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List of All BJJ Red Belt Holders

List of All BJJ Red Belt Holders

It can take a lifetime to be eligible to receive a BJJ red belt. It usually requires 48 years for a black belt to earn this status. Red belts are practitioners who have spent their whole lives teaching and learning the Gracie BJJ style. This article provides a list of all 9th- and 10th-degree BJJ red belt holders.

1. BJJ Red Belt

The red belt is the highest BJJ belt rank. Practitioners who devote their entire lives to jiu-jitsu often receive a reward in the form of a red belt. In the words of Renzo and Royler Gracie, the BJJ red belt is “for those whose influence and fame takes them to the pinnacle of the art.” BJJ red belts are addressed as “Grandmasters” because of their extensive experience and knowledge of BJJ.

1.1. How Long Does it Take to Become a BJJ Red Belt?

It takes a long time to become a BJJ red belt. For instance, if a practitioner was promoted to black belt at the age of 19, the earliest he could become a red belt would be at the age of 67. Becoming a red belt requires devoting one's whole life to jiu-jitsu.

2. BJJ Red Belt Holders

BJJ red belts can be either 9th or 10th-degree holders. The 10th-degree red belt is only awarded to the founders of BJJ. The 9th-degree red belt is usually achieved 10 years after the previous belt promotion. Listed below are current 9th- and 10th-degree BJJ red belts.

3. 9th-Degree Red Belts

3.1. Geny Rebelo

Geny Rebelo

Photo Credits: @O Diario de Teresopolis

Master Geny Rebelo de Azevedo is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. He was born in Teresopolis, Brazil in 1927. Rebelo is the founder of Academia Serrana, which became the grappling hub in Rio de Janeiro. He got the chance to train under Hélio Gracie as a teenager at the Gracie Academy. He opened a  small BJJ academy in Teresopolis and introduced the art to the local community of his hometown. This small institution became a popular school in 1958 called Academia Serrana. Alison Brites, and Helio Soneca are some of the notable BJJ practitioners that trained in this school.

A commemorative tournament was held by the Jiu Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro in 1997 called “Copa 70 anos Mestre Geny Rebello” on Master Rebello’s 70th anniversary. He contributed to expanding Gracie Jiu Jitsu outside of Rio’s South Zone. Master Rebelo was the one that worked with Armando Wridt and Helio Vigio in writing the Brazilian Army self defense book.

Details:

Name Geny Rebelo de Azevedo
Date of Birth 1927
Age 96
Nickname N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Geny Rebelo
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Team Association Academy Serrana

3.2. Reylson Gracie

Master Reylson Gracie is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. Reylson is the son of Grandmaster Carlos Gracie Sr. and the father of former MMA fighter, Rodrigo Gracie. Born in 1943 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Reylson started BJJ when he was only four years old under his uncle, Hélio. He became the first of Carlos’s sons to open his own institute. Reylson is credited for coining the term, “mata leao,” which was previously called “estrangulamento tecnico” (technical strangle-hold).

“Yes, I saw some photos of Mas Oyama, founder of kyokushin karate in 1963. I remember saying ‘This guy is a lion, but I could get a technical strangle-old from the back on him, the ultimate lion killer.”
(Reylson Gracie)

Main Achievements:

  • One of the youngest Gracie to receive the black belt (only at the age of 18)
  • Starting teaching jiu-jitsu at the age of 14 at the Gracie Academy
  • Credited for naming a BJJ submission “americana”
  • The first ever practitioner to produce a colored Gi

Details:

Name Reylson Gracie
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1943
Age 80
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Reylson Gracie
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Team Association Reylson Gracie Academy

3.3. Carlos Rosado

Carlos Rosado

Photo Credits: @Flickr

Carlos Rosado is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Carlson Gracie. He was born on January 4th, 1949. Rosado is the youngest practitioner to earn the prestigious status of red belt and the only practitioner to be awarded this rank by the late Carlson. Rosado was one of many individuals who received a black belt from Carlson.He often used to visit Carlson Gracie Academy and roll with the younger black belts. It was said that he could surprise and beat even the more proficient black belts. Rosado became the founder of Rosado Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Brazil.

