Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art, combat sport, and self-defense system that focuses on ground fighting. Over the years, BJJ has produced many elite champions. Some families have made significant contributions to Jiu-Jitsu and continue to do so, both in terms of developing and promoting the art and producing talented exceptional fighters.
Like valuable traditions, BJJ is passed down through generations in these families. These BJJ families have raised countless champions who have left an incredible mark on the history of the grappling world.
When we enlist the big names of BJJ who made dedicated efforts to magnify the glory of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Gracie family, Machods family, Miyao Family, Mendes brothers, and Galvao family will always remain on top of the list. From the Gracie family, who developed and popularized BJJ in the early 20th century, to the Galvao family, who have brought a new level of athleticism to the BJJ, these families have left an unshakable legacy. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the greatest BJJ families of all time and analyze the contributions they have made to Jiu-Jitsu.
Table of Contents
- 1. Gracie Family
- 2. Machado Family
- 3. Miyao Family
- 4. Mendes Brothers
- 5. Galvao Family
- 6. FAQs
- 6.1. Which Family is the Founder of BJJ?
- 6.2. Who is the King of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
- 6.3. What is the Origin of BJJ?
- 7. Conclusion
1. Gracie Family
Photo Credit: @ShomanArt
One of the most famous and accomplished BJJ families is the Gracie family. The Gracie family is credited with learning, inventing, and popularizing BJJ in the early 20th century. Carlos Gracie Sr, the founder of the Gracie family, was one of the first individuals to learn martial arts from the Japanese Master Mitsuyo Maeda. Carlos then passed the art on to his 5 brothers (Helio Gracie, Oswaldo, Gastao JrGeorge Gracie), and then Carlos's brothers passed BJJ art to their sons and the process continued and is still going on. So this way Gracie family produced the most victorious and notable figures in BJJ history.
Some of the famous martial arts champions originated from the Gracie family including Carlos Gracie Jr., Rickson Gracie, Royler Gracie, Royce Gracie, Roger Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Kron Gracie, Clark Gracie, and many more. The Gracie family is also known for developing the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy (Gracie Barra), which was the first and the most well-known, respected, and pioneered institution of BJJ history.
Although the Gracie family has considerable contributions to BJJ, the most significant among them is their development of the Gracie Fighting Method, which was the new strategy to apply the Jiu-Jitsu techniques, submission attacks, and self-defense approaches.
1.1 Legends from Gracie Family
Contribution of Carlos Gracie Sr. to Jiu-Jitsu
The Gracie family's story begins with Carlos Gracie who learned the Jiu-Jitsu techniques from Mitsuyo Maeda. Carlos, being a frail hyperactive young man, started BJJ because his father believed it could help him build strength and confidence. He spent years learning the BJJ and then transferred the grappling skills to his family. Carlos Gracie became one of the most accomplished Jiu-Jitsu fighters of his time with an unbeatable legacy.
Master Carlos Gracie Jr.
Master Carlos Gracie Jr, also known as "Carlinhos" is an 8th-degree red and black belt holder and is the current head of Gracie Barra and one of the most consequential figures of the BJJ combat sport. He is known for his excellent fight history and dedication to the development, advancement, and propagation of BJJ as a sport and a way of life. One of the major contributions of Carlos Gracie Jr. was the upgradation of Jiu-Jitsu and the formation of the IBJJF which is the biggest BJJ regulatory authority.
Master Rickson Gracie
"Jiu-Jitsu teaches you how to survive on the mat and thrive in the world."
Master Rickson Gracie is another legendary, iconic figure of BJJ and a 9th-degree red belt holder. He is known for his aggressive, dominant grappling style and has an impressive record in martial arts. Master Rickson is also well-known for spreading the Gracie family's teachings through his videos and seminars.
Master Royler Gracie
Royler Gracie, the younger brother of Rickson, is an 8th-degree red and black belt and is considered one of the best featherweight fighters of his era. He is known for his technical proficiency in BJJ, especially in guard, and his ability to finish fights quickly.
A young man named Kron Gracie belongs to the Gracie family. Despite coming from a long line of BJJ legends, including his father Rickson, and grandfather Helio, Kron had a drive and determination all his own.
He began training at a very young age and quickly became a leading BJJ figure. He won countless championships, including ADCC titles and multiple world championships.
Kron's dedication to the sport of Jiu-Jitsu and his ability to inspire others earned him the respect and admiration of his peers and fans around the world. But Kron's achievements were not limited to just the BJJ mat. He also played a role in spreading the grappling techniques through his academy and mentored the next generation of BJJ fighters and continues to do so.
Despite his many brilliant victories and extraordinary coaching, Kron remained a down-to-earth grappler. He always remained humble and persisted to push himself to be the best, both as a competitor and a teacher. Kron's legacy will live on through the countless lives he touched and the countless more that will be inspired by his achievements.
Clark Gracie is among the emerging BJJ legends, the grandson of BJJ co-founder, Master Helio Gracie and the son of Grand Master, Carley Gracie.
Clark began Jiu-Jitsu training during his childhood and quickly realized that he had a talent for becoming a potential fighter and coach. He excelled across all BJJ competitions, winning multiple Pan American and world championships. But Clark's true passion never limited him to the mat. He opened his academy in San Diego, California, and continued to shape the careers of BJJ fighters and produced many renowned champions.
His unique teaching style emphasized creativity plus elite professional self-expression that made him a well-known coach of Jiu-Jitsu. He introduced various innovations in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques. As a result of his innovative approach, Clark's academy became a breeding ground for BJJ enthusiasts around the world.
Clark's contributions to the BJJ have been immeasurable. He continues to inspire and influence BJJ practitioners all over the world with his unique approach to teaching and his dedication to spreading the potential techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
With his charismatic personality, Clark Gracie became not only a highly-skilled competitor but also a great representative of BJJ. His legacy is spreading and will live on through the countless lives he taught and the countless more that will be motivated by his extraordinary accomplishments.
Roger Gracie is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and mixed martial artist. He is considered one of the greatest grapplers of the modern era.
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Roger Gracie is a 10-time World Champion in the black belt division and IBJJF Hall of Famer. He is also a 2-time European Champion and a 2-time Pan American Champion.
In addition to his success in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Roger Gracie has also competed in submission grappling (No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu) and mixed martial arts. He is a 2-time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion. In mixed martial arts, he has competed in promotions such as Strikeforce, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and ONE Championship and currently has a professional record of 8-2.
Roger Gracie is also known for his contributions to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a fighter, instructor, and coach. He has coached countless successful competitors, including his cousin and fellow Ralph Gracie, who is a multiple-time world champion. He is also the founder of the Roger Gracie Academy, which has multiple locations in the United Kingdom and around the world.
Today, the Gracie family continues to play a role in the development of Jiu-Jitsu through their academies. Gracie academies have played a key role in spreading BJJ around the world and in helping to establish BJJ as a global phenomenon.
In conclusion, the Gracie family's contributions to BJJ are immeasurable. From Carlos Gracie to Clark Gracie, the Gracies have left an unforgettable mark on the world of BJJ. Their legacy continues to inspire and influence new generations of BJJ practitioners worldwide. The Gracie family's impact on BJJ is undeniable, and their legacy will forever be remembered as the founders of modern Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
2. Machado Family
Photo Credit: @carlosmachadojiujitsumidcities
Another highly revered BJJ family is the Machado family. The Machado family is a group of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners who are brothers and cousins that come from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The brothers; Carlos, Roger, Rolls, and Jean Jacques Machado are all notable figures in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Machado’s brothers considered Jiu-Jitsu as a healthy way to improve the quality of the practitioner’s lifestyle along with teaching skills and techniques.
The Machado brothers have successful competition records, produced many champion students apart from his family, and have been instrumental in spreading BJJ throughout the US and worldwide. Now let’s have a look at the legends of the Machado family.
2.1 Iconic Figures of the Machado’S BJJ Dynasty
The Machado family's BJJ story begins with Master Carlos Machado, who is the eldest of five brothers and an 8th-degree red and white coral belt in BJJ. He is considered one of the most well-rounded and potential fighters in BJJ history. Carlos Machado is known for his aggressive style and his ability to adapt to any situation on the mat.
He showed a glimpse of the Machado family's dedication and love for BJJ by winning the fastest submission world championship of 1998 with his broken foot. He also competed and won in some of the most prestigious tournaments.
Carlos Machado not only showed his potential skills on the mat but also proved himself a proficient BJJ coach. He opened his BJJ schools all across the world and now leads the BJJ institutions in Canada, the United States, and in Australia. These institutions have a dominant role in the advancement of many great competitors and instructors.
Master Roger Machado
Master Roger Machado is also a 7th-degree red and black coral belt holder and is widely considered to be one of the greatest BJJ fighters of all time. He has 45 years of experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a practitioner. He is also a highly successful coach and favorite mentor of many legends including Guru Dan Inosanto, Chuck Norris, and Keanu Reeves.
