ORIGINS of BJJ by Brazilian Historian

Below is an email written to me a few years back from Brazilian historian Carlos Loddo. This is a small part of the email that Loddo wrote to me and has some interesting statements such as how the term jiu jitsu was used and other facts about Brazils BJJ history.
But there are some other statements here that are PROFOUND in my opinion. Like Maedas training and what he was teaching to the Gracies.

However, i wont release the full email unless i have Mr. Loddos permission. Suffice it to say that the
information below is not mine but gleaned from the
research of Professor Loddo.
In sharing this, please note that i have great respect for the Judo and Jiu Jitsu communities.
Remember, its not about US and THEM. Judo and Jiu Jitsu practitioners are part of the same family please set aside your ego and remember that this is one historians point of view.
BELOW IS THE THE EMAIL.


The Gracies (at least, Carlos Gracie) had trained with
Maeda from 1917-1920 or 1921. This means that they
learned directly from him for three to four full
years. This was BEFORE Maeda was involved with
immigration affairs. Maeda used the "Jiu-Jitsu" term
predominantly, in those days.

Now, leaving terms aside, and entering into what the
terms stand for... I don't think Maeda in that period
would have taught much according to the Kodokan
curriculum. BE AWARE! The Kodokan curriculum included
LOTS OF KATA TRAINING, which CERTAINLY was not what
Maeda was worried about teaching.

Maeda HAD BEEN INVOLVED FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS IN NHB,
all around the West!!! He had stayed for long in
countries with living WEST WRESTLING traditions, so he
certainly learned a lot of it! He had been for years
practicing and traveling with Fusen-Ryu fighters, so
he certainly has learned its methodology! NOT TO
MENTION THAT HE WAS THE VERY BEST KODOKAN FIGHTER IN
HIS DAYS. Mifune, the Kodokan's God was easily thrown
by Maeda, who was a senior of his at the Kodokan.

YES, THERE WERE TATAMIS improvised (with saw-dust) at
Belem, in the well known places Maeda has been
teaching. However, the ceiling was not that high. You
see, people were LIVING ON NHB, so what would be the
point on training lots of old Judo katas, inherited
from Jiu-Jitsu schools, and some developed later by
Kano? They would practice ground-grappling, mostly.
Secondly, what could resemble katas would be what we
simply call "self-defense" in Brazil.

When people say that BJJ has "no katas", it is more
the RITUALISTIC part of it that is not there! It also
lacks the SPECIFIC katas found in the Kodokan series.
But the self-defense practice is quite "formal", in
the sense that we KNOW who is doing the role of an
attacker, and who is doing the role of a defender,
isn't so? Not to mention that nobody in a BJJ class
would put a student to grapple freely, without first
teaching some basic techniques, practiced in a more or
less "formal" way.

What Maeda seems to have done would be focusing in the
movements that would work in NHB situations. What
would you expect?

So, THAT is what the Gracies learned from him. And he
called THAT Jiu-Jitsu. They kept teaching THAT, and
they kept using THAT name.

Judo in Japan had OTHER DEVELOPMENTS. So, why SHOULD
we call what the Gracies learned, preserved and
DEVELOPED (following the same guidelines) "Jiu-Jitsu"?

This is nonsense. Whatever Maeda's role in teaching what became bjj, there is no question that he founded judo in Brazil http://www.judobrasil.net/historia3.htm

Maeda was a direct student of Kano who went overseas as a Kododan judo representative.

Koga - This is nonsense. Whatever Maeda's role in teaching what became bjj, there is no question that he founded judo in Brazil http://www.judobrasil.net/historia3.htm

Maeda was a direct student of Kano who went overseas as a Kododan judo representative.


pretty much this. Add in the fact that of course his fighting experience shaped how he taught things and he prob learned more things to add in during his travels. But it would be like say learning BJJ from a modern mma guy. Would he have elements of judo, sambo, and wrestling in what he taught? Absolutely. Would he show you other aspects you may not have considered or variations in basic moves that he has found to work. Yep. But would the main core of what you were learning still be bjj? Absolutely. The Gracies learned kodokan judo w his own personal refinements then took it and made it their own (something we should all be thankful for). Nothing more, nothing less.

Is drilling a move or series of moves that different from kata?

torquemada - Is drilling a move or series of moves that different from kata?


