Comprehensive History of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Below is the
history of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu from its origin to the present day.
We have constantly been collecting information, articles, postings,
stories, etc. and finally have put together everything we could
get our hands on to create this history. You may recognize some
of the material within this piece and that is because some of
it is just cut and pasted in to the document with various grammar
and spelling corrections, additional information, and writing
in order to make this piece complete, chronological, rational,
and readable. These are accounts from various sources, some of
which are not part of the Gracie family, who we thought would
give non-bias stories and accounts of what happened (or at least
how they saw it).
We hope that
the references at the bottom of the page provides enough recognition
to all the people whom we have gathered this information. We
appreciate all their hard work and would like to use that information,
as well as our own, and push Jiu-Jitsu history further as a contribution
to the Gracie Family, the practioners of the art, and all the
family, friends, and fans around the globe.
the History of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
I. The Beginning of Grappling
II. Origin of Jiu-Jitsu and Judo
III. Background of Mitsuyo Maeda/Count Koma
IV. Introduction of Judo/Jiu-Jitsu to Carlos Gracie and the background
of Carlos Gracie
V. Luiz Franca: The Other Originator of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
VI. Helio Gracie: The Mastermind of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
VII. Helio Passes the Torch to Carlson
VIII. Second Generation Gracie Family Members and their accomplishments
including the effect on MMA
IX. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Today
I. The Beginning
styles have existed for eons. Early Egyptian and Greek art show
the grappling arts in tombs, on pottery, and in statuary. Grappling
was known as far back as 2300 B.C.. Over the centuries, the grappling
martial arts spread throughout the world eventually coming to
Japan. Though the exact origin of Jiu-Jitsu is unknown, it is
agreed that the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu techniques were a culmination
of many ancient forms used by other oriental warriors.
have existed for centuries in Japan, but few were recorded, thus
precise dating is impossible. There were, however, orally passed
traditions that mention early combative confrontations in ancient
Japan. Their exact origins are shrouded in mythology. The earliest
mention of a sportive fight was a style called Chikura Kurabe.
Another early tale is of Takemina Kata-no-Kami; a commoner, and
Takemikazuchi-no-Kami; a divine champion. They are recorded in
ancient tradition as having a combative wrestling match. Another
tradition recorded in the NIHON-SHOKI refers to an early fighting
style called Sumai (meaning "struggle"), and states
that the style may have existed as early as 23 B.C.. Here, the
story is of one Nomi-no-Sukune of Izumo who defeated Tajima-no-Kehaya
on a beach in Shimane Prefecture by fracturing Kehaya's ribs
with a side kick, throwing him to the ground, and then trampling
him, crushing his pelvis and ultimately killing him. This was
supposedly witnessed by the Emperor Suinin. Most of these early
combative forms resembled modern Sumo and wrestling. Some of
the ancient recorded styles were Tekoi, Sumai, and Kumi-Uchi.
Kumi-Uchi was a battlefield type of Sumai. It was developed especially
for battle against an opponent in lightweight armor. The art
did not need gripping to make the techniques work. The techniques
were based on strong hips and legs which were used to maintain
contact with the enemy and throw him to the ground. Another ancient
form of Jiu-Jitsu was centered around the manipulation of joints
and the immobilization of the limbs. It was called Yawara. These
combat arts existed with little change for over 600 years.
Around 700 A.D., the Japanese began to have more frequent contact
with the people of China. Through these contacts, bits of Chinese
culture, religion, and art became assimilated into the Japanese
society. It is during this time, the Heian period, that Jiu-Jitsu
took the form it has today. Though there were already established
combat arts in Japan, this new style of fighting became the most
popular. About 875-880 A.D., one of the sons of Emperor Siewa
met a Chinese man who taught him a few fighting techniques. From
these techniques and principles, Teijun Fujiwara (sometimes called
Sadazumi or Sadagami) developed a fighting art he called Aiki-Jutsu.
Teijun Fujiwara taught these techniques exclusively to the royal
Minamoto family where it remained a secret style until the early
1100's. At that time, two sons of Minamoto no Yoriyoshi (a 5th
generation descendent of Emperor Seiwa and ruler of the Chinjufu
area of Oshu) began to thoroughly develop, organize and catalog
Aikijujutsu techniques. Minamoto no Yoshimitsu (also known as
Shinra Saburo or "Genji") (1036 - 1127 A.D.) and Minamoto
no Yoshiie (Hachimantaro) (1041 - 1108 A.D.) were both Yamusame
(archery) and To-Ho (swordsmanship) masters, brought up in the
tradition of their forefathers. They both worked together to
develop their families fighting techniques by dissecting cadavers
and studying the working of the muscles and bones. Yoriyoshi's
eldest son Yoshikiyo was also a famous warrior who fought against
Abe no Sadatou in the Zen Ku Nen war (1051 - 1062) and was victorious
against Abe at the battle of Koromogawa no Yakata. If Aikijujutsu
would develop anywhere, it would be here in the most famous military
family in Japan. It was Minamoto Yoshimitsu who named his family
style Daito-Ryu AikiJujutsu after his estate called Daito. Minamoto
no Yoshikiyo moved to the Kai region and became the head of that
branch of the Minamoto family. He called that branch KaiGenjiTakeda.
KAI was the region, GENJI the ancient family name and TAKEDA
was the town from whence he chose the new family name. The Takeda
family ran several martial arts schools in the area for over
400 years. The only two surviving Yamusame schools Takeda-Ryu
and Ogasawara-Ryu come from the schools of Takeda no Yoshikiyo.
During the Muromachi period (1392-1537), there was another Jiu-Jitsu
school that was greatly influential. Takenouchi-Ryu was founded
by Takenouchi Hisamori (also called Takeuchi Toichiro) in 1532.
Hisamori had spent time in the mountains with a Yamabushi (hermit
mountain warrior) and had learned five arresting techniques and
some principles of evasion. He combined these techniques with
his knowledge of Kumi-Uchi to make a Jiu-Jitsu style he called
Kogusoku. Later this style was renamed Takenouchi-Ryu Jujutsu.
The second headmaster of Takenouchi-Ryu, Hisakatsu, added Shinken
Shobu (deadly fighting). The third headmaster added Torite (restraining).
One of its core teachings was that of Koshi No Mawari, or grappling
in the light armor of the day. It became one of the three core
styles of Jiu-Jitsu.
of Jiu-Jitsu that became popular was founded during the same
period by Akiyama Shirobi Yoshitoki, a doctor from Nagasaki.
