Luta Livre is a complete Brazilian martial art, which is primarily a mixture of Catch wrestling and Judo. Luta Livre is a Brazilian-based martial art that was created by Euclydes Hatem. Euclydes Hatem went by the name of Tatu. It was designed in Rio de Janeiro and means “free wrestling” in Portuguese(cf. “freestyle wrestling”) also known as Brazilian Wrestling, or Sport wrestling. There are also striking techniques with hands, feet, knees and elbows. The name “Luta” is Portuguese for “Wrestling” or “Fight” and “Livre” for “Free”, roughly meaning “Free wrestling” or “Free fighting”. There are two styles known as “Luta Livre Esportiva” and “Luta Livre Vale Tudo”. Both styles are no-gi. Noticeable practitioners are Marco Ruas, Ebenezer Fontes Braga, Johil de Oliveira, Alexandre Franca Nogueira, Renato Sobral and José Aldo
The competitive version is known as Luta Livre Esportiva (esportiva being Portuguese for “sporting”), a complete martial art system which was designed in Rio de Janeiro. Luta Livre is essentially a “no gi submission grappling”. In Luta Livre Esportiva competitions, grappling techniques are the only techniques allowed to subdue the opponent. Consequently, it is important to calmly strategize and execute one’s moves. This is a style of submission wrestling with the aim to force one’s opponent to submit via armlock, leglock, choke or necklock or by points to win (i.e. takedowns, domination position). Punches, kicks and other “hard” techniques are not allowed as this is seen as more of a sport than an actual form of self-defense or fighting.
Luta Livre T36 includes 36 Luta Livre skills for ending a real combat situation by chokes or locks on the opponents joints. It is a special program with a structured game plan for grappling, MMA and any kind of real combat situations like self-defense. Luta Livre Vale Tudo includes techniques in the clinch, as well as on the ground for Vale Tudo and other MMA-style fights. Here, punches and kicks are allowed. The ground fight and submission is still its strongest element.
Luta Livre’s founder is credited to be Euclydes “Tatu” Hatem, who was originally a catch wrestler. Euclydes Hatem went by the name of Tatu.  He began teaching catch wrestling techniques to others in Rio de Janeiro in 1927 while experimenting with some of his own innovative techniques. Tatu brought on many challenges with the Braziliian Jiujitsu and culminated with his victory over George Gracie.  The style emphasized fighting without a gi/uniform.  He received popularity when he submitted George Gracie in 1940 and when one of his students, Euclides Pereira defeated Carlson Gracie in 1968. The system focused on ground fighting and submissions due to their importance in Vale Tudo matches. The groundfighting included the use of leg locks, which at the time was ignored by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. For years, Luta Livre was extremely popular in Brazil, second only to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Some of the famous fighters that came out of Luta Livre included William Porfirio. In the 1970s Luta Livre was strongly influenced by father and son duo Fausto and Carlos Brunocilla. The Brunocilla were Tatu’s pupils and were in turn responsible for graduating many Luta Livre Masters. Also around the 1970s, the art of Luta Livre was influenced by Roberto Leitão, a practitioner of judo and wrestling. Leitao also articulated the “Theory of Grappling”, sometimes referred to as “Theory of Luta Livre”. Roberto Leitao was a University professor of Engineering who had devoted many years to Wrestling and Judo. Since he was of smaller physical stature than most athletes from the rowing club, Leitao had to prevail by technique, much like Royce Gracie did in UFC 1 with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Leitao also chose to innovate techniques, stating in an interview that he would keep a notepad by his bedside and whenever he thought or dreamed of a certain technique, he would write it down and attempt it the next day. This helped Luta Livre become a more recognizable style of martial art. Luta Livre evolved and was brought to Germany in 1995 by Daniel D’Dane where he taught Luta Livre to a handful of people in Cologne and became a mentor to Andreas W. Schmidt.
The grading system, according to the Wrestling Federation Submission of the State of Rio de Janeiro, is divided into three: beginners, intermediate and advanced.
Graduation for beginners is divided into three tracks: The range of White color is given to beginners. The Yellow color range is given as a second degree. The orange band is the third degree. Graduation for the intermediate level: The range of blue color is given to intermediate athlete. The degree to advanced the art are the following: The range of color Purple. The range of color brown. The range in color Black.
Luta Livre and Brazilian jiu-jitsu
Luta Livre, in its early days, was largely considered to be an art “for poor kids who could not afford a gi.”  due to appearances since they didn’t fight with a gi. Luta Livre and BJJ were considered to be enemies. When Euclides Perreria beat George Gracie in 1968, the rivalry was continued for a few more decades. It was actually very popular amongst kids from the favelas.  Luta Livre focused on teaching the poor who were primarily of African descent. This was opposed to Brazilian Jiujitsu which was thought to focus on teaching of the upper class, who were primarily light skinned. The battles between the two arts was essentially a class warfare. By the 1980s, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu had become very popular in Brazil and Luta Livre representatives were wanting to help popularize their art by accepting challenges from Brazilian jiu-jitsu champions in Vale Tudo and Submission matches. Luta Livre continued on with many famous fights in and out of the ring. This included a fight with Rickson Gracie on the beaches of Brazil. This would hurt Luta Livre’s reputation with Hugo Duarte losing to Rickson Gracie then getting knocked out by Tank Abbott at UFC 17 and Eugenio Tadeu losing to Wallid Ismael due to his inability to re-enter the ring in time. Tadeu did battle Royler Gracie to a draw in an indoor fight. Another fight between Renzo Gracie and Eugenio Tadeu kept the rivalry going.  His battle with Renzo Gracie in 1997 ended in a No Contest due to fans rioting. In 1991 Desafio hosted a Jiu-Jitsu vs Luta Livre card that had three representatives of Brazilian jiu-jitsu up against three representatives of Luta Livre, with BJJ winning all three fights.
One fighter Marco Ruas, who would later become a UFC champ, had a huge rivalry with Rickson Gracie. A fight though never occurred between the two fighters. When MMA became popularized and after BJJ having such success against Luta Livre practitioners in the more popular MMA fights, more Luta Livre practitioners left their original camps and went instead to the Jiu-Jitsu camps hoping for success in a fighting career. Hugo, Johil De Oliveira, and Eugenio Tadeau are amongst the most notable representatives of that era for the Luta Livre style that was famous for opposing against Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in the Vale Tudo events held in Brazil. Despite their overall losses against Jiu-Jitsu, Luta Livre seems to be making a resurgence in mixed martial arts.