Not really IMHO. In BJJ, I was taught and you see it in some BJJ books where from the closed guard, you force the guy to post his arm and you go to the Kimura, and he reacts, and you turn that into a hip bump sweep or switch to a guillotine. I still see it taught to white belts. That's a kata.

I think eventually if you were a samurai during the warring states period in Japan, after any amount of training where you learned kata, you'll be on the battlefield soon enough and figure out what works or doesn't hopefully where you survive to contemplate on the effectiveness and your experience.

Though Kano has randori or controlled sparring, he still has kata in his system. Whether or not it's practiced diligently by Judokas nowadays and encouraged by instructors is another concern. But if you train in boxing, I don't see why mitt training and trainers' specific attacks and counters aren't considered a form of kata?

You have people getting into MMA/BJJ with no historical and cultural background dismissing TMA because they took TKD 1 year as a little kid. That's not having a good understanding of asian martial arts.

What we do know for certain is that Maeda had a Judo background. Now whether or not his matches in the ring were approved by the Kodokan or not, it appears debatable. He fought in grappling matches in Europe, US, and Latin America. He had a comrade by the name of Satake and it appears they had some form of match against one another as well. Maeda taught apparently and Carlos Gracie was one of his students. Carlos didn't learn much than a year more or less at Maeda's school and may have learned from Maeda's assistant instructors to continue his education when he started his own academy only after a year of training.

He also fought challenge matches and most likely imitated and was taken by Maeda's fighting prowess. Carlos and his brothers were small guys and Helio said often that he had a little man's complex and jiujitsu helped him overcome bigger opponents but lessened his complex where he had the confidence to defeat larger opponents.

In Gracie magazine, there was an article about George Gracie and his main student was interviewed. It shed light on how common vale tudo was back then. George Gracie would even push or encourage his student to fight in gi matches but also vale tudo.

Thanks for your input kingbongg. It is fun to learn
more about the history of jiu jitsu.
As far as source material, where is your information regarding carlos only learning under maeda for one year?

Good to have some guys here interested in sifting through the history. there seems to be just one story about the Gracie family, but citing where you gathered the information is critical for serious students interested in accurate historical documentation.
thanks again, Koma

CountKomaNewsletter,
Carlos Gracie learning under Maeda or his assistant instructors? I believe the Gracies themselves such as the Gracieacademy.com says a few years.

Carlos Loddo?
It's ironic as I have an article from a martial arts magazine which has an article by a Brazilian Judoka, Rildo Heros de Medeiros (Budo International magazine, Number 35, Jan/Feb 2007. issue). Article title: Count Koma: The Real History of the predecessor of modern Jiu-Jitsu. Rildo mentions Carlos Loddo, Gotta Tsutsumi (belem), Noryio Koiyama, Stanley Virgilio as those who assisted with his research of Maeda's history. It's interesting how it mentions that Maeda and his friends such as Satake fought challengers with open strikes to the face but not closed fists. Maeda liked to finish with armlocks. Fights didn't last long (about a minute) as Maeda took them down and submitted on the ground. Rildo argues that his research shows that Maeda wanted to spread "Combat Judo" and not "Sports Judo" which "forced" Maeda and Satake to strike out on their own to spread their combat Judo through bouts and presentations.

Carlos learned from Maeda "at the academy that Maeda opened up in 1916 at the salons of the Modern Film Theatre, located at next to the Church of the Nazareth (today it is a plaza)." Maeda advertised his school in the newspapers and the first student was "the dock worker Jacinto Ferro. He was fro the Greco-Roman school and was the first Brazilian to learn Jiu-Jitsu He was Koma's instructor and he helped him give classes to Carlos."

It was Satake who open up his own school in January 1916 in Manaus and taught Luis Franca who trained master Fadda." Satake also taught Vinicius Ruas the uncle of Marcos Ruas.

Rildo was suppose to have coauthored a book on Maeda and BJJ with a journalist named Leanderson Lima.