He studied striking and kicking techniques in China under Haku-Tei
(also called Pao-Chuan), along with 3 Yawara techniques and 28
different types of Kassei-Ho. Akiyama returned to Japan and began
to teach these forms but found it hard to keep students with
so few techniques. As a result, Akiyama retired to the temple
of Temmangu at Tsukushi about 1723 to study the techniques and
attempt to expand on them. During his winter stay, he one day
noticed snow piling up on the branches of the trees outside the
temple. He saw that whereas the snow piled heavily on the branches
of the great oak tree, is slipped harmlessly off the pliable
branches of the willow tree. Eventually, the branches of the
oak tree began to break under the weight of the snow, but the
willow branches simply yielded and allowed the snow to fall off,
thereby saving the tree. This brought a great enlightenment (satori)
to Yoshitoki and he used the concept of JU (suppleness) to increase
his techniques to 103. From his experience at the temple he decided
to name his style Yoshin-Ryu (willow heart school). This ryu
is also called Yanagi-Ryu and Miura-Ryu after two of its most
Takeda Harunobu (Shingen) (1520 - 1573) was a descendent of Minamoto
(Takeda) no Yoshikiyo and one of the great warriors of the Sengoku
era. Besides being a sword, spear, and archery master, he was
a great leader in battle. He warred against Uesugi Kenshin, the
ruler of Echigo, in his most famous battle known as Kawanakajima
in 1561. In those days a wealthy samurai had several retainers
under him to take care of many tasks which ran from administration
of troops, to running training camps. Shingen had several illustrious
retainers, namely Sanada Yukitaka, Obata Toramori, and Yamamoto
Kansuke (who wrote the famous HEIHO OKUGI SHO). During Haranobu's
great military career, he came into conflict with the Tokugawa
clan. In a decisive battle in 1572, Takeda Shingen beat Tokugawa
Ieyasu. Even though this was a great victory for the Takeda clan,
Shingen died from wounds sustained in his clash with the Tokugawas
while on his way to Kyoto. In April of 1573, Takeda Kunitsugu
brought the last will and testament of Takeda Harunobu to the
ruler of Aizu, Ashina Moriuji. Ashina was a long time ally of
the Takedas and turned over his portion to Kunitsugu. Takeda
Kunitsugu received a large estate and farm lands from Ashina
and was persuaded to stay in Aizu as a sword master. From that
day forward the Takeda family lived and taught Aikijujutsu in
In one fateful
event in February of 1582, the unbroken line of Takeda Aikijujutsu
masters came to an end. It was during that month that the forces
of Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu took revenge for their loss
in 1572 and attacked Takeda Katsuyori (the son of Takeda Harunobu)
and was victorious over the Takeda clan. As any samurai who felt
he had failed his family would do, Katsuyori committed ritual
suicide (seppuku). Luckily, the art had been passed onto the
retainers of the Takeda family who continued the tradition. The
most famous were: Sanada Yukitaka, Sanada Masayuki, Sanada Yukimura,
Sanada Nobuyuki, Yamamoto Kansuke, Obata Toramori, and Obata
It must be
understood that the teaching of the martial arts was restricted
to extended family and retainers at that time. The headmastership
was only passed on from father to son, unless there was no heir.
In this case the headmaster was chosen from the head retainer
or from a close male member of the extended family. The techniques
that were taught as a matter of course to the foot soldiers (ashigaru
or chugen) were simple, unrefined movements. Though they were
combat effective, they depended on strong legs and hips and a
powerful body rather than the skill of a true martial science.
Many of the techniques that influenced the formation of Judo
which came from the Kito-Ryu and the Tenshin Shin'Yo-Ryu were
the techniques of the Chugen. The Goshinkiuchi or secret teachings
(later called Otome-Ryu by the Daito-Ryu masters) were only taught
to the top classes of samurai. Knowledge of these methods were
not allowed to pass to the lower level retainers. Also, during
this period families actually kept their knowledge a family secret.
This allowed for superiority in battle against opposing family
Aizu retainers were now the headmasters of Takeda-Ryu Aikijujutsu
(Daito Ryu), the development of this style remained untouched
in that area for another 250 years. This branch of the family
came to be known as Aizu Takeda. They were renowned in Japan
as great sword masters. There were 5 styles of TO-HO and two
of Aikijujutsu (Mizu no Shinto-Ryu and Shinmyo-Ryu) practiced
by the Aizu Takeda. Additionally, there were many private schools
in Aizu including 22 for Kenjutsu, 14 for Battojutsu, 16 for
Jujutsu, 7 for Yamusame, 16 for Gunnery, and 4 for Spear. Students
in that area also studied Naginata, Bojutsu, Kusarijutsu, Kacchu
Kumiuchi, and Jinchyu Ninjutsu. In all there were over 90 schools
thriving in the Aizu.
At one time,
there were over 700 documented Jiu-Jitsu schools in Japan. Many
called their art Jiu-Jitsu, while others used such names as Ju-Do,
Aiki-Do, Taijutsu, Koshi-no-Mawari, Torite, Kenpo, Wajutsu, Hudaka,
Hobaku, Shubaku, and Yawara. All these were Jiu-Jitsu.
of Jiu-Jitsu and Judo
At the end
of the 1800's, the Samurai were politically disbanded and many
Jiu-Jitsu /Kenjutsu schools died out. A few survived, however.
Jiu-Jitsu schools came in from the countryside to the city, and
by doing so were exposed to other ryu. There were many contests
between Jiu-Jitsu schools at the time, each trying to prove they
were the best. Many Jiu-Jitsu styles were defeated and discredited,
some unjustly. Nevertheless, they were forced out of existence,
or the practitioners simply joined other ryu. It was also a time
of bullying on the part of the Jujutsuka. Many of the younger
students found enjoyment in trying the techniques out on unsuspecting
city folk. Also, many bar brawls were started in order to practice
their techniques. Jiu-Jitsu itself fell into ill repute and many
of it's practitioners were seen as trouble makers. Because of
this view, the practice of Jiu-Jitsu was restricted to a very
few traditional schools.
It was in
1882 that things began to change. It was in that year that Kano
Jigoro founded a new type of Jiu-Jitsu that he called Judo. Kano
was a Jiu-Jitsu master who had studied under sensei's Teinosuke
Yagi and Hachinosuke Fukada of the Tenshin Shin'Yo-Ryu. Later,
he also studied under the tutelage of Tsunetoshi Iikubu of the
Kito-Ryu. He also studied a while with the Sekiguchi-Ryu.
Kano was born
in a small costal town outside of Kobe, Japan in 1860. His main
martial theories were developed by his study of the "secret"
books HONTAI and SEIKO which discuss the fundamentals of Nage
(throwing) through the principle of KI-TO (to raise up - to strike
down). This, combined with his grappling knowledge from the Tenshin
Shin'Yo-Ryu, led Kano to retire to the solitude of the Eishoji
temple and develop his Judo.
Kano's Jiu-Jitsu different was his approach to training. Because
he sought to preserve the Jiu-Jitsu techniques, but realized
that Jiu-Jitsu had a bad reputation, he changed the entire philosophy
surrounding his art. Kano emphasized the physical fitness aspects
of the art and altered the techniques to make them appealing
to the general public. The sporting aspect of the art was also
suggested. Kano arranged KATA, (prearranged forms) for the self
defense techniques in order to ensure safety and enjoyment in
learning, but retained SHIAI (contest) to test timing and technique
in s semi-combat situation. Kano also invented the ranking system
that consisted of KYU ranks (trainees) and DAN ranks (graded).
Before Kano, the ranking system was non-existent. Kano also targeted
government and military officials as his primary student population.
