Do you know where Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came from?
It’s heart lies in the early 1900’s with Esai Maeda. Yup, that’s right it didn’t start with the Gracies … or did it?
Maeda was a Japanese judōka (judo expert) and prizefighter; along with Antônio Soshihiro Satake he pioneered judo in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and other countries.
But wait … I thought we were learning about Jiu-Jitsu, well without Judo there would likely be no jiu-jitsu ...
Maeda was fundamental to the development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, including through his teaching of Carlos Gracie and others of the Gracie family. Maeda won more than 2,000 professional fights in his career. His accomplishments led to him being called the "toughest man who ever lived" and being referred to as the father of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Now you are wondering how did one lead to the other …
In 1917, a young Carlos Gracie, watched a demonstration by Maeda at the Da Paz Theatre and decided to learn judo. Maeda accepted Gracie and Luiz França as students, and the youth went on to become a great exponent of the art and ultimately, with his younger brother Hélio Gracie, founded Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos and Hélio are considered the founders of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.