• About
  • History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Mixed Martial Arts
  • Competition Jiu-Jitsu
  • Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu



Ultimately, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on the manipulation of jointlocks and chokeholds to allow smaller individuals to render larger opponents in submission or unconsciousness. This is performed through a combination of Judo, grappling, use of the guard and positioning to gain proper leverage in controlling an opponent.  A remarkable aspect of the discipline is that it does not necessitate the use of striking another while severely limiting an opponent’s ability to strike as well. This has many benefits as the person initiating a punch or a kick can easily end up with a broken bone themselves. On another note, when using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to control and gain a dominant position on  an attacker, the use of strikes is certainly available, but not necessary. This is why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the ideal art for smaller individuals, young people and women who seek to equalize matters in a confrontation in order to defend themselves.

History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

In 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda arrived in Brazil. He was a Japanese Judoka and prize fighter from the legendary Kodokan institute in Tokyo Japan (The world headquarters of Judo). Maeda had spent years touring the world to perform demonstrations and compete in No Holds Barred competitions to prove the effectiveness of his art and became known to the Brazilians as: “Conde Koma” which translates as “Count of Combat”. In 1917, Maeda had played an active role in aiding Japanese immigrants to settle in Brazil. It was during this time that he befriended Gastão Gracie.  During a demonstration, Gastão’s 14 year old son Carlos had taken an interest in learning Judo from Maeda. Maeda not only taught the art of judo to Carlos Gracie, but also taught a particular philosophy about the nature of combat based on his travels competing and training alongside catch-wrestlers, boxers, savate fighters and various other martial artists. By the time that Carlos was 17, he began teaching the arts to his brothers Osvaldo, Gastão and Jorge. At this time Carlos’ younger brother Hélio was too young and had health issues and was therefore prohibited from practicing the art. Eventually Hélio overcame his obstacles and joined his brothers in practicing and evolving the art into what is now known to the world as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or “The soft art”.

Professional Fighting

Vale Tudo or No Holds Barred fighting, Mixed Martial arts (MMA), where pretty much anything goes, has gained world recognition in recent years due largely in part to the Gracie Family’s introduction into the United States with “The Ultimate Fighting Championship” of the 1990’s where Royce Gracie successfully defeated larger, stronger opponents with his family’s art repeatedly.  In consequence, mixed martial arts today has evolved beyond the use of a single discipline, but most fighters without a deep skillset of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu generally do not stand a chance in this genre of sports. Consistently, the most successful fighters and title holders come from a background of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Competition Jiu-Jitsu

In recent years, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has skyrocketed in popularity with the general public. Countless events are held the world over. Many federations enjoy high level rivalry in competitions for GI (with kimono or uniform) & NOGI events. These events generally utilize a set of rules to score matches based on the philosophy of controlling and submitting an opponent which is the foundation for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A student that wishes to test the effectiveness of their skills will benefit greatly from taking part in competitions although participation is not generally required.

Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Carlson Gracie is the man who ushered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into the modern era. The oldest son of Carlos Gracie, who founded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro during the 1920s, Carlson reigned as world champion for thirty years covering the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. He was never defeated in nineteen professional fights. During this time, he was also considered one of the preeminent teachers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the world; a reputation he holds to this day. Carlson catapulted to fame at the tender age of seventeen when he avenged the defeat of his uncle Helio Gracie. A former student of Helio’s, Waldemar Santana, had defeated the much older Helio during a match in 1955. That match lasted four hours and is still the longest in modern history. Carlson’s match with Santana in 1956 was a much shorter affair: four rounds of vicious vale-tudo combat left Santana bloodied, beaten, and unable to crawl back into the ring. Riding on his newly found fame, Carlson became the most sought-after Jiu-Jitsu instructor in Brazil. After teaching at his uncle’s academy for several years, he opened his own, where over the past thirty years many of the greatest names in Jiu-Jitsu and no-holds-barred fighters have trained as members of the famed Carlson Gracie Arrebentacao Team. Known to this day as having been the most dominant team in the world. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s conquest of the mixed martial arts world might not have happened without Carlson’s lion-hearted decision to teach everything he knew at his academy. At the time, Helio’s academy taught only the most basic positions to outsiders, reserving the advanced positions for the family elite. Carlson opened up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to the masses, and the masses responded, hungry to learn everything they could. To compete for students, the other academy was forced to offer all their positions as well. This good-natured competition breathed creativity and invention into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the sport has never been the same since. Carlson’s influence on no-holds-barred fighting is extensive as well, for the style of Jiu-Jitsu he taught at his academy was distinct from that being taught by Helio. While Helio’s brand of Jiu-Jitsu emphasized technical proficiency, Carlson favored a ‘warrior style’ of Jiu-Jitsu that encouraged physical prowess and barraging your opponent with a series of attacks. Carlson’s influence is prominent in all Mixed Martial Arts today. Carlson Gracie trained many top competitors such as Allan GoesMurilo BustamanteMario SperryWallid IsmailAndre Pederneiras, Ricardo Liborio, Rodrigo Medeiros, Marcelo Alonso, and was also responsible for introducing and mastering Vitor Belfort into Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu.[2] Carlson Gracie also trained Stephan Bonnar, a finalist in the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter. He was in Bonnar’s corner during his legendary fight against eventual Ultimate Fighter winner Forrest Griffin. Further influence can be witnessed by the success of fighters such as Miguel Torres, Teams such as Brazilian Top Team, American Top Team etc. All of these organizations at some point received training from either Carlson Gracie or his Team members. To the informed masses Carlson Gracie is recognized as having been a family champion and innovator of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Despite training in all aspects of the family art, Carlson’s style places emphasis on pressure and thoroughly controlling an opponent.

Carlson Gracie Jr.

There is no single person more versed in the teachings of Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu than the grandmaster’s one and only son, Carlson Gracie Jr. Often regarded in circles as “Junior”. Carlson Jr. began training under his father at the age of 3 in Brazil and in his life has accomplished a great deal. Carlson is a multiple time Brazilian champion, Greco roman champion, Black Belt in Judo, & 5th degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some of his extraordinary early accomplishments were being voted the “best Purple Belt” in all of Brazil, and having won his first blackbelt competition right out of the gate. Carlson Jr. competed the world over successfully in all manners of combat including Vale Tudo. He received acclaim from his peers such as Carlos Gracie Sr. and the Federation of Brazil for his ability to compete and also teach. In 2008, Carlson Jr. opened his own school in Southern California called the “Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Team”. Based in the Murrieta / Temecula area, the school serves as the headquarters of the Carlson Gracie Federation and in its short time has begun producing champions under Jr’s. Teachings. In addition, the school has served as an anchor to help bring the Carlson Gracie Team back together as an organization, with a resurgence of success in competition. In March of 2009’ The team won the prestigious novice division title and also took 2nd place in the Masters Black Belt divisions at the Pan American Jiu-Jitsu championships, signaling a new era for the team with Carlson’s school serving as a springboard to further organize his Federation and continue his father’s tradition. Carlson splits his time teaching here while traveling to Chicago, IL to continue teaching at the school where he and his father enjoyed their time. He also travels the world as a leading authority on self defense giving seminars to military, police forces and self defense courses to the public. The future is bright for the Carlson Gracie Team.

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