(translated from Portugese from Master Sylvio Behring)
From Japan, Jiu-Jitsu came to Brazil in 1914, brought by the fighter named Mitsuyo Maeda, also known as Count Koma. The Gracies learned Jiu-Jitsu with Master Maeda, at Belém, in the state of Pará. Later, they moved to Rio de Janeiro where they set up the first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, located at Marquês de Abrantes street – Flamengo, in 1925. Maeda was a Judo teacher (Sensei) from the Kodokan but more specifically KOSEN style of Judo.
Gastão Gracie was a powerful politician and responsible for the assistance to the incoming Japanese immigrants., Count Koma Maeda Sensei, in gratitude for the kindness of Carlos Gracie – the patriarch of Gracie family – passed to him all teachings of "the prohibited art". Thus was born Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, specialising in the ground grappling or Ne-Waza of Japanese ju-jitsu and judo. Helio Gracie has become known as the founder as he was the one to spread the art and perfect it. From his teachings rose great fighters and professors (Portugese use the word professor in place of teacher or SENSEI).
The great Master Hélio Gracie was the responsible for the return to the genuine "Gentle Art". Although a skinny little boy when he was younger, Hélio found in Jiu-Jitsu the key to become a hit in the sport and internationally famous. For more than fifty years, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is used as background for new professors and coaches, able to spread the teaching and the art all over the country and the world. Nowadays, is easy to find Jiu-Jitsu fighters not only in Brazil as well around the world. Children, juveniles and adults, men and women, can learn in the academies self-defence and fight as competition. Probably, Count Koma could not realize that from your act of gratitude, Gracie family would repay the kindness turning Brazil into the greatest barn of Jiu-Jitsu, with one of the most complete and invincible grappling Jiu-Jitsu of the world.
Since this time, Gracie family has improving the art of Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos Gracie was the first professor of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also developed the Gracie´s diet. Hélio Gracie, the younger brother, used to have health problems and always was prohibited by doctors to practice Jiu-Jitsu. One day, Hélio gave a personal lesson to Carlo´s student, taking advantage of Carlos absence. From this moment, Hélio never more stopped to teach. Both are known as the greatest names of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu history.
The Gracies were Carlos, Gastão, Hélio and others. Always using an aggressive marketing strategy to show the efficient art of Jiu-Jitsu, Hélio Gracie improved the Jiu-Jitsu techniques in such way turning the man into a weapon, making the weak able to defeat the biggest and strongest man. They became the "fathers" of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and collect a lot of victories. Made famous by Gracie Family, BJJ now is known everywhere in the planet and the VT (Vale-Tudo), the most famous tournament in the world. It´s the stage where Gracie Family makes their show.
BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) is also called the "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" when outside from Brazil, also meaning courage and technique. The Gracies were the inventors of this kind of art improving some techniques and proving that was possible the weaker defeats the stronger using the Jiu- Jitsu superior principles. Since 1970´s, Gracie Family has dedicated your life to Jiu-Jitsu, and nowadays, has more then fifty members of your family working directly with this art. The success keeps growing in this traditional family called Gracie.
Once upon a time, in the city of Nogueira, near by Rio de Janeiro, in the old state still called Guanabara, a young boy stole car of Mr. Sylvio de Macedo Behring. When Mr. Behring found out he went to have a conversation with the boy (six years older than his first son, called Flávio). After that, the boy who stole the car started to persecute and humiliate Flávio wherever he would go which became the major reason that the insecure, skinny and asthmatic boy begun to practice Jiu-Jitsu at the Gracie Academy, under supervision of Master Hélio Gracie by the hands of Master João Alberto Barreto, while Flavio´s younger brother, Luis Fernando (also called Nando) was a student of Master Hélio Vígio. Flávio Behring quickly advanced in Jiu-Jitsu, not only as a fighter as well as a instructor, getting to the top and representing the sport on every opportunity with honors.