Details:

Name Carlos Antonio Rosado
Nickname “Rosadão”
Date of Birth January 4, 1949
Age 74
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Carlson Gracie > Carlos Rosado
Team Association Rosado Jiu-Jitsu / Carlson Gracie Academy

3.4. José Higino

José Higino

Photo Credits: @Usjjf

Born in 1948, Master José Higino is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Aderbal Baptista. Higino was an active grappler who used to compete in BJJ competitions. He was fond of grappling and became a BJJ instructor at the age of 17. He is the president of the BJJ tournament, Liga Brasileira de Lutas Associadas, and the founder of the Associação Higino de Jiu-Jitsu which was founded in 1975. The reason why Higino founded his own fighting tournament was because there were few competitive opportunities for grapplers at the time.

“During the 60s, there were only NHB tournaments because all academies gave priority to this style of fighting. It was very popular at the time and had a regular presence on TV which boosted the profile of the gyms. There were very few academies at the time that did only grappling.”
(Master Jose Higino)

Details:

Name José Higino Alves Nunes
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1948
Age 75
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Luiz França > Oswaldo Fadda > Aderbal Baptista > José Higino
Team Association Associação Higino de Jiu Jitsu

3.5. Robson Gracie

Robson Gracie (1935-2023) was born on January 16, 1935 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is the son of Carlos Gracie Sr. Robson was the president of FJJERJ, the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro. He was heavily involved in politics as he even awarded an honorary black belt to the former President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. Robson is the father of Ryan, Ralph, and Renzo Gracie.

Details:

Name Carlos Robson Gracie
Nickname “Nanico”
Date of Birth January 16, 1935
Date of Death April 28, 2023
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Robson Gracie
Team Association Gracie Academy

3.6. Geraldo Flȏres

Master Geraldo Flȏres is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Aderbal Baptista but originally from the Oswaldo Fadda lineage. Flȏres is responsible for raising awareness about BJJ in the northern region of Rio de Janeiro. He helped train great BJJ champions, Sergio Bastos and Wendell Alexander.

Details:

Name Geraldo Flȏres
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Luiz França > Oswaldo Fadda > Aderbal Baptista > Geraldo Flȏres
Team Association N/A

3.7. Crézio Chavez

Crézio Chavez, a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Carlos and Hélio Gracie, competed in various Vale Tudo championships in the 1950s. He is the founder of Team Crezio Lutas. Chavez fell in love with the sport the day he started practicing. His debut was the most extraordinary thing as he defeated his opponent in just 57 seconds in the first round. Over the years, Chavez has tried to keep the Gracies’ teachings alive. Master Chavez is an excellent BJJ instructor. Though he retired from the official competitive circle, he remains an undefeated grappler. Despite being over 80 years old, he is still active in BJJ where he instructs BJJ techniques to his students.

Details:

Name Crézio Chavez
Nickname “Cabritinho”
Date of Birth N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. / Hélio Gracie > Crézio Chavez
Team Association Gracie Academy / Team Crezio Lutas

3.8. Hélio Vigio

Hélio Vigio

Photo Credits: @BJJ Eastern Europe

Hélio Vigio (1934 - 2016) was a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Carlos Gracie and former member of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He was an active participant in Vale Tudo competitions. There is very little known about Vigio, except that he served as a referee in MMA championships like the UFC 1 and Oscar de Jiu Jitsu and was a legendary police delegate. He died at his home in Petropolis, Brazil in December 2016.

Details:

Name Hélio Vigio Gomes
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1934
Date of Death 2016
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Vigio
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

3.9. Paulo Mauricio

Paulo Mauricio

Photo Credits: @BJJ Heroes

Paulo Mauricio is a 9th-degree BJJ black belt under Reylson Gracie. He has trained many world champions, including Caio Terra and Alexandre Vieira. Mauricio never competed in BJJ; instead, he dedicated his life to teaching other BJJ enthusiasts. Mauricio earned all his belts from Master Reylson Gracie.

