List of Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners

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This is a list of notable Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners.

Founders[edit]

  • Carlos Gracie (Brazil, 1902–94) was taught judo by Otávio Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese emigrant to Brazil who was then a 4th dan Kodokan judoka. Carlos then passed the teachings on to his brothers Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., Jorge, and Hélio. In 1925, the brothers opened their first academy in Brazil, marking the beginning of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.[1]
  • Hélio Gracie (Brazil, 1913–2009) was a Brazilian martial artist who, together with his brother Carlos Gracie, founded the martial art of Gracie jiu-jitsu, known internationally as Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). Until his death, Gracie was the only living 10th degree master of that system, and is widely considered as one of the first sports heroes in Brazilian history.[2]

Highest graded[edit]

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ranking system awards practitioners different colored belts for increasing levels of knowledge and skill.[3][4] The system shares its origins with Judo but now has its own character that has become synonymous with the art, including an informality in promotional criteria and a conservative approach to promotion in general.[5]

While black belt is commonly viewed as the highest rank of attainment, a practitioner who achieves the rank of 7th degree in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is recognized by a belt of alternating red-and-black. In 2013, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation adopted the alternating red-and-white belt to acknowledge the achievement of 8th degree. (similar to Judo's substitution of an alternating white-and-red belt at the 6th, 7th, and 8th degree).[6] At the 9th and 10th degree the practitioner is awarded a solid red belt, identical to Judo.[6] These exceptional belts are awarded to denote the exceptional status of their wearer and his or her knowledge and overall contribution to the art.[4]

The following individuals are particularly notable practitioners holding these respective ranks:

7th degree (7º grau)[edit]

BJJ black red belt.svg
  • Rolker Gracie – a prominent member of the Gracie family and the fourth son of Helio Gracie. Along with his younger brother Royler Gracie he is associated with the Gracie Humaitá jiu-jitsu school.[7]
  • Carlos Gracie, Jr. – Founder of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the Confederation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Founder of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy Gracie Barra[8]
  • Royler Gracie – Son of Helio Gracie who headed the Gracie Humaitá jiu-jitsu school in Rio de Janeiro. Won multiple Mundial (World), Pan-American, and ADCC championships.[9][10]
  • Carlos "Caique" Elias – One of only a handful of non-Gracies to receive a black belt directly from Hélio Gracie. Received his red-and-black belt from Rickson Gracie in March 2009. Former instructor at the original Gracie Humaitá and then at the Gracie Academy in California. Founder of the Caique Jiu Jitsu network of schools.
  • Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti – Founder and head coach of Alliance Jiu Jitsu team, one of only 6 people promoted to black belt by Rolls Gracie[11]
  • Sergio Penha – Known for a match against Rickson Gracie, bypassed brown belt on his way to achieving black belt[12]
  • Jean Jacques Machado – Captured every major title and competition award in Brazil, has appeared in several TV shows and movies[13][14][15]
  • Fábio Santos – Trained at the legendary Rolls Gracie Academy. Received Black Belt from Rickson Gracie and received Red and Black from Relson Gracie.
  • Mauricio Motta Gomes – One of only six Rolls Gracie black belts and father of multiple World Champion Roger Gracie.[16]
  • Luiz Fux – Current minister of the Supreme Federal Court.
  • Aloisio Silva – Black belt under Carlos Gracie founder of Dojo jiu -jitsu and Aloisio Silva BJJ. One of the first Jiu-Jitsu masters to teach women's and was the first Jiu-jitsu professor to make a female jiu-jitsu black belt world champion[17]
  • Luiz Palhares – Black belt under Rickson Gracie started training with the legendary Rolls Gracie and was a purple belt at the time of Rolls tragic accident. Awarded his coral-belt by Robson Gracie in 2010.
  • Fabricio Martins Costa – Black belt under Osvaldo Alves Head Instructor: Equipe – Fabricio JJ and Team Fabricio JJ ( Copacabana Brazil ). Awarded his coral-belt by Osvaldo Alves in 2012.[18]
  • Carlos Valente – Began training at 8 years old under the legendary Rolls Gracie. Received his black belt from Rickson Gracie and was awarded 7th degree from Robson Gracie in 2011.[19][20]
  • Marcio "Macarrao" Stambowsky – He began training at age 15 under Rolls Gracie, becoming one of the Famous Five to earn a black belt under his tutelage.[21]
  • Otavio Oliveira, commonly known in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as Otavio Peixotinho, is a BJJ black belt who was part of the famous Carlson Gracie Team of the 1980′s decade who became one of the most respected jiu jitsu masters in Brazil. Famed for his spectacular fights against the sporting legends, Royler and Rickson Gracie, “Peixotinho” together with a small group of people, defined BJJ in the 1980’s. Peixotinho is also the brother of another prolific Carlson Gracie black belt, Mr Marco Aurélio Kühner.

