Brazilian Martial Arts Have an Ancient History

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Other Art Forms

Brazil is a country famous for its sports and Brazilian martial arts is part of that.

The country has created its own forms and perfected other styles and made it their own, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The contestants have performed in international competitions, and the styles they created have developed a following elsewhere in the world.


This is a style of martial arts that was created by descendants of African slaves and combined martial arts and sports with music. It is marked by sneaky and complicated movements with acrobatics that is often played on the ground.

Capoeira uses sweeping leg kicks, along with knee and elbow strikes, takedowns, punches and headbutting. It has been taught in other countries since the 1970s.

The ginga is the basic movement in the sport and is used both for attack and defense. It is a constant moving back and forth, which protects the person since they are a moving target. It also uses fake moves to fool the opponent so they cannot predict an actual attack move.

Most attacks are made with the lower body, like kicks or sweeps, to take down the opponent. Defense is made up of moves to avoid an attack rather than blocking it. Moves such as a roll on the floor or a cartwheel can allow the participant to recover from a take down or prepare for an attack.

When learning the sport, you earn different colored strings for each level you complete. There are six colors to reach the point where you can teach Capoeira, according to the Brazilian Capoeira Confederation. However, different groups use different methods of assigning rank.

There are basically three styles to Capoeira. The Angola style uses the methods and components before 1920. The Regional style began in 1920 and removed much of the extra components that were not part of the original Capoeira and would not be helpful in a fight.

The Contemporanea is used to describe a style that uses parts of the other two as well as new elements that have been added. It can also be used to describe the combination of Capoeira with other forms of Brazilian martial arts and is often seen as the natural progression of the sport.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Many people think that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu originated as one of the Brazilian martial arts. It actually originated in Japan, but modifications were made and new elements added to create a new style called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

It began in Brazil in the 1910s and is a combination of martial art, self-defense, and a combat sport. It usually involves most of the time spent fighting on the ground and submission holds.

In 1917, Carlos Gracie saw a demonstration and decided to learn the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu even though it was not named that at the time and it was still mostly in the Japanese style. He taught it to his younger brothers, even the youngest, Helio. Helio was frail and unable to do many of the moves so he changed things to better fit his abilities.

The Gracie family, including Helio, is credited with developing the sport into what would later be Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and would become one of the most well-known Brazilian martial arts forms.

There are people today who differentiate their style from the others by naming it Gracie Jiu Jitsu because it focused more on self-defense than in fighting.

Other Brazilian Martial Arts

Other forms of Brazilian martial arts exist even though they are not as popular outside of the country as Capoeira and Jiu Jitsu. One such form is the Lura Livre, which was created by Hatem who defeated George Gracie in a match.

The term lura livre means free fight. The skills were created in Rio de Janeiro and use a submission style, including chokeholds and locks to take down an opponent. Stand up skills such as punching and kicking round out the Lura Livre style of martial arts.

Lura Livre is similar to mixed martial arts and is used in combat situations for self-defense or to take out an enemy. It has not achieved the international status that many other martial art forms have due to not having a recognizable champion to promote it.

Another Brazilian martial arts form is the Vale Tudo. This is a Portuguese word that means everything allowed. It is a full contact sport with a combat style technique.

Vale Tudo became popular in Brazil circuses during the early part of the twenty-first century. It wasn?t until mid-century that it gained popularity outside the circus. A television show featured matches between opponents who practiced different Brazilian martial arts and this term was used to describe the matches.

After a fighter suffered a broken arm and the show was canceled, Vale Tudo became an underground sport around Rio de Janeiro and fights were held in small gymnasiums. Fights also took place in the northern and southern regions.

Rorion Gracie helped Vale Tudo become a phenomenon when he went to the United States and began the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. Many Vale Tudo championships took place after this in different countries, including Japan and Brazil.

After Sao Paulo prohibited the style of fighting as a sanctioned sport, it lost much of its popularity. Today, you will see fights in Brazil, but they are mainly kept underground due to the violent nature of the bouts.

Brazil is known for its excellence in many sports and martial arts is one of them. Besides competing in various forms, the country has created several forms that have resulted in differing degrees of acceptance and acclaim throughout the world.

Brazilian martial arts is a sport unique to the country's sporting style, but it has been accepted in many other countries. Like any other sport, it is a source of pride to those who cheer for the athletes and watch them win competitions.

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