Gracie Bahrain was founded to bring the authentic and original form embodied in Gracie Jiu Jitsu to Bahrain and onwards to the rest of the region. We are therefore only a chapter in the long history of Jiu Jitsu and its association with the Gracie Family.
The timeline below briefly describes 13 of the most significant occurrences that took place over the three generations the Gracies have been teaching jiu-jitsu. Learn more about this legacy navigating through the Gracie Museum.
THE FOUNDING PRINCIPLES
Grand Master Helio Gracie was introduced to the Japanese art of jiu-jitsu by his brother, Carlos, at such a young age that, as time passed, he no longer remembered many of the techniques in their original form. However, he vividly recalls experiencing great difficulty when he attempted to use the techniques on a larger opponent and, as a result, had to modify nearly everything he had learned to accommodate his frail physique. He points out that, despite the overall effectiveness and value of the Japanese techniques, nearly all of them had one or more limitations that prevented them from being fully useful to him. In most cases, he attributed the limitations to: 1) inapplicability against a striking opponent in a real fight, 2) overreliance on strength or speed, and/or 3) dependence on body movements that were awkward or uncomfortable for him. Accordingly, he began modifying the art to ensure that every technique was fully street applicable, energy efficient, and based on natural body movements. Using these principles as a guide, he spent several years developing a complete system of self-defense consisting only of techniques that he could successfully apply against larger opponents. Confident in his adaptations, he spent the next thirty years of his life proving his system’s effectiveness by using it to defeat numerous challengers, including several opponents who outweighed him by as much as 100 pounds.
THE GRACIE GUIDELINES
After nearly a century of testing in a wide variety of settings, Grand Master Helio Gracie’s system of self-defense remains fundamentally sound and intact. To be sure, three generations of Gracie family members and other equally committed practitioners of the art have evolved the original techniques and added to the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu arsenal. All of these changes, however, strictly adhere to the Grand Master’s requirements for street applicability, energy efficiency, and natural body movement. Today, we call these requirements the “Gracie Guidelines.” On your path towards Gracie Jiu-Jitsu mastery, your knowledge of the Gracie Guidelines will serve you in two important ways. First, it will enable you to solve problems on your own by modifying techniques in accordance with the guidelines, and second, it will enable you to recognize the multitude of impure techniques that are being developed by instructors who do not know, or choose not to adhere to the founding principles of the art.
Focus only on practicing techniques that are fully street applicable. Practicing techniques that are not “punch proof” will cause you to develop a false sense of security. By practicing techniques that keep you safe from strikes, you will develop the most important reflexes and avoid habits that could lead to injury in a real fight. If you modify a technique, you must verify that the new variation keeps you safe from all potentially dangerous strikes
VIOLATIONS OF GUIDELINE #1
With the demand for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction at an all-time high, thousands of self-proclaimed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors have opened schools around the world and are creating or modifying techniques at an unprecedented rate. The problem is that most of these techniques violate the first guideline of Gracie Jiu- Jitsu – they are not street applicable. The main reason for the divergence from this foundational principle is that these instructors are creating techniques for sport competition rather than real street fights. Any technique that is designed to work exclusively in a controlled competition with all of their associated rules, weight classes, time limits, safety considerations, and point systems, will give the practitioner a false sense of security since these circumstances are totally nonexistent in a real fight.
Any technique that relies on speed and power rather than leverage and timing is not energy efficient. In a real fight there is no time limit, so you must learn to save your energy. The only reliable way for you to defeat a larger, more athletic opponent is to utilize techniques that cause your opponent to exhaust energy while simultaneously preserving your own. Before adding any technique to your arsenal, you must verify that it is more reliant on leverage and proper timing than on your athletic capabilities. Do not trust techniques based on strength or speed as they are unlikely to work against a larger, stronger attacker.
Any technique that requires you to move your body unnaturally is likely to fail in the heat of battle. Natural body movement is the best foundation on which to build the instinctive reflexes needed in a real fight.