Do you know your jiu-jitsu history? No, I’m not talking about if you could recognize a picture of Helio Gracie — before that. Way before that.
One film plans to go deep into jiu-jitsu history, answering questions you would’ve never even thought to ask about our beloved martial art’s origins. The film, which is still being edited and doesn’t currently have a release date, is called Closed Guard, and its creators just released a trailer.
In a caption that accompanies the trailer, the film’s creators described their mission in creating the documentary:
“The term “Know your roots” gets thrown around a lot in BJJ circles, but we don’t know our roots do we? The goal of this film was always to tell the history of BJJ as accurately as possible and without any bias. A difficult task, given the length and complexity of the history, the number of never introduced characters, our goal to correct history (which can’t be done without mentioning what is wrong with it in the first place) made this film a colossal task. We are at version number 6 of the script and it is still constantly changing as we learn more about this history.
“From Commodore Perry’s “gun-boat diplomacy” to the first challenge of East versus West between Sumo Wrestlers and American Sailors, to the influence of Western Philosophy and Wrestling into Kano’s creation of Kodokan Judo, to the Russo-Japanese War, Japanese immigration, the original Jiu-Jitsu “Craze” of the early 20th century, the rubber-boom in the Amazon, to a group of Japanese adventurers, to scions of Scottish descent and their “patrician ethos” and the ensuing rivalries between Judo, Capoeira, Boxing, Greco-Roman and Catch would allow time and space for the specialization of an increasingly neglected aspect of Olympic Judo and that would later be called “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” (but that really should be called “Brazilian Judo”). The byproduct of all these loosely related events is the development of a different version of this Olympic Judo that witnessed in parallel the evolution of “Vale-Tudo” (later re-branded MMA to an Anglicized audience).
“The film has no release date as of now since we are rewriting the introduction given our current state (apparently never ending) of learning our roots. But we anticipate a premiere during the Masters Worlds in August 2020 (assuming the World is back on its feet by then). Who’s ready for some BJJ history?”
We’ll keep you updated when we hear about a release date, but for now, check out the trailer for Closed Guard below: