Also Known As...
It is a modified form of the traditional Japanese style. Gracie / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the masterpiece of the storied Gracie family of Brazil. Eldest brother Carlos first learned the traditional Japanese styling from Japanese Jiu Jitsu champion Mitsuyo Maeda around 1920. Carlos taught Maeda's techniques to his four brothers: Oswaldo, Gasto, Jorge and Helo and in 1925 they opened the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu academy in Brazil.
Carlos and his brothers...
particularly Helo, changed the original art by adapting the techniques of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.
So that they depended mostly upon leverage, rather than strength and explosiveness. They experimented, modified and perfected simple techniques that would be effective regardless of stature. Consequently they broke away from the traditional Japanese style and began the development of a more efficient and complete.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is primarily a ground fighting art. Most techniques involve both fighters being on the ground. There is heavy emphasis on positional strategies. A large variety of attacks and defenses are available to both fighters, once a preferable position or "stable situation" is achieved.
Specific techniques are taught either to improve one's position or to apply a finishing submission