Who invented Jiu-Jitsu?

Who Invented Jiu-Jitsu? The Full Story

Jiu-Jitsu is a wildly popular martial art that exploded to prominence back in UFC 1 when Royce Gracie used the martial art to win the tournament. That’s not when the fighting style was created though, it’s much older than that. So, who invented Jiu-Jitsu?

The Invention of Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was invented by the Gracie brothers – Helio, Oswaldo, Gastao Jr, George and Carlos in 1925. The fighting style was heavily influenced by Judo which was brought to Brazilian shores in 1914 by Japanese martial artist Mitsuyo Maeda. Maeda himself became a Judo master by learning it from it’s creator, Jigoro Kano.

When the first BJJ academy opened in 1925, Jiu-Jitsu was almost identical to Judo. It wasn’t until the smallest of the Gracie brothers, Helio, became an instructor, that it really began to develop into what it is today.

Helio was small in size and suffered from chronic dizziness. This prevented him from being able to perform a lot of the moves that were container in early Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Instead, Helio developed Jiu-Jitsu to be entirely ground based. This allowed him to even the playing field by taking away his opponents size and strength. At least to a larger degree than if they were standing up.

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu

Japanese Jiu-Jitsu is actually the original form of Jiu-Jitsu. It originated hundreds of years before Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The formation of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu dates back to feudal Japan times. Samurai trained in the fighting style to be prepared for unarmed combat for scenarios when they would be dismounted from their horses and lose their weapons.


Who invented Jiu-Jitsu then? There are two real answers to the question. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu was invented by the Japanese military forces in feudal Japan times. However, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu which is the martial art trained by every MMA fighter today, was invented by the Gracie brothers – Helio, Oswaldo, Gastao Jr, George and Carlos. With special mentions for Carlos and Helio who had the biggest influence on the sport.

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