Jiu Jitsu’s story
It’s origins get lost in the mists of time, where mythology and reality come together.
One version states that it comes from ancient asian territory and that it was widespread by buddhist monsk, who developed it to defend themselves from bandits and muggers that attacked them during their long pilgrimages around the world. In this way they would not only disseminate their philosophy but also the art of defending oneself to other cultures such as Tibetan, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and to other countries in the East.
It is interesting to notice that Jiu Jitsu follows the principle of non-violence. The art was used to defend and dominate an aggressor with projections, twists, strangles and inmobilizations.
In Japan, Jiu Jitsu reached its peak with the Samurais, the warrior class of it’s feudal time. Experts in The Art of War, in addition to the sword and bow, trained and refined hand-to-hand combat.
Jiu Jitsu was divided into two aspects. The exoteric (common, trivial) adressing strategies and training methods, as well as the practicality of defense and attack. The esoteric (hermetic, difficult to acces) was the essential face of intellectual and spiritual transmission, a teaching reserved only for the most select.
Traditional jiu jitsuIncludes:
- Preparation and flexibility exercises;
- Displacement and posture;
- Projections and counter attacks;
- Locks and twist;
- Traps and pins;
- Tai-sabaki (dodging);
- Interceptions (entries);
- Atemi-waza (striking techniques);
- Kiai (breathing and energy focalization techniques);
- No time limit sparring.
Competitive or sports jiu jitsuIt’s goal is the practice for competition matches, with a specifict ruleset, like judô or brazilian jiu jitsu.
- Limited time sparring;
- Matches with norms and regulations;
- Point based victories;
- Coloured belt promotions;
- Weight and age categories;
- Same techniques as traditional brazilian jiu jitsu (varies depending on the ruleset).
- Varying positions that may concede an advantage, according to the ruleset.
The true samurai is only ready to fight when he is not afraid of death anymore.
Balance is an essential part of the true practitioner, who should have a traditional or classic formation and also develope the sporting aspect, being, if possible, a good competitor.
The introduction of jiu jitsu in brazilThe first japanese migrants officially arrived in Brazil in 1908 on board of the Kosato Maru ship.
Between the settlers that came with the purpose of developing agriculture, many were practitioners and even másters of jiu jitsu. They taught Fighting between brakes or after work and used to spread a canvas over the grass wich played the role of a dojo.
There was a watermark moment in 1913 with the arrival of Mitsuyo Maeda, a jiu jitsu world Champion. Also known as ‘Count Koma’, he was born in Hirosaki, Japan, in 1880 and studied with the master Jiboku Hohei in the Kito Ryu Jitsu school in 1900. He completed his studies in the kodokan dojo, founded by Jigoro Kano.
‘Count Koma’ is known as the ‘man of a Thousand fights’ and apparently has never been officially defeated. After arriving in Brazil he fixed residence in Belem do Para, established a Dojo there and teached many brazilians. Among them, a skinny Carlos Gracie would stand out.
Geo Omori, the Ono Brothers, Takeo Yano and Ogawa are some of the other másters that were also part of his introduction, in addition to those who remained anonymous, teaching without pretensions of making history.
Jiu jitsu in São PauloJiu jitsu in São Paulo began with the arrival of japanese settlers that moved to the country for agricultural purposes.
In the capital, the role of Geo Omori would stand out. In 1925 he founded the first jiu jitsu academy in Brazil, in Fontao Do Bras. Omori became known because he accepted challenges in the arena of the old Queirolo Circus.
The Ono Brothers stayed teaching for over 50 years, having countless students and even forming a network of academies in the decade of 1930.
In 1940’s George Gracie arrived in the capital of são pablo, brother of Carlos and Helio Gracie, he was considered one of the great Vale Tudo Fighters of his generation.
Geroge Gracie opened his gym in Bras, a distinguished neighborhood at the time. Between his students were Osvaldo Carnivalle, who still teaches today with his sons in Belenzinho neighborhood, and master Octavio de Almeida, who gave continuity to George Gracie’s teachings perpetuating them from 1947 to 1983, the year he passed away.
