The KASAI name was not chosen by accident, nor was it a decision made in haste.

The name of this promotion represents an outlook on how Jiu-Jitsu, and its most accomplished stars, should conduct themselves – to elevate the sport’s mainstream profile.


KASAI is a word adopted from the Japanese language. It parallels the migration of Jiu-Jitsu itself from the Land of The Rising Sun, where the discipline was originally conceived, to its modern homeland of Brazil – when Carlos and Hélio Gracie adapted the techniques of Kodokan judo taught to them by decorated judōka and prizefighter Mitsuyo Maeda in the early twentieth century. Maeda would later naturalize himself as a Brazilian.

Adopting this word from another culture that resides half-way around the world, and embracing it within the entertainment capital of New York City, KASAI mirrors Maeda’s journey, while conveying Jiu-Jitsu’s fundamental appreciation of global inclusivity. This includes the different flavors of grappling that have matured in different nations and continents around the world; styles that converge, compare and contrast at competitive events.


In English, KASAI translates as ‘a fire that rages uncontrollably’. Its meaning is indicative of three tenets this organization holds dear:

  • The intensity that elite Jiu-Jitsu talent brings to each and every contest
  • The dynamism and technique we hope to feature in every bout under KASAI’s banner
  • A commitment to spreading the popularity of grappling and ground fighting, while staying loyal to Jiu-Jitsu’s passionate grassroots community

“Jiu-Jitsu teaches its students to develop patience, discipline, and calmness in the heat of battle,” says Richard Byrne, CEO. “For that reason, and many others, the name ‘KASAI’ is a great fit for what we’re trying to present – technique and ferocity.”

“A common theme among the world’s greatest Jiu-Jitsu grapplers is how quickly they threw themselves into the sport,” says Rolles Gracie, President. “Over time, their passion spreads to envelope other elements of their lifestyle, from exercise and diet, to even apparel. The metaphor of wildfire, which can grow at a rapid pace, was a great fit.”

KASAI is a name that recognizes the need to engage students, athletes and casual fans alike in the modern era of martial arts, while maintaining a respect for those historic figures who paved the way before us. Presenting a sport laden with science, discipline, and technique, KASAI is quantum in nature itself – looking ahead to the future, while holding on tight to the past, as if it were the collar of a gi.