Like most martial arts, Jiu-Jitsu roots trace back to ancient Japan where the Samurai developed the gentle art into a well-rounded self defense system. In 1914, a Japanese Jiu-Jitsu champion named Mitsuyo Maeda migrated to Brazil. There he shared his art with the Gracie Family who had themselves migrated from Scotland many years earlier.
In 1925, Carlos Gracie opened the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Brazil and the Gracie Dynasty was born. Carlos Gracie's younger brother, Helio Gracie, weighed only 135 pounds. He was so small and frail that doctors advised him not to participate in athletic activities. When young Helio began training, he found that he needed to adjust the techniques he had learned so that they would work for someone smaller or weaker than their opponent. As time went on, Helio became a national hero as he challenged and defeated many of the world's top fighters.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, several of Helio's sons migrated to the United States and introduced Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to any who wanted to learn. At the time, American's had quite an obsession with the flashy martial arts styles seen in Hollywood movies, each one claiming to be the most effective. Following in the steps of his father, Rorion Gracie issued the now famous Gracie Challenge: Rorion would fight any person, of any style, and any size. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu began to make its mark in America as stylists from all over the United States accepted the challenge and were defeated by the gentle, effective art.
In 1993, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu exploded onto the world scene as Rorion's 170 pound brother, Royce Gracie, entered the first Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). At the time there were no gloves, no time limits, and almost no rules. As the smallest fighter in the event, most gave young Royce no chance of defeating his much larger and more athletic opponents. As had happened so many times before, this small Gracie fighter defeated each and every opponent by submission. Almost overnight, a world-wide demand for instruction in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu emerged.
In 1990, Pedro Sauer moved to California to help the Gracie family introduce Gracie Jiu-Jitsu to the United States. He had grown up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As a young man Pedro had trained in several martial arts, but when he was 15 years old, his good friend Rickson Gracie invited him to train at the Gracie Academy. His first encounter with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu convinced him that it was the most effective martial art ever created. Years later, in 1985, he was awarded a black belt under Master Rickson Gracie and Grandmaster Helio Gracie.
Shortly after moving to the United States, Master Pedro Sauer moved to Utah and began teaching as one of only two Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructors that were not part of the Gracie family. Master Pedro Sauer quickly became known for his kindness, meticulous approach, and eye for Technical detail in his Jiu-Jitsu.
Over the years his name has become synonymous with fluidity and technical precision. He is frequently mentioned on television and featured in martial arts magazines. On May 17, 2005, Pedro Sauer was voted "Best of the Best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructor" in a worldwide poll.
He is currently an eighth degree black belt under Master RIckson Gracie and Grandmaster Helio Gracie. It is an honor for the Atlanta Martial Arts Center to be certified affiliated with Master Sauer.
AMAC’s Chief instructor Alan Baker is second generation instructor under Master Pedro Sauer.
Upholding the premise that most of the advantage of a larger, stronger opponent comes from superior reach and more powerful strikes, both of which are mitigated when grappling on the ground, Brazilian jiu-jitsu emphasizes getting an opponent to the ground in order to utilize ground fighting techniques and submission holds involving Strikeing, joint-locks and chokeholds. A more precise way of describing this would be to say that on the ground, physical strength can be offset or enhanced by an experienced grappler who knows how to maximize force using mechanical strength instead of pure physical strength.
Once the opponent is on the ground, a number of maneuvers (and counter-maneuvers) are available to manipulate the opponent into a suitable position for the application of a submission technique or strikeing. Achieving a dominant position on the ground is one of the hallmarks of the style, and includes effective use of the guard (a signature position of BJJ) position to defend oneself from bottom (using both submissions and sweeps, with sweeps leading to the possibility of dominant position or an opportunity to pass the guard), and passing the guard to dominate from top position with side control, mount, and back mount positions.
This system of maneuvering and manipulation can be likened to a form of kinetic chess when utilized by two experienced practitioners. A submission hold is the equivalent of checkmate in the sport, reflecting a disadvantage which would be extremely difficult to overcome in a fight (such as a dislocated joint or unconsciousness).