The Foundational Era of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu begins in 1904 with the Russo-Japanese War which triggered global interest in the Japanese fighting art of Jiu-Jitsu. The Era concludes with the death of the three most influential Japanese instructors to go to Brazil, Geo Omori (1938), Mitsuyo Maeda (1941) and Soshihiro Satake (1942).
1904 - 1905: The Japanese win the Russo-Japanese War and their victory over the Russians causes worldwide interest in Japanese fighting systems.
1904 - 1905: Irving Hancock and Katsukuma Higashi publish their books “Jiu-Jitsu Combat Tricks” (1904) and “The Complete Kano Jiu-Jitsu” (1905). The books are translated into multiple languages and are available in Portuguese in Brazilian bookstores.
1908 - 1909: The first Japanese Jiu-Jitsu instructor arrives in Brazil. Sada Miyako performed demonstrations, taught military and law enforcement personnel and fought challenge matches. He famously lost to Capoeira fighter, Cyriaco Francisco da Silva. A fight which set back the perception of Jiu-Jitsu amongst the Brazilian populace.
1911: George Gracie is born.
1913: Mario Aleixo, likely learning solely from Jiu-Jitsu books, opens the first Jiu-Jitsu academy in Brazil. It was located in Rio de Janeiro.
Oct 1913: Helio Gracie is born.
1914: Mitsuyo Maeda and Soshihiro Satake arrive in Brazil and begin touring, performing exhibitions and fighting challenge matches.
1915: Mitsuyo Maeda begins teaching adults and children Jiu-Jitsu at the Teatro Moderno in Belem, northern Brazil.
Early 1916: Soshihiro Satake opens the first Judo/Jiu-Jitsu school in Brazil run by a Japanese master. It is located in the Rio Negro Athletic club in Manaus and exists to this day.
Dec 1916: Gastão Gracie likely meets Mitsuyo Maeda. At the time, Gastão ran a local circus and managed the professional wrestler, Alfredo Leconte. Leconte defeated two of Maeda’s compatriots in Uenish Sadakazu and Shimizu Kusaku.
1917: Carlos Gracie is believed to have begun training at Maeda’s academy. Likely under the direction of Jacyntho Ferro.
1920: Mitsuyo Maeda promotes five of his students, including Jacyntho Ferro, to “first rank”. It is the only confirmed promotion of Brazilian students by Maeda.
1921: Donato Pires dos Reis and Carlos Gracie are confirmed as students of Jacyntho Ferro. Shortly after, Carlos and the other Gracies move from Belem to Rio de Janeiro.
1925: Geo Omori arrives in Brazil and begins traveling the country teaching and giving demonstrations.
1928: Geo Omori opens the first Jiu-Jitsu school in São Paulo.
1928: Donato Pires is awarded a two year contract to teach the Minas Gerais state police. By chance, he runs into Carlos Gracie in Rio de Janeiro and asks Carlos to join him as an assistant instructor.
Apr 1929: Geo Omori has his first “fight” with Carlos Gracie. It is likely just a demonstration of Jiu-Jitsu techniques. It is considered a draw.
1929: Jacyntho Ferro dies. Waldemar Santana is born.
Jan 1930: Geo Omori has his second “fight” with Carlos Gracie. It is also ruled a draw.
Sep 1930: Donato Pires dos Reis moves from Belem to Rio and opens a Jiu-Jitsu academy. While Mario Aleixo opened the first Jiu-Jitsu academy in Rio, Pires’ academy is the first one that is opened by a student under a legitimate Japanese master. Carlos and George Gracie are Pires’ assistant instructors at the academy.
Dec 1930: Donato Pires dos Reis leaves his academy and Carlos and George Gracie take over.
1931: Geo Omori opens another academy in São Paulo. Luiz Franca would end up being student there.
1931: Mario Aleixo loses a Vale Tudo fight George Gracie. It effectively ends Aleixo’s career and the era of the book taught instructor.
