Carlos Gracie: The Forgotten Pioneer of Jiu Jitsu

Carlos Gracie: The Forgotten Pioneer of Jiu Jitsu

1. Carlos Gracie Details

Carlos Gracie Details
Given Name Carlos Gracie
Nickname Pai Branco
Born Belem, Para Brazil
Date of birth 14 September, 1902
Date of Death 7 October 1994
Nationality Brazilian
Last Fight N/A
Weight Class 62 KG
Weight 62 KG
Height N/A
Reach N/A
Career Disclosed Earnings N/A
Fighting out of Belem, Brazil
Foundational style Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
FavoriteTechnique Armbar
Rank 10th Degree Black Belt
Awarded By  Mitsuyo Maeda
Head Coach Mitsuyo Maeda
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda -> Carlos Gracie
Team/Association Academia Gracie

2. Carlos Gracie Biography

2.1. Who is Carlos Gracie?

Carlos Gracie is a Brazilian National and was part of the Gracie jiu-jitsu academy, where he instructs the jiu-jitsu technique. Carlos Gracie was known as a founding member of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and refined his training system with constant matches. Carlos Gracie was 135 pounds and fought so effectively that he was famous for being undefeated and becoming a legend in Brazil and for the whole BJJ community around the globe. Under Mitsuyo Maeda Carlos leveraged his basic self-defense techniques.

Gracie was an aggressive and serious personality among his brothers. He was usually active in quarrels and fights when he was a teenager. It was Gracie’s family tradition to open challenges for a fight and its heritage of the Gracie jiu-jitsu. Carlos Gracie taught his jiu-jitsu style of fighting to his son, brothers, nephew, and students named “no rule”. His sons, brother, and student representatives have constantly demonstrated in open competition against title holders and defeated them in effective manners. It is no wonder that the Gracie style of jiu-jitsu is the hottest in martial arts today.

According to Grandmaster Carlos Gracie:
“Think only about the best, work only for the best, and always expect the best.”

2.2. Famous Offsprings of Carlos Gracie

Carlos Gracie had 21 kids and among them 13 achieved the rank of Jiu Jitsu Black Belts. His younger brother Helio had 7 sons. They created a large and highly trained army of Jiu-Jitsu masters, advocates and challengers.

Gastao Gracie Sr.
Sr # Names of Offsprings Year of Birth Demise Date
1 Carlos Gracie Jr. 1920 October 7, 1994
2 Oswaldo Gracie 1904 Died
3 Gastao Gracie Jr. 1906 July 16, 2001
4 IIka Gracie 1908 1908 (Died after Birth)
5 Helens Gracie 1909 Died
6 George Gracie 1911 1991
7 Helio Gracie 1913 January 29, 2009
8 Mary Gracie 1915 Died
9 IIka Gracie 1917 Died 

Famous Offsprings of Carlos Gracie

Photo credit: @blackbeltmag

2.3. Carlos Gracie’s Early Life

Carlos Gracie was born on 14 September 1902 in Belem, Brazil. He was the first member in his family who learned martial arts. He learned martial arts from his Japanese friend Mitsuyo Maeda and achieved many fighting and self-defenses against bullies. Carlos Gracie was an aggressive and mischievous child in his family and prone to being involved in brawls and getting expelled from schools due to his quarrel behavior. Carlos was 15 years old when his father took him to a wrestling challenge program where Carlos witnessed how Mitsuyo Maeda defeated a bigger man in front of an audience. Carlos was impressed by the challenging feats of the unpredictability of life, he started taking interest in learning BJJ under Mitsuyo Maeda and his assistant but shortly he switched from Belem for financial reasons.

2.4. Education and Early Training

Based on the information It is said that Carlos Gracie was extraordinarily active and agile from his early childhood and might be diagnosed with hyperactivity but the medical science was not advanced. This was the reason why his father made him train with Mitsuyio Maeda(Count Coma) around 1918. Mitsuyio Maeda was among the Japanese envoys of Judo / Jiu-Jitsu experts which were sent to Brazil for the purpose of divulging Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil.

So it all started with the idea of a concerned father channeling the hyperactivity of his son by making him learn martial arts.

Maeda liked the energetic student from a well-known Brazilian family. From a historical perspective, he took the responsibility of making Carlos the father of Jiu Jitsu.

Carlos remained under the training of Mitsuuio Maeda for three years till 1921. He had to leave Count Coma because his family was relocating from Belem do Para to Rio de Janeiro. He bid the last farewell to his master and life never gave him the opportunity to meet his master again. 