By doing this, the popularity of his Judo spread quickly.
it must be realized that Kano's Judo achieved it's notoriety
because of Aikijujutsu. It seems that Kano was an excellent Jujutsuka
himself, but felt that in order to prove that his new for was
"undefeatable" he would need to employ an "undefeatable"
representative of his new art form. This man was Saigo Shida
who changed his name to Saigo Shiro (1867 - 1922).
the adopted son of Aikijujutsu master Saigo Tanomo. Shiro was
a master of Daito-Ryu at a young age and was trained for the
headmastership of the Takeda tradition, but was recruited by
Kano to be his "showman" for the Kodokan system. This
is basically why Takeda Sokaku became Daito-Ryu's headmaster.
Shiro was known for his great ability and strength at a young
age. In fact, he was a Godan (5th degree) by the age of 21. In
the contests set up between the Kodokan and the area Jiu-Jitsu
schools, Saigo easily defeated all opponents, mostly with his
favorite technique YAMA ARASHI. Kodokan was "proving"
its worth by using Aikijujutsu, although most of the techniques
Saigo used were never taught by Kano. As a matter of fact, whereas
Aikijujutsu had over a thousand techniques, the Kodokan system
boasted about 150. After many years Saigo Shiro, left the Kodokan
and became a reporter and master of Kyudo (archery). Only when
Saigo left the Kodokan did the style move into the realm of martial
sport. Saigo Shiro, perhaps one of the world's greatest Jujutsuka
died on 23 December 1922 at the age of 57.
By the time
Judo moved into the 20th century, many of the KORYU or "ancient
schools" were gone or disappearing. Thus, it was the perfect
time for Judo to come on strong. Kano made his Judo the standard
physical education for the Japanese Police Force and Army. Judo
was also popularized in the United States. In 1889, Kano had
sent Yamashita Yoshiaki to the U.S. to live and instruct Judo
at Harvard University and at the Annapolis Academy. This had
greatly enhanced the popularity of Judo with the new American
audience. Even though Kano had, in fact, used Aikijujutsu to
make his art famous, he did do Jiu-Jitsu a great service. If
it were not for the renewed interest in the grappling arts caused
by Judo there is a distinct possibility that Jiu-Jitsu would
have never survived as a martial art.
After an illustrious
career, Kano died while traveling at sea in 1938. Today Judo
is practiced all over the world and is a sport in the Olympics.
of Mitsuyo Maeda/Count Koma
style of Jiu-Jitsu was created in Brazil in the early part of
this century by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pioneer Carlos Gracie, who
studied traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu as a teenager under the
great Japanese champion, Mitsuyo Maeda, known in Brazil as Conde
Koma- the "Count of Combat."
of Judo is Jigoro Kano. One of his top students was Mitsuyo Maeda
born in 1878. Maeda studied Tenshin Jiu-Jitsu as a boy and in
1896, approximately, he moved to Tokyo and began practicing Judo,
shortly thereafter entering the Kodokan. Maeda was born in Aomori
Prefecture in 1878. There he learned Tenshin (Tenshin Shin'Yo)
Jiu-Jitsu. He moved to Tokyo when he was about 18. He began practicing
Judo in 1897. Maeda was a small man, but very talented.
In 1904, Koma
and Sanshiro Satake, left Japan. Another top student of Kano's
was Jojiro Tomita. Both Maeda and Tomita visited the United States
in 1904 to perform in a judo demonstration as Judo ambassadors.
In 1904, Maeda traveled to the U.S. with one of his instructors,
Tsunejiro Tomita. The only place they demonstrated judo together
was at the U.S. Army academy in West Point. There Maeda was challenged
by a wrestling champion. Maeda accepted the challenge and put
his opponent in a joint lock forcing the wrestler to tap out.
Maeda toured the US for a while longer and eventually traveled
to Spain, where he took on the ring name "Conde Koma"
with their performance in America, decided to stay behind in
the U.S. to establish what he believed to be the superiority
of Kodokan judo. Between 1904 and 1915, Maeda was involved in
many events and did remarkable things to accomplish his goal.
He taught at Princeton University, taught in New York City, traveled
to London, England, and participated in many fights throughout
for Maeda to stay behind in the U.S., as stated earlier, was
the failed challenge during the 1904 judo demonstration. Until
he opened his school in Belem, Brazil, Maeda accepted and offered
many challenges to prove the value of Kodokan judo. He fought
against wrestlers and boxers winning the vast majority of these
challenges and during these fights Maeda began to develop his
own unique style of fighting.
Tomita went to United States, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, Costa Rica,
Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru (where they met Laku, a Jiu-Jitsu
master, who was teaching at the Peruvian police), Chile, where
they contacted another fighter, (Okura), Argentina (they met
Shimitsu) and Uruguay. With that group, joined in the South American
countries, Koma exhibited his art for the first time in Brazil,
in Porto Alegre. Then, they went to Rio de Janeiro, São
Paulo, Salvador, Recife, São Luís, Belém
(in October of 1915) and finally Manaus, in December 18th of
the same year. Their passages by the Brazilian cities was marked
by short presentations. For his elegance and good look, always
sad, Mitsuyo Maeda won the nick name "Conde Koma" in
México. The first presentation of the Japanese group in
Manaus, intermediated by manager Otávio Pires Júnior,
on December 20, 1915, was in the Politeama Theater. Torsion techniques
were presented, grip defenses, articulation locks, demonstration
with Japanese arms and challenge to the public. With the success
of the shows, the challenges against the members of the team
multiplied. Among the defiant ones there were boxers as Adolfo
Corbiniano, from Barbados, and Greek-roman style fighters like
Arab Nagib Asef and Severino Sales. At that time Manaus lived
the Rubber Circle "boom" so the fights were stuffed
of millionaire bets, done by the rubber plantation barons.
4th to 8th, 1916, the first Amazon Jiu-Jitsu was accomplished.
The final champion was Satake. Count Koma did not fight that
time and took the organization of the event in his hands. On
the following day (Jan 9th 1916), Koma, beside Okura and Shimitsu,
embarked to Liverpool, England, where they stayed up to 1917.
While in the United Kingdom, Satake and Laku continued teaching
the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu to the amazons at the Rio Negro Athletic
Club. They kept on winning all the challenge combats. Then, in
November 1916, an Italian fighter, Alfredi Leconti, managed by
Gastão Gracie, associated to the Queirollo brothers in
the American Circus, arrived to Manaus for a challenge. Satake,
who was ill, gave his place to Laku, who was defeated by Leconti.
Satake, in recovery, would be the Italian's next opponent, but
due to the riot occurred during the combat between Laku and Leconti,
police officer Bráulio Pinto prohibited further fights
in the Amazon capital.