Roger Machado won multiple titles in the Pan American Championship, Brazilian National Championships, and ADCC Championships. He has been instrumental in spreading BJJ globally through his coaching and lectures. Roger Machado currently heads his academy in Pasadena, CA, where he taught Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques through his famous “Zen” Like approach.
Professor Jean Jacques Machado
Professor Jean Jacques Machado was awarded a 7th-degree red & black Coral Belt in recognition of his 25 years of service as a black belt instructor. He is known for his technical proficiency and his ability to teach BJJ to all levels of grapplers.
Jean Jacques Machado suffered from Constriction Ring syndrome (CRS) from his birth. However, he proved himself an extraordinary grappler despite having challenging health.
He has competed in and won many national and international tournaments of his time and has also been successful in spreading the art throughout the US and worldwide, through his lectures and seminars.
So, the Machado family has been instrumental in the development and promotion of BJJ. Their academies have produced some of the most accomplished fighters in BJJ history and have helped to establish BJJ as a legitimate art of all time.
In conclusion, the Machado family is a true powerhouse in the grappling world. Each of the brothers has left a remarkable mark on the mat, both as competitors and as instructors. Their contributions to BJJ are immeasurable and have helped to establish BJJ as a legitimate sport worldwide. Their legacy continues to inspire and influence new generations of BJJ practitioners worldwide. The Machado family's impact on BJJ is undeniable and their teachings and techniques will forever be remembered in the annals of BJJ history.
3. Miyao Family
Photo Credit: @evolve-mma
The identical twins Miyao brothers (Paulo Miyao, and Joao Miyao) are known for their athletic and technical skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Despite coming from a poor background, the Miyao brothers achieved an exceptional place through their hard work and dedication.
Paulo Miyao and João Miyao both have multiple world champion titles in BJJ and are known for their aggressive, dynamic, and technical skills. They left their government jobs because of their immense love for Jiu-Jitsua and continued their struggle until they succeeded in shaping the current competitive scene. Let’s delve into the achievements of the Miyao brothers in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
3.1 Role of Miyao Family in BJJ
The Miyao brothers, João and Paulo, are among their generation's most accomplished Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters and have significantly impacted the martial arts, especially BJJ.
João Miyao received his Black Belt in 2013, after intensive hard work and training on the mat. He has a unique style of always hunting for submission, and during his fighting career, he has been able to successfully submit most of his opponents. His extraordinary performance and notable competitive record made him a versatile BJJ champion.
Paulo Miyao is also a multiple-time world champion and is known for his proficiency and ability to impose his potential skills on his opponents. He is known for his ability to control his opponents, and his ability to set up and finish submissions from the most unexpected positions. He also secured multiple titles by competing in the absolute division.
The Miyao brothers have also been highly successful as coaches, with many of their students achieving success at the elite levels of competition. They are also known for their dedication, and enthusiasm for the sport, often traveling the world to spread their grappling techniques.
In conclusion, the Miyao brothers are a true testament to courage and empowerment in the world of BJJ. Their unique style and aggressive BJJ approach made them renowned among BJJ enthusiasts. Their contributions to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as athletes and coaches cannot be overstated, and their legacy will continue to inspire and influence new generations of BJJ practitioners for years to come. The Miyao brothers are not just great fighters but also a great example of how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can change lives through sheer dedication, hard work, and selfless passion for the art that can help to achieve great things on and off the mat.
4. Mendes Brothers
Photo Credit: @graciemag
The Mendes Brothers (Rafael Mendes, and Guilherme Mendes) are also known as two of the greatest BJJ fighters of the modern era. Mendes brothers set their legacy by winning multiple world championships and have established one of the most successful and well-respected BJJ academies in the world, the AOJ (Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy). Their academy has played its role to train many world-class competitors and has helped to shape their careers.
4.1 Contribution of Mendes Brothers in BJJ
Rafael Mendes, who is a 3rd-degree black belt, is a multiple-time world champion and is widely considered one of the greatest featherweight fighters of modern times. He proved himself an extraordinary BJJ fighter by winning all the championships in the blue belt division. Some of his notable achievements include:
6 Times World Champion
Mendes had a highly successful competitive career, winning 6 World Championships in his weight class and the open weight category.
He also won two ADCC World Championships, and multiple Pan American Championships.
