Gracie MMA includes the determination and strength that can be found in the long line of martial artists and jujitsu fighters from the Brazilian Gracie family. Considered to be one of the most influential families in martial arts, the Gracies are known for their development of Brazilian BJJ jujitsu, and have been successful in a number of sports competitions including submission wrestling, vale tudo, and mixed martial arts. The Gracie challenge started in the 1920s, and is an open invitation to martial artists to fight then in a value tudo match. Here are some facts about Gracie MMA that you might not know about, including information on one of the most famous families in the history of sport.
1. Carlos Gracie founded modern jujitsu
Carlos Gracie passed on his teachings to brothers George, Gatao Jr,. and Oswaldo. Carlos and Helio Gracie are considered to be modern pioneers of Brazilian jujitsu, and helped to define the sport.
2. Roger Gracie has won several championships
Roger Gracie has won the World Jujitsu Championships ten different times in a number of weight divisions, including the Absolute Division, 100+ kg, and 100 kg. His other achievements include winning the European Championships in the Absolute Division and 100+ kg in 2005, and winning the Pan-American Championship.
3. Other family members have also won championships
Clark Gracie competed in the under 82 kg division in the Pan American Championship and won the competition in 2013. Kyra Gracie and Kron Gracie have also won championships, having competed in the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in the Women’s under 60 kg and under 77 kg division respectively.
4. Royce Gracie is regarded as one of the most legendary figures in MMA
Royce Gracie is considered by many as being one of the most iconic figures in MMA history, and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2003. Royce is the son of Helio Gracie, and helped to popularize Gracie MMA to the Brazilian jujitsu community. He has a string of victories under his belt, including three UFC Championship titles.
5. Royce Gracie vs Wallid Ismail remains one of the most iconic matches in jujitsu history
Royce Gracie accepted a jujitsu challenge in 1998 against opponent Wallid Ismail, who was a student of his uncle Carlson. Although Royce was the favorite to win (and was considered by many to be unbeatable), he lost against Wallid who performed a Clock Choke move on his opponent. Many believed that Royce’s absence from grappling tournaments lead to his defeat against Wallid.
6. Helio Gracie adapted the techniques that he learn from Carlos Gracie
Having a frail physique, Helio Gracie adapted the moves and techniques that he had learnt from watching Carlos over the years, particularly those that were difficult for him to perform. Determined to execute these moves, Helio spent time adapting the techniques and used timing and leverage in lieu of the strength that he lacked in his body. Gracie jujitsu was developed through these techniques, and today he is regarded as a legend in the sport, and a national hero.
7. Helio Gracie challenged many martial artists in Brazil
Once he had developed his new system, Helio challenged many martial artists in Brazil, and fought nearly 20 times, including against Judoka, who was ranked the number two in the world, and Wladek Zbyszko, was was the heavyweight wrestling champion during the time. His successes and reputation soon saw him fight Masahiko Kimura, who weighed more than 80 pounds than his rival and is considered among the greatest jujitsu fighters in Japanese history. Although Kimura beat his opponent, he invited Helio to teach in Japan using his new-found techniques – many of which didn’t even exist in the country at the time. Other boxing champions that Helio challenged included Ezzard Charles and Joe Louis, but both declined to fight him. He later set the world record alongside Waldemar Santana for the longest no-holds barred (uninterrupted) fight in history, lasting for 3 hours, 40 minutes.
8. Rodrigo Gracie continued the Gracie family winning streak into the 2000s
Another member of the family, Rodrigo Gracie, is also renowned for his martial arts achievements, having become a fifth degree Black Belt and winning a gold medal at the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in 1998. He was ranked among the best middleweight fighters of the early 21st century, and was renowned for his undefeated streak with victories over many other fighters.
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