Jiu-Jitsu for Humanity

“Jiu-Jitsu is a mechanism for helping others and something that works for humanity.” Master Carlos Gracie Jr.

For this month’s blog, we wanted to share some thoughts on a concept that has gotten some media attention – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs American Jiu-Jitsu. There has been some debate as to whether they are different, the same, or just part of the evolution of Sport Jiu-Jitsu. This debate can plot the practitioners that contribute to the sport against each other, which can be counterproductive.  The reality is that Jiu-Jitsu belongs to humanity.  Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone and by everyone.

In its current form, Jiu-Jitsu has attributes and contributions from many. If you look at the lineage of Jiu-Jitsu, it goes back to its origins in Japan.  It was Mitsuyo Maeda that brought the art to Brazil from Japan.  Then Great Grandmaster Carlos Gracie and Great Grandmaster Helio Gracie added different concepts and techniques to the art, such as the idea of leverage. These additions allowed for much smaller opponents to overcome larger ones. When Great Grandmaster Carlos opened his first school and taught the Jiu-Jitsu he was taught, together with the techniques he had developed, Jiu-Jitsu evolved.


Jiu-Jitsu Belongs to Humanity, Not Just to One Country

Have you ever been curious how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu got its name? It is an interesting story. When in Brazil, it was just called Jiu-Jitsu, not Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. When Jiu-Jitsu first came to the United States, different family members wanted to open schools. To avoid conflict over the naming of the schools, the term BJJ was used. This was also helpful to distinguish the BJJ from what was being taught in traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu schools at the time.

Today, Jiu-Jitsu is practiced all over the world.  It has become an art that is for everyone and developed by everyone. The influences of many practitioners from different backgrounds have allowed for the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu to be even more powerful than ever before.  For this reason, Jiu-Jitsu belongs to humanity, not just to one country.


Some would debate that there is “American Jiu-Jitsu” because there are differences being taught in American schools, or practiced by American athletes.  These are amazing contributions to the sport and have allowed for the sport to become even more powerful. And the future will present even more contributions from different people from around the world. The development of the sport over time should not lead to division by calling it by different names.  It is just Jiu-Jitsu in all its forms, regardless of where, and by whom, it is practiced.

With the use of the internet, we have all become tied through the study of different techniques being developed by and executed on the world stage.  Because of this information sharing, Jiu-Jitsu has become much more robust and more people are starting their journey every day! This should be celebrated, and not debated as to who should get the credit for the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu.

A Part of the Global Community

Ultimately, all of us that practice Jiu-Jitsu love it and feel it has been of great value in our lives. Being a part of the global community that we belong to has opened us up to opportunities for self-improvement and a better quality of life. And that is true because of the contributions of the Japanese, the Brazilians, the Americans, and every other nationality that participates and discovers something new and shares it with the world.  

Jiu-Jitsu is a gift to humanity that we all get to be a part of and should not be claimed by any one group.

Want to learn more about the history and science behind Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu? Click Here.


Blog Written by Dawn Korsen, a Gracie Barra Brown Belt