May 1, 2007

BJJ - Helio Gracie

at the age of 17, H้lio Gracie stepped into the ring for the first time in Rio de Janeiro against a professional boxer named Antonio Portugal.

H้lio won this match via arm lock in approximately 30 seconds. This fight was the first of many victories that H้lio would have against opponents from around the world.

Under the guidance of his brother Carlos, Helio went on to become a national hero in Brazil. Some of his astonishing feats include the longest fight in history: a three hours and forty-five minutes non-stop brawl with no rounds; and his fight against World Wrestling Champion Wladek Zybskus, who weighed 280 lbs.

In addition, H้lio was the first westerner to dominate a Japanese Jiu-Jitsu master in a Jiu-Jitsu match: Namiki in 1932.

This was the first jiu-jitsu battle of his career and also the first time he wore a Kimono during a combat fight. H้lio ended the fight mounted on Namiki.

Another amazing performance by H้lio was his brilliant fight against Kato, World Jiu-Jitsu lightweight champion. The fight ended in a draw and H้lio asked for a rematch. The second match, held at Ibirapuera Arena in Sใo Paulo, was a very technical fight.

H้lio defeated Kato with a chokehold from the guard position. His victory brought glory to Brazil and international recognition to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Upon defeating Kato, a challenge match was set between H้lio and the world open weight champion, Masahiko Kimura, probably the best fighter that Japan has ever produced.

This historical match took place in 1951 and was held at Maracanใ Stadium, which seats 200,000 people. H้lio was 42 years old and weighed 140 lbs. while Kimura was 34 years old and weighed 195 lbs.

Kimura boldly stated that if Helio could last more than 3 minutes, he should consider himself the winner. Helio fought Kimura for 15 minutes before being caught in an arm lock. Fearful of having his brother's arm shattered, Carlos threw in the towel.

Tremendously impressed with H้lio’s technique, the Japanese masters invited Helio to come to Japan and teach. Respectfully, Helio declined.

Helio also challenged boxing greats Primo Carnera and Ezzard Charles, and world champion Joe Louis, to matches to compare styles.They all declined. Throughout his career, H้lio defeated fighters from several different styles in order to prove the superiority of Jiu-Jitsu as a martial art.

An example of courage and determination, Helio became a national hero in Brazil. After a lifetime of combat, today at 88, he still teaches the art and has the same determination to live jiu-jitsu as his lifestyle. He is recognized world wide as the father of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

Later the Gracie family moved to downtown Rio (Centro) and constructed a very big academy at Avenida Rio Branco 151, 17th and 18th floor, and from then on the Gracies always disputed "Vale Tudos" (no rules fighting) having a victorious career. In 1991, the Gracie academy moved again, into the Vasco da Gamma Club, in Lagoa, and in 1985 moved to the Padre Antonio Vieira School where it remains until present.

"The Jiu-Jitsu that I created, was to give chances for weaker people to defend themselves from stronger people. This martial art became of such success that a Jiu-Jitsu for competition was created.

I would like to make clear the I am in favor of practicing sports, as well as studying martial art techniques, in any style, as well as a good nutrition, sexual control and abstaining habits that may harm ones health. The problem is the creation of a Jiu-Jitsu style for competition with rules and inadequate bout times which favors the more trained, stonger and heavier practitioners.

The goal of Jiu-Jitsu , is mainly, to benefit the weaker. My Jiu-Jitsu is an art of atodefense that does not accept certain rules and determined timing in bouts. These are the reasons for which I can't, with my presence, promote events, which results in a anti Jiu-Jitsu." - Helio Gracie


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