Brazilian Jiu Jitsu -- established in the early 20th century -- derives its roots from Japan. Introduced by Mitsuo Maeda, a groundwork specialist who emigrated to Brasil in 1914, the art was passed along to the Gracie family. Gastao Gracie's eldest son, Carlos Gracie, became Maeda's first Brazilian student in 1917. He taught the art to his brothers, who have passed it on from generation to generation since its inception.
Carlos Gracie's eldest son, Carlson, represented the art in numerous "No-Holds-Barred" competitions in Brasil, eventually establishing his own team -- Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu -- which rose to prominence and became dominant in competition over the years. One of Carlson Gracie's most senior students, Marcus Soares, emigrated to Canada in 1997 to establish a presence for the Carlson Gracie Team in Canada. Mestre Marcus Soares (8th Degree Black Belt) is represented across the globe and is known to be the father of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Canada.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu became highly popularized through the success of Royce Gracie in the UFC's early events in the 1990s. At the time, cross-training among martial arts disciplines was not as prominent as in today's Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events. As such, the dominance of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu against other pure styles of martial arts became noteworthy to the general public. As a discipline, it is championed by its non-violent approach to subduing larger and stronger opponents without relying on the use of striking techniques. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners utilize leverage and superior positioning to control opponents, mostly on the ground due to the nature of most combative situations. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner's main weapons are joint locks & chokes, since the style demands a mastery of ground fighting. This martial arts philosophy and approach makes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu an excellent choice for self-defense and arguably among the most effective and practical disciplines for people of smaller stature.