Details:

Name Paulo Mauricio Strauch
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth March 25, 1952
Age 71
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Reylson Gracie > Paulo Mauricio Strauch
Team Association Jiu Jitsu Strauch

3.10. Nahum Rabay

Born in 1935, Master Nahum Rabay is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt who learned under George Gracie. It was Rabay that first encountered the “creonte” which was previously called “creontagem”. This happened when a student of Hélio Gracie came to train under George Gracie after being defeated by Rabay. It is because the student thought that he wasn't doing well under Helio so he seeked Rabay’s instructor. Rabay, upon seeing this, named the student as creontagem. He is the founder of Nahum Rabay Team.

Details:

Name Nahum Luiz Rabay
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1935
Age 88
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > George Gracie > Nahum Rabay
Team Association Nahum Rabay Team

3.11. Master Wilson Mattos

Born on April 14, 1951, Master Wilson Mattos is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt who trained under Grandmaster Oswaldo Fadda. Mattos formed his own academy in the 1970s and continued to pass on his instructor’s teachings.

Details:

Name Wilson Pereira Mattos
Nickname “Shihan”
Date of Birth April 14, 1951
Age 72
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Luis Franca > Oswaldo Fadda > Wilson Mattos
Team Association Equipe Mestre Wilson

3.12. Deoclécio Paulo

Deoclécio Paulo

Photo Credits: @deojiujitsu.wordpress

Master Deoclécio Paulo, a 9th-degree red belt under Oswaldo Fadda, is the founder of Associacao Deo Jiu-Jitsu. His teaching methods live today with his students that have achieved high status in grappling. BJJ has grown in popularity in Chile in large part because of Master Paulo.

Details:

Name Deoclécio Paulo
Nickname “Deo”
Date of Birth 1933
Age 90
Favorite Technique / Position Wristlock and Footlck
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Luis Franca > Oswaldo Fadda > Deoclécio Paulo
Team Association Associacao Deo Jiu-Jitsu

3.13. Carley Gracie

Carley Gracie

Photo Credits: @Jiu Jitsu Legacy

Carley Gracie is the 11th child of Carlos Gracie who shares a love for jiu-jitsu like the rest of the Gracie family. Carley is responsible for bringing jiu-jitsu to the United States, before that jiu-jitsu was only centered in Brazil. He is the founder of Carley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy.

Details:

Name Carley Gracie
Nickname “The Lion of the Gracie family”
Date of Birth N/A
Age N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Carlson Gracie > Carley Gracie
Team Association Carley Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy

3.14. Master Francisco Sá

Master Francisco Sá (1935 - 2013), a BJJ red belt, is credited with popularization of BJJ in Ceara, Brazil. He is the founder of Central Ringue Club in Recife, which was later renamed to Academia Professor Sá.

Main Achievements:

Year Event
1958 Cearense Championship
1960 Cearense Luta Livre Championship

Details:

Name Francisco Carlos Pinto Sá
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth December 17, 1935
Date of Death September 10, 2013
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Takeo Iano > Francisco Sá
Team Association SAS (Sa Team)

3.15. Álvaro Barreto

Álvaro Barreto

Photo Credits: @Wikipedia

Álvaro Barreto (1941 - 2020), a 9th-degree red belt under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie, was born in September 1941 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He became a BJJ instructor at the age of 17. Sylvio Behring is one of Barreto’s most famous and accomplished students. He founded Academia Corpo Quatro in Copacabana in 1968.

