Jiu-Jitsu and its Philosophy
The roots of Jiu-Jitsu date back to the dawn of human civilization, and it has become phenomenally popular in the hearts and minds of the martial arts community. Its philosophy is based on two pillars: the first is the use of mental strengthto gain an advantage over opponents. This will help not only in resisting strikes, but also in avoiding hostile situations and ultimately overcoming them. The second pillar is the use of unarmed combat to improve fitness levels, flexibility, self-discipline, focus and composure. This discipline and focus also helps in setting and achieving targets.
History and Origins
Jiu-Jitsu shares some common roots with other martial arts. India is the birthplace of the sport, and Buddhist monks developed and refined its features. They focused on balance and strength to limit the use of weapons that were used at the time.
It then found its way to China and Japan where it attracted a lot of attention, participation and popularity. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu techniques are known as "The Gentle Way," and are based on the core values of loyalty, justice, morality, serenity, humility, honor, self-confidence and respect.
Despite the emergence of various martial arts like Aikido, Karate and Judo, Jiu-Jitsu retained the true spirit and values of the original art.
In 1915, a Japanese fighter named Mitsuyo Maeda gave Jiu-Jitsu demonstrations and exhibition fights that quickly popularized the sport in Brazil. He settled in Belém and helped new Japanese immigrants to settle in the community while also teaching Jiu-Jitsu. One of his best students was a teenager called Carlos Gracie - the son of Gastão Gracie, who was a business partner of the American Circus in Belém.
Carlos Gracie soon became renowned for his skill, defeating opponents who were physically stronger than him. In 1925 he opened the Gracie Jujitsu Academy in Rio de Janeiro, the first academy of its kind, and helped to spread Maeda’s philosophy.
Between1940-2004, the Gracie family won many tournaments against physically superior fighters. For the Gracies, Jiu-Jitsu was more than just a martial art; it was a way of life. They refined the techniques of Jiu-Jitsu into a national sport that became known as ‘Brazilian-Jiu Jitsu’ and is practiced by martial artists all over the world.