KANO RYU JIU-JITSU is the original name of the body of work and martial art created by Professor Jigoro Kano in the year 1882.

In his book entitled, ‘Kodokan Judo’, Professor Kano made it clear that his primary reason for creating Judo was to protect and preserve the rich legacy of feudal-era Jiu-Jitsu as practiced by the Samurai warrior clan.

In other words, Professor Jigoro Kano worked hard to preserve the various Koryu (古流, old style Samurai-era) fighting arts which at the time were fading from history and outlawed from practice.

In 1925, the Japanese government began to phase out and outlaw the Samurai-era fighting arts and their instruction.  The government wanted to see much a safer forms of Bujutsu taught to the masses and in Japan’s public school system. Hence, the name Kano Ryu Jiu-Jitsu was slowly changed to Judo as we see it today.

As you are about to discover by revisiting books, articles and historical works during the formative years of Judo, we learn that JUDO and JIU-JITSU are simply different names for the same martial art.

‘THE COMPLETE KANO JIU-JITSU’, by H. Irving Hancock and Katsukuma Higashi-a former World Jiu-JItsu champion from Japan. Published in 1905.

‘JUDO – 41 Lessons In The Modern Art of Jiu-Jitsu’. Published in 1938.


‘JIU-JITSU or JIU-DO’ from the Kodokwan Method. Originally published in 1918.

It’s important to understand that Professor Kano was not interested in producing a sport when he created his method of Jiu-Jitsu. He borrowed principles, techniques and strategies from eleven of the most popular Jiu-Jitsu styles of his era as well as striking techniques from Okinawan karate-do which he acquired from Gichin Funakoski-the father of Shotokan Karate.

Meet the Brazilian Pioneers of Kano Ryu Jiu-Jitsu Whom The Gracies Never Talk About

In late 1914, Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese expert in Kano Ryu Jiu-jitsu is believed to have started teaching Jiu-jitsu to members of the Gracie family for a brief period. Other scholars of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu say that Carlos and Helio never trained with Mitsuyo Maeda at all.
Let us remember that both founders of Gracie Jiu-jitsu were new born babies at a time period when Mitsuyo Maeda was already a grown man actively competing and winning no-holds-barred tournaments in Brazil.
Carlos Gracie (born, September 14, 1902 – died, October 7, 1994) and later Helio Gracie (born, October 1, 1913 – died, January 29, 2009).
A little-known fact never shared or fully researched by Jiu-Jitsu historians is that several other Brazilians were actually learning Kano Ryu Jiu-Jitsu directly from the Japanese experts while the Gracies were still in diapers. Hence, the Gracie’s cannot rightfully nor honestly claim that they pioneered the birth of Jiu-jitsu in Brazil as they continue to do.

You are looking at a tournament event poster made in the year 1915. It features Kano Ryu Jiu-jitsu versus boxing. Kano Jiu-Jitsu was the unbeatable fighting system taught by the great Jiu-Jitsu master, Mitsuyo Maeda. Carlos Gracie (the founder of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) was only 13 years old when these challenge matches were taking place. Helio Gracie was only 2 years old. 

The Gracie family went on to advance in the knowledge of Kano Ryu Jiu-Jitsu knowledge learning directly from a Brazilian by the name of Donato Pires dos Reis. 
There are documents and training records proving that Donato Pires dos Reis was Mitsuyo Maeda’s top pupil and the only certified Japanese Jiu-jitsu black belt in Brazil during the time period of 1915 through 1928.

Next, we know that Carlos Gracie never earned a rank certificate directly from Mitsuyo Maeda. Not so much as a blue belt. (Click the hyperlink to read a shocking piece of history).
Not one Brazilian elder who trained under  Mitsuyo Maeda acknowledges seeing ever seeing the two Gracie brothers in class with their peers.
The fact is, Carlos Gracie studied for a couple of months under Jacyntho Ferro, then he studied for 2 to 4 years under Donato Pires dos Reis.

In 1925, Carlos Gracie is believed opened his own Jiu-Jitsu school. But is that really what happened?
Elders from Brazil who were alive during that time period say that Carlos didn’t open the Academia Gracie in 1925, he only seized control over Pires Dos Reis’s school years later after being an assistant instructor there. No one ever awarded Jiu-Jitsu belt rank to Carlos Gracie or Helio Gracie. This is the true origin of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that no one dares talk about.

In future blog posts we will explore more about the life and work of several Brazilian Jiu-jitsu legends; Mario Aleixo (the first Brazilian to teach Japanese Jiu-jitsu in 1913 to his countrymen) and of course Sada Miyako who had been teaching Kano Ryu Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil since 1909. Those are the first two legit black belt instructors and pioneers of Jiu-Jitsu to Brazil.

Shown below is a must read book entitled, ‘Choque: The Untold Story of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil 1856-1949 (Volume 1).’, which describes in detail the little known history of the origins of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.




(A new and modern sport judo rule-set that removes the many technical restrictions and limitations put in place by the International Judo Federation)