In 1917, back to Brazil, more specifically to Belém, with
his English wife, May Íris Maeda, Count Koma enters the
American Circus and finally knew Gastão Gracie. In November
of 1919, Koma goes back to Manaus, now in the condition of defiant
of his friend Satake. Then the only defeat in his all career
happened. He, then went back to Belém and in 1920, during
the rubber crisis, the American Circus was ended. With that,
Mitsuyo Maeda embarked back to England. In 1922, returned as
an immigration agent, working for the Amazon Industrial Company
and started teaching judo in Vila Bolonha. In the same year,
his old fellow Satake embarked to Europe and nothing was known
about him after that. Count Koma stayed in Belém, dying
in July of 1941. Carlos and Hélio Gracie, sons of Gastão
followed acting in the Jiu-Jitsu modality that they learned from
Koma in their father's circus after that martial art had been
definitively developed and implanted in Manaus by the members
of the Koma's group, mainly by Sanshiro "Black Belly"
Continuing his travels, in 1915, he ended up in Brazil. He engaged
in challenge matches and became famous throughout the region.
Maeda was to continue his role as a judo and Jiu-Jitsu sensei
and taught police, army cadets, and Brazilian citizens.
In 1915, Maeda
began to assist the Japanese immigrating to Brazil. At the time,
there were anti-Japanese sentiments in the US, so Maeda felt
Brazil with its more open policy towards immigration was the
ideal environment for Japanese settlers. Maeda became a very
prominent member of his community. He was given executive positions
in many companies and even received land from the government.
Maeda thought the old style of judo was the ultimate form of
self-defense. To him boxing and wrestling were only sports. Maeda's
strategy was to strike his opponent, go for a throw and then
finish his opponent off on the ground with a choke or joint lock.
Maeda stated in his autobiography that he took Kodokan judo techniques
and also took elements from Taryu Shiai Judo - those judo techniques
specifically used for matches against other schools.
Jiu-Jitsu is a style that believes fights often end up on the
ground. Maeda, who brought Jiu-Jitsu to Brazil, compared judo
to wrestling and boxing and felt judo was a superior form of
self-defense. Maeda liked to use elbows, low kicks, and throws
to take his opponent to the ground and then used joint locks
or chokes to finish the fight. After studying boxing and wrestling,
Maeda discovered the weaknesses of these styles and adjusted
and simplified the Kodokan judo techniques to effectively outsmart
and conquer his opponents. As a result of experiencing many different
styles of fighting, Maeda's own unique style of judo emerged.
Jiu-Jitsu is predominantly a ground-fighting art. The Brazilian
Jiu-Jitsuka's strategy is to avoid punches and kicks while attempting
to clinch his opponent, take the fight to the ground, and use
Jiu-Jitsu techniques to defeat him there, where the attacker's
strikes are weak. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques are based
on leverage, making it possible for the practitioner to beat
stronger and heavier opponents. The key is keeping your base
and using leverage against the opponent.
of Judo/Jiu-Jitsu to Carlos Gracie and the background of Carlos
In 1915, having
settled in Belem, Brazil, Maeda continued teaching judo. Among
the variety of his students, San Paulo policemen, army college
cadets, was a teenage boy named Carlos Gracie, third generation
descendent of an immigrant from Scotland. Carlos Gracie was born
in 1901 to Gastão Gracie, a Brazilian scholar and politician,
and became an accomplished scholar and politician in his own
right. He is considered to be the creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Carlos Gracie was one of five brothers, the smallest and thinnest,
yet his brothers never defeated him. His brothers were Osvaldo,
Gastão, Jorge, and Helio. He was raised in a wealthy family,
and he became a student of Maeda when he was 19. Maeda arrived
at the State of Pará in the northeast of Brazil. In Pará,
Maeda met a business-oriented friend of an influential man, Gastão
Gracie, that helped the Japanese establish a settlement in Brazil.
To demonstrate his gratitude, Maeda, also known as Conde Koma,
taught the traditional art of the Japanese Jiu-Jitsu to the son
oldest of Gastão, Carlos. Carlos' father, Gastão,
introduced Carlos to Maeda, and eventually, Carlos taught his
brothers Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos and his brothers made a name for the
family by fighting in demonstrations and street fights using
Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos only took one year of lessons from Maeda. However,
Carlos continued studies with other students of Maeda as he developed
his own style based on his real fighting experiences.
was very interested in street fighting and boxing and quickly
modified many of the classical techniques he learned from Count
Koma to meet the demands of "no-rules" fighting in
the streets of Brazil. The young Carlos Gracie started testing
and refining his system through constant matches, open to all
comers, continually working to make it more effective and lethal.
At one point, he even began advertising in newspapers and on
street corners for new opponents upon whom to practice and further
refine his art. Carlos Gracie fought anyone and everyone who
was willing, regardless of size, weight or fighting style. Although
he was a mere 135 pounds, his style was so effective that Carlos
Gracie was never defeated and became legendary in Brazil. His
most famous fight was against a Japanese man named "Giomori."
Carlos tied with his larger opponent according to Carley Gracie.
Reylson Gracie, in an interview, said that Carlos and "Giomori"
fought twice, "once by the rules, the second time no holds
barred. Both times they tied." As Maeda challenged other
schools, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu players also challenged other schools.
Carlos spent all of his time establishing Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and
let his brothers do the fighting with other schools to improve
Because non-Japanese were never taught Jiu-Jitsu, Koma asked
that Carlos never teach it to the public, only to family members.
Carlos did this for years until he learned of Koma's death in
Japan. He made inquiries and found that Koma had died under mysterious
circumstances. His food had been poisoned. My father then decided
that he should share the gift that Koma had given him so that
Jiu-Jitsu would never die out in Brazil. Carlos Gracie then opened
up the first Jiu-Jitsu school in Belem, Brazil in 1925. Carlos
Gracie taught his style of Jiu-Jitsu to his four younger brothers
(Oswaldo, Gastão, Jorge, and Helio) and to his older sons
(including Carlson and Carley), and they in turn taught their
brothers, sons, nephews and cousins.
retired from the ring, he managed the fight careers of his brothers
and sons, continuing to challenge fighters of all styles throughout
the world. This tradition of open challenge has been continued
by his sons, grandsons, brothers, nephews, and students who have
consistently demonstrated the superiority of the Gracie style
in real fights and no-rules matches in rings throughout the world.
Along with managing his family members, he is also the creator
of the famous Gracie diet, which is based on eating only certain
foods together in order to aid digestion, give maximum energy,
and keep people in great health.
had twenty-one children, one hundred six grandchildren, and one
hundred twenty-eight great-grandchildren. Of his twenty-one children,
all ten of his sons became black belts. Combined with their ancestors
in Scotland and Ireland, the Gracie family could be the largest
family in the whole world. Carlos Gracie died in 1994 at the
age of 92.
V. Luiz Franca:
The Other Originator of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
taught Luiz Franca Jiu-Jitsu, and he also continued the tradition
in Brazil. Luiz Franca and the brothers, Carlos and Hélio
Gracie, had transferred residence to the one River-of January
and there they had started to transmit the teachings learned
with great Esai Maeda. Luiz Franca dedicated himself to teach
Jiu-Jitsu as form of self-defense for the Armed Forces and to
the devoid population of the zone north of Rio de Janeiro and
the Gracie brothers had firmed residence in the south zone of
the River and had opened the first academy of Jiu-Jitsu. The
great master, 9th Degree Oswaldo Fadda, disciple of France Luiz,
former-pupil of the Conde Koma, who was the introducer of the
Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil, established the Fadda Academy of Jiu-Jitsu
in Rio De Janeiro on the 27th of January of 1950. Fadda, a pioneer
in the field of the infantile paralysis and recovery of deficient
physicists, used the Jiu-Jitsu as aid to medical treatment; he
undertook special work of social reintegration through the Jiu-Jitsu.
