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Jiu-Jitsu is one of the oldest forms of martial arts known to man. It is said to have originated in India more than 2,000 years before Christ, spread through China and eventually settled in Japan.
On a beach at Izumo, in Shimane Prefecture, in the year 23 B.C., before the Emperor Suinin, Nomi-no-Sukune killed his opponent Tajima-no-Keyaya in the first recorded contest. This was the beginning of Combat Sumo (Sumai), in which the origins of Jiu-Jitsu lie.
Jiu-Jitsu is a Combat martial Art developed by the warrior class (Bushi) of Japan. It is a generic or collective term used to describe the numerous systems which, when fused, form Jiu-Jitsu. It is often erroneously described as a "weaponless" or "empty hand" Martial Art. While stressing unarmed techniques, the use of small weapons was an important part of its structure. Jiu-Jitsu, as part of the classical Bujutsu, means it is the Art of Flexibility, the translation of the character "Ju" is "flexible", "pliable" or "adaptable". Jiu-Jitsu was never a purely defensive Art. The developers were not so naïve as to restrict techniques to purely defensive tactics only. They realized that attack at the appropriate moment would have better assurance of victory and was legitimate within the broad concept of "Ju". Although there is some limited value in the axiom "in yielding, there is strength," complete reliance on this factor in combat would lead to a complete loss of effectiveness.
Although techniques and training methods varied from school to school, striking techniques (Atemi) were always the most important part of Jiu-Jitsu as originally developed by the Bushi. The use of throwing techniques (Nage-Waza), joint locking techniques (Kansetsu-Waza), strangulation techniques (Shime-Waza) and the use of weapons encompassed the whole combat spectrum, making Jiu-Jitsu the most effective and complete Martial Art.
Jiu-Jitsu is a Japanese Martial Art, although Chin Gempin (1587-1674) had some influence on it. Historical records clearly show that Jiu-Jitsu was being practiced long before he arrived in Japan. Jiu-Jitsu is a product of Japan.
Historically, Jiu-Jitsu is the singularly most important Japanese Martial Art Because of the Martial Ways of Aikido, Judo, Hapkido, Nippon Shorinji Kempo and some systems of karate all have their roots in Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a cutting edge fighting art developed from traditional Jiu-Jitsu by the Gracie family of Brazil. Even though Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu contains standup techniques for winning a fight, it is famous for its devastating ground fighting techniques. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was specifically developed to allow a smaller person defeat a larger person by sophisticated application of leverage and technique. Gaining superior position on your opponent and applying a myriad of chokes, holds, locks and joint manipulations becomes the foundation for this fun martial art.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu History
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art indigenous to Brazil. It was founded and developed by the Gracie family. Carlos Gracie learned jiu-jitsu from a Japanese judoka named Maeda who immigrated to Brazil. The art's roots are derived from pre-war Kodokan Judo, western wrestling, and Maeda's own insights into combat. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prefers bringing an opponent to the ground and then relying on grappling techniques to subdue the opponent utilizing holds, armlocks, chokes, leglocks, and strikes. This strategy takes away the advantage of an opponent with superior striking abilities. It can also mitigate the advantage of a stronger and much larger opponent relying on wrestling or grappling.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu favors pragmatic techniques that were tested in numerous challenge matches by the Gracie clan and their students. In Vale Tudo (which means "anything goes") tournaments in Brazil, Gracie family members and their students have fought in these no-holds barred fighting matches for over 65 years and have fared very well against a multitude of combative arts both western and Asian. Many martial arts have lost their combative rationale. In Japan, for example, the arts of war (Jujutsu) were corrupted into Judo which means "martial way." With peace and the modernization of Japan, dangerous and pragmatic techniques gave way to martial arts that emphasized art over practicality as well as emphasizing self-improvement or socialization and eventually sportive competition. Those familiar with pre-war Kodokan Judo understand the rapid transition of Judo towards sport and less on purely combative effectiveness as Kodokan Judo itself veered away from the "old" schools of jiu-jitsu and their often "dangerous" techniques as deemed by Judo's own founder Jigoro Kano.
The sportive aspect of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is embodied in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments. Competitors wear judo "jackets" and pants just like their Judo counterparts except the rules favor strategies and techniques that are oriented towards combat effectiveness. The closest equivalent of Brazilian or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is Ko-sen Judo. The Ko-sen tradition refers to the network of the oldest high schools and universities in Japan which include Tokyo and Kyoto Universities. They hold their own competitions, and their tournaments favor "groundwork" or newaza (in Japanese) just like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Royce Gracie is a legend. He started the NHB world and ruled it as its king. Before his first fights in UFC 1, all traditional strike-oriented martial artists underestimated the importance of grappling. From the days of the first UFC to his return to the ring of Pride and his epic battle against the renowned champion Kazushi Sakuraba, Royce Gracie has lived to defend the family honor and name of Gracie and has managed to show everyone that martial arts can be effective.
