Gracie family

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Gracie Family
Current region
  • Brazil
  • Europe
  • United States
Place of originScotland, Pará, Brazil
Connected familiesMachado family

The Gracie Family (Portuguese: [ˈɡɾejsi]) is a prominent martial arts family from Rio de Janeiro Brazil, known for their development & modification of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). They have been successful in combat sport competitions for over 80 years representing their self-defence system (Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) including Mixed martial arts, Vale tudo and Submission Wrestling events, They are also the co-creators of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) along with promotor Art Davie.

As a family, they created and uphold the Gracie challenge, a martial arts challenge which promotes their style of modern Brazilian jiu-jitsu up against other martial art styles. Members are affinally and consanguineously related to the Machado family.

Early beginnings[edit]

The Gracie family originated in Scotland and settled in Brazil in the early 19th Century.


Gastão Gracie from Rio de Janeiro, the grandson of George Gracie through his son Pedro married Cesarina Pessoa Vasconcellos, the daughter of a wealthy Ceará family, in 1901 and decided to settle in Belém do Pará.[4][unreliable source?] Gastão Gracie became a business partner of the American Circus in Belém. In 1916, the Italian Argentine Queirolo Brothers staged circus shows there and presented Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka and prize fighter.[5][6] Gastão Gracie also was responsible for helping Maeda establishing a Japanese community in Brazil.[7] In 1917, Carlos Gracie, the eldest son of Gastão Gracie, watched a demonstration by Mitsuyo Maeda at the Da Paz Theatre and decided to learn judo. Mitsuyo Maeda, also known as Conde Koma [8] thus accepted to teach Gastão's son Carlos as a thank you to Gastão for helping him get settled.[7] In 1921, however, following financial hardship and his own father Pedro's demise, Gastão Gracie returned to Rio de Janeiro with his family.[4]

Maeda's teachings were then passed on through local Rio de Janeiro coaches to Carlos and brothers Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., George, and Hélio. There's a version saying that Helio was too young and slow at that time to learn the art and due to his medical imposition was prohibited to physically partake in training, but it is now known that he became a coxswain for the local rowing team[9] as well as a competitive swimmer.[10] Hélio successfully learned the art of Jiu Jitsu by watching his older brothers train, but due to his fragile condition instead of using pure strength Hélio learned to use leverage and specific body movements to successfully submit his opponents. Therefore, today Hélio Gracie is considered the man responsible for developing Brazilian jiu-jitsu into what it is today.[11]

For a number of years, the Gracie family ran a competitive monopoly on Vale Tudo events.[12] Through their competitive rise, the men allocated power and influence with which they sought to promote Gracie family members within the Vale Tudo community.[12]

Roger Gracie won the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 10 times in various weight divisions (6 times at 100 kg, once at 100+kg, and 3 times in the Absolute division). He also won the Pan-American Championship in the Absolute division in 2006 and the European Championships in 2005 in the 100+kg and Absolute divisions.[13]

Kron Gracie won the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in the under 77 kg division in 2013 [14] and the European Championships in the 82 kg division in 2009.[13]

Clark Gracie won the Pan-American Championship in the under 82 kg division in 2013.[15]

Kyra Gracie won the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship in the Women's under 60 kg division in 2005, 2007, and 2011 and the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship four times (three times in the Women's under 64 kg division and once in the Women's Absolute Division).[16]

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Philosophy[edit]

The Gracie philosophy goes beyond the application of simply submitting opponents. The Gracie philosophy prepares practitioners for life, enabling them to live a healthy life and use their body and mind to its full potential. The philosophy promotes a life free of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. The reason being that taking care of your body is crucial in reaching your full potential in Jiu Jitsu. Staying connected with family and friends is also a must in the families philosophy, as it develops mental and spiritual strength among practitioners. Jiu Jitsu to the Gracie's is a way of life, that had been established by founders of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), Grand Masters Carlos and Hélio Gracie.[17]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

After gaining popularity in Brazil, Rorion Gracie moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s in the hopes of expanding Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) to America. The Gracie family promoted their style of fighting through popular contests in Brazil known as "Vale Tudo", ever since the early 1920s. Rorion Gracie, the eldest son of Hélio Gracie was one of the creators of a similar event as Vale Tudo in America, in which different martial arts styles are tested against each other. This event is called the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC was seen as an event for fighters to promote their fighting style ands show the world what martial art is truly dominant. The first UFC event was in the year 1993, and Rorion's younger brother Royce Gracie took part. Royce had been much smaller than all the other competitors, but despite his frame he was able to dominate all three fights that night. Royce's victorious performance then attracted many martial artists, especially in America, and eventually the whole world.[18]

The Gracie Triangle[edit]

The Gracie triangle is considered by some to be the symbol of Jiu-Jitsu, and can be traced back to the very first Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) academies which were operated by Carlos and Hélio Gracie. The triangle symbol came into existence when the two brothers Carlos and Hélio were photographed demonstrating a specific technique. The way their bodies were shaped during the demonstration formed a perfect triangle. This same photograph was later used as the cover of the very first book written by Carlos Gracie, and featured detailed information about fundamental attacks and defenses in BJJ. The triangle then became much more than just a symbol of the Gracie family. Each side of the triangle symbolized an element of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Those elements are mind, body, and spirit, the components that a BJJ athlete should adopt.[19]

Family members[edit]

Family tree[edit]

Notable members of the Brazilian Gracie family include:[20][21]

First generation[edit]

Second generation[edit]

Third generation[edit]

Fourth Generation[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History". Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Archived from the original on 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Helio Gracie - Generations". Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Generations". Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Archived from the original on 29 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b José Cairus. "The Gracie Clan and the Making of Brazilian Jiu‐jitsu: National Identity, Performance and Culture, 1801‐1993 (Draft)]" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2012. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  5. ^ "Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation". Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  6. ^ "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a way of life". Archived from the original on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  7. ^ a b "HISTORY". Kron Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  8. ^ adonnewman (2016-02-06). "Gracie History | Gracie Youngsville". Retrieved 2019-11-07.
  9. ^ "Helio Gracie". Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  10. ^ "Deconstructing the Gracie Mythology (Part 2) - The Jiu Jitsu Journey". Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  11. ^ Presley, Richard (2019-05-09). "The Gracie Family Tree". Attack The Back. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  12. ^ a b "Pesquisador Fábio Quio fala do TV Ringue Torre". Archived from the original on 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  13. ^ a b "IBJJF Results". Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  14. ^ "ADCC 2013 - Results | ADCC | News Archive". 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  15. ^ "2013 PanAm Middleweight Final". Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  16. ^ "ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship : results". Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  17. ^ "History". Carlsbad Jiu Jitsu - Gracie Barra. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  18. ^ Gregoriades, Nic. "A Brief History of Jiu-Jitsu". Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood - Grappling & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Videos and Techniques. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  19. ^ BJJEE (2015-12-03). "The Origin Of The Triangle As A Symbol Of Jiu-Jitsu". Bjj Eastern Europe. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
  20. ^ "The Gracie Family Tree". Retrieved 2015-07-09.
  21. ^ "Gracie Jiu Jitsu Founders". Retrieved 2019-01-29.

External links[edit]