He was a member of the Brazilian Confederation of Jiu-Jitsu and
edited the book, "Jiu-Jitsu and the Complex in addition."
Currently, no more lessons of Jiu-Jitsu are regularly performed
in his academies; it is only dedicated to lecture courses of
evaluation and perfecting Jiu-Jitsu, besides performing lectures
on the education of Jiu-Jitsu and its daily applications. The
course of evaluation and perfecting finished its 3rd edition
in Brazil. He has stated that "It is the Jiu-Jitsu, the
best [technique] to provide to a weak person in a dispute, a
positive advantage that counterbalances the weight and the physical
force of the adversary. It must always be held in mind that all
the structure of the Jiu-Jitsu is based on the use of the strategy,
agility, and the rapidity of movement and not in the pure and
simple force." Jiu-Jitsu is the art of the self-defense
particularly adjusted for women and, only after its knowledge
is acquired, it is that it can be evaluated (Text elaborated
for the Master 7º Deoclécio Degree Pablo, Deo, Master
of Jiu-Jitsu in Brasilia.).
Gracie: The Master Mind of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
son of the eight children of Gastão and Cesalina Gracie,
Helio, always was a very sickly youth that was very physically
weak. He could faint after the effort of going up stairs. Nobody
tried to understand the reason of so great fragility. Therefore,
when finishing the second primary series, his mother was convinced
that he was not healthy enough to go the school. When the family
had financial problems during their move to Rio de Janeiro, some
brothers had been sent to live with relatives. Helio was to live
with his aunts and through these contacts, he found work as driver
of competition rowing boats.
years, when he was 14 years old, Helio started to live with his
older brothers, who lived in Botafogo, a quarter of Rio De Janeiro,
and there they gave Jiu-Jitsu lessons. He would limit himself
during the next years to observe its brothers in the lessons,
especially the lessons of Carlos, since Helio would have been
dissuaded by doctors to perform any type of physical effort.
One day, when Helio was 16 years old, a pupil appeared for lesson,
which Carlos was late for. Helio, having memorized all the movements
and words of his older brother, offered to give the lesson that
day. Helio, from the endless hours of watching his brother and
with minimal physical execution of the moves himself, gave the
student a memorable class. At the end of the lesson, Carlos arrived
apologizing for his delay. However, the student told Carlos that
it was no problem. The student adored the lesson of Helio and
asked if Carlos was not bothered, he would like to continue having
lessons with Helio. Carlos agreed and from there Helio became
an instructor. This marked the official start of Helio's Jiu-Jitsu
Helio is credited
for his development of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Because of his small
frame, inferior strength, and frail health, Helio modified the
techniques Carlos taught him to rely more on leverage than on
strength. Thus, Helio was able to get out of certain positions
he was previously unable to using the techniques originally shown
by his brother Carlos. Led by Helio, the brothers were driven
by a constant determination to find effective ways to deal with
the very possible aspect of a real fight. Daring to break away
from the traditional Japanese style, they began experimenting,
modifying, and perfecting simple techniques that would be effective
regardless of stature. These modifications to the classic techniques
that the Gracie family developed is now known as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
several techniques that he had memorized in the lessons of Carlos
were very difficult to be executed. He started to adapt these
movements for its fragile body, perfecting the techniques utilized
in these movements. Helio had the courage to breach with the
traditional Jiu-Jitsu that its brother followed and taught through
much trial and error.
the founder of the style. Based on the old and forgotten Jiu-Jitsu,
the young Helio Gracie learned the style of its brother Carlos,
who learned it of an emigrated Japanese nobleman to Brazil, Maeda
Koma. Although both they learned originally the same style, the
difference between Helio and Carlos was in its different physical
composition since Helio was much but thin and weak and soon account
occurred that with which it knew could not overcome an adversary
hard but that it and began to modify the style. During years
of perfecting its style of Jiu-Jitsu with dozens of fights in
front of rivals of other styles like boxing, capoeira, judo,
street fighters never to lose a single fight.
At 17, Helio
first stepped into the ring in Frontao against a boxer named
Antonio Portugal. Helio won in 30 seconds. Helio had 17 fights
including a match with the world champion of wrestling, Wladek
He also defeated a Japanese Judoka, Namiki, in 1932. This was
the first Jiu-Jitsu /Judo match of his career and also the first
time he wore a gi during a fight. Helio ended the fight with
Namiki in his guard when the bell rang only seconds before Namiki
submitted. Helio won fights against Japanese Judo players, Miyake
and Kato. Helio was easily thrown, but used his ground fighting
experience to get Kato in the guard and choked Kato unconscious.
He fought Kato twice. Their first match, at Maracana Stadium,
was called a draw. In the second match, held in Ibirapuera Stadium
in Sao Paulo, Helio choked Kato unconscious. This footage in
on one of the Gracie In-Action video tapes. He also tied with
Yatsuichi Ono. There were many who said that Kato was far better
judoka technically than Kimura, although 30 kg less heavy and
vs. Masahiko Kimura
Eventually, a local (Brazilian) Japanese group decided to employ
the most powerful judo player in attempt to defeat Helio. Masahiko
Kimura, won the all-Nippon Championship before and after the
war. Kimura is considered one of Judo's great Judokas. He created
"pro" judo in 1949, but failed in his activities and
went to Hawaii and the U.S. and became a pro wrestler. He started
international profesional wrestling at his hometown but lost
to "Lidosan" at the "fight of the century."
Like Maeda, he went to Europe and the US, and found his way to
Central America and went to Brazil.
It was the
23rd of October in 1951, in the gym next to the largest soccer
stadium (the Maracana) in Rio, the fight began. The day of the
fight between Helio Gracie and Masahiko Kimura had finally fond
and the multitude crowded the stadium in total euphoria. It was
a no-striking fight, and gi's had to be worn. Helio was now 45
years old and only 139 lbs. Kimura was near 200 lbs and younger.
Helio feels that Kimura starts to pressure him with his powerful
shoulder, and Helio releases his body of any intention, relaxing
its body completely. It was wise because no one could resist
the throws of Kimura. Kimura had perfected his throws by placing
a band around a tree and trying to knock down it, hammering his
hip forwards and backwards against the tree until it fell because
of incessant movement. Helio wisely did not fight the might of
Kimura head on. Helio's strategy was to wait and when Kimura
placed all the force to knock him down, he could loose his balance
if Helio did not offer any resistance. Its strategy worked. When
Kimura planted Helio in the soil, he stumbled and fell direct
in the tatame with the force of its proper impulse. He was mounted
on top of Helio and the fight continued. In one determined moment,
Kimura caught Helio in a Dojime (modified head and arm with the
leg cradle), giving great pressure in the chest of Helio with
his legs and pulling one of the arms of Helio on one side. The
movement was effective. While Helio tried to escape, he fainted
from the pressure on its chest. Seconds later he woke up and
perceived that Kimura already was seated in its chest, having
cleaned the sweat of the forehead and greeting Helio for having
resisted the movement. Helio faints of open eye and Kimura does
not notice nothing! After three minutes of fight, the public
started to celebrate. He finished! He finished! In reply the
declaration of Kimura of that Helio would have to be considered
the victorious person if the fight passed three minutes, since
in Japan nobody ever had obtained the exploit. In the end of
first round, Kimura applied a devastating key lock on Helio,
so strong that a sanguineous vain of the ear of Helio breached
sneezing blood in the sleeve of Kimura. Kimura loosened a little
to verify if Helio was ok. Helio signaled saying that he was
ok. Kimura still pressed more strongly. The first round finished
and after a fast interval, the two men had come back toward the
combat. Three minutes later Kimura he caught Helio in a key lock.