The 34-year-old Gracie is one of nine children, seven of whom are boys. His training in Jiu-Jitsu began at a very early age as a game with his father Helio, now 88 years old. Helio never pushed any of the children to take formal classes until they wanted to do so, however they often went to the Academy in Rio after school and on weekends.
Royce began competing in tournaments at age eight. He received his blue belt at age 16 and was promoted to black belt in less than two years. Royce moved to the United States at age 18 to live with his brother, Rorion. They began teaching private classes out of their garage, sometimes for more than ten hours a day. Rorion and Royce opened the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy eleven years ago in Torrance, California. Today it is one of the largest martial arts schools in the country.
Royce's reputable career as a fighter began in 1993 after defeating three opponents in the first Ultimate Fighting Championship. His brother Rorion came up with this innovative challenge as a way to show Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the world. Discipline after discipline was defeated by the slight 6'1'', 180 pound Royce Gracie. His opponents consistently outweighed him by more than 50 pounds. In the two-hour duration of the UFC I, Royce Gracie steamrolled three skilled opponents and collected $50,000. Several months later, he raked in an additional $60,000 by disposing of four more combatants in the UFC II. By the time the third UFC rolled around, tougher fighters were starting to line up to take a crack at the unbeaten Gracie.
Six months later Gracie is back at UFC 3 defending his title as the Ultimate Fighting Champion. His first match was against Kimo Leopoldo, a tattooed giant that outweighed Gracie by 80 lbs. Gracie won with an armlock, but had to be helped out of the ring as he was completely exhausted, and did not return to action that night. Three months later he returned to action in UFC 4, tapping Dan "The Beast" Severn in the finals.
Gracie fought Ken Shamrock to a draw in UFC 5. Shamrock seemed hesitant to mount an offense, and Gracie seemed content to work from his back for the same gi-sleeve submission and heel-kicks to the Shamrock's kidneys. Royce said for the fight "Shamrock came in for a draw. He knows he cannot beat me. He came in for a draw. He knew he just didn't want to lose, that's why he requested the time limit. He knew he just wanted to have a draw, for him that's a victory".
After his victory in the first UFC 1, Gracie did not boast that his triumph had proved to the world the superiority of his family's style of jujutsu, nor did he brag that it had proved he was the toughest fighter in the world. Instead, he merely said: "It will open everybody's eyes, especially the weaker guys, that you don't have to be a monster to be the champ. You don't have to be the biggest guy or the one who hits the hardest. And you don't have to get hurt in a fight." With those three sentences, Gracie gave hope to thousands of martial artists who, like him, may not be the biggest or the strongest in their dojo, but who depend on perfect technique to overcome their opponents in competition. Royce seems very proud of the fact that his system of self-defense allows him to neutralize and control any opponent without injury to either party.
"That's why [Royce] is doing the Ultimate Fighting Championship to show people he can subdue his opponents without kicking, without punching, without hurting," Helio Gracie said after the UFC 1. "He doesn't need to hit; he doesn't need to hurt."
Royce Gracie lost for the first time in a grappling-only match with another Brazilian-jujutsu expert, Wallid Ismail, at the Rio Oscars of Jiu-Jitsu at Copacobana Beach on December 17, 1998.
In the premier match on a card that included 10 other fights, Gracie was defeated with a "clock choke," which Ismail executed approximately five minutes into the fight. Marco Ruas said for that fight: "I think Royce is a great fighter, it just wasn't his day, just like for me in Japan."
Royce lost a second time (TKO - Towel Thrown Between Rounds) in Pride Grand Prix 2000 - Finals. In this epic battle against the renowned champion Kazushi Sakuraba Royce fought like a lion.
After the 90 minute battle with Sakuraba, 90 minutes of punishing leg kicks, and 90 minutes without rest or water, Royce Gracie conceded the match and had his brother throw in the towel. After 90 minutes, Gracie could no longer stand and suffered a broken femur. He would be out of action for a while so that his leg could heal.
Royce Gracie lost these fights, proving that he is only human. He did not lose against any huge guys but against skilled martial artists, proving that he will not lose against brute force and muscles full of steroids. Even the great Muhammad Ali lost a few fights but he still is the greatest boxer of all time.
In the ring, the 180-pound Gracie exudes a confidence and single-minded intensity guaranteed to destroy the mind-set of even the burliest brawler. Yet once he steps outside the ring, he metamorphoses into one of the gentlest, friendliest men imaginable. But that unshakable confidence still shows through, at times even seeming like arrogance when Gracie's comments are translated into print.