Gracie Barra ArizonaGracie Barra Arizona

Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone
  • 16033 N. 77th St. Suite B Scottsdale
  • Scottsdale AZ 85260 United States
  • 717-0222

History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

There are many theories as to where modern day martial arts originated. What we do know is, people have been fighting each other for different reasons, as long as history can tell. Out of all the fighting came many different styles and the culture of the martial artist. Today, one of the most unique martial arts is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

carlos gracie


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a relatively new martial art. Its origins can be distinctly traced to the Gracie family. The name Gracie is synonymous with Jiu-Jitsu. The family is not only credited with the creation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but could be the most recognized family name within all of martial arts.

It began in 1914 when a Judo fighter by the name of Mitsuyo Maeda arrived in Brazil. In 1917 he would cross paths with a 14-year-old boy by the name of Carlos Gracie. Maeda went on to take young Carlos as a student, teaching him several fighting techniques from Maeda’s fighting style. Carlos Gracie took those teachings and eventually opened the first Gracie academy in 1925.




Heilo Gracie

Carlos had brothers. One of which was named Hélio. Hélio Gracie wasn’t very big or very strong. Some of the techniques he learned were designed for those more physically capable. His technical nature allowed him to modify the traditional Jiu-Jitsu techniques in such a way that allowed the smaller person to use technique to beat a larger opponent. These changes would eventually create an entirely new system of martial art that would be popularized and promoted by brothers Carlos and Hélio. The new fighting style would eventually be known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu started to grow more in popularity as the family took on challenges and fought in several competitions. Every victory the Gracie family had helped to popularize Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Traditional martial arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do dominated the mainstream in the 1970’s to the 1990’s. Grappling styles were foreign to most martial artists (wrestlers being the exception). It wasn’t until the Gracie family showcased Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu during the Ultimate Fighting Championship did the martial art community really take notice. This event pinned people of different fighting backgrounds against each other. Royce Gracie representing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu won the event, stimulating Jiu-Jitsu’s growth the past two decades.

Carlos Gracie Junior

Carlos Gracie Junior


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has come a long way in very little time due to the Gracie family. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the few martial arts that is still evolving. Carlos Gracie Junior carries the Gracie name today. New techniques are being created and passed down from teacher to student. Though the Gracie family is still a large part of Jiu-Jitsu, the art now grows through the new students that carry on the spirit and traditions set forth by the Gracie family.


Read more about the theology behind Gracie Barra schools HERE.

Learn About Gracie Barra Scottsdale

Gracie Barra is opening a new school in Scottsdale, AZ — one of many schools coming to Arizona, and the second in the state of Arizona. If you are interested in trying Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Gracie Barra Scottsdale you can email Or check out our Red Shield Founder or Barra Premium Memberships for the chance to become a part of Gracie Barra Scottsdale history. The first 50 members will save $100 and get a free uniform, and become a part of our history.

~ Patrick J. Flores

patrick-flores-writer-gracie-barra-brazilian-jiu-jitsu-scottsdale-az About the Author: Patrick’s love for martial arts began early on in life. He was greatly          influenced by pop culture and the desire to mimic figures he saw on TV. This sparked his love affair with combat sports and the culture behind it. He obtained a BA in History from California State Polytechnic University Pomona and wrote his senior thesis on the development of Martial Arts within the United States. During this time, he practiced Karate, eventually receiving his black belt under Sensei Ray and Shawna Ginocchio in 2011. Soon after achieving his black belt in Karate, he began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Patrick is currently holding a purple belt under Professor Rafael Olivera and trains out of Gracie Barra Chino. In addition to training in jiu-jitsu, Patrick attends California State University Fullerton for his MBA. He hopes to one day use his experience, education, and passion for martial arts to develop a rewarding career.

Twitter: @patjflores

Instagram: @patjflores @bjjfotos

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