2.5. Mitsuyo Maeda Teacher of Gracie Brothers

When they moved from Belem to Rio De Janeiro, Carlos started working with his father in a casino. However, Carlos joined Donato Pires and started training under him and learning the basics of self-defense techniques. In 1929, Carlos decided to jump into martial arts as a career, and he fought his first fight by challenging judoka Geo Omori, although he refused to fight because Carlos was 27 and lacking in training and experience. Afterward, Carlos’s brother inaugurated his academy and called Omori to teach students martial arts.

Grandmaster Carlos Gracie said the gold words:
“Promise Yourself! To be so secure that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.”

2.6. Start of Professional Life

Start of Professional Life

Photo credit: @riliongracie

Carlos was always a free spirit and always wanted to go his own way. He started to earn his ends by struggling separately from his father. While he was indulging in these mundane pursuits, he happened to meet an old friend from Belem do Para. They both used to train together under Mitsuyio Maeda. His friend knew that Carlos is one of the most skilled and versatile adherents of Maeda.

He presented Carlos with an opportunity to train the Special Police because his friend was already in that profession. Carlos accepted the offer without any hesitation and joined the Special Police department as a Jiu-Jitsu instructor. As mentioned earlier, Carlos was a free spirit, he also got trained in No Hold Barred fights but had little to less opportunity to exercise his skills. But here while training the Special Police, he got an opportunity to test his BJJ skills and perform No Hold Barred Fights under intense circles. 

2.7. Carlos Gracie’s Family Affairs

Mitsu Maeda became involved in BJJ because of Carlos Gracie and his brother Helio Gracie. Helio learned BJJ techniques from his brother himself. Gracie back in history worked together for BJJ's progress and development and came up with new styles, applications, and execution of BJJ techniques while propagating and advocating the supremacy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu over other contemporary martial arts.

Carlos Gracie’s Family Affairs

Photo credit: @grapplinginsider

Carlos Gracie was basically a business-oriented personality focused more on spreading the ideology and practical purpose of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Gracie's diet plan in the world. Whereas Helio was more focused on teaching jiu-jitsu in the Academy. This was the prominent difference between Carlos and Helio's mindsets. Carlos was prone to spreading BJJ as well as incorporating and practicing other martial arts as far as possible. But Helio devoted his whole life, skills, and capabilities to BJJ and taught the jiu-jitsu that had developed under the guidance of his brother. However, there was a difference between Gracie’s affairs and their respective role in spreading awareness about jiu-jitsu even though everything was kept in a friendly environment despite their differences. Despite all facts, Gracie's brothers contributed massively to the footprint of BJJ at national and international levels, in their own way. Although there was a basic difference in the methods, approaches, instruction, delivery, and preferences. They do differ in some matters but it turned out as a collective, successful, and collective effort.

Related Readings: The Gracie Clan Secret Revealed

2.8. Carlos Gracie's Interesting Facts

Grand Master Carlos Gracie fathered 21 children. Among his children, 11 have earned black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Carlos alongside his kids and his brother Helio in the picture.

2.9. Carlos Gracie: The Creator of Fighting Dynasty

2.10. Carlos Gracie Team

In 1925, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the first Gracie institute was founded named as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. The Gracie brothers delivered training in Japanese jiu-jitsu techniques that Carlos gained from Mitsuyo Maeda. Helio Gracie was prohibited from training because of his weak and small body. However, Helio consumed most of the period observing the lessons given by his elder brother in the academy.

3. Carlos Gracie Professional Life

3.1. Early Career (Birth of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu)

Gracies were famous in Rio de Janeiro, but no one had anticipated that they were creating historic progress and people are going to admire their efforts, and will continue to pay their homage to the pioneer Gracie Family.

3.2. Threat to Jiu Jitsu and Strategy of Gracie Brothers

It was a highly sensitive time because Japanese martial artists were storming into Brazil and showcasing their striking martial art skills. Gracie brothers fought bravely for securing the identity of Jiu Jitsu and left no stone unturned in the effort. Emphasis on the ground battles was primarily a strategy devised to counter their rivals.

3.3. History was in the Making

Carlos Gracie adopted a resort in jiu-jitsu to survive, meanwhile Gracies had spent most of 1920 living under dreadful personal and financial situations. Nevertheless, as the unfortunate landlady reported, they desperately tried to uphold their patrician ethos crying amidst the ruins of their shattered house and their social credo “we are refined people''.

In mid of 1920, Carlos Gracie was working for a Brazilian traction insight, and power company in Rio de Janeiro. Gracie taught jiu-jitsu for two years in Belo. After his debut as a jiu-jitsu instructor, Carlos went to Sao Paulo to pursue a career as a professional fighter. Carlos’s performance in Sao Paulo metaphorically represented Brazil at its best against the notorious fighter: Geo Omori. In 1932 Carlos taught jiu jitsu to his brothers meanwhile fierce quarrels between Carlos and Rufino ended up in court.

