An art is born
Judo (柔道 jūdō?, meaning "gentle way") is a modern martial art, combatand Olympic sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano (嘉納治五郎). Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedownan opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defenses are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (kata, 形) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice (randori, 乱取り). A judo practitioner is called a judoka. The philosophy and subsequent pedagogy developed for judo became the model for other modern Japanese martial arts that developed from koryū. The worldwide spread of judo has led to the development of a number of offshoots such as Sambo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art focusing largely on grappling and ground fighting. It utilizes natural body leverage and proper technique to obtain dominant control on the ground and, as a result, provides greater position for striking or submission holds.
BJJ has been proven, when used properly, to be an effective method for dealing with bigger and stronger opponents and has become increasingly popular due in part to its great success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It can be trained for self-defense, sport grappling (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts competition and has found its way into the training regiment of nearly every successful martial artist worldwide.
Translated as “the gentle art,” Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on using strength and technique in the most efficient way possible to control and overcome opponents of greater size, strength and aggression. With its roots in the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the art found its way to Brazil in 1910, when Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and judo expert, emigrated to the country. There he became friends with Gastao Gracie, an influential businessman who helped Maeda get established. In return, Maeda taught Jiu-Jitsu to Gracie’s sons, who became very proficient in the art, eventually passing on Maeda’s teaching in their own schools. The many additions, modifications, and refinements to the art made by the Gracie family were tested against other styles with great success, propelling Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into the martial arts world and creating a tradition that lives on today.
Jason Ratchford was one of the first American's promoted to the rank of Black Belt by the legendary Ailson “Jucao” Brites, a World Champion and 5th degree Black Belt under Carlos Gracie Jr. He and brother Matthew continue this tradition here at the Pride Lands BJJ Academy.