The roots of Jiu-Jitsu date back to the dawn of human civilization, and it has become phenomenally popular in the hearts and minds of the martial arts community. Its philosophy is based on two pillars:
The first pillar is the use of mental strength to gain an advantage over opponents. This will help not only in resisting strikes, but also in avoiding hostile situations and ultimately overcoming them.
The second pillar is the use of unarmed combat to improve fitness levels, flexibility, self-discipline, focus and composure. This discipline and focus also helps in setting and achieving targets.
HISTORY AND ORIGINS
Jiu-Jitsu shares some common roots with other martial arts. India is the birthplace of the sport, and Buddhist monks developed and refined its features. They focused on balance and strength to limit the use of weapons that were used at the time.
It then found its way to China and Japan where it attracted a lot of attention, participation, and popularity. Japanese Jiu-Jitsu techniques are known as “The Gentle Way,” and are based on the core values of loyalty, justice, morality, serenity, humility, honor, self-confidence, and respect.
Despite the emergence of various martial arts like Aikido, Karate and Judo, Jiu-Jitsu retained the true spirit and values of the original art.
In 1915, a Japanese fighter named Mitsuyo Maeda gave Jiu-Jitsu demonstrations and exhibition fights that quickly popularized the sport in Brazil. He settled in Belém and helped new Japanese immigrants to settle in the community while also teaching Jiu-Jitsu. One of his best students was a teenager called Carlos Gracie – the son of Gastão Gracie, who was a business partner of the American Circus in Belém.
Carlos Gracie soon became renowned for his skill, defeating opponents who were physically stronger than him. In 1925 he opened the Gracie Jujitsu Academy in Rio de Janeiro, the first academy of its kind, and helped to spread Maeda’s philosophy.
Between1940-2004, the Gracie family won many tournaments against physically superior fighters. For the Gracies, Jiu-Jitsu was more than just a martial art; it was a way of life. They refined the techniques of Jiu-Jitsu into a national sport that became known as ‘Brazilian-Jiu Jitsu’ and is practiced by martial artists all over the world.
JIU JITSU IN UAE
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has demonstrated his commitment to making the UAE a center for Jiu-Jitsu by designating it as the UAE’s national sport. This strengthens the philosophy of “healthy mind, healthy body” which aims to make Abu Dhabi a health-conscious society.
Following the launch of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club in 1999, the first year proved to be a major success with applications flooding in from around the world. This event is now regarded as the largest and most prestigious of its kind. With its new competition rules, the event was so successful that it soon branched out from Abu Dhabi to various countries.
The World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup was launched in 2009. Five years later, with the help of Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, this sport is now on the curriculum of over 100 Abu Dhabi government schools, benefiting more than 40,000 boys and girls.
The Jiu-Jitsu also greatly benefited from the support of His Highness Sheikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
In each country, Jiu-Jitsu was founded by a spiritual father who propelled its success and spread its popularity to different segments of society. In the UAE, the sport’s spiritual father is His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who deserves most of the credit for the rapid impact and evolution of the sport, and its spread across various areas.
His Highness first developed a passion for the sport in 1995 while studying in San Diego, US, where he was pursuing the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Enthusiasts of the sport were scattered in various parts of the US. HH Sheikh Tahnoon joined Gracie Barra, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Association, to learn the principles of Jiu-Jitsu. After his return to the UAE in 1997, HH Sheikh Tahnoon was keen to spread the sport across the country, due to its significant mental, physical and social benefits.
Abu Dhabi founded a Jiu-Jitsu club that same year, and the vision was to make the city the global capital of the Jiu-Jitsu community. New rules and a points system helped to minimize brutal strikes, with emphasis on using the hands to attack in a more tactical way. All this attracted more enthusiasts to the sport.
HH Sheikh Tahnoon is known for his deep passion in all types of martial arts, and he has mastered martial combat since childhood – including Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Sambo and others. In addition, he was the first Emirati to be awarded a black belt.
Jiu-Jitsu is a sport of the mind, body, and soul. It has great benefits for the individual and the wider community:
- Promotes greater strength, flexibility, agility and stamina
- Promotes weight loss
- Reduces cholesterol and builds a stronger heart
- Greater control of muscular and cardio-vascular health
- Learning techniques in a structured environment
- Improved blood circulation and reduced blood pressure
- Builds a stronger immune system
- Better balance, posture and graceful movements
- Greater speed of mind-to-body coordination
- Helps build more stable sleep patterns
- Builds self-confidence and self-esteem
- Teaches patience and composure
- Improves discipline and self-control
- Better ability to multi-task
- Enhances the ability to maintain concentration for long periods
- Promotes willpower, perseverance, hard work and commitment
- Encourages dignity and being humble
- Promotes a motivational and upbeat spirit even after setbacks
- A higher level of overall happiness
- Teaches respect for peers and adults
- Builds strong spirit of camaraderie and new friendships
- Maintains sportsmanship and the spirit of fairness
- BIncreases cooperation, interaction and teamwork
- Prioritizes self-defense instead of aggression
- Socio-economic benefits from reducing obesity and related health complications