At this time Carlos was teaching jiu-jitsu techniques to the police department and the matter was essential to the grace of their reputations. In early 1930, Carlos took decisive steps to create the local jiu-jitsu style, a Birth of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Even so, Gracie's agency was an important factor in the invention of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Gracie devised the Brazilian jiu-jitsu as defensive but applying chokes, and locks from the bottom position made it offensive.

Related: A Brief but Complete History of BJJ

3.4. Role of Donato Pires

One day Carlos comes across Donato Pires, an old family acquaintance and the early and senior student of Mitsu Maeda. Donato invites Carlos to be his assistant and he accepts the offer. Donate and his instructors including Carlos showcased a martial art demonstration before a selected audience. The building of the Dojo (first Gracie’s gym) was established in 1930 and the director was Donato Pires. Donato claimed that he was a black belt under Mitsuyo Maeda, and opening a dojo in partnership with Donato was an act of legitimizing the entire operation. In June 1931, Donato moved to Santa and left his academy under Gracie’s hands, apparently the reason was the tendency of his government job and his cross-state constant travel.

Regardless, Carlos and another instructor took over as head of the academy, and in 1932 academy began being advertised as Academy Gracie.

3.5. Conflicts with Manoel Rufino

Back in 1931, famous wrestler Manoel Rufino criticized the Gracie family, and spread the stipulation that they step down for this statement. Following this incident, the Academy became the unequivocal property of Gracie family. On the promised day of the event, Carlos and Rufino fought several times. Rufino dominated Carlos in the first attempt but hit an illegal strike that was admonished by the referee and the match started again. In the second attempt, Carlos submitted the Rufino but Rufino denied that he tapped it out. Judges took some time and came to solve the argument with the proposal of a rematch. However, Gracie refused to fight and insisted that he had already won, and thus Rufino was declared the winner.

3.6. Successors of Carlos Gracie

Father Children Grand Children Great Grand Childre
Carlos Gracie 21 106 128

4. Carlos Gracie Diet

Gracie took a few steps in the nutritional regimen from the French naturist and made it better, now it is known as the Gracie diet. Grice focused on the balance of PH levels in his diet through consumption of the nutrients. There are six groups in Gracie's diet plan that are followed by his family with outstanding results in health and practice. Furthermore, the impressive results achieved by the non-Gracie family members validate the benefits of the Gracie Diet.

Diet Phase
I Space your meals at least 4.5 hours apart
II Eliminates beverages and limits the use of sodas
III Do not mix different starches within the same meals

Carlos Gracie Diet

4.1. Key Points

  • You have formed your eating habits many times, but you have the power to change them with little effort. Immediately, counter the negative factor of the bad eating habit and control your diet.
  • Our body uses an incredible amount of energy to digest each meal. Any effort in maximizing the digestion process will take time..
  • Learning to manage the temptation through taste buds is the first step to optimizing your health process.

4.2. In a Nutshell, Carlos Gracie’s Diet

  • Drink plenty of water or coconut water in meals.
  • Wash your hands before meals.
  • Intake fruits with skins, if certain fruit skins are not pesticide hosts.
  • Follow the dietary decision for better health and body shape.
  • Use avocados for meats and fish as it's a rich source of protein intake.
  • Eat green vegetables and leaves.
  • Used both melted and fresh cheese and dairy products.

5. Carlos Gracie: Twelve Commandments

Twelve commandments of Brazilian jiu-jitsu from grandmaster Carlos Gracie

  1. Be strong and firm so that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  2. Speak to all of happiness, health, and prosperity.
  3. Always give value to your friends.
  4. Always look on the bright side of the matter and turn positivity into your reality.
  5. Always think for the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best.
  6. Be enthusiastic and fair about the success of others as you are for your own.
  7. Forget about old mistakes and concentrate on energy on future development
  8. Always make others happy and smile when you are talking to someone.
  9. Do Not spend time criticizing others, spend time on your self-improvement.
  10. Become too strong to feel unrest, too noble to feel anger, too strong to feel fear, and too happy to tackle anxiety.
  11. Have a good opinion about yourself and communicate it to the world, but do not think dissonant words through good action.
  12. Believe strongly that the world is on your side as long as you stay loyal to your friends.

