Table of Contents
- 1. Carlson Gracie’s Details
- 2. Carlson Gracie’s Biography
- 2.1. Carlson Gracie’s Early Life
- 2.2. Carlson Gracie’s Pro BJJ Career
- 2.3. Quitting Gracie Academy
- 2.4. Formation Of Carlson Gracie Academy
- 2.5. Splitting Of Carlson Gracie’s Team
- 2.6. Carlos Gracie’s Death
- 2.7. Carlson Gracie’s Historic Fights
- 3. Carlson Gracie’s Main Achievements
- 4. Carlson Gracie’s Professional Record Breakdown
- 5. Carlson Gracie’s Fight History
- 6. Carlson Gracie’s Black Belts
- 7. “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu : For Experts Only” By Carlson Gracie
- 8. Carlson Gracie’s Personal Life And Family
1. Carlson Gracie’s Details
|Pro MMA Record||12-01-05 (Win-Loss-Draw)|
|Nickname||Carlsao / Champion|
|Brith Place||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Career Disclosed Earnings||N/A|
|Fought out of||Rio de Janeiro Chicago, Illinois|
|Foundational style||Gracie Jiu-Jitsu / Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu|
|Rank||9th Degree Red Belt in BJJ|
|Lineage||Mitsuyo Maeda –> Carlos Gracie –> Carlson Gracie|
|Team/Association||Carlson Gracie Team/ Gracie Jiu-Jitsu|
2. Carlson Gracie’s Biography
“Always enter like a kitten and leave like a lion. But NEVER enter like a lion and leave like a kitten. Always be humble.”
Carlson Gracie was a member of the prestigious “Gracie Family,” recognized for founding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He was Carlos Gracie’s eldest son and Helio Gracie’s nephew.
Carlson Gracie was one of the most influential figures in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He and his students revolutionized the Jiu-Jitsu world by creating numerous innovative strategies and techniques.
Carlson was also a pioneer of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and participated in various Vale Tudo matches during the 1950s and 1960s. His academy, Carlson Gracie Academy, was one of the first to offer specialized training in MMA.
Many of Carlson’s students became world champions and created their own academies. His legacy will continue to live for years to come as most of the world’s top grappling teams, such as American Top Team (ATT), Nova Uniao, Brazilian Top Team (BTT), and many more, are directly tied to Carlson’s lineage.
2.1. Carlson Gracie’s Early Life and Amateur Fighting
Born on August 13, 1932, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Carlson Gracie started his Jiu-Jitsu journey at the mere age of five. Carlson began by competing in an open Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Wrestling Tournament referred to as “Campeonato Aberto de Jiu-Jitsu e Luta Livre.”
The renowned Gracie was never a particularly good student. However, much of his academic failure was due to the long excursions he and his uncle used to take across the country in search of ways to promote their family’s Jiu-Jitsu legacy. Owing to this frequent travelling , Carlson Gracie left school at the age of 15 and decided to focus solely on fighting.
At the age of 17, Carlson won Rio de Janeiro’s first State Championship ever, “the Campeonato Carioca de Jiu Jitsu”
2.2. Carlson Gracie’s Pro BJJ Career
Carlson Gracie competed in a total of 18 official Vale Tudo fights in his career, losing only once to Euclides Pereira.
Carlson's first professional fight took place at the age of 18, against Judo master Sakai, who weighed 92 kgs to Carlson’s 67 kgs. That match followed grappling rules, meaning no strikes were allowed. Thus, it ended in a draw because both combatants were unable to pin each other within the given time limit.
Carlson issued a press note following the fight, challenging anyone in the country to fight him. It was stated that the revenue from this bout would go to a charity fund for victims of the drought that had devastated the Northwest region of the country. (With which the Gracie family had strong ties).
Luiz Cirandinha Aguiar, a Capoeira fighter weighing 100 kilograms, accepted the challenge. The match was held on March 17, 1953, where Carlson defeated Cirandinha via submission due to mounted strikes after a tough fight.
