Gracie Barra BJJ History

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Gracie Barra BJJ History

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or “BJJ” is a ground fighting system that has quickly popularized worldwide since its start in 1914 when Mitsuyo Maeda traveled to Brazil. Mitsuyo was an expert of several martial arts and was sent from Japan overseas to teach his martial arts. When Mitsuyo landed in Brazil he was teaching his martial arts and that is when members of the Gracie family became interested.


Gastao Gracie, a business man, allowed Mitsuyo to perform a “seminar” type demonstration showing various precursors to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu such as Japanese Jiu Jitsu, which is for the most part modern day Judo. Gastao brought his two sons to this martial arts seminar and they were both very interested.  His older son, Carlos Gracie was immediately interested and became a student of Mitsuyo. But, in the end it was his younger brother Helio Gracie who is widely credited as the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Carlos and Helio began teaching this art and relocated to Rio De Janeiro, the true home of BJJ. In my opinion BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) is the most complete martial art to this date. Although BJJ teaches strikes, there is no need to strike, no need to injure your opponent, it is a “smart” form of fighting. The way to submit your opponent is simple; make them tap-out either verbally or physically tapping you or the matt. The way to make your opponent tap is by way of submission, whether it is an arm bar, kimura, triangle choke, knee bar, etc. all of which are without strikes and do not require lots of strength; these techniques are based on speed and intelligence. A submission is either a choke, strangle, joint lock, or in some cases a pressure point.


I train at Gracie Barra Naples with my Dad and several others from Marco. We are fortunate to have a Gracie Balk Belt locally. I have studied other martial art forms with my Dad but still find that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the best and will continue to train in it for as long as I can, especially at a welcoming place like Gracie Barra (pronounced Bah-ha) Naples. GB Naples is run by Professor Paulo Ribeiro a 2nd degree Black Belt and his wife, martial artist and kickboxer, Natalie Ribeiro. There are less than 300 GB Black Belts in the world and less than a dozen Black Belts in Florida so having a Gracie Barra gym in Naples is awesome.


BJJ has been the quickest growing martial art over the past years. It has evolved from a Japanese form to a Brazilian ground fighting system to a complete martial art to one of the best martial arts in the world. It can be seen in grappling tournaments, self defense and MMA fights such as the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) which is the most popular fight company in the world and growing. BJJ is here to stay and is getting more popular everyday,


When asked, "What does Gracie Barra mean to you?" All of Professor Paulo’s students would have the same answer: A family. I love training in Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing. I know it makes my Dad proud because he has trained in the martial arts for over 30 years but it goes beyond that for me. I am proud to be a part of the Gracie family and confident in my abilities. I look forward to competing in a NAGA (North American Grappling Association) sanctioned tournament and will keep you updated.


For more information on Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu contact Professor Paulo Ribeiro at (239) 331-7320 or visit their website at:

again i welcome comments and if i have misstated somehting or have incorrect info let me know. thank you alex

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