Details:

Name Álvaro de Melo Barreto
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth September 1941
Date of Death February 10, 2020
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Hélio Gracie > Álvaro Barreto
Team Association Equipe Barreto de Jiu-Jitsu

3.16. Master Francisco Mansor

Master Francisco Mansor

Photo Credits: @kiotobjj

Master Francisco Mansor is one of six men who received a professor’s diploma from Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. He is the founder of Kioto Academy, an academy that focuses on the basic principles of BJJ and self-defense with a strict written curriculum. Master Mansor is inducted into the following halls of fame:

  • World Karate Hall of Fame
  • Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame
  • American Okinawan Karate Association Hall of Fame
  • Budo International Magazine Hall of Fame

Details:

Name Francisco Jose Mansor
Nickname “Chico”
Date of Birth 1940
Age 83
Favorite Technique / Position Cross Choke from Mount
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Francisco Jose Mansor
Team Association Kioto

3.17. Reyson Gracie

Reyson Gracie

Reyson Gracie, a 9th-degree BJJ red belt, was born on February 28, 1942 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is the third son of Grandmaster Carlos Gracie Sr. Reyson was also an undefeated Vale Tudo fighter.

“I got my training from Hélio and Carlos Gracie at the age of five. I got most of my training from Master Hélio. Hélio was like a fatherly figure to me but I was built for teaching the art of Jiu-Jitsu.”
(Reyson Gracie)

Details:

Name Reyson Gracie
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth February 28, 1940
Age 83
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Reyson Gracie
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

3.18. Pedro Hemetério

Pedro Hemetério

Photo Credits: @pedrohemeteriojj

Pedro Hemetério (1923-2009) started his jiu-jitsu training in the early 1940s. He was the first ever non-Gracie BJJ practitioner to achieve the rank of red belt. Hemetério got the chance to teach jiu-jitsu to police special forces. He was one of the most liked and talented students of Carlos Gracie. Hemetério founded the first Sao Paulo Jiu-Jitsu Federation (FPJJ). Sadly, he died due to myocardium at the age of 86.

Details:

Name Pedro Hemetério de Araujo
Nickname “Homem-Quiabo”
Date of Birth 1923
Date of Death October 11, 2009
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Pedro Hemetério
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

3.19. Relson Gracie

Relson Gracie

Photo Credits: @simonbjj

Relson Gracie is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. From a very young age, Relson was often called by the nickname “Champion.” Initially, he did not have much interest in BJJ but eventually discovered his love for it over time thanks to his father, Hélio Gracie, pushing him to compete in competitions. Relson was particularly involved in surfing with his cousin, Rolls Gracie. It was said that when Relson was younger and his friends would call him at his home and asked for champion, his mother used to yell, “In this house everyone is a champion! Which one do you want?”

Details:

Name Relson Gracie
Nickname “Campeao” or “Champion”
Date of Birth March 28, 1953
Date of Death 70
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Relson Gracie
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

Main Achievements:

  • Won 22 Brazilian National Championships
  • Founded 12 Jiu-Jitsu Schools in Hawaii
  • Promoted 53 Students to Black Belt Level
  • Established More than 50 BJJ Schools in the Whole World

3.20. Flavio Behring

Flavio Behring

Photo Credits: @Absolute MMA

Born on November 21, 1937, Flavio Behring (1937 - 1994) is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. In 2006, Behring was promoted to red belt under his former coach, João Alberto Barreto. He suffered from asthma during childhood but did not leave BJJ. Behring worked as an instructor at Gracie Academy in Rio Branco before founding his own school, Behring Jiu-Jitsu.

Details:

Name Flavio Behring
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth November 21, 1937
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Flavio Behring
Team Association Behring Jiu Jitsu

3.21. João Alberto Barreto

João Alberto Barreto

Photo Credits: @BJJ Fanatics Brazil

João Alberto Barreto is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. He was born in the late 1930s and earned stellar records in Vale Tudo and BJJ competitions. He was the first Vice President of the first Jiu Jitsu Federation. He graduated with a law and psychology degree and wrote important books in Portuguese on the subject of psychology.

Details:

Name João Alberto de Melo Barreto
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1935
Age 88
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > João Alberto de Melo Barreto
Team Association Barreto Jiu Jitsu / Gracie Jiu Jitsu

3.22. Oswaldo Gomes da Rosa

Oswaldo Gomes da Rosa

Photo Credits: @sportv.globo

Oswaldo “Paqueta” Gomes da Rosa (1940-2012) was a 9th-degree red belt, Carlson’s Gracie top student and best friend, and a true pioneer of the gentle art. Being born in a family with financial troubles, Paqueta struggled to get into his first BJJ gym. He graduated as a pedagogue and started teaching judo and jiu-jitsu at the Fundação Para a Infância e Adolescência (FUNABEM). Even after retiring from jiu-jitsu, Paqueta helped review fights debates both in person and with footage. His fighting video collection was more than 4,500 which is the biggest private fighting video collection one can have.

