Origins of Gracie/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Japanese Jiu Jitsu (practiced as Judo) was introduced to the Gracie family in Brazil around 1914. Helio Gracie, the youngest son of Gastão and Cesalina Gracie’s eight children was always a very physically frail child. At age fourteen, he moved in with his older brothers who lived and taught Jiu Jitsu in a house in a borough of Rio de Janeiro. When Helio was 16 years old he became an instructor.
Helio soon realized that due to his frail physique, most of the techniques he had learned from watching his brother Carlos teach were particularly difficult for him to execute. Eager to make the techniques work for him, he began modifying them to accommodate his weak body. Emphasizing the use of leverage and timing over strength and speed, Helio modified virtually all of the techniques and, through trial and error, created Gracie/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Helio Gracie gained international acclaim for his dedication to the dissemination of the art and is recognized as the creator of Gracie/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.