What is Jiu Jitsu martial Arts?
F or several years, Kodokan Judo reigned supreme. All subsequent challengers representing traditional styles were defeated, and the superiority of Kodokan Judo appeared unassailable. Then, about the turn of the Nineteenth Century a monumental event occurred when the Kodokan was challenged by a man named Mataemon Tanabe. Tanabe was the headmaster of an obscure system of classical Jiu Jitsu, the Fusen Ryu. The Fusen Ryu was unlike the other Jiu Jitsu styles that had sought to test their techniques against the Kodokan; Fusen Ryu fighters were expert at fighting on the ground, an area conspicuously lacking in the Kodokan syllabus of technique (up to this point in its evolution, Judo techniques were almost entirely composed of stand up throwing methods). In the matches that followed, all representatives of Kodokan Judo were taken to the ground and submitted by the fighters of the Fusen Ryu. The results of the Kodokan-Fusen Ryu matches highlighted the relevance and importance of ground fighting techniques in dramatic fashion, and Kano invited Tanabe to teach ground grappling at the Kodokan. Ground fighting became very popular at the Kodokan, and all students began practicing both throwing and ground grappling techniques. At about the time the grappling techniques of the Fusen Ryu entered the Kodokan curriculum, a young man named Mitsuyo Maeda began his Judo training.
Takeda Motsuge, founder of Fusen Ryu
M itsuyo Maeda (1878-1941) was a martial arts prodigy who eventually became one of the greatest fighters in the history of Judo. Maeda originally practiced classical styles of Jiu Jitsu, eventually entering the Kodokan to study Judo. After remaining undefeated in Judo tournament competition, Kano sent Maeda to the U.S.A. in 1904 to spread the message of Kodokan Judo. Over the course of his career, Maeda fought in literally hundreds of matches, grappling with and without the gi, and fighting in "mixed" matches (that included striking and kicking, commonly referred to as "no-holds-barred" fights). During his travels, Maeda fought in the United States, Great Britain, continental Europe, Cuba, Mexico and finally Brazil. Throughout his career as a professional fighter, after engaging in over 1, 000 free fights, Maeda retired without ever losing a match. The culmination of Maeda's training in classical Jiu Jitsu and especially Judo, tempered by his extensive combat experience against all types of challengers, resulted in a realistic, street effective method of fighting.
Mataemon Tanabe, fourth headmaster of Fusen Ryu
M itsuyo Maeda finally settled in Brazil and opened an academy of "Jiu Jitsu" . One of his students was a young man named Carlos Gracie. After studying with Maeda for several years during the 1920's, Carlos opened his own academy in 1925. Carlos and his brothers established a solid reputation by issuing the now famous "Gracie Challenge" . All challengers were welcome to come and fight with the Gracies in no-holds-barred (NHB) matches. The Gracie fighters emerged victorious against fighters of all different backgrounds. The Gracies continued to develop the strategies and techniques they learned from Maeda, honing their skills with the realities of real fighting.