Details:

Name Oswaldo Gomes da Rosa
Nickname “Paqueta”
Date of Birth 1940
Date of Death 2012
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Carlos Gracie Sr. > Carlson Gracie > Oswaldo “Paqueta”
Team Association Academia Gracie / Carlson Gracie

3.23. Osvaldo Alves

Osvaldo Alves

Photo Credits: @jiujitsulegacy

Osvaldo Alves, a 9th-degree red belt under Reyson Gracie, has helped train some of the biggest BJJ champions, including Rolls Gracie, Fredson Paixão, Amaury Bitetti, Paulo Filho, and many more. He is the IBJJF’s technical director. Alves helped the Gracies develop the takedown and how to defend against it. Alves famously promoted two purple belts, Paixão and Sergio Penha, directly to the rank of black belt, Fredson Paixao and Sergio Penha, without granting the brown belt degree. The whole credit goes to Alves for such an instructorship.

Details:

Name Osvaldo Alves de Albuquerque
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth December 10, 1938
Age 85
Favorite Technique / Position Wristlock and Escalada de Braco / Armbar from High Guard
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Reyson Gracie > Osvaldo Alves
Team Association Academia De Jiu Jitsu Osvaldo Alves

Main Achievements:

  • Two-Time Judo Pan American Champion

3.24. Armando Wridt

Armando Wridt

Armando Wridt (1924-2019) is one of seven masters who received red belts from the late Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. Wridt was called “dedinho” because he lost his right thumb during his time working as a woodcutter. He competed in many no holds barred fights and spent much of his life defending the Gracie Jiu Jitsu style. Wridt was the original student of the Gracies and got to learn BJJ from its founders.

Details:

Name Armando Wridt
Nickname “Dedinho”
Date of Birth 1924
Date of Death 2019
Favorite Technique / Position Footlocks
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Armando Wridt
Team Association Academia Gracie

Main Achievements:

  • Won three no holds barred fights via first round submission

3.25. Rickson Gracie

Rickson Gracie

Photo Credits: @Black Belt Magazine

Born on November 20, 1958, Rickson Gracie is the son of the late Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. Rickson is known as the “Greatest BJJ Practitioner of all Times.” He has trained some of the most accomplished black belts, including Matt Thornton, Henry Akins, and John Frankl. Rickson was also called “Bear” because of his strength and dominating fighting style. Rickson competed in BJJ, MMA, no holds barred fights, and sambo.

“If we fight for money, I’ll stop hitting you when you ask me to. If we fight for honor, I’ll stop hitting you when I feel like it.”
(Rickson Gracie)

Details:

Name Rickson Gracie
Nickname “Urso” or “Bear”
Date of Birth November 20, 1958
Age 64
Favorite Technique / Position Mata Leao (Rear Naked Choke)
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Rickson Gracie
Team Association Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Main Achievements:

  • Undefeated in BJJ competitions
  • Undefeated in no holds barred fights (NHB)
  • Undefeated in MMA (MMA Record: 11-0)

3.26. Carlson Gracie

Master Carlson Gracie (1932-2006) was the eldest son of the late Carlos Gracie Sr. In the 1950s and 1960s, Carlson was the most active Gracie as he competed in Vale Tudo championships. He was only 17 years old when he won his first state championship. Carlson challenged big martial arts names such as Judo wiz Sakai and Cirandinha. He challenged and defeated most fighters via submissions. Carlson opened his own institute, Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy, where he used to teach students for free in return for competing in championships as representatives.

