Today, Jiu Jitsu is known as one of the world’s most popular styles of martial arts. Unlike other styles of martial arts where speed and power are the key components for success, Jiu Jitsu relies on a more controlled, methodical approach. During a match, you’ll need to closely watch your opponent to anticipate their next move. When the timing is just right, you can then use a submission move to control your opponent and force them to tap out. But this highly popular style of martial arts didn’t just appear overnight. There’s a long, rich history behind Jiu Jitsu that tells the story of how it came to be.
First and foremost, it’s important to note that much of the history behind Jiu Jitsu is covered in speculation. Historians and martial arts experts still argue over the details and people responsible for creating the sport. With that said, Jui Jitsu is commonly believed to be one of the oldest forms of martial arts, dating back as far as 4,000 years when peaceful monks living in northern India practiced the art.
Jiu Jitsu In Japan
Somewhere between the 18th and 19th century, Jiu Jitsu spread from India to Japan. Before this time, Japan had never seen a style of martial arts that weighed so heavily on down-low grappling techniques like Jiu Jitsu. However, it quickly became a popular form of martial arts with many schools opening up specifically for teaching it. The fresh perspective on martial arts was a welcomed addition that reinvigorated residents with a new sport.
Although Jiu Jitsu was spreading throughout Japan at a rather fast paced, it remained isolated in the Asian island for well over a century. It wasn’t until the 1800s when Japan opened their ports to England for trade and commerce when Jiu Jitsu spread to other regions. Once the ports were open, people from England picked up on this new style of martial arts and the popularity began to spread.
Originally, Japanese law prevented the nation from teaching Jiu Jitsu to outsiders. They considered it a sacred art and made it a crime for anyone in Japan to teach others how to perform Jiu Jitsu. After constant pressure, though, Japan lifted the ban and gave their residents the green light to teach outsiders.
Jigoro Kano was a Japanese Jiu Jitsu expert who’s believed to play a key role in the history of this style of martial arts. Essentially, he took parts of Jiu Jitsu to create what’s now known as “Judo,” which was focused heavily on grappling techniques. Another Japanese man by the name of Mitsyuo Maeda learned the Judo teachings of Kano and traveled to Brazil where he shared this knowledge by training others.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu then took on a life of its own by spreading into a full-time art and sport. Carlos and Helio Gracie were two of the earliest Brazilians to learn Jiu Jitsu, but others soon began to learn and practice the sport.
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Andy Peters is a content contributor for Gameness Sports. Andy enjoys writing about martial arts, new technology, and much more. He always goes to Gameness.com for the best Bjj Gis on the internet.