In the year of 2006 given the illustrious career (world championships amongst several other titles) of Master Nilton Garcia, he was then invited to lecture seminars throughout Europe. With his vast experience he gave Europe an insight into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as well as self defence.
After the seminars he returned to Brazil, however during his European tour he noticed a lack of BJJ Academies and practitioners in Europe.
In 2014 with the objective of creating new national federations in many major European cities, Master Nilton Garcia founded The European Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (EBJJF) with the vision of unitying all European federations under one shield, resulting in stronger more ethical sport, keeping the roots of the Gracie Family Jiu-Jitsu.
Being a Master of the "Gentle Art" his mind would not rest and so he returned to Europe in 2007 setting his strong foundation opening his first Dojo of the BJJ Art in the heart of London UK, also bringing with him a vision of expansion and promotion of the BJJ as a sport.
Master Nilton Garcia discovered many people in Europe were hungry to learn the techniques, discipline and principles of BJJ the “Gentle Art". He realised a lack of discipline in some troubled areas and started working closely with the community with the main focus on children, youths and women.In 2009 he started promoting BJJ throughout Europe organising many competitions.
2006 - Master Nilton Garcia arrives in Europe and establishes EBJJF (European Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation)
After spending years under the close guidance of some of the best Gracie family instructors in Brazil, Master Nilton Garcia was able to achieve outstanding results in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu international competitions.
Master Nilton Garcia was able to incorporate into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu t the same style of self defence given to the CIA by Rocian Gracie Jr., these are the same self-defence principles the he brings to his courses today.
2000 – Globalization of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
2000 - Such an impact in the martial arts world caused a high level of demand for Jiu-Jitsu instruction in all corners of the world. Qualified Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belts were invited to many different countries to teach seminars to those who were intrigued by this dominating fighting style they had never seen or heard about before.
These well-rounded instructors and athletes were offered opportunities to teach abroad and many of them accepted them, settling down in different countries.
In 1993, that assumption faced its most challenging test when Rorion Gracie put together the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as a contest between athletes from different martial art styles. The world was shocked when a lighter and “apparently” weaker Royce Gracie defeated all his opponents by fighting mainly on the ground using choke holds or joint-locks to make his opponents give up the fight.
Suddenly, martial artists from all different backgrounds realized if they did not know Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu, all they knew about fighting was worthless against a Jiu-Jitsu fighter. That realization triggered what many call the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu revolution in martial arts. A big shift of focus and training towards ground fighting followed.
1993 – The BJJ Revolution
1993 - While Jiu-Jitsu evolved to never before achieved levels of technical development in ground fighting in Brazil, all the other disciplines like Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Judo became really popular due to Hollywood movies and the Olympic games. While those martial art styles have great techniques, they are restricted to just one aspect of real combat and only work under a set of rules that ensure the circumstances in which the techniques are effective. Generations of martial artists spend many years learning one aspect of fighting (i.e. striking, take downs, or pinning), believing that would be sufficient under real combat situations.
During his teenage years, Rolls had the opportunity to visit many different countries where he learned Sambo, Judo, and Greco-Roman Wrestling. A black belt at the age of 16, Rolls grew into a solid and cut young man with a great vision for Jiu-Jitsu and his career as a fighter and instructor. One of the ways he found he could grow the sport was by competing in tournaments as a way to engage more people in the sport. In 1976, Rolls participated in his first No Holds Barred (Vale-Tudo) Fight. He took the fight after a Karate Instructor challenged him by questioning the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu during a TV show demonstration.
The challenge was promptly accepted and many matches were arranged between Jiu-Jitsu fighters and Karate Fighters. All Jiu-Jitsu fighters won that night, but the main event was certainly the one to catch more attention. Rolls Gracie and the Karate Master fought for a few minutes with Rolls applying a beautiful take down, controlling his opponent’s back and finishing the fight with a rear naked choke.
Rolls also started his own Gracie School following a pattern created by Carlson that would soon be followed by many members of the second generation of the Gracie Family. Being so close to Carlson, Rolls shared the same facility with him where they would teach on alternate days.
Unfortunately, Rolls had a lot left to do, but was unable to finish it all. His legacy still lives strong among us. At the age of 31, Rolls Gracie passed away in a hang gliding accident on the mountains of Rio de Janeiro.
1990 – Jiu-Jitsu also becomes a national sport
1990 - The roots of the sport of Jiu-Jitsu can be traced back to the first generation of fighters of the Gracie Family. While Carlos and Helio remained mainly in Rio de Janeiro during their prime years as instructors, Oswaldo and George moved to different states within the country and started their own branches of the Gracie School. With time, each one of these branches naturally generated new instructors and the schools continued to pass along their Jiu-Jitsu knowledge.