Details:

Name Carlson Gracie
Nickname “Carlsão”
Date of Birth 1932
Date of Death 2006
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Carlson Gracie
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu / Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place at the Campeonato Aberto de Jiu Jitsu e Luta Livre
  • Won 17 fights in a row

3.27. Pedro Valente

Pedro Valente

Photo Credits: @BJJ Eastern Europe

Pedro Valente has been a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Hélio Gracie since 1953. He was one of the top students at Academia Gracie and participated in BJJ competitions. Valente became Rio de Janeiro's Secretary of Health and Secretary of Transportation. Despite his busy professional life, Master Valente always spared time to practice BJJ with Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. He spent much of his life teaching jiu-jitsu.

“Our Jiu-Jitsu is a way of life - it is self-confidence, health and balance.”
(Pedro Valente)

Details:

Name Pedro Valente
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Pedro Valente
Team Association Academia Gracie de Jiu-Jitsu

3.28. Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro

Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro is a 9th-degree red belt under Master Oswaldo Fadda. The main reason behind Castro’s fame is that he once pacified an armed robber in a crowded Rio de Janeiro train.

Details:

Name Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Luis Franca > Oswaldo Fadda > Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro
Team Association Academia FADDA

3.29. Rorion Gracie

Rorion Gracie

Rorion Gracie is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. He is a writer, publisher and lecturer. Rorion is the author of the book, Gracie Diet. In 2006, he was named “Instructor of the Year” by Black Belt Magazine. Rorion was also a notable figure in The Gracie Challenge fighting series.

"Self-defense is not just a set of techniques; it’s a state of mind, and it begins with the belief that you are worth defending."
(Rorion Gracie)

Details:

Name Rorion Gracie
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth January 10, 1952
Age 71
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Kano Jigoro > Tomita Tsunejiro > Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Hélio Gracie > Rorion Gracie
Team Association Gracie Academy

3.30. Amelio Arruda

Amelio Arruda is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt. He started jiu-jitsu at the age of 27. Not much is known about his grappling and lineage record.

Details:

Name Amelio Arruda
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage N/A
Team Association N/A

3.31. Arthur Virgilio Neto

Arthur Virgilio Neto is a 9th-degree BJJ red belt under Carlson Gracie. Neto was promoted to the 9th-degree in 2014.

Details:

Name Arthur Virgilio Neto
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Carlson Gracie > Arthur Virgilio Neto
Team Association Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy

3.32. Eduardo Gomes Pereira

Eduardo Gomes Pereira is a 9th-degree red belt under George Gracie. Pereira started his BJJ training in 1951.

Details:

Name Eduardo Gomes Pereira
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > George Gracie > Eduardo Gomes Pereira
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

3.33. Julio Secco

Julio Secco is a 9th-degree red belt. Not much about his lineage is known. Secco is the founder of three BJJ academies in Rio Grande do Sul.

Details:

Name N/A
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage N/A
Team Association N/A

3.34. Nilton Pereira da Silva

Nilton Pereira de Silva, a 9th-degree red belt, was only seven years old when he started his jiu-jitsu training.

Details:

Name Nilton Pereira da Silva
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage N/A
Team Association N/A

3.35. Oswaldo Carnivalle

A 9th-degree red belt, Oswaldo Carnivalle was a pioneer of jiu-jitsu in Sao Paulo during the 1950s and 1960s. He participated in judo and wrestling matches to defend the right for jiu-jitsu to be considered a professional martial art and highlights its importance that it withstands among other fighting disciplines.

Details:

Name Oswaldo Carnivalle
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > George Gracie > Oswald Carnivalle
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

3.36. Paulo Mauricio Strauch

Paulo Mauricio Strauch, Reylson Gracie’s first student, is a 9th-degree red belt. He founded his own academy in 1984.

Details:

Name Paulo Mauricio Strauch
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Reylson Gracie > Paulo Mauricio Strauch
Team Association Reylson Gracie Academy

3.37. Pedro Emerito

Pedro Emerito is the first student of Hélio Gracie to reach the rank of 9th-degree red belt. He taught at Hélio Gracie’s academy for more than 30 years.