Master Octavio was an icon in promoting the sport, many times on his own, but committed to the work of expanding the horizons of jiu jitsu. In 1976 he organized the first oficial jiu jitsu event through São pablo’s Boxing Federation. George Gracie also formed masters Nahum Rabay, Candoca and Romeu Bertho, who still endorses the sport in the interior of São Paulo.
Masters Gastao and Pedro Hermeterio, who taught classes in the capital until 2005, are also noteworthy.
The first ‘carioca’ (meaning from Rio de Janeiro) that contributed to the Evolution of the jiu jitsu in São Pablo was master Orlando Saraiva, who arrived in the city of Mogi Mirim in 1976, and there remains today, still forming champions.
In 1983, with the death of master Octavio de Almeida, oficial events stopped. That break went on for seven years and São Paulo’s jiu jitsu fell into anonymity.
In 1989 professor Moises Muradi decided to aid São Paulo’s jiu jitsu scene with the organization of a big event, uniting the few existing academies of that time and giving new impulse to the style.
In 1991, Muradi founded São Paulo’s jiu jitsu Federation and dedicated it’s creation to the memory of Master Octavio de Almeida. In 1997 he reorganized São Paulo’s jiu jitsu with the help of other renowned teachers who wanted to regulate the sport and give the martial art the importance it deserved. The São Paulo’s Sport Jiu Jitsu Federation (FESP) was founded, considered today one of the major state federations worldwide.
HONORABLE MENTIONWe cannot help to make here a special mention to one of the best of all time Jiu Jitsu professor: Octavio de Almeida, a soul who inhaled and exhaled this art for over 50 years.
Master Octavio started to train in the decade of 1930 with Ono Brothers and then perfected his style with professor George Gracie. He teached in such an expressive and incredibly charismatic manner that the moments lived with him at the dojo are unforgettable. He got to have a total of approximately 400 pupils, most of them kids, and was the first to develope a teaching methodology for children. Many of the people that learned with him are nowadays exemplar citizens and play key roles in our society. Honesty, perseverance, positive thinking, loyalty, respect, altruism and chivalry re words that appeared constantly in the vocabulary he used in his teaching.
Mestre Octavio died in the 17th of January of 1983, at 65 years of age. His passing left us with a lot of grief but he also left a legion of fans instructors initiated by him that still teach today, like Oswaldo Carnivalle, Otavio de Almeida Junior, Luiz Gonzaga, Roberto Lage, Ali Muradi, Moises Muradi, Marcio Abbiati, Jean Carlo Marino, Roberto Weinpell, Hiroshi Nogami, Jose Eugenio Bobadillha and Sergio Gozzo, among others. The master’s grandchildren, Fabio and Xalo de Almeida, are promising instructors.
This homage extends to Mr. Ismael Muradi (in memoriam), and Theresinha Silveira Muradi, parentes of Moises, Ali, Elias, Leila and Nadia, all Jiu Jitsu practitioners, some of them dedicated to the art of teaching.
Mr Ismael, Merchant warrior and jiu jitsu enthusiast, stimulated the practice in the city of Mogi Mirim (SP), helping master Orlando Saraiva with countless contracts and obtaining the tittle of ‘’Jiu Jitsu Director’’.
An extended friendship allowed his children to continue the practice of the sport when they moved to São Paulo’s capital under the tutelage of master Octavio.
Misses Teresinha, gothic calligraphy specialist, made possible for many practitioners to have their diplomas handwritten by her. In the decade of 1970 she was invited by Master Octavio to make all of the official Jiu Jitsu diplomas, and specially the ones of his renowned academy. Nowadays, Teresinha is the calligrapher of the São Paulo Jiu Jitsu Federation, the Confederation of Sport Jiu Jitsu, and some of its teams certificates, as is the case of Lotus Club. Believe this, the letters written by her have life and are real Lucky charms for the regulars, the ones that are away and even those who have already left!