Some historians of Jiu-Jitsu say that the origins of "the gentle art" may be traced back again 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 the human 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.
In the last days of the 19th century, some Jiu-Jitsu masters emigrated from Japan to other continents, teaching the fighting styles 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 various countries in Europe and the Americas, Koma arrived in Brazil in 1915, and settled in Belem do Para the next year, where he met a guy named Gastao Gracie.
The daddy of eight kids, included in this five boys and three girls, Gastao became a Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast and brought his oldest son, Carlos, to understand from the Japanese master.
For a naturally frail fifteen-year old Carlos Gracie, Jiu-Jitsu became a way not simply for fighting, but for personal improvement. At nineteen, he moved to Rio de Janeiro with his family and began teaching and fighting. In his travels, Carlos would teach classes, as well as proved the efficiency of the art by beating opponents who were physically stronger. In 1925, that he returned to Rio and opened the first school, called the "Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu. "
Ever since then, Carlos started to share his knowledge 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. Ultimately, Carlos became a pioneer in developing a special diet for athletes, "the Gracie diet, " which transformed Jiu-Jitsu right into a term synonymous with health.
Having created a simple yet effective self-defense system, Carlos Gracie saw in the art a way to become a man who was simply more tolerant, respectful, and self-confident. With a goal of proving Jiu-Jitsu’s superiority over other fighting techinques, Carlos challenged the greatest fighters of his time. He also managed the fighting careers of his brothers. Because they were fighting and defeating opponents fifty or sixty pounds heavier, the Gracies quickly gained recognition and prestige.
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