That process continued and was accelerated when the second generation of fighters from the Gracie Family started their own schools, mainly Rolls and Carlson, in the 70′s. By the last few decades of the 20th century, there were enough schools and competitors to have numerous tournaments, with most of them taking place in Rio de Janeiro under the tutelage of the Jiu- Jitsu Federation of that State.
During the 70′s and 80′s, tournaments served the purpose of stimulating students’ commitment to training, learning, and excelling in the art of Jiu-Jitsu. The rivalry among schools over who was going to win the next contest fueled the motivation of young students, which helped the growth of the schools and the sport in general.
In 1994, Carlos Gracie Jr. launched a strong initiative to gather support to start the Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu Federation, which created uniform rules for tournaments and organized the first Brazilian Nationals Championship.
The work of the Jiu-Jitsu Instructors, the Brazilian Confederation, and the state level federations to organize tournaments, define a common set of rules, and institutionalize Jiu-Jitsu as a national sport in Brazil, were crucial to maintain the identity of the sport and keep Carlos Gracie Sr.’s legacy alive.
More than that, Rolls played a key role in maintaining Jiu-Jitsu as an important sport in Brazil. In the 70′s, the country was under turbulent political times established by the military dictatorship and Jiu-Jitsu was losing its glamour since the media coverage was not as strong as it was previously. Using his talent, charisma, and leadership abilities, Rolls influenced an entire generation of young people in Rio de Janeiro towards the practice of Jiu-Jitsu and a healthy lifestyle.
Rolls started training Jiu-Jitsu as a little kid and at the age of 12 started to help his uncle Helio with classes at the Gracie School. Rolls was also really close to Carlson, his older brother, from whom he learned a great deal as well.
Extremely talented and committed to training and achieving his full potential as a fighter, Rolls Gracie also had a very open mind and strong desire to learn whatever he could to make his Jiu- Jitsu better. What impressed many was not only his physical quality and sharp techniques, but also his strong character and commitment to becoming the best he could be.
1970 – The Rolls Gracie Era
1970 - Roles – as friends and family called him – was another Jiu-Jitsu genius who added an enormous contribution to the development of the art. According to Master Carlos Gracie Jr., Rolls was the link between the “old Jiu-Jitsu” and the “modern Jiu-Jitsu” practiced today.
1955 - Carlson Gracie (1932) emerged as the family’s number one fighter right after Helio’s defeat to Valdemar Santana in 1955. At the age of 43, Helio could not maintain the physical level required to allow him to compete at his best. The reputation of the Gracie family was hurt when Valdemar, a former student, defeated Helio Gracie, so Carlson was called upon to bring the family name back toCarlson defeated Valdemar Santana and moved on to become the main fighter of the family for decades to come. His many battles in the ring made him a famous young man and fueled his desire to start his own Gracie School. He established his branch in Copacapana, Rio de Janeiro and started to build his own group of students and fighters. Carlson had a very important role in stimulating the competitiveness in Jiu-Jitsu that further contributed to the technical development of the art. Very competitive himself, Carlson built a strong team of young athletes that had a remarkable performance on the 70′s and 80′s at the already many emerging Jiu-Jitsu tournaments held in Brazil.
1955 – The Carlson Gracie Era
As Carlos grew older and became more dedicated to his research in nutrition and exercise, and more committed to his quest for spiritual enlightenment, Helio took over the family business and became really involved in running the Gracie School. At this point, it was a much bigger facility located in downtown Rio de Janeiro.
Carlos, Gastao, Oswaldo, and Helio built the first generation of Gracie fighters. Although Carlos and Helio ended up being really close and spending decades working and living together, all four brothers had an enormous contribution to the growth of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil in the first half of the 20th century.
Carlos was really busy teaching and managing the family business, so Helio’s first lessons in BJJ were delegated to his other brothers, Gastao and Oswaldo. It was not until later that Carlos started to notice Helio’s talent, and dedicated more time to teach and train him.
Helio’s small size and relatively weak physical condition made it difficult to execute some of the positions properly. In order to progress and earn the attention and admiration of his older brothers, especially Carlos, Helio had to research alternate jiu-jitsu methods, which worked for him. His discoveries emphasized leverage and timing over strength and speed.
The adaptations of techniques Helio learned from his brothers were mastered through trial and error with the end result being the further development and refinement of the Jiu-Jitsu Gracie.