This technique is still fondly regarded as the "Kimura"
in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu today. Helio was battling to defend himself
from the "Kimura" when Carlos, Helio's brother and
assistant, threw in the towel. Carlos said that he was worried
that Helio would not tap and he wanted to save the arm of Helio
from the possibility of breaking.
of Helio Gracie with Kimura was the great display of the effectiveness
of the technique that the Gracie family had created and developed
from the teachings of the Jiu-Jitsu master Esai Maeda. Kimura
was impressed at the development of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil based
on his inability to submit a man much smaller and older than
him in 15 minutes. Kimura was so impressed with the techniques
of Helio that he invited Helio to give lessons in the Imperial
Academy of Japan. Helio refused offers, but he was very flattered
with the invitation. There were rumors that the Japanese were
concerned that a foreigner (gaijin) knew that much technique
and a plot to kill Helio awaited him upon his arrival in Japan.
This fight greatly increased the fame of the Gracie family in
In what is
considered the longest Jiu-Jitsu match in history, Helio Gracie
battled former student Waldemar Santana, a powerfully built stone
cutter. Waldemar was a student of the family for twelve or thirteen
years. He fought more than 20 times for the Gracie academy. He
had a falling out with Helio Gracie, and they decided to settle
their differences by fighting each other Vale-Tudo. According
to Rorion Gracie, Helio's son, Santana had betrayed his teacher,
Helio and derogated Helio publicly in a newspaper.
On May 24,
1957 at the Brazilian headquarters of the YMCA in central Rio
de Janeiro, the media and the new medium of television were present
to capture Helio's fight with his student Waldemar Santana. Waldemar
stayed away from Helio when the match started.
Helio took Waldemar to the ground and ended up putting Santana
in his guard. Helio took his time and occasionally unleash a
barrage of strikes at Waldemar's head hoping for Waldemar to
make a mistake. One photograph shows Helio driving his elbow
at Waldemar's head from the guard. Santana played the waiting
game and also threw his own punches.
sensed Helio was becoming exhausted, Santana then took the fight
to Helio. He maneuvered his massive frame on top of Helio forcing
Helio to bear Santana's weight. Santana also started head butting
Helio in the cheek which forced Helio's eye to swell shut. Helio
used heel kicks to Santana's kidneys to wear Santana down. Two
hours had gone by as the two men struggled on the ground.
and forty-five minutes into the fight, the two men separated
and were kneeling; both gasping for air. Santana reached his
feet and kicked at Helio's head which connected. Helio went down
from the blow and the fight was finally over. Helio had lasted
3 hours and 45 minutes before losing the contest. This valetudo
match was to be his last fight.
Santana's victory over Helio Gracie, Carlson Gracie, the son
of Carlos Gracie entered the ring at the young age of 17 to defend
the honor of his family and the family name. He took revenge
for his family clan and defeated Waldemar, which won him the
respect and title of "King." Carlson was to meet Santana
in the ring six times. He won four times and two matches were
first hero of the history of the Brazilian sport, also challenged
famous boxers such as Primo Carnera, Joe Louis, and Ezzard Charles.
All had denied his offer. Helio was always in search of challenges.
In a predicament worthy episode of a Hollywood film, he dived
in to shark infested waters of the Atlantic Ocean to save the
life of a man, deserving for the exploit a medal of honor. The
untiring contribution of Helio for the perfecting of the techniques
of Jiu-Jitsu, its philosophy of life, and only method of training
have been an example for its children and students in the whole
world. These are the pillars on which the Gracie Academy was
constructed. Helio Gracie, an living example of the benefits
of a healthful life, celebrated 90 years in October 1, 2001.
He continues traveling frequently to the Gracie Academy in Torrance,
California where he adores passing the time teaching and training
Passes the Torch to Carlson
a total of eighteen Vale-Tudo fights. There was one time in Bahia
(North Brazil) against Euclides Pereira, and the referees decided
to give Pereira the victory. Carlson doesn't think he had lost.
He also fought a Brazilian champion, Passarito, who trained in
Judo, Luta Livre, and Boxing. Carlson fought Passarito four times.
Carlson won 3 and drew once with Passarito. Carlson's hardest
acknowledged fight was against Ivan Gomes. He described Gomes
as a "monster." This extremely tough fight had three-ten
minute rounds and would only stop if a fighter fell out of the
ring. Gomes weighed in at 98 Kg (215 lbs), and Carlson was 73Kg
(160 lbs), but Carlson was in really good shape, and if it wasn't
for that, he stated that he would have lost. Afterwards, Gomes
became Carlson's student and became "world champion"
in Carlson's words. Carlson retired from fighting during the
1960s and he is considered by Fabio Gurgel as one of the four
champions of the Gracie clan.
Generation Gracie Family Members and their accomplishments including
the effect on MMA
mastermind of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, proceeded to teach it to his
sons namely Rorion, Relson, Rickson, Rolker, Royler, Royce, and
Robin. The male descendents of the Gracie clan are all taught
the family fighting art and encouraged to represent the family
in the "Gracie Challenge," an ongoing invitation to
accept challenge matches to prove their fighting art's superiority.
I see the support from the martial arts community in the United
States and the way it's growing, I see it as a great thing --
a great future for us, the Americans who learn it and the rest
of the world. I wish I had 100 sons so I could [spread the art]
- Helio Gracie
valetudo Jiu-Jitsu taught by Rolls Gracie is still alive today,
Rickson and his protégé Royler are keeping it alive
in the NHB ring. Jacare, Pedro Sauer, Sergio Penha, Crolin Gracie
and others have become successful teachers, but like everyone
else they seem to be training their students primarily for sport
Jiu-Jitsu. Only in the last few years have young Jiu-Jitsu fighters
turned their attention to valetudo. Perhaps if the sport [valetudo
competition] remains popular than Jacare, Crolin Gracie, Sauer,
Carlinhos and others will forget about sport Jiu-Jitsu and return
to the Jiu-Jitsu they learned from Rolls in the golden age of
valetudo Jiu-Jitsu and a new generation of Jiu-Jitsu lutadors
[fighters] will emerge who have devoted their lives to valetudo
and they will dominate the sport just as Rickson, Behring, Rolls
and the other legends did once upon a time.