Details:

Name Pedro Emerito
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie > Pedro Emerito
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

3.38. Walter Nogueira

Walter Noguerira, a 9th-degree red belt, is the president of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Olympic (CBJJO).

Details:

Name Walter Nogueira
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth N/A
Date of Death N/A
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Luis Franca > Oswaldo Fadda > Walter Nogueira
Team Association Academia FADDA

4. 10th-Degree Red Belts

4.1. Carlos Gracie Sr.

Carlos Gracie Sr.

Photo Credits: @graciesmeatongrange

Grandmaster Carlos Gracie Sr. (1902-1994) was the father of jiu-jitsu. Carlos dedicated his whole life to teaching, practicing, and refining BJJ, and his legacy lives on today. His students have successfully maintained the principles of jiu-jitsu. Carlos Sr. was an active competitor and often challenged other martial artists to prove the effectiveness of jiu-jitsu. He was also the father of three jiu-jitsu legends, Carlson, Rolls, and Carlos Gracie Jr. Carlos Sr. was famous for his 12 commandments.

Details:

Name Carlos Gracie
Nickname “Pai Branco” or “White Father”
Date of Birth 1902
Date of Death 1994
Favorite Technique / Position Armbar
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr.
Team Association Academia Gracie

Carlos Gracie’s 12 Commandments:

  • Become so sturdy that nothing can disrupt your peace of mind.
  • Communicate to others about happiness, prosperity, and health.
  • Make sure your friends feel valued.
  • Always look at the bright side of life with hope and turn that hope into reality.
  • Think about the best, work only for the best, and always expect the best.
  • Be as eager about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • Forget your previous errors and focus on the upcoming victories.
  • Always keep your partners happy and speak to others with a positive attitude.
  • Use your time to improve yourself rather than criticize others.
  • Be big enough to feel unsatisfied, noble enough to feel anger, strong enough to feel fear, and happy enough to feel frustration.
  • Have a healthy self-image but do not boast in front of others.
  • Believe that as long as you stay true to your values, the whole world will be on your side.

4.2. Gastão Gracie

Gastão Gracie

Gastão Gracie (1906-2001), a 10th-degree BJJ red belt, was the brother of Carlos Gracie Sr. Gastão was the quieter brother, but he was a man of strong beliefs who led a simple life maintaining the principles of jiu-jitsu. He watched the development of jiu-jitsu in Brazil and learnt the art from his own brother. Gastão was one of the first instructors at Carlos Gracie’s institute. He was not the most competitive Gracie but played a major role in teaching young talent. The void created after the death of Grandmaster Gastao Gracie will always remain no matter how many talented red belts play their role in keeping the art as real as possible.

Details:

Name Gastão Gracie Filho
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1906
Date of Death 2001
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Gastão Gracie
Team Association Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

4.3. George Gracie

George Gracie

George Gracie (1911-1991), a 10th-degree BJJ red belt, was the first black belt champion that brought Gracie Jiu-Jitsu into the limelight. He was the brother of Carlos Gracie and mastered every technique his brother taught him. George was the most tenacious of the first-generation Gracies. His red hair and quick reflexes earned him the nickname, “Red Cat.” George became the assistant coach at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu alongside his brother, Oswaldo and the academy’s “star pupil”, George Gracie himself. George was an active competitor who won many no holds-barred and capoeira matches. The most famous one was against Mario Aleixo, with George submitting Alexio early in the match via an armbar.

Details:

Name George Gracie
Nickname “Gato Ruivo” or “Red Cat”
Date of Birth 1911
Date of Death 1991
Favorite Technique / Position Armlock
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > George Gracie
Team Association Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

4.4. Grandmaster Hélio Gracie

Grandmaster Hélio Gracie

Grandmaster Hélio Gracie (1913-2009) was one of the founders and considered the eternal monarch of jiu-jitsu. Hélio was the shortest amongst his brothers. Due to a difficult financial situation at home, he suffered from psychological issues. When Carlos built the very first jiu-jitsu institute, he invited his brothers, Oswaldo, George, Gastao and Hélio to join him. The main reason for inviting his brothers was that Carlos knew the impact of their father’s abusive nature on his brothers. Hélio wasn’t allowed to train because of his health, but he still learned BJJ techniques without Carlos knowing for a while. But even when Carlos found out, he allowed Hélio to continue his training.