In 1962, the first son of Professor Flávio Schmidt Behring was born, named Sylvio da Matta Behring and in 1964, Marcelo da Matta Behring, both learned from their father to live in a health way, doing exercises and, of course, practicing Jiu-Jitsu. They used to follow the Gracie´s diet and way of life. The Professor Flávio used to work with Advertisement and Marketing however he was always training in with Jiu-Jitsu through Professor and friend, Master João Alberto. Sylvio started at age of 4, at João Alberto Academy (AJA) under supervision of João´s son, Rodney and the instructors Pernambuco and Valverde. Since the beginning Sylvio showed personal characteristics turned to technical side while Marcelo, revealed to be a brave fighter. Two different brothers linked by the blood and the sport.
In 1970, Professor Flávio moved to São Paulo but continued the work started with his sons at Gastão Gracie´s Academy until 1974. Back to Rio de Janeiro, Sylvio started training with Master Álvaro Barreto and his brother Marcelo, with Professor Rickson Gracie. In 1978, the Behring family moves to Nova Ipanema Buildings where he found an old friend, Professor Ricardo Murgel. They start up special trainings of self-defence and Vale-Tudo (with no padded mat or pre-defined place). Next, they bought forty leaves of padded mat made by rice straw and covered with waxed canvas. Thus Born "The Behring Jiu-Jitsu and Judo" Acadamy , in 1980, under supervision of Master Flávio and with the assistance of Professor Ricardo Murgel and the Sensei Júlio César da Gama e Silva, as instructors Sylvio (Purple Belt) and Marcelo Behring (Blue Belt).
Sylvio was the supervisor in the academy of Master Álvaro Barreto (Álvaro Barreto Center of Physical Orientation) and Marcelo was the best on blue belt juvenile rank of Gracie´s academy. Also, Maurição Miguel Pereira came into the family falling in love with Jiu-Jitsu. The benefits of this partnership (Master Álvaro, Master Rickson and Master Flávio ) to the students were unquestionable.
Looking forward, Master Flávio gave a step ahead when he took Sylvio, Marcelo and Mauricio to train Judo with the best of Sensei, George Mehdi! All of three became black belts in Judo. In January, 1984, Sylvio received the black belt of Jiu-Jitsu together with Luis Eduardo Vianna and Paulo Acatauassú Bittencourt. Present at the grading were the Masters João Alberto Barreto, Reyson Gracie and Álvaro Barreto. Marcelo got his black belt after defeating the World Champion of Tae Kwon Do, Flávio Molina, in a tournament of Vale -Tudo in November of the same year.
In 1986, Maurição also earned his black belt, and after, other students graduate and become famous in the sport: such as Fábio Oliveira, Vinícius Campelo, Jorge Pereira, Dr. Linhares, Dr. Cláudio Street, Dr. Pedro Albuquerque, Sérgio Monteiro, Rafael Parga, Pedro Alberto Braga, Bayard de Paoli, Eduardo Nishio, Cardivando Figueiredo, Ralph Pires, Muzio de Angelis, Ericson Pires and more…
Sylvio and Marcelo were instructors at Behring Academy, at Nova Ipanema, while Marcelo assumed the Julio Veloso Academy at Laranjeiras. Sylvio assumed the Álvaro Barreto Center of Physical Orientation located at Copacabana. Marcelo became the prominent fighter of Professor Rickson Gracie Team. Sylvio, the Master Álvaro Team, Mauricao was also among the best fighters of his rank, being important and well known (he created Hunter Fightwear and became one of most famous trade marks for MMA).
In 1987, Sylvio associated with Master Álvaro and established the Corpo Quatro Academy, at Copacabana. They made an excellent team, winning titles on individual and team tournaments, creating the one of the first female teams in BJJ. In January 1988, Ian Rego Monteiro Behring (Sylvio´s son) is born and Sylvio and Marcelo joined in the "First Challenge of Jiu-Jitsu". Sylvio was at the open fight (referee: Crolin Gracie. 20 minutes /Sylvio won by tap out) against Paschoal Duarte. Marcelo participated in the main fight, against Cássio Cardoso (referee: Master Álvaro Barreto, 1 hour / Cássio won 6 x 2). The tournament was organized by Maurição and Riccieli Santos and was a record of audience, 1.800 people went to see the fights.