The male descendents
of the Gracie clan are all taught the family fighting art and
encouraged to represent the family in the "Gracie Challenge,"
an ongoing invitation to accept challenge matches to prove their
fighting art's superiority. Two notable Gracie fighters are Helio's
sons Royce and Rickson. Royce helped to popularize Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
(aka Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) in the US, Japan, and around the world
through his successful fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Royce, a slim six foot man, entered the ring like his father
before him, to challenge fighters from different fighting styles
such as boxing, wrestling, shootfighting, karate, Muay Thai kickboxing,
etc. He often fought larger opponents in a tournament setting
where he fought elimination bouts. Rickson has become the acknowledged
current champion of the Gracie clan. He is considered the best
Jiu-Jitsu fighter alive, as well as one of the top NHB fighters.
has continued his family's tradition by creating sports Jiu-Jitsu
and a stable of NHB (no-holds barred) fighters. He is considered
the father of sports Jiu-Jitsu. After he retired from the ring,
he embarked on promoting sports Jiu-Jitsu. However, sports Jiu-Jitsu
had its critic in Helio. He was an outspoken critic of sport
Jiu-Jitsu, and very few of his top black belts competed in sport
Jiu-Jitsu during the early years of the sport. Helio apparently
saw his art as a form of self-defense and not sport. Judo's founder
Jigoro Kano had similar sentiments of his creation. However Carlson
was able to attract corporate sponsors to support teams of Jiu-Jitsu
fighters so they could train full-time in essence as professional
athletes. The corporate sponsorship would be the impetus to persuade
many of Helio's black belts to join the sport.
seventies, Valetudo was still popular in Brazil as fights were
televised. During the 1980s, valetudo waned and Jiu-Jitsu fighters
(lutadors) focused their efforts on sports Jiu-Jitsu competition.
In 1991, the long feud between the Luta Livre style and Jiu-Jitsu
style heated up and resulted in a showdown between the two styles.
Luta Livre was a style designed for the ring. Some consider it
a response to Jiu-Jitsu. A group of fighters came together to
pool their knowledge to improve their technique and to answer
Jiu-Jitsu's successful ground game.
Jiu-Jitsu camp lacked the experienced valetudo fighters to meet
the Luta Livre challenge. It seemed that Helio's criticism was
right after all. Carlson Gracie took up the challenge for the
Jiu-Jitsu camp. He quickly assembled and personally trained a
team consisting of Murilo Bustamante, Fabio Gurgel (age 21) from
Romero "Jacare" Calvancanti, Wallid Ismael, Marcelo
Behring, who still to this day has a reputation as being one
of the toughest NHB fighters. Wallid Ismael was matched with
Eugenio Tadeau, Gurgel vs. Denilson Maia, Bustamante vs. Marcello
Mendes, and Behring vs. Hugo Duarte. The only fight that did
not take place was Behring vs. Duarte. Behring was shot and killed
prior to the event. The showdown was shown on Brazilian national
TV and it was a clean sweep for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. It is shown
on the "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Action 2" video tape.
Jiu-Jitsu fighters are still competing in sports Jiu-Jitsu and
valetudo with the sudden world-wide interest and popularity of
NHB fighting. Fabio Gurgel has his own academy and has competed
in sports Jiu-Jitsu and also NHB. The irrepressible Wallid Ismael
is fighting for the Carlson Gracie team of NHB fighters as well
as competing in sports Jiu-Jitsu. Bustamante is also a noted
sports Jiu-Jitsu lutador and has entered and successfully fought
in the ring and recently in the octagon of the UFC. He defeated
Jerry Bohlander, the American shootfighter (Lion's Den member)
by knockout. Bustamante had also drew with the massive world-class
American wrestler Tom Erickson in the now defunct MARS fighting
championship. Gurgel fought and lost to judges' decision to perhaps
one of the most dangerous NHB fighter alive, Mark Kerr, a huge
world-class American wrestler nicknamed the "specimen"
for his tremendous physical development and athletic ability.
Gurgel had great heart to fight in a tournament where in the
finals, he had to meet Kerr who outweighed him by 70 lbs.
sons have all taught at the academy at one time or another. They
are black belts. They are bigger than their father, darker, but
the look in their eyes is only a parody of their father's truly
menacing look. Except for Rickson. He has his own look. Not menacing,
but devoid of emotion. The blankness of the supremely confident.
Rickson is as muscular as a bodybuilder, with a Marine's crew
cut, the high cheekbones of an Inca Indian and a square jaw.
If Rorion is amiably handsome, Rickson is devastatingly handsome.
Noted photographer Bruce Weber devoted 36 pages of his book on
Rio (O Rio De Janeiro) to the Gracies and Rickson. Rickson as
a baby being tossed high into the air by his father. Rickson,
in bikini shorts, on his back on a mat in a ring, his legs wrapped
around the hips of a muscular black man, also in bikini shorts,
who is trying to strangle him."
at five feet ten inches, is the acknowledged current champion
of the Gracie clan. He is a son of Helio and never conceded a
black-belt Jiu-Jitsu match in his Jiu-Jitsu tournament career.
He is undefeated in NHB (no-holds barred). At age fifteen, he
started to teach his family's art, and at eighteen he received
his Black Belt. He trained under Rolls Gracie who was considered
one of the Gracie clan's most gifted Jiu-Jitsu and vale tudo
fighters of his generation. In turn, as Roll's protégé,
Rickson has become the greatest Jiu-Jitsu fighter alive.
At the age of 20, Rickson defeated a 230-pound brawler named
Zulu who enjoyed an undefeated record of 140-0 at that time.
Five years later, Zulu requested a rematch and was again defeated
by Rickson in Maracanazinho (Fight footage is on one of the Gracie
In-Action video tapes). The fight footage shows Rickson cautiously
approaching the huge brawler, Zulu. In white bikini trunks, Rickson
eventually closed the distance to clinch with Zulu. The powerful
Zulu was able to pick Rickson up and slam him down to the mat.
Rickson held tightly and wrapped his legs around Zulu's torso.
Rickson struggled to control the huge Zulu. Eventually, Zulu
made a mistake, which allowed the patient Rickson to slowly work
to Zulu's back. Rickson snaked his way around Zulu's torso to
end up hugging Zulu from behind and applying a choke. Zulu struggles
in vain as he taps out in submission.
Rickson also defeated Hugo Duarte, a vale tudo fighter on one
occasion on the beaches of Rio. This was captured on video tape
and is on one of the Gracie In-Action tapes. Duarte belongs to
a fighting style called "Luta Livre," which is known
as the archrival in NHB competition of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in
Brazil. Duarte would be defeated a second time by Rickson after
Rickson fought in a Japanese event called Vale Tudo Japan. He
won the first two NHB tournaments. His brother and partner, Royler
Gracie has also appeared in the Vale Tudo Japan in 1996. Royler
defeated Noburu Asahi, a shootfighter using the rear-naked choke
in a NHB rules match.