Hélio competed in several Vale Tudo Competitions. His first fight was against Antonio Portugal, which Hélio won by submitting his opponent via a choke.

Details:

Name Hélio Gracie
Nickname Cacula / Caxinguelê
Date of Birth 1913
Date of Death 2009
Favorite Technique / Position Cross Choke
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Hélio Gracie
Team Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

4.5. Oswaldo Gracie

Oswaldo Gracie (1904-1943), a 10th-degree BJJ red belt, was the co-founder of the very first Gracie Academy. He actively competed in the early 1930s in Vale Tudo and no holds barred competitions. Oswaldo’s main focus was on catch wrestling. He took part in many competitions to earn money for the academy. Oswaldo’s mastery of techniques was on full display when he submitted a capoeirista, Manuel Tito Ferreira, via a triangle choke.

Details:

Name Oswaldo Gracie
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1904
Date of Death 1943
Favorite Technique / Position N/A
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Oswaldo Gracie
Team Association Academia Gracie Jiu Jitsu

Main Achievements:

  • Jiu Jitsu vs Capoeira Superfight Champion
  • Gracie vs Baldi Champion

5. Posthumously Awarded Red Belts

5.1. Luiz França

Luiz França

Photo Credits: @Simon BJJ

Luiz França (1910-1982), a 10th-degree BJJ red belt, was responsible for starting a non-Gracie lineage of BJJ practitioners. He was considered a pioneer of Brazilian jiu-jitsu due to training directly under Mitsuyo Maeda. França has the highest BJJ belt degree, 10th-degree BJJ red belt and is recognized as the most accomplished student, Master Oswaldo Fadda, carried on his legacy. França was awarded his 10th-degree red belt posthumously.

Details:

Name Luiz França Filho
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1910
Date of Death 1982
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Luiz França
Team Association Franca Jiu Jitsu

5.2. Oswaldo Fadda

Oswaldo Fadda

Photo Credits: @Wikipedia

Oswaldo Fadda (1920-2005) was a 10th-degree BJJ red belt. He was among the few non-Gracie BJJ practitioners who achieved the rank of red belt. Fadda was posthumously awarded the 10th-degree red belt in 2014.

When Grandmaster Fadda earned his black belt, he opened his own institute in his hometown, Rio de Janeiro. He spent his whole life encouraging people to join jiu-jitsu. Fadda often demonstrated BJJ techniques on public platforms, such as beaches, outside of churches, and other locations. He was not recognized by the Gracies, but his skills still attracted BJJ enthusiasts.

Fadda requested a challenge between his academy and the Gracie’s, declaring that,

“We wish to challenge the Gracies, we respect them as the formidable adversaries they are but we do not fear them. We have 20 pupils ready for the challenge.”

The challenge was conducted because Fadda wanted to show that non-Grcacies also have the guts to learn and compete in BJJ. Eventually, the challenge took place, with Gracie Academy securing seven wins over Fadda Academy’s three wins. Grandmaster Fadda died due to Alzheimer’s in 2005.

Details:

Name Oswaldo Baptista Fadda
Nickname N/A
Date of Birth 1920
Date of Death 2005
Favorite Technique / Position Footlocks
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda > Luis Franca > Oswaldo Fadda
Team Association Academia FADDA

6. Conclusion

There have only been five 10th-degree BJJ red belts awarded while they were alive since there are few practitioners who have devoted their whole lives to this gentle art. Yvone Duarte is the only female BJJ fighter who reached the rank of coral belt. Though there is a majority of men holding the 9th and 10th-degree BJJ red belts, women are also competing hard to get the top rank. There have been approximately 38 9th-degree BJJ red belts, some of which have left a huge void after their untimely deaths. Luiz França and Oswaldo Fadda are the only practitioners to have been posthumously awarded their 10th-degree red belts.

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