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Choque: The Untold story of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil 1856-1949

Choque: The Untold story of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil 1856-1949 [Kindle Edition]

Roberto Pedreira
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Choque (pronounced “shock”) was one of the Portuguese words often used to refer to athletic competitions, including “ring sports” as they were generally called”. Choque: The Untold Story of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil Volume I covers the Formative Period between 1856 and 1908, the First Boom of 1909 to 1916, the Glacial Age of 1916 to 1928, through the Golden Age of 1928 to 1940, up to the Dark Ages of 1941 to 1949, terminating with the virtual disappearance of jiu-jitsu in Brazil.

During the Formative Period, organizational structures, venues, expectations, and cultural practices were established. Essential forms of media, transportation, and technology evolved. The man who more than any other single individual brought jiu-jitsu to Brazil, Paschoal Segreto, emerged.

The First Boom covers the rise and fall of the first jiu-jitsu representative in Brazil, Sada Miyako, and his alleged Brazilian student Mario Aleixo. It continues with the arrival of Conde Koma (Maeda Mitsuyo) and his “troupe” of Japanese jiu-jitsu fighters in 1914. The Glacial Age chronicles the events that took place in São Paulo and Rio between Conde Koma’s virtual and actual retirement and the arrival of the first super-hero of the mixed martial arts in Brazil, Geo Omori.

With Geo Omori, the Golden Age began. Following in his wake were the now famous names of Carlos, George, Oswaldo, and Helio Gracie, Takeo Yano, Yassuiti and Naoiti Ono, and many more. All of their legendary fights and publicity stunts are chronicled in fully documented detail.

In the lead-up to World War Two, interest in jiu-jitsu declined precipitously. During the war, professional sports and entertainment of all varieties were curtailed or modified to meet the objectives of the war effort. Jiu-jitsu was highly dispensable. When the war was over, jiu-jitsu was supplanted by a different form of fighting known locally as “luta livre” and generically as “catch”. Jiu-jitsu men had no recourse but to accommodate to this new reality.

Choque contains several appendices that will prove to be invaluable for researchers. They include an inventory of every known jiu-jitsu representative in Brazil between 1856 and 1949 and their opponents, and promoters, managers, writers, organizations, referees, as well as the names and addresses of major venues, gyms, and academies.

Also provided is a chronology of all known and confirmed contests between jiu-jitsu representatives and other stylists. Separately indicated are unconfirmed but probable contests.

Other appendices include teacher-student lineages and a glossary of jiu-jitsu terminology used up to 1949.

Readers who are interested in the history of luta romana, capoeiragem, luta livre, boxing, and catch-as-catch-can in Brazil will also find a great deal of new material in Choque: The Untold Story of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil Vol. I, 1856-1949.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3076 KB
  • Print Length: 744 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1491226366
  • Publisher: GTR Publications; 1 edition (10 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JL3L44S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,292 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Slanted but Essential 10 Nov 2014
"Choque" is the best published history of Jiu Jitsu in Brazil by dint of the fact that it is the only title that can be described as such, with emphasis on the term "history" rather than "myth" or "legend". This title therefore sets the watermark for future publications in the field.

The author catalogues the somewhat definitive early history of competition and exhibition Jiu Jitsu in Brazil and its relationship to Luta Livre, Greco-Roman wrestling and Vale Tudo as can be substantiated from the textual records of the time (mostly newspaper articles). For this reason, general readers should beware: this is not a work that records fond reminiscences and fireside yarn spinning. It is a sometimes dry reproduction of contemporary sources in their original, unstandardized Portuguese together with an English translation and suitable commentary.

The author's standpoint however is somewhat slanted and he relentlessly pursues an agenda of exposing the violent and criminal escapades of Carlos and Helio Gracie (which nonetheless are lurid and fascinating). The author (mostly) stops short of unsubstantiated defamation and does reference the relevant court proceedings and other sources that are of public record when tackling this thorny issue.

The evident bias of the author does not distract from the fact that this work is a must have. If anything, this book is required to counter-balance the somnambulant hyper-mythologisation that is recited by the latter-day proponents of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu system.

Due to the greater wealth of sources, the second edition of this work (which will cover the years 1950 to the present) is particularly promising. At the very least, "Choque: The Untold Story of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil 1856-1949" is a worthwhile exercise to prepare the reader (and the author) for a wide reaching and balanced history that encompasses the genesis of modern BJJ and thereby, MMA.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb example of what martial arts scholarship must be 18 Jun 2014
By Philos - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Readers of martial arts literature or viewers of martial arts instructional videos are (or should be) dissapointed of the level of exaggeration, hyperbole, misrepresentation, propaganda, story-telling and self-promotion which is rampant in the martial arts literary and "videographic" community.