Under the tutelage of his brother, instructor, and mentor Carlos, Helio participated in countless fights, including a 3 hour 43 minute fight against a former student, Valdemar Santana. Helio’s courage, tenacity, and discipline turned him into a national hero.
1932 – The Helio Gracie Era
1932 - Helio Gracie was just a kid when the Marques de Abrantes school opened its doors in 1925. At 12 years old, he was too young to help with the classes or in the running of the school.
1925 - The first Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu School was founded in 1925 at Rua Marquês de Abrantes 106, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the age of 23 years old, Carlos Gracie understood well the amazing benefitts Jiu-Jitsu could bring to one’s life. Founding a school represented a very important milestone in his decision to grow Jiu-Jitsu Gracie as a national sport in Brazil.
The Marquês de Abrantes school was not exactly what one would expect as the pioneer power house of Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. With limited resources and concerned with the well being of his younger brothers, all Carlos could afford was a small house where he turned the living room into a training area.
In that house Carlos united his brothers and engaged them in his life project. He knew it would be impossible to accomplish such a gigantic task alone and started to teach his younger brothers, Oswaldo (1904), Gastao (1906), George (1911), and Helio (1913).
The first generation of Gracie brothers living and working in the same house seems to have forged the family spirit that flowed down through generations and was so important to the extraordinary success the Gracie Family achieved over the years.
1925 – The First Gracie School is Founded – the Gracie Clan
The profession of Martial Arts instructor at the beginning of the 20th century in Brazil was not exactly the most promising. People’s awareness about it was practically nonexistent, making it really hard to find students who would be willing to pay a tuition in exchange for instruction.
The only people to see value in what Carlos Gracie had to teach were Law Enforcement officials. An opportunity finally arose for Carlos to teach outside of Rio de Janeiro, in the state of Minas Gerais.
The passion for Jiu-Jitsu and Koma’s dedication to make him a Champion, allowed Carlos to discover a new meaning in his life. From then on, Carlos started to use and see Jiu-Jitsu as a tool to help him find his way through the world. More than that, with time, he elected Jiu-Jitsu as an ideal worth fighting for and embraced it with strength and determination.
Reila Gracie had good opportunities to make a living. After a few years in Minas, Carlos decided to move to Sao Paulo and then back to Rio. His free spirit and faith in the great things Jiu-Jitsu could do for common people seemed to have made it hard for him to restrict his teachings to police officers and members of law enforcement agencies.
1916 – Carlos Gracie
1916 - Mitsuyu Maeda introduced Carlos to Jiu-Jitsu, at the age of 14. He became an avid student for a few years. The studies under Maeda had a profound impact on his mind. He never before sensed the level of self-control and self-confidence Jiu- Jitsu practice allowed him to experience.
The connection he felt with his body in each training session allowed Carlos to gain a deeper understanding about his nature, limitations, and strengths, and brought him a sense of peace that he never felt before in his life. The times with Maeda did not last for long, though. Less then 5 years from the day he started, Carlos had to move to Rio de Janeiro with his parents and siblings.
Arriving at the then capital of Brazil at the age of 20, Carlos Gracie had difficulties adapting to a normal life and working at a regular job. Even though he worked in governmental institutions, Carlos’ wild spirit would not allow him to settle down. His desire to teach the art he learned from Maeda was already burning and he decided to go after it.
1914 – Jiu-Jitsu arrives iMaeda meets Gracie – Count Koma
1914 - A champion in his own right and student of Jigoro Kano, Maeda began his travels abroad with a group of men who participated in challenge matches across the globe. In 1914 he landed in the northern state of Para, Brazil, to help establish the Japanese colony in that reg
Settling down in Belem do Para, it was natural for Maeda to make use of his outstanding fighting skills in demonstrations, shows, and even circuses as a way to make a living and spread the Jap
The first time Carlos Gracie met Count Koma, was at one of these demonstrations. Carlos was amazed by Koma’s ability to defeat other opponents who were much and stronger than him.
Carlos Gracie was a wild kid who was slipping out of control and away from his father, Gastao and mother, Cesalina. Energetic and rebellious, Carlos was giving them a lot of trouble. Knowing that Maeda just started a Jiu-Jitsu program in town, Gastao decided to take Carlos there to learn from the Japanese as a way to calm down and discipline his son.
In conjunction with Kano’s deep training philosophy and innovative training methods, many rules were introduced in order to redefine the focus of practice. The ground fighting – the backbone of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – was minimized and restricted to a few moves.
