History + Benefits

Andre Maneco Chicago Jiu JitsuThe History of BJJ

In 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda arrived in Brazil. He was a Japanese Judoka and prize fighter from the legendary Kodokan institute in Tokyo Japan (The world headquarters of Judo). Maeda had spent years touring the world to perform demonstrations and compete in No Holds Barred competitions to prove the effectiveness of his art and became known to the Brazilians as: “Conde Koma” which translates as “Count of Combat”. In 1917, Maeda had played an active role in aiding Japanese immigrants to settle in Brazil. It was during this time that he befriended Gastão Gracie.  During a demonstration, Gastão’s 14 year old son Carlos had taken an interest in learning Judo from Maeda. Maeda not only taught the art of judo to Carlos Gracie, but also taught a particular philosophy about the nature of combat based on his travels competing and training alongside catch-wrestlers, boxers, savate fighters and various other martial artists. By the time that Carlos was 17, he began teaching the arts to his brothers Osvaldo, Gastão and Jorge. At this time Carlos’ younger brother Hélio was too young and had health issues and was therefore prohibited from practicing the art. Eventually Hélio overcame his obstacles and joined his brothers in practicing and evolving the art into what is now known to the world as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or “The soft art”.


Ultimately, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on the manipulation of jointlocks and chokeholds to allow smaller individuals to render larger opponents in submission or unconsciousness. This is performed through a combination of Judo, grappling, use of the guard and positioning to gain proper leverage in controlling an opponent.  A remarkable aspect of the discipline is that it does not necessitate the use of striking another while severely limiting an opponent’s ability to strike as well. This has many benefits as the person initiating a punch or a kick can easily end up with a broken bone themselves. On another note, when using Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to control and gain a dominant position on  an attacker, the use of strikes is certainly available, but not necessary. This is why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the ideal art for smaller individuals, young people and women who seek to equalize matters in a confrontation in order to defend themselves.

Benefits of BJJ

*The world’s most effective Martial art

*Increase your Confidence and Self Esteem

*Lose Weight

*Release stress & improve physical and mental health

*Increase strength & flexibility

These are some of the benefits you will experience when you start your jiu-jitsu training today! Come in for a free, no-obligation intro class and see why many consider Brazilian jiu-jitsu the most practical and realistic martial art training available.


childrenAndreManecoBenefits of BJJ for Children

Jiu-Jitsu focuses on self defense through the use of leverage and technique instead of strength, and was intended to foster a balanced body and mind in the student. For this reason, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be extremely useful as a vehicle for childrens’ personal development.

Aside from the self-defense aspect, the authentic skills children gain through practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu foster an equally authentic self-confidence. This can be a huge asset for a child’s self esteem, social engagement, and personal resources for dealing with bullies.

Because Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on grappling technique rather than striking such as kicks and punches, it also provides children with a non-violent alternative to situations where they may be faced with physical conflict.

In addition, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training children develop self-discipline. The art’s techniques require rigorous practice to master. Because it is a dynamic art, rather than one that relies on many antiquated movements and pre-arranged patterns like karate, kung fu and other martial arts, it provides a continuous source of challenge and motivation that can assist children in goal-setting.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also teaches the practitioner respect to respect their training partners. This helps in controlling aggressive physical and verbal tendencies. The child learns to treat everyone with respect (“treat others as you want to be treated”). Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also requires the practitioners to follow a set of ethics. This helps a child in building relationships with his peers and elders.

In particular, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is also a powerful form of exercise, and is extremely effective in staving off childhood obesity. These days, children have an easy access to sedentary options for entertainment, in particular video games, internet, and TV. As children improve their technique and skills, they simultaneously develop high levels of physical fitness and respect for their health.