Idea

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a martial art, combat sport and a self-defence system. The main idea behind bjj is the concept of ground fighting. By taking the fight to the ground a smaller opponent may control a larger one by the correct use of a vast arsenal of techniques and submissions holds. Unlike other grappling sports Brazilian jiu-jitsu teaches all arm and leg locks, and the largest number of available chokes.

History

Brazilian jiu jitsu came into being at the beginning of the 20th century by improving the concepts of Kodokan Judo. It started with Mitsuyo Maeda who taught his students Carlos and Helio Gracie in 1917. Carlos, Helio and their children made bjj highly popular by issuing the so called Gracie challenges and defeating other martial artists in no holds barred fights.

Effectiveness

BJJ became recognized worldwide in the 1990s when a much smaller Royce Gracie won the 1st, 2nd and 4th edition of the UFC. He faced much more physically impressive opponents and still managed to force them to give up by either choking them or applying arm locks.
Roughly at the same time, Rickson Gracie, the champion of the family, dominated everyone in the Pride organization, in Japan.

Popularity

Since those days BJJ became a necessary element of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and the fastest growing combat sport in the world. The Polish National Championship is the biggest grappling event in the country with over 1100 athletes competing each year.