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At its core, Jiu-Jitsu is a self-defense system that emphasizes controlling an opponent through grappling (grabs, holds, joint locks). Many of its techniques are ancient in origin, coming from Judo and Jujitsu before it, but modern practicioners have developed this martial art as a style that is equally effective in self-defense, combat, and sport. Modern military units including the United States Army incorporate Jiu-Jitsu into their combative programs because of its demonstrated effectiveness. It is popular with people from all walks of life, regardless of their age, ability, or background. Jiu-jitsu techniques serve as an "equalizer" in a self-defense situation because they allow a person to overcome greater strength and physical ability by using leverage (the practical application of body weight against the opponent to neutralize their strength), technique, and timing.
Jiu-Jitsu is often called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu because of its origins as a modern martial art in Brazil. Members of the Gracie family studied under Mitsuyo Maeda, a expatriate Japanese fighter who lived in Brazil in the early 20th century. The Gracies and other early Jiu-Jitsu practitioners polished and refined their martial art through challenge matches and Vale Tudo fights against other martial artists and ultimately brought Jiu-Jitsu to the United States in the 1980s.
The Gracies and other early proponents of Jiu-Jitsu such as the Machado brothers initially promoted Jiu-Jitsu to other martial arts, seeking to show them how grappling and ground fighting were a necessary component of any martial arts/combat sport training program. They demonstrated, again through challenge matches and competitions, that they could use Jiu-Jitsu to neutralize the fighting prowess of other martial arts by taking them to the ground and grappling with them, ultimately winning with strikes from the ground or submission techniques such as chokes and armbars.
Jiu-Jitsu entered the mainstream in the early 1990s when the first Ultimate Fighting Championships featured Royce Gracie's dramatic wins against other martial artists of all sizes and backgrounds. Many viewers marveled at how this small, unassuming Brazilian could take down large, well-muscled kickboxers and karate fighters, control them and choke them out. This planted the seeds for a worldwide explosion of interest in grappling as a combat sport.
Today, Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most popular and sought-after martial arts on the planet, for both children and adults. Students learn effective, reality-based skills for overcoming an attacker. Practicing Jiu-Jitsu also improves ones physical health and is one of the most fun ways to get in a work out! At Ketchikan Jiu-Jitsu, we believe that Jiu-Jitsu is not just a martial art, but a lifestyle. For us, that lifestyle values Health, Humility, and Fraternity. No matter where we start, our Jiu-Jitsu journey is meant to improve on those aspects of our lives.