Some historians of Jiu-Jitsu say that the origins of "the gentle art" may be traced back to India, where it was practiced by Buddhist Monks. Concerned with self-defense, these monks created techniques based upon principles of balance and leverage, and a system of manipulating your body in a manner where one 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 few days of the 19th century, some Jiu-Jitsu masters emigrated from Japan to other continents, teaching the martial arts as well as 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 various countries in Europe and the Americas, Koma found its way to Brazil in 1915, and settled in Belem do Para the next year, where he met a guy named Gastao Gracie.
The father of eight kids, one of them 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 method not merely for fighting, however for personal improvement. At nineteen, that he moved to Rio de Janeiro with his family and began teaching and fighting. In his travels, Carlos would teach classes, and also proved the efficiency of the art by beating opponents who were physically stronger. In 1925, he returned to Rio and opened the initial school, called the "Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu. "
Since that time, Carlos started to share his knowledge along with his brothers, adapting and refining the processes to the naturally weaker traits of his family. Carlos also taught them his philosophies of life and his concepts of natural nutrition. Sooner or later, Carlos became a pioneer in making a special diet for athletes, "the Gracie diet, " which transformed Jiu-Jitsu in to a term synonymous with health.
Having created a simple yet effective 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 martial arts, Carlos challenged the greatest fighters of his time. He also managed the fighting careers of his brothers. Simply because they were fighting and defeating opponents fifty or sixty pounds heavier, the Gracies quickly gained recognition and prestige.
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