What is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a self-defense system that was developed by Carlos Gracie in Brazil in the 1920’s. This martial art focuses on techniques that will allow a person to defend themselves against an attacker who may be stronger and faster. Over the last 80 years, the techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu continue to evolve. What started in an academy in Rio de Janeiro has now spread across the world. It is used by law enforcement agencies across the nation, and is taught to U.S. Special Forces in their study of hand-to-hand combat.


Is there a difference between Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

No. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.


What is the history of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Some historians of jiu jitsu say that the origins of “the gentle art” can be traced back to India, and 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 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 martial arts, as well as competing 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 man named Gastao Gracie. The father of eight children, among them five boys and three girls, Gastao became a jiu-jitsu enthusiast and brought his oldest son, Carlos, to learn to fight from the Japanese master.For a naturally frail fifteen-year old Carlos Gracie, jiu-jitsu became a method not simply for fighting, but for personal improvement. At nineteen, he moved to Rio de Janeiro with his family and began teaching and competing in the martial arts. In his travels, Carlos would teach classes, and also proved the efficiency of the art by beating adversaries in competitions who were more physically strong. In 1925, he returned to Rio and opened the first school, known as the “Academia Gracie de Jiu Jitsu.”
Since then, Carlos started to share his knowledge to his brothers, adapting and refining the techniques to the naturally weaker characteristics of his family. Also, Carlos taught them his philosophies of life as well as his concepts of natural nutrition. Eventually, Carlos became a pioneer in creating a special diet for athletes, “the Gracie diet,” which transformed jiu-jitsu into a term synonymous with health.
Having created an efficient self defense 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 as well as to build a family tradition, Carlos challenged the greatest fighters of his time, as well as managing the fighting careers of his brothers. Fighting opponents fifty or sixty pounds heavier, the Gracies quickly gained recognition and prestige.
Attracted to the new market which was opened around jiu-jitsu, many Japanese practitioners came to Rio, but none were able to establish schools as successful as the Gracies. This was due to the fact that the Japanese stylists were more focused on takedowns and throws, and the jiu jitsu the Gracies practiced had more sophisticated groundfighting and submission techniques. Carlos and his brothers changed the techniques in such a way that it completely altered the complexion of the international jiu-jitsu principles. These techniques were so distinctive to Carlos and his brothers that the sport became attached to a national identity, and is now commonly known as “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,” practiced by artists all over the world, including Japan.


What makes Gracie Gym so special?

Gracie Gyms has the support of the best fighters and instructors of the Gracie Family and its disciples. Our teaching methods are studied in detail from our selective group of members to be able to provide the most effective programs in our academies.


Is training safe?

Safety is an important concern at the Gracie Gym. While accidental injuries may occur with any athletic activity, all training occurs in a controlled supervised environment. Our school will not tolerate any unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike behavior.


What should I expect when I join?

Many students join a jiu-jitsu academy expecting to spar on day one. Reflecting on the  Gracie tradition, Gracie Gym takes a more patient approach. We are more concerned that new students learn the fundamental techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu rather than beating someone in a sparring match. We understand that learning these basic techniques is essential for any student who wants to learn self-defense.


Do I have to compete?

No. Whether you want to learn self-defense, get in shape, or become a world champion, all students are welcome. The most important thing for us is that all students learn the basic fundamental techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.


From the days of Carlos and Helio to today’s ADCC champion Roger, the Gracie family has always actively competed in jiu-jitsu tournaments and mixed martial arts events. While the rules of a jiu-jitsu tournament or even a mixed martial arts event do not take into account all the variables that exist in a street fight, we recognize that these tournaments allow students the opportunity to test their skill while minimizing the risk of injury. Those students who want to test their jiu-jitsu proficiency will have the opportunity to enter Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling tournaments.


Can women learn?

Yes, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is the most effective self-defense system for women. All classes are co-ed and the academy offers a safe non-intimidating environment for women to learn. We also offer classes for women only. Click here for our women’s program.


Are there classes for children?

We offer classes for children that are taught by Ronis Gracie himself and his personally trained staff. See ourschedule for the specific times.

What if I never trained a martial art before?

The beauty of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is that it works for everyone. Because of its emphasis on technique, this martial art has been proven to be effective even among people that are not naturally athletic, muscular or flexible. In fact, the original mixed martial art events (including the UFC) were developed by the Gracie family in order to show how relatively small and skinny Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighters could effectively defend themselves against bigger and stronger trained martial artists. Even today one can easily see the influence of Gracie Jiu Jitsu among the worlds best mixed martial artists.


Is it a good workout?

Absolutely! By training Gracie Jiu-Jitsu students get a full body aerobic workout. You will be using both the muscles of your arms, legs, torso and core in every class. We have had many students that have lost weight, as well as quit smoking.

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