That created an interesting paradox: while Kano’s reforms contributed tremendously to the survival of a millenary martial art tradition, the focus on take downs created a fragmented fighting style that lost the connection with the essence of Jiu-Jitsu and the reality of real combat. In parallel to the regained reputation of Jiu-Jitsu in Japanese society, came a decline of ground fighting, the most powerful set of skills Jiu-Jitsu had to offer.
Among Kano’s remarkable students, though was Mitsuyu Maeda, a fighter who benefited from Kano’s innovations, but who had his roots in other Jiu-Jitsu schools that emphasized ground fighting and self-defense skills under real combat situations.
Maeda, who later became famous as Count Koma, had above average skills and was sent overseas to help spread Jiu-Jitsu to different cultures in the world. After traveling to many countries including the US, Central America, and Europe, Maeda landed in Brazil in 1914. There he would meet a young boy named Carlos Gracie and plant the seed that would keep alive the essence of Jiu-Jitsu.
1882 – Kano Jiu-1882 - Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), member of the Japanese Ministry of Culture and Martial Artist, played an important role in rescuing Jiu-Jitsu’s reputation in times of peace.
Kano understood how Jiu-Jitsu could serve not only as a combat tool, but also as an effective way to educate the individual and allow men and women to embrabalanced lifestyle by developing their potential. In other words, Kano realized Jiu-Jitsu could be used as a powerful educational tool that could support the development of any human being and envisioned it supporting the Japanese goals for social and economic development.
Complementing his updated training philosophy, Kano made an effort to adopt new training methods and remove dangerous techniques. These changes allowed pracers to engage in safe, but intense training drills with full resistance – what we know as sparring or live training today.
This new philosophical and methodological approach to the practice of Jiu-Jitsu created a very positive impact on the Japanese society. It helped Jiu-Jitsu regain its social status that had been declining since the Meiji Restoration. The new approach became famous back then as Kano Jiu-Jitsu and later on as Judo.
Jiu-Jitsu evolved among the samurai as a method for defeating an armed and armored opponent without weapons. Because striking against an armored opponent proved ineffective, practitioners learned that the most efficient methods for neutralizing an enemy took the form of pins, joint locks, and throws. These techniques were developed around the principle of using an attacker’s energy against him, rather than directly opposing it.
However, with the Meiji Restoration, a political movement that put an end to the Japanese feudal system and triggered the industrialization of that country, the prestigious class of the samurai lost its primary importance.
The radical political, cultural, and social transformations that took place in Japan in the 19th century, made Jiu-Jitsu gravitate from a reputable art of combat to illegal practice, as the government made efforts to reprimand the bloody combats that were taking place from the jobless former Samurais and there disciples.
1700 – Jiu-Jitsu in Japan: Golden Age and Decline of the Gentle Art
1700 - While it is safe to assume that rudimentary versions of Jiu-Jitsu appeared in many cultures in different points in time, it was the feudal Japan of the second millennia A.C that the art encountered a fertile environment, allowing it to flourish and establish itself as a widespread style of combat.
In a country fragmented by the feudal system, with each feud having its own set of warriors – the samurai – Jiu- Jitsu became a necessary fighting skill for combat survival. But the term “Jiu-Jitsu” (jujutsu) was not coined until the 17th A.C century, after which time it became a blanket term for a wide variety of grappling-related disciplines.
356BC – Jiu-Jitsu in India
356 BC - Looking from that point of view, it then makes perfect sense to associate Buddhist monks in India around 2,000 B.C. with the origins of Jiu-Jitsu.
The Buddhist value system of deep respect for all forms of life allowed the development of such a system of self-defense that aimed to neutralize an aggression without necessarily harming the aggressor. Wrapped around important Buddhist principles like acting in a non-harmful way, and the pursuit of self-mastery and enlightenment, Jiu-Jitsu served well the self-defense needs of monks and spread throughout Asia towards China and later Japan, following the Buddhism expansion on that continent.
2000BC – The origins of Jiu-Jitsu
2000 BC - It is difficult to say precisely at what point in time or where exactly Jiu-Jitsu originated. Despite the efforts of many historians and evidence pointing to Buddhist monks in India, basic elements of grappling can be traced back to places like Greece, India, China, Rome, and even Native America.
When trying to understand the ultimate source of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, one must avoid the simplification of attributing its creation to a person, group, or period in time. Jiu-Jitsu, as we understand it today, is a natural and intuitive way of fighting that has rudimentary manifestations in various cultures in different historic moments.
But a martial art is comprised of more than just techniques or fighting strategies. The philosophy that defines the purpose of practice, and the moral code of the practitioners, is a powerful element that determines not only the direction of technical development, but the survival or death of the art itself.