In 1917, the Gracie brothers, Carlos and Helio Gracie began learning traditional Kodokan judo from a judoka named Mitsuyo Meada (also called Conde Koma, Portuguese for Count Combat). Because Helio Gracie only weighed 140 pounds, he did not have the strength, size, or athleticism to compete in Judo, so he began modifying the traditional techniques so that he could use leverage and timing to defeat larger, stronger opponents. This led to the birth of a self-defense system called Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
When the Gracie family moved to America and began teaching Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, several family members broke away and opened their own schools. Additionally, other Brazilians (i.e., the Machado brothers, Carlos Machado and Jean-Jacques Machado, among others) began teaching their version of jiu-jitsu as well. In order to differentiate themselves from the Gracie Academy run by Helio Gracie and Rorion Gracie at the time, many schools began referring to their art as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instead of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
In 1993, the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was organized by Rorion Gracie and Art Davies and held in Denver, Colorado. The smaller of the Gracie brothers, Royce Gracie represented his family in America’s first televised mixed martial art (MMA) tournament. UFC 1 ultimately was regarded as a showcase for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as Royce Gracie handily submitted each of his opponents to become the first ultimate fighter and champion of UFC 1. Royce would go on to win two more MMA titles after his victories in UFC 2 and UFC 4, defeating opponents representing several other styles including boxing, shoot-fighting, karate, muay thai, taekwondo, and wrestling.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Rickson Gracie, Royce's older brother, fought in the Vale Tudo Japan tournament organized by Satoru Sayama. Vale Tudo (literally translated as "anything goes") MMA tournaments had very limited rules and long rounds that more closely mimicked real combat. At Vale Tudo 1, Rickson Gracie defeated his first opponent, Yoshinori Nishi, by rear-naked choke and his next two opponents, Dave Levicki and Bud Smith, by TKO due to ground-and-pound striking. A year later, Rickson returned to Japan to fight in the second Vale Tudo Japan tournament, which he won, defeating two of his three opponents by submission due to chokes. In 1997, Rickson was signed to fight in Japan's first major, televised MMA tournament PRIDE 1. He defeated his opponent Nubohiko Takada by submission due to mounted armbar. In a rematch at PRIDE 4, Rickson again defeated Takada with an armbar. In his last professional fight at the Colosseum 2K event in Japan, Rickson defeated Masakatsu Funaki by rear-naked choke. In total, Rickson was undefeated with a professional MMA record of 11 wins and no losses.
Due to the successes of Royce and Rickson Gracie, the popularity of Brazilian jiu-jitsu exploded. Today, all serious mixed martial artists incorporate Brazilian jiu-jitsu into their game plan. Even striking specialists such as Muay Thai kickboxers, Taekwondo experts, and boxers need to understand the basics of jiu-jitsu to avoid being taken to the ground and submitted. Brazilian jiu-jitsu schools have become more specialized, with some emphasizing competition in the gi or no-gi (such as ADCC or EBI tournaments), others mixed martial arts, and still others focus on self-defense.
At Pearland Jiu-Jitsu, our goal is to teach you to defend yourself in a real fight. We are not concerned with sportive BJJ competition rules, time limits, or points. Not only will we teach you how to fight, but we will give you the mindset and tools you need to have the confidence to avoid the fight altogether.
To get started, simply sign up for our two-week trial. We will give you a free uniform and track your progress through our curriculum as though you were a regular student. At the end of the trial, if you love the classes, you can sign up for one of our programs. If it doesn’t work out for any reason simply return the free gi (so we don’t waste a brand new uniform), and you won’t be charged for anything.