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The History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Jiu-Jitsu history can be traced back to India, where it was practiced by Buddhist monks many centuries ago. The monks used the art as self-defense by relying on techniques of balance and leverage without the use of weapons. With Buddhism spreading to other Asian nations, finally arriving to Japan, where it gained a lot of popularity. Jiu Jitsu is still practiced in it’s traditional form today.
Japanese Jiu-Jitsu masters would travel to other countries to teach, and compete in competitions to help spread the art of Jiu-Jitsu. Esai Maeda Koma, also known as "Conde Koma" was a master that traveled to Brazil in 1915. Conde Koma was assisted by Gastao Gracie, a Brazilian Politician, in establishing a Japanese Village in Brazil. In return for helping him Conde Koma spent 1 year teaching Gastao Gracie's eldest son Carlos the art of Jiu-Jitsu.
Before Conde Koma had traveled from Japan, Jiu Jitsu had been protected from the outside world and was not known outside of Asia. For Carlos Gracie, learning the art from a Jiu Jitsu master was a very special opportunity. Carlos Gracie was young and athletic, so he had progressed quickly in Jiu Jitsu during the year Conde Koma had spent with him. In Jiu Jitsu, the traditions are strict and the methods of teaching do not vary from generation to the next. Conde Koma had followed this strict form of teaching, making sure that Carlos learns Jiu Jitsu in it’s purist form. Once Conde Koma left Brazil, Carlos was dedicated to the Art of Jiu Jitsu, but he was no longer confined by the many years of traditions. This opened the door to a progression of a new Jiu Jitsu.
Gracie learned the art for personal improvement and self-defense. Carlos along with his brother Helio, without being confined by many years of tradition restricting the moves and methods of study, reinvented Japanese Jiu-Jitsu into a martial art that is effective for a smaller person. This reinvention of Jiu-Jitsu has become known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In 1925 Carlos moved to Rio de Janeiro where he open his own academy and began teaching and competing. Carlos would teach and prove the effectiveness of the art by defeating opponents who were physically stronger and bigger than him. Carlos also taught his philosophies of life as well as his concepts of natural nutrition. Carlos Gracie saw the art as a way to become a man who was more tolerant, respectful, and self-confident.
As a child, Gracie was raised by his uncle Hélio, whom he trained with extensively in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gracie trained and taught at Carlson's Copacabana Academy and eventually met a judo practitioner named Osvaldo Alves, who trained with him for a year, improving his skills. Upon his return to Carlson's school, Gracie trained and influenced Rickson, Royler, Rillion, Crolin, and Carlos Gracie, Jr.
Gracie competed in many tournaments in various martial arts styles including sambo and wrestling. The video Gracie in Action documents Gracie and several of his students defeating several karate students and their teacher.
In 1978, Gracie met Bob Anderson, a member of FILA. The two formed a close friendship and this helped transform Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into an even wider art. Gracie and Anderson later went to the AAU National Sambo Championships and the YMCA National Championships. Both of them won their respective divisions.
Gracie's mother was Italian but lived in New York City where Gracie spent a lot of time. He was the first Gracie to venture away from Jiu-Jitsu. While there, Rolls befriended an American wrestling coach (Bob Anderson). Anderson spent time teaching Rolls some wrestling techniques, and allowed Rolls to train with him while in the US. Rolls is credited with blending those wrestling techniques into his style of BJJ.
Romero "Jacaré" Cavalcanti
Born in 1952, Jacaré began his BJJ training at 11 years old. At the age of 16, he joined the famous Gracie School in Copacabana where he grew up. Jacaré and the Gracies lived in the same neighborhood, so, he got to met all of them. He was in the same BJJ class as Carlos Gracie Jr., Crolin Gracie, Fabio Santos, Mauricio Gomes, the Machados, Rickson Gracie, and many others.
After competing extensively from 1972 to 1985 and working as an assistant instructor at the Gracie School, Jacaré opened his first school in Ipenema, Brazil. He soon became one of the most respected instructors in Brazil, going on to found and coach the the famous powerhouse Alliance Team. Among many important titles the Alliance Team has won is five World Championships (1998, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2010). The Alliance is home to world class fighters like Fabio Gurgel (four time World Champion), Marcelo Garcia, Malfacine, Terere, Bernardo Faria, Gabi Garcia, Luanna Alzuguir, Fernando Gurgel, Gigi, Felipe Neto, Cobrinha, Lucas Lepri, Tarsis Humphries, Micheal Lungi, Soluco, Ian McPherson, Rafael Rosenda, Chris Moriarty, Babs, Sergio Moraes, Batista, Diogo, Vlad Williams, Ed Kennedy and many others.
Felipe "Zicró" Neto
Felipe is a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is the head instructor of the Alliance Tallahassee Team, in Tallahassee, Florida. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Zicró began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at 17 years old. He has trained under such notable masters as founders of Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Romero "Jacaré" Cavalcanti and Fabio Gurgel. He was promoted to Black Belt on January 20, 1998 in the Master Jiu-Jitsu academy in Atlanta, Georgia. Zicró currently holds the rank of black belt, third degree in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Felipe has competed extensively throughout Brazil and the US. He has held a number of titles in Brazil. In the US he held the Florida State Champion, NAGA, Calhoun MMA Champion, co-champion in the PanAmerican Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu games in Los Angeles, CA and many more.
Felipe has over 20 years of experience in the art of Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and over 10 years experience as a physical education professor teaching adults and children.
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