8th degree (8º grau)[edit]

BJJ red white belt.svg
  • Rickson Gracie – The son of Hélio Gracie with an undefeated MMA career[22]
  • Carlos Machado – World masters champion who assisted Chuck Norris in his show Walker, Texas Ranger, choreographing fight scenes with Brazilian jiu-jitsu[23]
  • Rigan Machado – Credited with 365 wins and no losses in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition[24]
  • Pedro Sauer – Helio and Rickson Gracie black belt. US military and law enforcement trainer, once voted "Best of the Best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructors"[25]
  • Joe Moreira – Pioneer of Brazilian jiu-jitsu within the United States[26]
  • Marcus Soares – Black belt under Carlson Gracie, and founder of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in Canada.[27]
  • Derval Luciano Rêgo (Mestre Morcego) – Founder of the FJJ-PE (Federação de Jiu-Jitsu do Estado de Pernambuco) and co-founder of the CBJJ/IBJJF. Red-black belt under the lineage of Oswaldo Fadda and Jacê Paulino de Albuquerque. Known for a draw match against the legendary Rolls Gracie at the end of the sixties in Rio de Janeiro.[28]
  • Ricardo Murgel – Black belt 8th degree under grandmaster Flavio Behring.
  • Arthur Virgílio Neto – Elected mayor of Manaus and former Federal Senator.[29]
  • Reylson Gracie – Son of Carlos Gracie. Teaches the original self-defense system of GJJ in Las Vegas, Nevada[30]

9th degree (9º grau)[edit]

BJJ Red Belt.svg
  • Pedro Hemeterio – The first student under master Helio Gracie to achieve the red belt, represented the Gracie Academy in many challenges and taught jiu-jitsu in São Paulo State for more than three decades.[31]
  • João Alberto Barreto – A Grand Master and one of the most important figures in the BJJ community. A red belt under Helio Gracie, he is famed for his unbeaten competitive record in the 1950s. He is the brother of GM Alvaro Barreto and GM Sergio Barreto.[32]
  • Alvaro Barreto – Grand Master Alvaro Barreto is a Brazilian jiu jitsu red belt (9th degree) and one of the most important men in BJJ, being also the brother of GM João Alberto Barreto and GM Sergio Barreto.[33]
  • Flavio Behring – head coach of Behring Jiu-Jitsu Association, Flavio teaches seminars over the world and hold affiliated academies in Europe.[34]
  • Carlson Gracie – Son of Carlos Gracie, trainer of UFC fighters, with a very successful professional fight career[35][36]
  • Carley Gracie – Son of Carlos Gracie and former Jiu-Jitsu and Vale Tudo Champion.
  • Geny Rebello – Grandmaster given a commemorative tournament by the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro[37]
  • Armando Wridt – Undefeated vale-tudo fighter who is one of only 7 people to receive a red belt from Hélio Gracie[38]
  • Oswaldo Fadda – Perhaps the only individual coming from a non-Gracie lineage to earn a red belt, the Fadda academy was instrumental in bringing Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the poorer areas of Brazil.[39][40]
  • Pedro Valente – A famous plastic surgeon, Dr. Valente is the father of the Valente Brothers, Pedro, Gui Valente, and Joaquim. Student of Hélio Gracie since 1953.[41]
  • Wilson Mattos – Perhaps the oldest student of Oswaldo Fadda.[40][42]
  • Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro – Another black belt under Oswaldo Fadda. Among many accomplishments as a teacher and competitor, Guedes disarmed a gangster in a crowded Rio de Janeiro train who was robbing the occupants with a pistol.[43]
  • Francisco Mansur – One of only six people to be granted a professor's diploma by Hélio Gracie. Founder of Kioto Academy.[44]
  • Rorion Gracie – One of the founders of the UFC who was instrumental in bringing No-Holds Barred Fighting to North America.[45]
  • Osvaldo Alves – Studied under Carlos Gracie and is the current IBJJF Technical Director.
  • Relson Gracie – Son of Helio Gracie and Brazilian national champion for an unprecedented 22 years. Founder of Relson Gracie gyms.[46]
  • Carlos Antonio Rosado – Carlson Gracie Sr. only red belt student; the highest ranking member of Carlson Gracie's academy.[47]
  • Renato Paquet – A grandmaster who had a judo black belt and two boxing titles in addition to his red belt.[48]
  • Pedro Valente Sr. – Close friend of Hélio Gracie, in younger years took up arms to defend the former governor of the state of Rio, Leonel Brizola.[49]
  • Francisco Sá (Sazinho) - Known for his morals and honor in martial arts and in particular our Jiu-Jitsu, he passed away in 2013 at age 77.[50]