In December 1997, Rickson fought in a Japanese event called Pride
1 and defeated a Japanese pro wrestler named Takada. He came
in with a shaved head and appeared heavier than before. In 1998,
he met Takada for a rematch and defeated Takada once again with
a submission in Pride 4.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is an American tournament
for no holds barred fighting, and it was the showcase for Royce
Gracie, son of Helio Gracie, to demonstrate the effectiveness
of their family's fighting art. The matches took place in the
"Octagon," a platform surrounded by padded fencing.
On March 11, 1994, Royce Gracie stepped into the Octagon in the
vs. Ken Shamrock Super Fight
This was to be Royce's last fight in the octagon. He refused
to enter the octagon as time limits hindered his ability to defeat
often larger and stronger opponents. The justification was that
time limits would result in a tie or if it came to judges' decision,
he may lose to an opponent. This assumption has been born out
by BJJ fighters losing in the UFC, fighting under time limits
and judges' decisions. After Royce fought Shamrock in the Super
Fight, Royce Gracie walked out of the Octagon, with a string
of victories, one tie, and one technical loss when he couldn't
continue fighting after his victorious bout with Kimo.
Gracie fighter from Carlos' side of the family is Renzo Gracie.
He truly exemplifies the Gracie ethos and has fought in the rings
of the US, Brazil, and Japan. He labels himself as the "Gracie"
who can also strike besides just using Jiu-Jitsu in the ring.
He has defeated UFC champion Oleg Taktarov by knockout in the
one and only MARS event. Renzo also fought the Luta Livre fighter
Jiu-Jitsu, due to the success of Jiu-Jitsu fighters in NHB competition,
has been exported around the world. Royce and Carlson fighters
have fired up the interest of Americans and especially American
martial artists in the US. Some of the best Jiu-Jitsu instructors
have now made their home in the US. Helio's sons such as Rorion,
Relson, Rickson, Royce, and Royler are all teaching in the US
or have an affiliate academy here. Romero Calvancanti teaches
in Atlanta, Georgia. Americans are now even going to Brazil to
compete in the Mundial or annual world championship. The Pan-American
tournament was created to allow Americans to compete with Brazilians
here in the US.
The UFC and
the PRIDE. Royce, Royler and Rickson show the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
the world. In the following years, many have been the Gracie
or students of these those that have continued showing the superiority
of the style. In the 70's there were Rolls and Carlson, Relson
and Rorion in the 80's, but until when the UFC showed the world
the truths and martial lies of the art putting to each style
in their sights, showing that the styles that ignored that 90%
of fights go to the ground or hand-to-hand striking did not win
but that did not have nor but the minimum opportunity to gain
a said fight not outside as in front another rival of similar
style. Royce Gracie overcame three of the four first UFC, retiring
another one by digestive problems, winning to rivals like Ken
Shamrock or Dan Severn among others, but if there is a member
of the family that has gained the fame of invincible is without
a doubt Rickson Gracie, with four hundred fights between Valetudo
and sport Jiu-Jitsu without a defeat. Considered the best, already
at seventeen years old only Rolls, was the only member of the
family who could beat him. The fame of Rickson began when winning
to the unbeatable Zulú and has continued with the passage
of the years until the present PRIDE. Nowadays, all the fighters
of Valetudo aspire to fight with him, since they know that Rickson
will retire soon and all want a win against him. Perhaps the
most valued member of the family is Royler Gracie, the reason
is, without a doubt, that in spite of his little 67 kg frame,
Royler is considered one of the best technicians of the world.
Royler is the four time world champion of Jiu-Jitsu and three
time world champion in Abu Dhabi.
IX. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Today
To learn Jiu-Jitsu, only will is necessary and nobody has to
perform any preparation prior to learning this sport. Jiu-Jitsu
is not trick, pass of a magician, and nothing it has is fantastic.
It's learning could be made by any person from 5 years until
the age of 70 and of both sexes. It is not necessary to have
practiced any prior sport much less requires special body, weight,
or conditional height. The practical one of the Jiu-Jitsu, when
given [the knowledge] well, not only provides the creation of
competition and fighting spirit, as it gives to security and
self-confidence for daily disputes. Jiu-Jitsu gives its practitioners
the domain of itself, sharpening reasoning to them and providing
a proper psychology that allows to see things for the certain
side, without creating ghosts. The suit for the training consists
only of one gimono. [Text elaborated for the Master 7º Deoclécio
Degree Pablo, Deo, Master of Jiu-Jitsu in Brasilia.]
Jiu-Jitsu continues to evolve. The Gracie family still practices
their original art in several schools around the world, but notably
in Brazil and in California (where Helio, Rorion, Rickson, Rolker,
Royler, and Royce have their Academies). Carlson and Carlos Jr.
Gracie have continued his family's tradition by creating sports
Jiu-Jitsu practioners are some of the world's best known mixed
martial arts fighters, such as Murilo Bustamante, Rodrigo "Minotauro"
Nogueira, BJ Penn, Ricardo Arona, Wallid Ismael, Paulo Filho,
Matt Serra, and Jose Mario Sperry. Because of the rise of sport
Jiu-Jitsu, many new techniques and strategies have developed.
Some have been proven in no rules combat - others have not. There
is now a world championship of Jiu-Jitsu wearing the Gi, the
Campeonato Mundial de Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil, and not wearing the
Gi, the ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships in Abu
Dhabi, UAE. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu style was taught to several
families in Brazil and has now spread around the world as one
of the fastest growing martial arts ever. There are now representatives
all over the world.
is still evolving and spreading during the beginning of the 21st
century. Although today it has many names and many "styles",
it really remains as whole and concise as it ever was. What we
have learned is that there are no secret techniques. There are
only so many ways one can manipulate a body. Knowledge flows
freely through organizations, competitions, training centers,
video tapes, and the internet. It is the "golden" moment
for Jiu-Jitsu. During this early part of the 21st century, the
techniques of Jiu-Jitsu can be seen in the following named grappling
arts: Mixed Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Pancrase,
No Holds Barred, Submission fighting/wrestling, Shoot fighting,
Shooto, Cage Fighting, Ultimate Fighting, etc.
from the research done by the Amazon historian Rildo Heros Barbosa
de Medeiros. His work was recognized by the Kodokan Institute
for the Master 7º Deoclécio Degree Pablo, Deo, Master
of Jiu-Jitsu in Brasilia.
Donn F. Draeger's
books on Japanese bujutsu, budo, and Judo.
The Fighting Spirit of Japan has sections on the early history
of Kodokan Judo.
Martial Arts Encyclopedia, Tradition, History, Pioneers by John
Corcoan and Emil Farkas with Stuart Sobel. Page 213 has a reference
to Mitsuyo Maeda ( Esai Media).2
Kashiwazaki's Shimewaza, Judo Master class Techniques from Ippon
Books which contains some information on Ko-sen Judo, p. 72.
Ippon books has an excellent series on Judo techniques.
Three Budo Masters which has some information on Maeda, p. 37-38,
and Kodokan Judo history. 1
Jiu-Jitsu by Carlson Gracie, Jr. and Marcus "Conan"
Silveira, with Chris Lemos.
Manual by Cesar & Ralph Gracie. It's published by World Martial
Inside Karate magazine: Have the Gracies Ever Lost a Fight?
June 1990, by Done Beu.3
by Russ St. Hilaire
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