High-level Coach and Instructor
Rafael Mendes is also a highly respected instructor and coach, known for his ability to develop and mentor young talent. He has helped and shaped the minds and skills of many kids to achieve their goals and continue to do so.
Rafael Mendes' achievements are a testament to his skill, dedication, and passion for the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has made significant contributions to the development and evolution of the sport, and his influence will be felt for many years to come. He is considered one of the best competitors of all time and his legacy in the sport will continue to be remembered and honored.
Guilherme Mendes won 4 world championships at the black belt level and was promoted to 3rd-degree black belt by Ramo Lemos. He is considered one of the best leg lockers in Jiu-Jitsu and has won two Pan-American championships and many national Jiu-Jitsu championships. Guilherme Mendes is also a co-founder of AOJ and is a great coach and has trained many successful grapplers.
In conclusion, the Mendes brothers are competitive figures in the modern world of BJJ. Their unique style, techniques, and approaches to the sport have made them household names among BJJ enthusiasts. Their contributions to the sport as athletes and coaches cannot be denied, and their legacy will continue to inspire and influence new generations of BJJ practitioners for years to come. The brothers not only excel on the mat but also as mentors and leaders in the BJJ community. Their impact on the sport has been tremendous and they continue to inspire others to pursue their passions and achieve their goals through the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
5. Galvao Family
The Galvão family is a prominent Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu family, known for their contributions to the BJJ both as instructors and competitors.
They have also been successful in bringing the sport to the mainstream, by being part of major BJJ events and being involved in other projects such as documentaries and books. Some of the notable members of the Galvão family include:
5.1 Legends of the Galvao Dynasty
Andre Galvao holds the 4th-Degree Black Belt and is considered one of the best competitors of his generation. He has won multiple World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, Pan American Championships, European Championships, and Brazilian National Championships. He also had a successful MMA career, competed in promotions such as Strikeforce and Bellator, and mastered them all.
Apart from having multiple IBJJF and ADCC titles, he has been inducted into the IBJJF and ADCC Hall of Fame. He is also the founder of Atos Jiu-Jitsu, a world-renowned BJJ academy that has produced many top-level BJJ champions. Atos is also dedicated to promoting and growing the sport of BJJ, making it accessible to people of all ages and skill levels.
Andre’s wife Angelica Galvao is also a talented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and competitor. She has competed and won medals in many high-level BJJ competitions and has also conducted coaching classes alongside her husband at Atos Jiu-Jitsu. Together, Andre and Angelica make a dynamic duo in the world of BJJ, both on and off the mat. With Andre Galvao and Angelica Galvao as its leaders, Atos continues to be at the forefront of the BJJ world, producing champions and spreading the love for the sport.
Micael Galvao (Mica Galvao) is also known as the shining star of the modern era of submission grappling. He was promoted to Black Belt in 2021 by Luta Livre. He won his first world championship in 2022 at the black belt level.
He is a mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. He is a black belt in BJJ under Carlos Andre Pederneiras. He had a successful career in MMA fighting in promotions like Bellator, Legacy FC, and RFA. He has had several notable achievements throughout his grappling career. Galvão's achievements are evidence of his high grappling skills, dedication, and passion for the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA (18-12).
The Galvão family has played a significant role in the development of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, both through their competitive success and through their contributions to teaching Jiu-Jitsu techniques.
These are just a few examples of the many accomplished families in the world of BJJ. Countless other families have made significant contributions to the sport, including the Ryan brothers, Martinez brothers, Ruotolo twins, and many more.
6.1 Which Family is the Founder of BJJ?
Gracie's family is considered the originator of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They primarily belonged to Belem, state of Para, Brazil. Carlos Gracie and his brother Helio Gracie introduced Brazil and later the world to the elite level of the self-defense system in the form of BJJ.
6.2 Who is the King of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Rolls Gracie is unquestionably the king of BJJ. In his lifetime, he promoted a total of 7 Black Belts and they are now Coral Belt masters. Which means most of the BJJ legacy of the modern era is trained by the Rolls Black Belts.
6.3 What is the Origin of BJJ?
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu originated from the Island of East Asia, Japan. Then it comes to South America by Mitsyuo Maeda, who was a Japanese diplomat.
In conclusion, the history of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is rich with contributions of the talented and accomplished families. From the Gracie family, who developed and popularized BJJ in the early 20th century to the Mendes Brothers, Miyao Brothers, and Machado families, who have continued to produce champions and shape the sport in their ways. Each family has their unique style, techniques, and way of teaching which has contributed to making BJJ the diverse and fascinating martial art it is today.