“I do not consider myself a fighter. I am a teacher who fights to prove what I believe in” – Helio Gracie
Japanese jiu-jitsu expert, Maeda, came to Brazil as part of a diplomatic mission to found and establish a Japanese colony. He befriended Gastao Gracie and offered to teach Gastao’s sons, Carlos and Helio jiu-jitsu. The Gracie boys became very proficient in jiu-jitsu, opening their own schools and developing their own additions and modifications to the techniques they had been taught. As a test of their technique, the Gracies fought many matches against other styles of martial arts with great success. In this manner they came to learn which techniques worked and which did not. They based their developing martial art on their combat experiences over generations.
The Dominance of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Much is made of the differences between the various styles of martial arts. What is common to all styles of combat is a core problem that each tries to answer. How can one successfully defend oneself against attack by a bigger, stronger and more aggressive opponent? MMA events gave the best available means of evaluating the different responses to that problem. The biggest MMA events in North America were all dominated by practitioners of BJJ. Especially surprising to most viewers was the fact that the BJJ fighters were almost always considerably smaller than their opponents. In addition, the victories were relatively bloodless affairs. BJJ could succeed regardless of whether the BJJ stylist took his opponent down and landed in a top position or whether he was himself taken down and had to fight from underneath, which is a great advantage when fighting against a larger and stronger competitor. The essential idea behind Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s answer to the fundamental problem of martial arts is this:
You must constantly strive to put yourself in a position where you can control your opponent as much as possible. Thus allowing you to do maximal damage to him while exposing yourself to as little damage as possible.