFCs, and in the process defeated opponents up to 80 pounds heavier than he was.
The advent of the UFC and the success of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu caused many martial practitioners to question long-held assumptions about the effectiveness of their martial art in a realistic combat situation.
After the initial UFCs, there was a surge in the martial world toward learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as BJJ dominated the initial MMA and No Holds Barred (NHB) shows in North America, Brazil, Japan and Russia. But over time, the image of the BJJ fighter has developed, as the hybrid style of the MMA fighter.