Carlson Gracie went on to compete in various fights from there on, always attempting to enhance his skill set.
In May 1954, Carlson faced Wilson Gouveia, with the fight ending in a draw.
In March 1955, Carlson had a rematch with Wilson, which became the longest fight of his career. The match continued for five 30-minute rounds and Carlson finally won by submission in the last round.
The most renowned fights of his career were his matches against Waldemar Santana, who had beaten his uncle Helio in May 1995.
The first match against Waldemar was held in October 1955, ending in a draw. Carlson won the next matches against Waldemar in 1956 and 1957. Their last fight in 1959 again resulted in a draw.
Carlson ruled as a World Champion for nearly three decades (30 years covering the 50s, 60s, and 70s).
Carlson was known for being a unique fighter and a creative teacher. He would go to the beach in Rio and dare people to fight him. The competitors could use any method they wanted (kicks, punches, head butts, etc.), but Carlson Gracie would only use his grappling skills. He used to skillfully wear them down until they surrendered.
2.3. Quitting Gracie Academy
After several years of teaching, Carlson Gracie ended his relationship with Gracie Academy due to conflicts with his uncle, Helio. He occasionally disregarded Helio’s coaching methods.
Carlson felt that the only way to progress was to put yourself to the test, and the only way to do so was to share your knowledge with others.
2.4. Formation of Carlson Gracie Academy
Carlson then opened his own Carlson Gracie Academy, where he began teaching the first group lessons in Jiu-Jitsu. The style of Jiu-Jitsu Carlson taught at his academy was different from Helio’s Academy.
Helio’s style was focused more on “defensive techniques,” which aimed to enable a weaker person to defeat a stronger opponent .
Meanwhile, Carlson along with his brothers, Carley and Rolls, adopted a more active “Warrior Style” that encouraged physical prowess through a series of attacks.
Carlson also made his gym more accessible to the lower class, allowing students to train for free in exchange for full devotion and participation in competitions.
In the process, Carlson Gracie put together one of the best teams ever in the history of BJJ practitioners, with fighters like Andre Pederneiras (Founder of Noa Uniao Academy), Ricardo Liborio, Murilo Bustamante (founder of BTT and former UFC middleweight champion), Vitor Belfort (former UFC light-heavyweight champion), and many more.
2.5. Splitting of Carlson Gracie’s Team
In the early 2000s, the team at the Carlson Gracie Academy broke up since Carlson spent most of his time in the United States, relegating the Rio de Janeiro squad to a secondary stage.
The majority of the Brazilian students decided to create their own academy, though a few remained loyal to their teacher. The students who left were called Creontes by Carlson Gracie due to their perceived disloyalty.
2.6. Carlos Gracie’s Death
Carlos Gracie died on February 1, 2006, in Chicago due to heart failure, apparently caused by complications of his kidney stones and maybe his pre-existing diabetes.
His death came as a shock to the Jiu-Jitsu community. He was a 9th-degree red belt and known as Grandmaster by the time he died.
On August 12, 2019, a bronze statue was installed in front of Carlson’s gym in Rio de Janeiro in his remembrance.
2.7. Carlson Gracie’s Historic Fights
2.7.1. Carlson Gracie Vs Waldemar Santana
Fight 1: 1955
The most historic fight of Carlson’s career took place in 1955 at the age of 23 when he faced one of the most recognized fighters, Waldemar Santana.
Waldemar already had a knockout win against Carlson Gracie's uncle, Helio Gracie. Carlson’s father, Carlos Gracie, went on the record saying that if Waldemar could withstand his son’s superior technique, he would give him 300,000 real (a handsome amount in those days.)
Unfortunately, Waldemar fought defensively and successfully held off Carlson's attacks, resulting in the fight being declared a draw and the prize money going to Waldemar Santana.