Here's a good account of one grappling match by one of Maeda's opponent, Hjalmar Lundin:

http://www.google.com/search?q=maeda+%2B+hjalmar+lundin&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

According to this link, Carlos trained for 4 years before he opened his school:

"However, whether or not the Gracie family were the first Brazilians to learn from Japanese martial artists, they were definitely the most successful, so it is their name which looms largest in later history. There is some disagreement about just how long Carlos trained under Maeda: Carley Gracie, one of Carlos' sons, claims that his father began at 17, opening his first academy four years later in Belèm. [19]"

link: http://sites.google.com/site/mixedmartialartsrankings/home/mixed-martial-arts-hall-of-fame/mitsuyo-count-koma-maeda---the-man-who-taught-the-gracies

This site also has a fair assessment of Judo and Jiujitsu in Brazil:

http://www.delcobjj.com/

"Though Kano has randori or controlled sparring, he still has kata in his system. Whether or not it's practiced diligently by Judokas nowadays and encouraged by instructors is another concern. But if you train in boxing, I don't see why mitt training and trainers' specific attacks and counters aren't considered a form of kata?"

I partially agree. Kano, and Draeger in his book on "Formal Techniques," laments the lack of kata practice and the overemphasis on competition. Kata was/is seen by many as a good way to warm up, to practice equally on both sides of the body (Judo as physical education as opposed to Judo as pure sport), and to practice techniques that might not immediately come out in a full-blown competition, where one is much more likely to be conservative.

So this may be a matter of semantics, but I would drop the word kata, due to its connotations of absolutely predetermined and largely fossilized techniques, always done in the exact same order. Rather we could use words like drilling and slow/flow rolling. Rickson and many others have emphasized drilling over mere free sparring.

Drilling and flow rolling with somewhere between zero and moderate resistance are great ways to gain all the benefits of kata--warming up, working both sides of the body equally, and trying new moves that you wouldn't dare in competition--with none of the drawbacks.

...One more interesting part of the evolution of Japanese jiu jitsu to Kodokan judo to Brazilian jiu jitsu that hasn't been discussed much here is the largely post-UFC conversion of many Brazilian judo players to Brazilian jiu jitsu.

Guys like Joe Moreira, of course, did it early on, but guys like Marcos Barbosa came much later. Of course, the business opportunities associated with jiu jitsu after the UFC may have something to do with it, but I think there is more.

It may be the ability to "add" so much to their judo that was taken away with successive rule modifications--leg locks, more time to work on the ground, not ending the fight because of one takedown, etc. I am sure each individual has his or her own motivations, but in any case this is an interesting part of the whole evolution that gets little press.

Of course we could also talk about guys like Jacare, who did both from the beginning, and Roger, who went "back" to judo for all of its advantages.

John Frankl - "Though Kano has randori or controlled sparring, he still has kata in his system. Whether or not it's practiced diligently by Judokas nowadays and encouraged by instructors is another concern. But if you train in boxing, I don't see why mitt training and trainers' specific attacks and counters aren't considered a form of kata?"

I partially agree. Kano, and Draeger in his book on "Formal Techniques," laments the lack of kata practice and the overemphasis on competition. Kata was/is seen by many as a good way to warm up, to practice equally on both sides of the body (Judo as physical education as opposed to Judo as pure sport), and to practice techniques that might not immediately come out in a full-blown competition, where one is much more likely to be conservative.

So this may be a matter of semantics, but I would drop the word kata, due to its connotations of absolutely predetermined and largely fossilized techniques, always done in the exact same order. Rather we could use words like drilling and slow/flow rolling. Rickson and many others have emphasized drilling over mere free sparring.

Drilling and flow rolling with somewhere between zero and moderate resistance are great ways to gain all the benefits of kata--warming up, working both sides of the body equally, and trying new moves that you wouldn't dare in competition--with none of the drawbacks.

Agreed.

And the same argument can be made for uchikomi vs. Matt Thornton's views on aliveness. I've never looked at uchikomi or the techniques contained within judo's kata as dead patterns relative to those in other martial arts. Instead, I've always viewed uchikomi as a way to warm up and the self-defense techniques as something (of value) to practice/keep in mind "just in case"... And even the formal kata training itself that is done for demonstrations and/or competition. Is it as rehearsed/prearranged as shotokan's heian kata? Perhaps. But I think the underlying mindset in the motivation to practice them is different. In karate I think people believe kata has direct application to performance/self-defense. And in judo I think people believe its as a means of cataloging techniques, pays homage to judo's roots(ie: their "formal" nature), and is simply a character benefit re: the concentration/discipline needed to perform the kata in a correct and aesthestically pleasing way. I also think that when you get to a certain non-competitive age, kata practice is just plain fun. ;)

interesting thread. keep adding info!

