Some historians of Jiu-Jitsu say that the origins of "the gentle art" could be traced back again to India, where it absolutely was practiced by Buddhist Monks. Concerned with self-defense, these monks created practices based upon principles of balance and leverage, and a system of manipulating your body in a manner where you can avoid relying upon strength or weapons. With the expansion of Buddhism, Jiu-Jitsu spread from Southeast Asia to China, finally arriving in Japan where it developed and gained further popularity.
Within the last few days of the 19th century, some Jiu-Jitsu masters emigrated from Japan to other continents, teaching the martial arts in addition to taking part in fights and competitions.
Esai Maeda Koma, also known as "Conde Koma, " was one particular master. After traveling with a troupe which fought in a variety of countries in Europe and the Americas, Koma arrived in Brazil in 1915, and settled in Belem do Para the next year, where he met a person named Gastao Gracie.
The father of eight children, one of them five boys and three girls, Gastao became a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast and brought his oldest son, Carlos, to master from the Japanese master.
For a naturally frail fifteen-year old Carlos Gracie, Jiu-Jitsu became a method not merely for fighting, but for personal improvement. At nineteen, that he moved to Rio de Janeiro along with his family and began teaching and fighting. In his travels, Carlos would teach classes, as well as proved the efficiency of the art by beating opponents who were physically stronger. In 1925, that he returned to Rio and opened the first school, known as the "Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu. "
Since that time, Carlos started to share his knowledge with his brothers, adapting and refining the techniques to the naturally weaker characteristics of his family. Carlos also taught them his philosophies of life and his concepts of natural nutrition. Eventually, Carlos became a pioneer in developing a special diet for athletes, "the Gracie diet, " which transformed Jiu-Jitsu into a term synonymous with health.
Having created an efficient self defense system, Carlos Gracie saw in the art ways to become a man who was simply more tolerant, respectful, and self-confident. With a goal of proving Jiu-Jitsu’s superiority over other martial arts, Carlos challenged the greatest fighters of his time. He also managed the fighting careers of his brothers. Because they were fighting and defeating opponents fifty or sixty pounds heavier, the Gracies quickly gained recognition and prestige.
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