Fight 2: 1956
Another fight against Waldemar Santana took place in 1956 at a sold-out 40,000-seat Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro. This time, Carlson was able to secure the victory he so desperately desired to save his family’s honor. He defeated Waldemar with strikes from the mount in front of thousands of people.
Fight 3: 1959
Both competitors fought again a few years later in 1959, but the buzz and expectation from the first two fights had faded, and the third battle was once again a mediocre draw.
3. Carlson Gracie’s Main Achievements
- 9th Degree Red Belt in BJJ
- Founder of Carlson Gracie Academy
- Pioneer of Mixed Martial Arts
- Author of the Book: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu : For Experts Only
- Coach to many World Champions
- Awarded black belt to 111 BJJ athletes
4. Carlson Gracie’s Professional Record Breakdown
5. Carlson Gracie’s Fight History
Note: Some of the matches are missing in the table due to out dated fights.
|1970||Vale Tudo||Waldemar Santana||W||Points|
|1968||Carlson Gracie Vs Euclides||Euclides Pereira||L||Points|
|1963||Carlson Gracie Vs Ivan Gomes||Ivan Gomes||D||Decision|
|1959||Vale Tudo||Waldemar Santana||D||NA|
|1958||Carlson Vs Passarito 3||Wilson Gouveia||W||NA|
|1957||Vale Tudo||Valdemar Viana||W||Submission|
|1957||Vale Tudo||Waldemar Santana||D||Decision|
|1957||Carlson Gracie vs. Leão de Portugal||Leão De Portugal||W||RNC|
|1956||Vale Tudo||Waldemar Santana||W||NA|
|1955||Vale Tudo||Waldemar Santana||D||Decision|
|1955||Desafio Gracie||Wilson Gouveia||W||Submission|
|1954||Desafio Gracie||Wilson Gouveia||D||Decision|
|1953||Vale Tudo||Luiz Aguiar||W||Punches|
|1949||Vale Tudo||Samuel Capoeira||W||Punches|
6. Carlson Gracie’s Black Belts
Carlson Gracie published a list of his black belts before passing away in 2006. The purpose of this was to avoid false claims in the future and prevent people from promoting themselves by using his name.
- Aaron Laponte
- Alberto dos Santos
- Alexandre Nascimento de Oliveira
- Alexandre Macedo
- Alexandre Derizans
- Allan Goes
- Amaury Bitetti
- André Mendes
- André Pederneiras
- Anselmo Montenegro
- Antônio Cláudio Correia Leite Buchaul
- Antônio Gadelha “Tony Malone”
- Antônio Ricardo Bittencourt Cavalcanti
- Antonio Ricardo Jardim Liborio
- Antônio ‘Tuninho” Rodrigues
- Armando “Maninho” Alves Gonçalves Filho
- André Mendes
- Arthur Vírgilio Neto
- Ary Galo
- Bráulio Carsalade
- Cassio Cardoso
- Carley Gracie (Brother)
- Carlos “Penão” Alexandre Conceição
- Carlos Antônio Rosado
- Carlos “Bagana”
- Carlos Henrique “Caíque” Vieira Cavalcanti Gomes de Oliveira
- Carlos Rollyson
- Carlson Gracie Júnior
- Carlson Guimaraes
- Cássio Cardoso
- Christian Kennedy Grandi
- Clayton de Souza
- Clóvis de Souza
- Crézio de Souza
- Daniel Cristoph
- Djalma José de Santana Filho
- Edyr Moreira da Silva “Monge”
- Edson Carvalho “Baiano”
- Elair Gilberto da Silva Reis
- Élcio Figueiredo
- Fábio Macieira
- Felipe Fígalo Barbosa
- Fernando Carlos “Nutri-Baby” Carvalho da Silva
- Fernando “Pinduka” Melo Guimarães
- Fernando Rosenthal