During jiu-jitsu trips to Hawaii, Australia, Bali, etc … Marcelo got fame and prestige, challenging fighters from different kinds of martial arts, in order to show the effective power of Jiu-Jitsu in the real combat. Marcelo became personal friend of Tom Carol, Ross Clark Jones and Martin Potter. At São Paulo, he met some professional surfers and also fans of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They couldn´t imagine knowing such person as Marcelo, with his ideas and attitudes. Back to Brazil, Marcelo moved to São Paulo. Now he was married with Kirla Gracie, who already had a son, Kyron. They intended to explore the market of Jiu-Jitsu competition. That was the beginning of the boom of Jiu-Jitsu at São Paulo. Kirla and Maercelo had another baby, Kywan Gracie Behring. Master Flávio also went to São Paulo to work as a consultant for a Program of Total Quality for Corporations. But he ended working exclusively for BJJ and assumed the control of Behring Academy.
In 1987 Sylvio Behring was married and became a father to Ian Rego Monteiro Behring born on January 14th, 1988. Ian became a black belt in 2012, the third generation in the Behring Family. Ian is a very skillful fighter and an excellent instructor.
In 1992, Sylvio went to São Paulo,. He moved and left 250 students with Master Álvaro Barreto and Professor Roberto Traven. "Maurição" stayed at Rio de Janeiro, training with Professor Royler Gracie, in Gracie Academy at Humaitá. Meanwhile, in São Paulo, Sylvio had the opportunity to start and develop the Progressive System of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Sylvio created a new method of learning and comprehending the Jiu-Jitsu. Trough the systematic practice of its genuine principle, the self-defence, was an easier way to understand the "gentle-art". Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu now was exposed in seminares but it was a fact that to be understandable for everyone, ordinary person and not just ground-fighting martial art fighters, they needed to simplify the way of exposure.
In 1995, a very sad event brings Sylvio back to Rio. Professor Marcelo Behring died. For three months in a painful search culminating with the funeral of the Vale-Tudo Champion, brother, father, son, friend. This sad event joined again Sylvio and Maurição, who was away from the stage. Maurição was the first to try on, at the same time revolutionary and traditional, new method (Progressive system).
Loyal to the principles of self-defence and the origins of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, at his first year back to the tournaments he wins the Brazilian Championship, get silver at Pan American (Hawaii), 2º place in The First Black Belt of Surf (another idea from Professor Sylvio´s mind!) at Sunset and bronze in the World CBJJ (Rio de Janeiro). At the same time, "Maurição" launched the trademark Hunter Fight Wear!
The results showed that the Progressive System is reliable and considered efficient, achieving good results in competitions as well in the individual´s background and on the preservation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Culture. In 1997, Professor Sylvio was highly requested to assume and direct several academies in Brazil, U.S.A., Canada and Europe. Using his own method he starts to get better and faster results and develops a unique style of teaching preparing some students to fight in every position during the classes. Those students can play in pairs or in small groups, individualizing the job and making possible the complete interaction of the group, socializing through the partnership, keeping the quality of the inducement and the results. Academies affiliated to Professor Sylvio start to use the Progressive System as basic structure to apprenticeship and to the former students as an exercise to keep the physical condition.
Maurição Miguel Pereira "Hunter", Fabrício Werdum, Shah Franco, Marcio Corleta, Mario Reis, Rosângela Conceição, Rob Handley, Danilo Rodacki, Peter Iacavazzi, Scott Schilling, Tom Theofanopoulos, Richard Nancoo, Justin Bruckman, Marco Costa, Antônio Carvalho, Rodrigo Munduruca, Jorge Keller, Mathias Ribeiro, Jessie Richardson, Luís Almiro, Mike Hermosillo, Anderson Silva (UFC), Rafel Feijão, Douglas Moura, Rafael Azambuja, Gabriel Azambuja, Marcio Dezan, Marcelo Dezan, Matt McDonald, Igor Mattos, Ian Behring, Fabio Oliveira, Mike Yackulic, Chris Bonde and others.
In 2003, the Behring Team of Competition got the 5º general place in the World Cup (CBJJO) and 2 º places – female category, in the World Championship (CBJJ).
In 2007 Professor Rogerio Gavazza founded the FJJERIO (Federacao de Jiu-Jitsu Esportivo do Estado do Rio de Janeiro), a non profite organization to work for the development of the sport and the instructors.