About Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ):
BJJ is a ground fighting sport that uses various methods of throws, grappling techniques and submission holds to overcome an opponent. It is based on the principle that a smaller, weaker person can use BJJ techniques to defend themselves against a bigger, stronger opponent.
The art began with Mitsuyo Maeda, an expert Japanese judokan and Kodokan artist, who wanted to spread his style of teaching. He traveled all over the world, eventually arriving in Brazil in 1914, where he met Gastao Gracie and took on Gastao's son Carlos Gracie as a student.
Carlos Gracie excelled in the art. He and his brother Helio Gracie became the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Today, there are three major branches of BJJ from Brazil: Gracie Humaita, Gracie Barra and Carlos Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. All branch can trace its roots to Mitsuyo Maeda and the Gracie family.
BJJ became popular and exploded internationally in the 1990s when Royce Gracie used his BJJ techniques, fought against much bigger opponents who practiced other styles including boxing, shoot-fighting, karate, judo and tae kwon do and won the 1st, 2nd and 4th Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It created a booming excitement for the art and drew widespread attention to this method of ground fighting. Today, BJJ is a very popular style of fighting practiced amongst competitors in Mixed Martial Arts, as well as others for self-defense.