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 where he and his younger brother Helio offered group and private instruction. They also introduced the Gracie Challenge to Brazil.
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 this 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. Master Sauer quickly became known for his kindness, meticulous approach, and eye for detail. 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 Rickson and Helio Gracie.
In August, 2000, Jared Emfield moved from Idaho Falls to Provo, Utah to attend BYU. Like most martial arts instructors, he had heard about Pedro Sauer and seen what Royce Gracie had done in the early UFCs. He wondered if Gracie Jiu-Jitsu was everything it claimed to be. Jared made arrangements to visit the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu academy in Orem and quickly fell in love with this gentle, effective art.
Jared had the privilege of training with Pedro Sauer and many of his top black belts, but none was more influential than Professor Matt Strack who ran the Pedro Sauer Academy during the time Jared trained there. Professor Strack is a third-degree, Pedro Sauer black belt and the original founder of the Soma Jiu-Jitsu Association. Jared was awarded his black belt by Pedro Sauer in August, 2011, and is a proud member of the Soma Jiu-Jitsu Association.