HISTORY OF GRACIE JIU-JITSU
Jiu-Jitsu, the oldest form of martial art, originated in India more than 2,000 years B.C. It spread through China and eventually settled in Japan. In 1914, Japanese Jiu-Jitsu Champion Mitsuyo Maeda, better known as Count Koma, arrived in Brazil to help establish a Japanese immigration colony in that developing country. He was aided by Gastao Gracie, a Brazilian scholar and politician of Scottish decent.
To show his gratitude, the Jiu-Jitsu master taught the ancient fighting style to Gastao's son, Carlos Gracie. Carlos taught Maeda's techniques to his brothers: Oswaldo, Gastao, Jorge and most notably Helio and in 1925 they opened the first Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Botafogo, a district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
GRAND MASTER HELIO GRACIE
Helio, the youngest brother, who due to his frail health was forbidden from doing any kind of physical activity, got involved in this martial art at the age of 16 when he began substitute teaching for his brother Carlos. In spite of his small frame and weight of only 140 pounds, he became the mastermind behind the development of the style. Helio went a step further than his teachers by refining the techniques to utilize leverage and technique in place of strength as taught with the Japanese style.
Led by him, the brothers were driven by a constant determination to find effective ways to deal with the aspects fo a real fight. Daring to break away from the traditional Japanese style, they began experimenting, modifying and perfecting simple techniques, keeping only the ones that would be effective regardless of stature. That is how the Gracie family developed their style of Jiu-Jitsu. Many of the Japanese facets fo the art which depended on physical prowess and stiff motion were tossed aside, leaving only pure technique.
MASTER RELSON GRACIE
Relson Gracie, the 2nd oldest son of Helio Gracie, moved to Hawaii in 1988. He began competing at the tender age of 10 and learning Jiu-Jitsu at the even younger age of 2 years old. He was the Brazilian National Champion for 22 years straight, undefeated. During this time in Brazil, he became so popular with the crowds that he was given the nickname "Campeao" or "Champion", among his friends and fans.
Upon his arrival to Honolulu, it was with great pleasure that Relson got to introduce the art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the aloha state. Now retired from competing, Relson continues to enjoy teaching classes in Hawaii and has become quite fond fo the island life.