Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is probably the most widely known school of Jiu-Jitsu and one of the most well know martial art forms period. And this is no mere accident; Jiu-Jitsu has a very long history of being one of the most effective forms of combat.
Ever since western countries were exposed to the raw power of Jiu-Jitsu they have been captivated and curious about its potential.
In a letter to one of his sons in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt wrote the following:
“… I still box with Grant, who has now become the champion middleweight wrestler of the United States. Yesterday afternoon we had Professor Yamashita (Yamashita was Roosevelt’s Jiu-jitsu instructor before Meada and Tomita had arrived there in the U.S.) up here to wrestle with Grant. It was very interesting, but of course jiu-jitsu and our wrestling are so far apart that it is difficult to make any comparison between them. Wrestling is simply a sport with rules almost as conventional as those of tennis, while jiu-jitsu is really meant for practice in killing or disabling our adversary. In consequence, Grant did not know what to do except to put Yamashita on his back, and Yamashita was perfectly content to be on his back. Inside of a minute Yamashita had choked Grant, and inside of two minutes more he got an elbow hold on him that would have enabled him to break his arm; so that there is no question but that he could have put Grant out. So far this made it evident that the jiu jitsu man could handle the ordinary wrestler.”
His interest in potential military applications of Jiu-Jitsu was immediately piqued, and he himself began studying Jiu-Jitsu.
But the guard position which Master Yamashita had been so comfortable in that he had easily defeated the larger and more powerful American did not catch the public eye until it was used by a Brazilian to win the UFC , or Ultimate Fighting Championship, in 1993.
After seeing this rather diminutive Brazilian guy use seemingly simple techniques and ground work to defeat huge brawlers and kung fu acrobats. All of the martial disciplines on the ground or standing up that had commanded the unquestioning respect of the American public up to that point were pulled apart and forced to submit by Royce Gracie and his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Since then the public obsession with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been unrelenting and fighters who are either solely the students of this style or those who incorporate it into their own styles have continued to dominate the UFC and other no holds barred matches.
So complete is the domination of the groundwork of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that it’s now considered a pre-requisite for any aspiring fighter, and kick-boxers or boxers who step into the ring with jiu-jitsu men are expected to do rather poorly. This long history of applied efficacy in both the context of anything goes or NHB competition and real fights on real streets serves to prove the value of this art and has helped build a growing and developing community of schools like Peak Performance Martial Arts in Keller, Texas, where it continues to develop and be taught by new generations of artful warriors.
 Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)
(Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children. 1919. NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS, 1919 NEW YORK: BARTLEBY.COM, 1999)