10th degree (10º grau)[edit]

BJJ Red Belt.svg

The 10th degree red belt was given only to the pioneers of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the Gracie brothers: [3]

Notable competitors[edit]

BJJ BlackBelt.svg
  • Roger Gracie – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x14)[51]
  • Saulo Ribeiro – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x5) and ADCC Champion (x2)[52]
  • Xande Ribeiro – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x6) and Black Belt Pan American Champion (x4)[53]
  • André Galvão – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x7), 3x Pan American Champion Black Belt (x3), won World Jiu-Jitsu championships for every belt color following white[54]
  • B.J. Penn – Former UFC Champion in two weight classes and the first non-Brazilian winner of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the black-belt category[55]
  • Robson Moura – World Jiu-Jitsu champion (x7) and Brazilian National Champion (x8)[56]
  • Marcelo Garcia – (5x) World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, (4x) ADCC champion, (3x) Brazilian National Champion, and Pan American Champion[57]
  • Demian Maia – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x5) and UFC fighter who had a series of 11 undefeated fights in MMA[58][59]
  • Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu – ADCC Open Weight Champion, World No Gi Champion (x2), Pan-American Champion (x3), Grapplers Quest Open Class Champion (x7), Copa America Open Class Champion (x4), Brazilian National Champion, World Championship Medalist (x12)[60]
  • Fabio Gurgel – Multiple World Championship gold medal winner.
  • Fabricio Werdum – Multiple World BJJ, ADCC, and Pan American Jiu Jitsu gold medalist, and highly ranked Heavyweight fighter in the UFC.
  • Ronaldo Souza – Five time World Jiu Jitsu champion and former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion.
  • Braulio Estima – Multiple ADCC, World BJJ, Pan American, and European Championship gold medalist.
  • Vinny Magalhães – Multiple World BJJ gold medalist.
  • Wellington "Megaton" Dias – Competed in an unprecedented 15 consecutive World Championships, medalling on four separate occasions. Has also medalled in a number of other international tournaments.[61]
  • Rafael Lovato Jr. – First ever American to win the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship as a black belt.[62]
  • Keenan Cornelius – First ever to accomplish a "grand slam" in IBJJF history, having won double gold medals at four major tournaments at his belt rank.[63]
  • Alexandre "Soca" Freitas – ADCC, Pan American, and Brazilian National champion and medalist, was a top-level super-featherweight competitor in the late 1990s and early 2000s.[64]

Other notable practitioners[edit]

References[edit]

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