6. Carlos Gracie’s Fight History

Rules Opponent W/L/D Method Location
Vale Tudo N/A W Armbar Guarda Civil HQ
Grappling Geo Omori D N/A MSG
Vale Tudo Samuel Capoeira W Referee Stoppage Associação Cristã
Vale Tudo Manuel Rufino L DQ Fluminense

7. Carlos Gracie’s Black Belts

7.1. Awarded From Mitsuyo Maeda

Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese Judoka, remained helpful to the Gracie family and to  the club, keeping the continuous stream of quality fighters and continued training Carlos Gracie. Carlos relocated to Rio de Janeiro with his father and he saw Maeda at a show he was inspired by him to learn martial arts. Mitsuyo Maeda taught Carlos to learn jiu-jitsu. Maeda remains the top grappler in the region and trained Carlos. Carlos earned his first black belt from Mitsuyo Maeda and was named the Man of the year in 1997 by the American martial arts publication black belt magazines. Carlos Gracie who is considered the Godfather of the BJJ has the rank of 10th-degree black belt.

7.2. Carlos Gracie Belt System

Carlos Gracie has the rank of 10-degree black belt. Gracie made its own belt system which was often similar to the BJJ but somewhat dissimilar. Most belt ranks in GJJ are awarded at the discretion of the instructor without any specific point. However, in adult ranks, proficient in a set of series, students determine specific skills and are graded by their instructors to get a particular stripe (belt) to demonstrate their ranks.

Carlos Gracie Belt System

8. Carlos Gracie’s Personal Life And Family

Carlos Gracie was a seasoned martial artist, remembered for being one of the pioneers of BJJ. He was endorsed by Maeda later as the patriarch of the Gracie family. Due to his competitive skill, he competed in different sports wrestling, including judo, boxing, and sambo.

Carlos had four brothers and three sisters.

Carlos has 4 Brothers named Gastao Gracie Jr, George Gracies, Osvaldo Gracie, and Helio Gracie.

Carlos has 3 Sisters named Helena Gracie, IIka Gracie, and Marry Gracie.

Carlo married Carmen, Genny, and Layer.

Carlos has 11 Children awarded with Balck Belt including Carley Gracie, Carlos Gracie Jr., Carlson Gracie, Reila Gracie, Relson Gracie, Reyson Gracie, Robson Gracie, Rolls Gracie, Rose Gracie, and Sonja Gracie-Gronning.

Reason for Death: Carlos Gracie died due to Pneumonia on 7 October 1994.

Special Bond: Carlos Gracie taught his skills to his younger brother Helio and worked together with Helio Gracie.

Read More: Gracie Family Tree

9. 7 Life Hack from the Grandmaster Carlo Graices

9.1. Thinking Big

Graceis said that thinking big always leads you to achieve greatness in your life. Think small and you will fall straight to the ground. Carlos believes that thinking big always rolls the ball to get your dreams. The breadth of your daydream reflects how far-reaching your accomplishments can become.

9.2. Investing Long Term

Carlos trained with his brother Helio in 1936. Furthermore, Gracie Academy had diverse followers including businessmen, politicians, and national capitals. That's where Gracie focused and it's worked in terms of influence. Carlos was a true genius, he knew how to deliver his vision not just economically but in terms of influence and power.

9.3. Thinking Outside the Box

Carlos Gracie lived in his own mini-society by his own laws and rules. Carlos' ways of thinking followed a heterodox standard. He adopted a completely innovative approach to life. He didn't follow predetermined methods. Maybe the fact that it is possible to be successful at this was not just his lesson, but also the pillar of his legacy. Gracie always thinks outside the box and has the courage and will to take whatever he wants.

9.4. Family is Everything

For centuries family is an asset that is considered one of society's most important institutions. He always tried to unite his brothers, nephews, and grandchildren under the same principles. The family as a reference for everything was Carlos Gracie's biggest element in his life. That was how a great business family emerged from economic downfall and framed contemporary Jiu Jitsu.

9.5. Heath is Success

Millions of books say that health is a success. The method was especially crucial for businesses that relied more on physical powers. Master Carlos Gracie developed a dietary plan. Aimed at strengthening the immunological system, guaranteeing an optimal digestive system that would increase the overall physical and mental health of a person.

9.6. Lead without Oppress

Grandmaster Carlos Gracie led himself without oppressing others. Helio took over the Academy when Carlos was busy spreading the word, but Carlos never tried to cast a light on his brother's success but was always there whenever his brothers were in need.

9.7. Consistency

Carlos believed that all aforementioned teachings need a solid and stable foundation to proliferate in society and in the life of an individual. Health and serenity were prominent outcomes of Carlos' consistency. Carlos never spends a day without exercising and meditating and this is his legacy.

10. Tops Videos links

Carlos Gracie Sr Tribute

Carlos Sr. vs Helio

Carlos Gracie : The life of a spiritual man

The Creator of a Fighting Dynasty - Carlos Gracie

The History of Jiu-Jitsu - Carlos Gracie

Carlos Gracie and Helio Gracie training Jiu-Jitsu rare

Carlson Gracie Sr: The Simple Warrior

Photo credit: @graciemag , @graciebarra

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