Aug 1932: The first of the next generation of Gracies is born. Eduardo, later re-named Carlson Gracie after his father Carlos became interested in Spiritism and the power of “C”, “R” and “K” letters, would go on to be one of the greatest champions and trainers in family history.
1932: Carlos and George Gracie rename their academy the Academia Gracie.
Apr 1933: Geo Omori has a Sport Jiu-Jitsu match with George Gracie. It is ruled a draw.
Dec 1933: Geo Omori fights with George Gracie again. This time it is a Vale Tudo fight. It is also ruled a draw.
1934: Takeo Yano and the Ono brothers (Yassuiti and Naoiti) arrive In Brazil.
Oct 1934: George Gracie has the first loss of his a career. Polish wrestler, Wladek Zybszko, finishes George with an armlock at the ten minute mark in their No Gi match. Zybszko weighed 233 pounds. George weighed 145.
Sep 1935: Takeo Yano has his first match against the Gracies; a sport Jiu-Jitsu match against George.
1937: George Gracie has many Sport Jiu-Jitsu matches with the Ono brothers (Yassuiti and Naoiti). George went 1-1 with Yassuiti and 2-0 with Naoiti.
1938: Geo Omori dies at 40 years old of food poisoning.
Nov 1938: Luiz Franca competes in a No-Gi Submission Grappling match against a grappler nicknamed “Gaucho”. Franca’s academy is listed as the Gracie Academy.
Feb 1939: George Gracie and Naoiti Ono have another Sport Jiu-Jitsu match. George is once again the winner, finishing Ono by choke at the 55 minute mark.
Oct 1939: George Gracie draws with Takeo Yano.
1939: Donato Pires opens an academy in São Paulo. George Gracie is his assistant instructor.
Dec 1939: Ivan Gomes is born in northeastern Brazil. He would go on to become one of the greatest Vale Tudo fighters of the Television Era.
1940: George Gracie and Takeo Yano have two additional matches with each other that end in draws.
May 1941: Euclides Pereira is born. He would retire from competition undefeated and be the only man to defeat Carlson Gracie.
Nov 1941: Mitsuyo Maeda dies of kidney disease.
1942: Soshihiro Satake dies (presumably).
Mitsuyo Maeda - Pioneer of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
1950: Television broadcasts begin in Brazil.
Sep 1950: The first television channel in South America begins broadcasting: TV-Tupi (Channel 6).
Mar 1951: Rolls Gracie is born. The son of Carlos, raised by Helio, would go on to be family champion after Carlson and be an innovator in both technique and training philosophy.
Oct 1951: Helio Gracie is defeated by Masahiko Kimura in a Sport Jiu-Jitsu match.
Jan 1952: Helio’s first child, Rorion, is born. He would eventually move to the US, craft the “Gracie Version” of BJJ history, produce the Gracies In Action video series and found the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Mar 1953: Relson Gracie is born. The second son of Helio would go on to be considered the number two fighter of his generation (after brother Rickson) and further develop the Gracie’s street Self-Defense curriculum.
1954: Ivan Gomes and his brothers, José and Jalido, begin training.
Jul 1955: TV-Rio (Channel 13) begins broadcasting.
May 1955: Helio Gracie is defeated by Waldemar Santana in a Vale Tudo match.
Oct 1955: First match between Carlson Gracie and Waldemar Santana. It is a Sport Jiu-Jitsu match and ruled a draw.
Jul 1956: Second match between Carlson Gracie and Waldemar Santana. It is a Vale Tudo match and Carlson wins by corner stoppage.
Nov 1956: An article is published that references a fight that Talvanes Falão was having. It noted that Falão was a student of Luiz França and that França had previously been a student of the Gracies.
Jul 1957: Third match between Carlson Gracie and Waldemar Santana. It was likely a Vale Tudo fight and Carlson is believed to have won by judges’ decision.
