Carley Gracie

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Carley Gracie
Born Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Residence San Francisco, California, USA
Nationality Brazilian
Style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Teacher(s) Carlos Gracie, Carlson Gracie[1]
Rank     9th degree red belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Carley Gracie, nicknamed "The lion of the Gracie family", is a Brazilian-born martial artist, a prominent member of the Gracie family, and a Jiu Jitsu Grand Master. Grand Master Carley Gracie is known as the father of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in the United States.


Carley was born at sea, off the coast of Natal, Brazil, and was raised in Rio de Janeiro and Teresopolis.

Carley is the 11th child of Carlos Gracie and was the last member of the Gracie family to actually be trained by his father Carlos Gracie (the founder of modern Jiu Jitsu: Brazilian/Gracie Jiu Jitsu). Carley is one of the few people in the world to hold a 9th degree red belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is known to be one of the most technical members of the Gracie family. [2]

From 1969-1972, Carley was the Brazilian national champion in both jiu-jitsu and vale tudo. He received his black belt at the unprecedented age of 22, and is currently certified a 9th degree red-belt by the Federation of Jiu-Jitsu of Rio de Janeiro (the first certifying organization for the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu).

In 1972, Carley moved to the United States, where he fought challenge matches and trained students up and down the eastern seaboard. Carley was the first member of the Gracie family to teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the United States, and gave classes at locations in Virginia and Florida before moving to California in 1979. He opened the first Brazilian/Gracie Jiu Jitsu school in San Francisco, California, where he currently teaches.[3]

In 1994, Carley interceded in a family dispute over use of the Gracie name in Jiu-Jitsu. His cousin Rorion Gracie had obtained a federal trademark registration for the term "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu" and was demanding that other members of the Gracie family stop using their surname (Gracie) in connection with Jiu-Jitsu instruction. Carley, who was the first Gracie to teach in the United States, challenged Rorion's registration and a lengthy legal battle followed. Carley ultimately won the lawsuit over the Gracie name, when the jury found that Rorion did not have a valid federal trademark registration for the name "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu." The jury also found that Carley had infringed a triangle logo trademark, which was designed by his brother the late Rolls Gracie and used by many Gracie family members in Brazil but had been registered in the United States by Rorion, who was awarded $108,000 in damages (along with attorney's fees). Both sides appealed, but Rorion's appeal was dismissed. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Carley's favor, affirmed his victory over the Gracie name and ordered the District Court Judge to cancel Rorion's federal trademark registration.[4]

Instructor lineage[edit]

Mitsuyo "Count Koma" MaedaCarlos Gracie, Sr. → Carley Gracie

Personal life[edit]

Gracie is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, in California. He has one daughter Tanya Gracie and two sons: Clark Gracie[5][6][7] and Ralston Gracie.[8] Both of his sons train and teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The photogenic Clark Gracie has an academy in La Jolla, California. Ralston Gracie is currently teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a part of Clark's academy.


  1. ^ >> The Rio Story Part 1 URL accessed on October 15, 2010.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Carley Gracie. URL accessed on June 4, 2009.
  4. ^ CARLEY GRACIE et al. v RORION GRACIE et al. - Docket Numbers 98-15672, 98-16386 United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  5. ^ Clark Gracie URL accessed on June 4, 2009.
  6. ^ Clark Gracie URL accessed on June 4, 2009.
  7. ^ Clark Gracie URL accessed on June 4, 2009.
  8. ^ Ralston Gracie URL accessed on June 4, 2009.

External links[edit]