Some historians of Jiu-Jitsu say that the origins of "the gentle art" could be traced back to India, where it absolutely was practiced by Buddhist Monks. Focused on self-defense, these monks created techniques based upon principles of balance and leverage, and a system of manipulating the body in a manner where you could 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 days of the 19th century, some Jiu-Jitsu masters emigrated from Japan to other continents, teaching the fighting styles along with taking part in fights and competitions.
Esai Maeda Koma, also called "Conde Koma, " was one such master. After traveling with a troupe which fought in various countries in Europe and the Americas, Koma arrived in Brazil in 1915, and settled in Belem do Para the next year, where that he met a guy named Gastao Gracie.
The father of eight young ones, included in this five boys and three girls, Gastao became a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast and brought his oldest son, Carlos, to learn from the Japanese master.
For a naturally frail fifteen-year old Carlos Gracie, Jiu-Jitsu became a way not simply for fighting, but also for personal improvement. At nineteen, he moved to Rio de Janeiro with his family and began teaching and fighting. In his travels, Carlos would teach classes, and in addition proved the efficiency of the art by beating opponents have been physically stronger. In 1925, he returned to Rio and opened the initial school, known as the "Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu. "
Ever since then, Carlos started to share his knowledge together 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 a competent self defense system, Carlos Gracie saw in the art a way to turn into a man who was more tolerant, respectful, and self-confident. With a goal of proving Jiu-Jitsu’s superiority over other fighting styles, Carlos challenged the greatest fighters of his time. That he also managed the fighting careers of his brothers. Since they were fighting and defeating opponents fifty or sixty pounds heavier, the Gracies quickly gained recognition and prestige.
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