1958: After dozens of professional No-Gi Submission Grappling victories without a loss, Euclides Pereira begins his professional Vale Tudo career with wins over Aparecido Silva and Waldo Santana (Waldemar’s brother). Euclides would compete in Vale Tudo for 21 more years and retire undefeated.
Nov 1958: Rickson Gracie is born. The son of Helio, he would become family champion after the passing of Rolls in 1982.
Apr 1959: Fourth match between Carlson Gracie and Waldemar Santana. It is a Vale Tudo match and ruled a draw.
May 1959: Fifth match between Carlson Gracie and Waldemar Santana. It is a Vale Tudo match and ruled a draw.
Jun 1959: TV-Continental (Channel 9) begins broadcasting. The channel begins airing Heróis do Ringue, a popular Vale Tudo show supported by the Gracies.
Jul 1959: TV-Continental (Channel 9) broadcast Está Noite de Vitoria featuring Judo, Boxing and Luta Livre matches. Also, Masahiko Kimura has two matches versus Waldemar Santana. Kimura wins the Sport Jiu-Jitsu match via ude-garami armlock. The two fight to a draw in a Vale Tudo match.
Apr 1960: Channel 9’s influential and popular show, Heróis do Ringue ends after Gracie star student João Alberto Barreto breaks Soares Vinagre’s arm by Americana. The public is aghast at the violence witnessed and the show is cancelled.
1960: Ivan Gomes is promoted to Black Belt by Agatangelo Braga. Channel 2 begins broadcasting TV-Ring Torre, a weekly fight show that would air until 1966.
Apr 1961: Ivan Gomes has his first televised Vale Tudo fight.
1963: Euclides Pereira and Waldemar Santana have their first of several Vale Tudo fights. It ends in a draw.
Dec 1963: Ivan Gomes and Carlson Gracie have their one and only Vale Tudo fight. It is ruled a draw, but Ivan is considered the dominant fighter. Carlson would go on to call it the toughest fight of his life.
1964: Carlos and Helio Gracie enter into a non-compete agreement with Ivan Gomes. Ivan becomes a student of the Gracie Academy (at least in appearance) and opens an academy with Carlson Gracie. Gomes fights Euclides Pereira to draws twice.
1967: Euclides Pereira and Waldemar Santana would fight three times over the course of the year. Euclides would win all matches by decision. Euclides would also fight Ivan Gomes twice and draw both times.
Sep 1968: Euclides Pereira hands Carlson the sole loss of his career. After a 30 minute battle in Bahia, Euclides is declared the winner by judges’ decision over a bloodied Carlson. Even though Euclides offered Carlson a rematch, the two would never fight again.
1968: After his victory over Carlson Gracie, Waldemar Santana challenges Euclides Pereira to a rematch. Euclides defeats Waldemar when he flees the ring and refuses to return.
Dec 1970: Sixth and final match between Carlson Gracie and Waldemar Santana. It is a No Gi Submission Grappling match and ruled a draw.
1972: Ivan Gomes and Euclides Pereira have another draw.
1974: Waldemar Santana and Euclides Pereira have their final bout. Euclides wins by decision. Euclides and Ivan Gomes have their final match. It ends in draw.
Oct 1975: First closed circuit broadcast in Brazil: Ali versus Frazier from Manila.
Aug 1976: Ivan Gomes has his controversial match with Willem Ruska. The worked fight devolves into a shoot and Ivan is disqualified by the pro-wrestling promotion.
1977: Ivan Gomes returns from his stint in Japan and resettles in northeastern Brazil. The Brazilians begin calling him the Samurai, referring to his time spent teaching and performing in Japan.
1979: Euclides Pereira defeats Rei Zulu by guillotine choke. It is of Zulu’s first loss and the final match of Euclides’ undefeated career.
Euclides Pereira versus Ivan Gomes in Vale Tudo. Two of the biggest names of the Television Era.
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