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History Of Jiu-Jitsu
Originally developed during Japan's feudal period, Jujutsu was a wide-ranging form of martial art which was designed for warfare and practiced by the Samurai in the battlefield. By the 17th Century, hundreds of different forms of the art existed – based on various areas of study and different specializations - with some scholars placing the number of forms at 750.

Eventually, with civil war coming to a close, the power of the Shogun shifted to the Emperor, and a law was passed which made practicing martial arts in the name of the samurai illegal, thus leading the study of jujutsu to solely encompass unarmed (and thus non-lethal) fighting techniques. In 1878, a student named Jigoro Kano began refining techniques and taking bits and pieces from the different schools of jujutsu to develop his own style of throwing, groundwork, and striking called Kudokan Judo.

This style became very popular, and in matches between Judo practitioners and those of Jujutsu, Kano's followers dominated except when fighting students of the Fusen-Ryu Jujutsu style, whose ground techniques were eventually integrated into the Kudokan curriculum.

In the early 1900's Kano sent one of his students, Mitsuyo Maeda, to the United States to demonstrate his techniques for US President Theodore Roosevelt. Soon after, Maeda went on a tour of North and South America competing in ‘challenge' matches to prove the effectiveness of his style, and his success earned him the name "Conde Koma”, which means Count of Combat.

By 1915, Maeda settled in Brazil, and made the acquaintance of Brazilian businessman Gastao Gracie, who offered to help Maeda secure a consulate post in exchange for teaching his son Carlos his style of jujutsu. Maeda agreed and began teaching the 14year old Carlos Gracie, the oldest of five brothers.

In 1925, Carlos opened his own academy (which now held the spelling Jiu-Jitsu), and taught three of his brothers the art. A fourth brother, a frail teenager named Helio, was forbidden to partake in these lessons by doctors who forbid him from participating in strenuous exercise. But Helio watched his brothers and memorized every move they made on the mat. And in a stroke of fate, he one day filled in for Carlos as an instructor, and students soon requested to be taught by Helio, who not only refined the techniques, he added to them, eventually becoming the most proficient jiu-jitsu master in the world, and patriarch of the most prominent family in the art – the Gracie family.

It wasn't until 1993 and the launch of the Ultimate Fighting Championship that the Gracie name and Jiu-Jitsu finally exploded on the world scene though, and with that notoriety, fans have seen Jiu-Jitsu become an important ingredient in the arsenal of any successful mixed martial artist. Put simply, if you can't fight on the ground, you won't last long in mixed martial arts or in a real fight for that matter.

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