Just think about the number of books and, above all, instructional videos which suddenly "rediscoveried" grappling and ground fighting in their classical martial styles after the BJJ and NHB revolutions were begun by the Gracies at the 90s!

Fortunately, there are members of the martial arts community which are serious scholars and researchers. Without a question, Roberto Pedreira is one of them.

Choque is not an easy read. And probably, most grappling and BJJ "enthusiasts" would find it very boring.

But for the scholar, academic or researcher of the history of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, this book is a must read.

The book is organized chronologically and Pedreira documents each single important event (related to BJJ in Brazil) which happened in each year.

A lot of notes and independent references are used to document the facts mentioned by Pedreira. Also, it seems to be that Pedreira tried to hard to present and organize the facts, while keeping his own opinions or interpretarions of the facts at the minimum level.

This aspect tends to make Pedreira's style of writing a little bit "dry", emotionless and uninteresting from a formal, purely literary point of view. But in turn, such approach tends to preserve the objectivity of the narrative.

An important aspect which is missing from Pedreira's book is an in-depth discussion of the origin of the "techniques" of BJJ. Pedreira correctly notes and implies that the Gracies were taught a version of the Kodokan Judo which existed in that moment. This is well-known for any informed person interested in the history of BJJ.

But we want and need more specifics. For example, in some internet forums and blogs, people have begun to ask exactly what is the historical source of the so-called "stand up self-defense" program of 36 lessons taught by Helio Gracie and his sons. Or what are exactly the "modifications", if any, that Helio (or Carlos or George) produced in the jiu-jitsu (judo) that they learnt.

It is paradoxical to note that Helio's jiu jitsu is presented by himself and his sons as a "street self-defense" martial art (not just a sport) and the main techniques taught by him are "stand up self-defense techniques" (see Helio's book Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and the video "episode one" which presents the original 36 lessons taught in the Gracie Academy. Most of such techniques are standing up!), when his family is known worldview for dismissing as highly ineffective most traditional standing up martial arts and promoting the combat philosophy of "close the distance, take the opponent to the ground and finishing him there" (ground fighting) as the best combat strategy.

So, although BJJ includes stading up techniques, without a question it is known as primarily a ground fighting art. In fact, for all practical purposes "BJJ" has become equivalent to ground fighting in many circles.

Pedreira could be excused from such omission on the grounds that he's not presenting an in-depth account or biography of Helio or Carlos Gracie. Or perhaps, given that his book only address documented facts and there is not documented facts which answer the questions posed above, he couldn't address them specifically.

I guess it is what Pedreira would say. So, even though I wished to find an in-depth discussion of such things, I don't think such omission undermine at all the value of Choque.

In any case, I think adding a chapter in Choque (perhaps in volume 2?) about these "technical" questions would be a helpful and original contribution to a missing, interesting and much neglected aspect of the history of BJJ.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Choque Reviewed 16 Jun 2014
By tobaksa - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a tough one to rate. If you are looking for the ultimate reference for fighting in Brazil during the years covered (a second volume will take up were this leaves off) look no further. But if you are a casual reader, this probably isn't for you. Roberto has scoured the source material, newspapers and magazines, and tracked down more or less every fight, professional, amateur, and street, that made the papers. For the latter half of the 19th century those fights would have been capoeira, luta romana, or luta livre. Don't worry, he provides translations from the Portuguese. Actual Jiu-Jitsu makes its first appearance in 1904, but over the next forty-five years there is plenty of cross traffic.

For those who want or need a book like this, it is a five star; it will never be supplanted. For everyone else, despite the author's best efforts to liven up the material it is a long, dry slog. I have compromised by giving it four stars, partly because (disclaimer) the author is a friend, but mostly because it is the product of impressive research, which deserves recognition.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will change the way you think about the ... 26 Aug 2014
By Victor - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
This book will change the way you think about the gracies!! I'm sure some of their family wouldn't want people to read this...
Nothing but pure fact in this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for Bjj lifers 20 Dec 2014
By Josh Vogel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book. A really fascinating look beyond the history of Gracie jiujitsu that we hear about in class, hear in interviews and read about on the web.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deeply disappointing pseudo-scholarship 4 Nov 2014
By Jeff M. Shaw - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was really excited about this book, since I love jiujitsu history. But I was very disappointed in the book's biased and bewildering attacks on some of the most important figures in jiujitsu. What's worse: this was advertised as a serious study based on newspaper stories of the era. If this were the case, I would've been happy. Instead, there are many claims without evidence as the author grinds what appears to be his personal ax.
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