- Francisco “Grego” Trivelas
- Francisco “Toco” Albuquerque Neto
- Gustavo Gussem
- Gutenberg Mello
- Henrique Chvaicer
- Isaias De Souza
- Francisco “Grego” Trivelas
- Jerônimo Dix-Huit Rosado Ventura
- João Antônio Fernandes Filho
- José de Oliveira
- José Eduardo Vieira Cavalcanti Gomes de Oliveira
- 57. José Mário Sperry
- 58. Júlio César “Foca” Nunes
- 59. Léo D’Ilha
- 60. Luis Fernando “Nando” Da Costa
- 61. Luís Carlos “Manimal” Mateus
- 62. Luiz “Bebeo” Duarte
- 63. Luís Carlos Vallois
- 64. Luís Cláudio Isaías de Souza
- 65. Luís Fernando “Nando” Costa
- 66. Manoel Maria “Maneco” Cardoso Neto
- 67. Marcel Laguna Duque Estrada
- 68. Marcelo Allonso Duque Novais
- 69. Marcelo Alonso
- 70. Marcelo Pache
- 71. Marcelo Procópio
- 72. Marcelo “Bocão”
- 73. Marcelo Saporito
- 74. Marcelo Tadeu Domigues de Oliveira
- 75. Marco Aurélio Kühner de Oliveira
- 76. Marco Aurélio Lisboa Valladares
- 77. Marcos “Parrumpinha” Da Matta
- 78. Marcos “Flexa” Neves Mello
- 79. Marcus Vinícius de Macedo Soares
- 80. Marcus “Conan” Vinícius Figueiredo da Silveira Júnior
- 81. Mário Cupertino
- 82. Marvin Swhab
- 83. Mauricio “Saddam”
- 84. Miguel Kelner
- 85. Miguel Monteiro de Carvalho
- 86. Murilo Bustamante
- 87. Orlando Saraiva
- 88. Oswaldo “Paquetá” Gomes da Rosa
- 89. Oswaldo Viana
- 90. Otávio Augusto “Peixotinho” de Oliveira
- 91. Paulo “Mamão” de Albuquerque Martins Pereira Filho
- 92. Paulo Leite Filho “Paulão“
- 93. Pedro Paulo de Secco Freire
- 94. Renato Tavares
- 95. Ricardo de La Riva Goded
- 96. Ricardo Jucá Santos
- 97. Ricardo Luis Moraes “Rey” Diogo
- 98. Ricardo Luiz Perrone
- 99. Ricardo “Kiko” Velloso
- 100. Rinaldo Santos
- 101. Rocyan Gracie (brother)
- 102. Rodrigo Medeiros
- 103. Sérgio Abimerhy
- 104. Sérgio “Bolão” de Souza
- 105. Sérgio Íris de Almeida
- 106. Wallid Farid Ismail
- 107. Walter “Soldado” da Silva
- 108. Walter Guimarães
- 109. Wander de Souza
- 110. Vauvernargues Xavier Vicentini
- 111. Vitor Belfort
7. “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: For Experts Only” by Carlson Gracie
On August 1, 2004, Carlson Gracie published his book “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: For Experts Only.”
In his book, Carlson detailed 101 positions that can be used in a complete match full of sweeps, guards, and submission. Moreover, he explained the innovative BJJ moves that he had taught to his students, including Murilo Bustamante, Vitor Belfort, Amauri Bitteti, Mario Sperry, Wallid Ismael, Kevin Costner, and Mickey Rourke.
This book is specifically designed for advanced-level BJJ practitioners where they can learn the tips to differentiate between greatness and competence. However, students can also find aggressive techniques to expand their skillset.
8. Carlson Gracie’s Personal Life and Family
Carlson Gracie had three kids: Karen, Rosane, and Carlson Gracie Jr. He also had two grandkids: Carlson III from Carlson Jr. and Julia from Karen.
Carlson Gracie was a close friend of Wing Chun Grandmaster, Samuel Kwok. They used to travel and attend seminars together before his untimely demise.