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Mathouse BJJ is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy founded in July 2015 by multiple European Champion Dominik Debiec, student of Roger Gracie. The vision for the academy is to offer top Jiu-Jitsu instruction in a friendly, positive and goal driven environment, that focus solely on Jiu-Jitsu as a vehicle to inspire all students on and off the mat, to personal growth and development.

History of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ (also written as jujitsu or jujutsu) is a martial art of Japanese origin in which one essentially uses levers, torsions and pressure in order to take one’s opponent to the ground and dominate them. Literally, jū in Japanese means ‘gentleness,’ and jutsu means ‘art,’ ‘technique.’ Hence the literal translation by which it’s also known, the ‘gentle art.’


In 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda, also known as “Count Koma,” arrived in Brazil to establish a Japanese immigration colony. Maeda was aided in his quest by a Brazilian scholar of Scottish heritage, Gastao Gracie. Maeda was no ordinary immigrant; he was a direct pupil of the founder of Judo, Jigaro Kano. Further, Maeda was a master of both Judo and Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.

To repay Gastao’s kindness, Maeda taught Gastao’s oldest son, Carlos, the arts of Judo and Jiu-Jitsu. In turn, Carlos then taught the art to three of his four brothers: Oswaldo, Gastao, and George. And in 1925, the first Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy was opened in Rio de Janeiro.

The fourth brother, Helio, was a frail young man, weighing only 135 pounds.  Therefore, he was not included in the original instruction. However, he watched attentively from the side of the mat. One day when the other brothers failed to show up to teach class, Helio provided instruction based on his modified versions of the Jiu-Jitsu techniques. Helio focused on using leverage, rather than strength, to apply the techniques.

The concept of techniques based on leverage, not strength, became the essential principle of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ. To prove the effectiveness of their art, the Gracies followed in the tradition of Maeda and provided an open challenge to anyone who doubted the applicability of BJJ in a real fight. These challenges, known as “Vale Tudo” (Portuguese for “anything goes”) matches, manifested themselves in a manner of combat that is the precursor to today’s MMA.


Standing from left to right: Rickson Gracie, Rolls Gracie, Carlos Gracie, Helio Gracie, Robson Gracie, Mauricio Gomes. Seated from left to right: Royler Gracie, Carlos Gracie Jr, Crolin Gracie, Rorion Gracie, Rolker Gracie, Royce Gracie. Photographed in 1981

Carlos Gracie

Mtsuyo Maeda

The Founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship


The Gracies’ fame quickly grew as a result of their success of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the Open Challenge matches; so much so, that the Gracie family wanted a larger stage to showcase the efficiency of their family’s art.

In 1993, Helio’s eldest son, Rorion, along with Art Davie, held the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in the USA in Denver, Colorado. As a means to exhibit the effectiveness of the art, and not the practitioner, the rather meek-looking Royce Gracie was chosen to represent the family. To the surprise of many viewers, Royce won three of the first four UFCs, and in the process defeated opponents up to 80 pounds heavier than he was.

The advent of the UFC and the success of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu caused many martial practitioners to question long-held assumptions about the effectiveness of their martial art in a realistic combat situation.

After the initial UFCs, there was a surge in the martial world toward learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as BJJ dominated the initial MMA and No Holds Barred (NHB) shows in North America, Brazil, Japan and Russia. But over time, the image of the BJJ fighter as the constant victor in MMA shows diminished, as the hybrid style of the MMA fighter emerged.

Nonetheless, the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu remains a crucial component of the skills training for any successful MMA fighter. In particular, the majority of ground positions and submissions commonly encountered in an MMA fight have their origins in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

In competition, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match may last anywhere from five to ten minutes, based on the age and rank of the competitors. Recently, BJJ practice and competition has become divided between two forms of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: gi and no-gi. The primary difference separating the two forms of BJJ is based on whether the practitioners are wearing the traditional martial arts uniform (gi).

No-gi BJJ is characterized by a looser and faster style of “rolling” or live sparring. In addition, the no-gi style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu corresponds more directly with mixed martial arts. While there does exist slight modifications in the techniques one applies to gi or no-gi, the conceptual ideas in BJJ remain constant

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