Good stuff Kingbongg. I was unaware of Maedas bout with Lundin.
http://martialhistory.com/2007/11/mitsuyo-maeda-vs-hjalmar-lundin/

But the timeline is very unique as it places Maeda as practicing jiu jitsu/judo for some 15 years. By the time Maeda is said to have met the gracies it was 1917 and at that point Maeda had been practicing for 22 years!
the point of this is simply when Maeda is recorded as having started teaching Carlos Gracie, he wasnt a wet-behind-the-ears black belt. Maeda was an experienced martial artist with YEARS of vale tudo experience and a WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE.

With that in consideration, imagine Carlos Gracie learning under Maeda. Again Carlos wasnt learning from a new black belt, he learned from a world renowned champion whose experience and technical knowledge of moves must have been clearly encyclopedic! And his manner of teaching superior to many others.

Good stuff again and nice to read researched history and not speculation.
CK

I agree with CountKoma. But I am a bit confused about this part:

"With that in consideration, imagine Carlos Gracie learning under Maeda. Again Carlos wasnt learning from a new black belt, he learned from a world renowned champion whose experience and technical knowledge of moves must have been clearly encyclopedic! And his manner of teaching superior to many others."

How do we make the leap from good fighter/technician to superior teacher? Maybe, but these things are often unrelated.

 Its fairly common knowledge that  a lot of people used JIU JITSU instead of JUDO.



where is the shocker here?

have you never looked up judo manuvers?

John Frankl,
To answer your query regarding my appraisal of maedas teaching abilities, I arrived at my answer in this manner.
Firstly, Maeda learned under a world renowned teacher, Jigoro Kano. Maeda would have certainly received the best instruction under Kano and Kanos example as a teacher and his approach to teaching would have left a deep impression on Maeda.

Secondly, Maeda traveled the world sharing jiu jitsu. Kano specifically chose him as an ambassador of a martial art that would eventually be taught in most countries of the world. If Maeda wasn’t a good teacher, why would Kano have chosen him? you might answer that he was the most skilled of the Kodokan, but I highly doubt that Kano would have picked someone who didn’t also have good ability to share his unique innovative martial art.

And finally, there is no evidence that suggests that Maeda was a poor teacher. If Maeda had students and schools in Brazil before he taught Carlos Gracie, it would suggest that he was successful in his calling as one of Kanos key representatives.
In addition, he must have certainly conveyed an extremely technical knowledge of jiu jitsu to the Gracie family or I would suppose they may not have really embraced the gentle art as they did. In sum, I would only suggest that Maedas success in setting up schools in Brazil and sharing the valued information from the Kodokan would indicate very strong teaching abilities as well as being a world class fighter.

Sorry for the long winded answer, Count Koma

CountKomaNewsletter - Secondly, Maeda traveled the world sharing jiu jitsu. Kano specifically chose him as an ambassador of a martial art that would eventually be taught in most countries of the world. If Maeda wasn’t a good teacher, why would Kano have chosen him? you might answer that he was the most skilled of the Kodokan, but I highly doubt that Kano would have picked someone who didn’t also have good ability to share his unique innovative martial art.

He didn't, actually. Maeda was Tomita's student and traveled the world, initially, as his(Tomita) assistant. By the accounts I've read it wasn't until Tomita lost face in a couple of demonstrations/challenges which took place in the U.S. that he and Maeda parted ways, with Maeda first heading to europe, if I'm not mistaken, before finally settling in Brazil.

Thanks MGT,
I am referencing Danaher's book on this. But my original emphasis still stands that Maeda would most certainly have had enough of Kano's Kodokan education to intelligently impart jiu jitsu to aspiring learners.
However, your clarificatino is duly noted as i did read that Tomita's cultural education and limited english would open more doors, hence he was the senior most representative of the Kodokan.

No worries. The 4 guardians(Tomita, Yamashita, Yokoyama, and Saigo) were special and they were dispatched for a reason(ie: senior judoka, educated, and skilled). So for Maeda to have been chosen by Tomita it would've meant he was most certainly up to par(ie: why wouldn't an aging Tomita want a young, skilled, fightin' minded sob to join him?) and acting/representing the kodokan in an official capacity(ie: demonstrations, accepting challenges, and learning from others along the way).

Where it gets hazy is after he parted ways with Tomita and began 'fighting' people as opposed to accepting grappling style challenges. I certainly don't know for sure, but I've read/heard conflicting reports re: Kano's opinion of his participation in those types of challenges and whether he remained part of the kodokan or eventually went rogue.

TTT, thanks!

good stuff