Some historians of Jiu-Jitsu say that the origins of "the gentle art" can be traced back to India, where it 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 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 martial arts as well as taking part in fights and competitions.
Esai Maeda Koma, also known as "Conde Koma, " was one such master. After traveling with a troupe which fought in a variety of countries in Europe and the Americas, Koma found its way to Brazil in 1915, and settled in Belem do Para another year, where he met a man named Gastao Gracie.
The father of eight kiddies, among 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 way not only for fighting, but for personal improvement. At nineteen, he moved to Rio de Janeiro along 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 have been physically stronger. In 1925, he returned to Rio and opened the initial school, referred to as the "Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu. "
Since that time, Carlos started initially 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. Ultimately, 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 purposes system, Carlos Gracie saw in the art a way to become 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 best fighters of his time. He also managed the fighting careers of his brothers. Because they were fighting and defeating opponents fifty or sixty pounds weightier, the Gracies quickly gained recognition and prestige.
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