"The BJJ Dirty Dozen are the first 12 non-Brazilian students to receive Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While in Brazil Jiu-Jitsu has been around for almost 90 years, the rest of the world only started hearing about our great art in the mid 80′s when the first Gracies went to the US to spread the word. There are some disagreements about who were the exact first black belts and in what year they were promoted for example Ken Gabrielson or Craig Kukuk? "
Sticking with the 12 theme, BJJEE also put together a European version of the Dirty Dozen which is a great chunk of history unto itself considering little is known about the origin and development of BJJ in Europe (from a North American perspective anyways):
"The “European Dirty Dozen” are the first 12 Europeans to receive Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I had to do some hardcore investigative research to find this one out. BJJ in Europe as we know it, all started in 1995 with a seminar from Rickson Gracie in Paris. Over 400 guys came to work out with Rickson. Find out more about this here . There are actually 14 here as some were promoted in the same year, so we couldn’t count them out. It should be mentioned that Holland’s Remco Pardoel was also one of the pioneers of BJJ as he fought Royce in the UFC and embraced BJJ afterwards, but he received his black belt after the first 14. Also the Vacirca brothers were present in Switzerland since the mid 90′s."
And since we are on the subject make sure to check out John Will here in Seattle, WA. mid-July! Stay tuned to The Ground Never Misses for more info.