Martial arts

Authored by: Leonardo José Mataruna-Dos-Santos , Mauro Cesar Gurgel Alencar de Carvalho , Mike Callan , John Nauright

Routledge Handbook of Global Sport

Print publication date:  January  2020
Online publication date:  January  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138887237
eBook ISBN: 9781315714264
Adobe ISBN:


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Examining judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu as case studies, the chapter explores how martial art sports have emerged from traditional, regional sport into globalized, commercialized modern sport. As such it is representative of the globalization of martial arts, which includes popular forms such as karate and taekwondo. Jigoro Kano is recognized as the father of physical education in Japan. He reduced the violent movements from jujutsu, to create ‘the gentle way’ or judo, based on philosophy and educational principles. Mitsuyo Maeda soon after arrived in Brazil for teaching Kodokan judo, met the Gracie Family and started to teach a jiu-jitsu derivative of Judo, almost the same movements but emphasizing combat on the floor. Maeda challenged fighters to prove the efficiency of his style and started to include some real techniques of combat in the sport taught to create one’s own identity. Years later in the 1980s, the tradition of battles against other combat sports return on the ground and moves to the USA to be a business project. At this time, Ultimate Fight Championship (UFC) opened a door for jiu-jitsu to become a global sport and received the prefix of Brazilian jiu-jitsu to attract fans and new practitioners around the world.

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