The Untold Story of George Gracie The Red Cat Rebel

The Untold Story of George Gracie The Red Cat Rebel

1. George Gracie’s Details

George Gracie’s Details
Given Name George Gracie
Nickname Gato Ruivo (Red Cat)
Born Belem, Brazil
Date of birth 1911
Date of Death 1991
Nationality Brazilian
Last Fight N/A
Weight Class N/A
Weight 56 KG
Height N/A
Reach N/A
Career Disclosed Earnings N/A
Fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Foundational style Gracie Jiu Jitsu
FavoriteTechnique Armbar/Armlock
Pro Fight Record 30-11-08 (based on available information)
Rank 10th Degree Black Belt
Awarded By  Mitsuyo Maeda
Head Coach Carlos Gracie
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda -> Carlos Gracie -> George Gracie
Team/Association Gracie Jiu Jitsu

2. George Gracie Biography

2.1. Who is George Gracie?

George Gracie is one of the five renowned brothers of the Gracie family. Together, in the start of the 19th century, they shaped the future of jiu jitsu by owning, nourishing, and teaching the martial art of jiu-jitsu and vehemently advocating its effectiveness and superiority over the other martial arts especially Judo. It was the time when no one knew or accepted jiu-jitsu as a sublime martial art. Judo practices were in vogue and considered the most sublime form of striking martial art across the country even in the forces they preferred to train the soldiers from Judo instructors. In this article, you are going to learn about the personal and professional life of George Gracie and his contributions.

Financial Challenges in the Early Life of George Gracie

In these challenging circumstances, the Gracie family unequivocally stood by their traditional foundations of jiu-jitsu which made the support famous in coming years. As Charles Dickens said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness”. Gracie’s family is rightfully considered the founding father of jiu-jitsu. It was a time of political unrest in Brazil and Gracie's family was also financially affected by the loss of the family business.

Relocation to Rio de Janeiro

George was born in 1911 in Belem which is the capital of the state of Para and known as the gateway to Brazil's amazon region. It is important to remember his brothers because they are going to be a part of this memoir all along. At the time of George’s birth, Charles was 9, Oswaldo was 7 and Gastao junior was 5. Helio Gracie was two years younger than George and born in 1913. George came from a wealthy and respectable family in his native town of Belem do Para. Unfortunately, Gastao Sr. faced a potential loss in his business. George was almost 11 years old when his parents relocated to Rio de Janeiro to start a new life and in this way, George's luxury life ended, but no one knew that George was more than ready and prepared to cruise through the challenge of his life.

Origins of The Gracie Academy

George Gracie, Donato Pires dos Reis and Carlos Gracie from left to right. A picture taken at the inauguration of the academy in Rio in 1930.

Donato Pires was an early student at Mitsuyo Maeda’s academy and learned jiu jitsu from Jacyntho Ferro who was the assistant instructor of Maeda around 1921. He also learned boxing in Escola de Pugilismo from Joao Scherr and is regarded as a Judo instructor of Gracie’s. Donato Pires came to Rio de Janeiro in 1928 and requested Charlos Gracie Jr. to join him as his assistant instructor. Finally, Donato moved to Rio and opened his Jiu Jitsu academy in September of 1930 at Rua Marques de Abrantes, in Rio de Janeiro. George and Carlos joined him as assistant instructors. (Piras gave George a bit more senior position than Carlos) It was the first academy in Brazil that was supervised by a Japanese master. (Mitsuyo Maeda)

Pires and Carlos received their training from Jacyntho Ferro who was a senior student of Maeda. They both also worked in Minas Gerais from 1928 to 1930.

Piras was by profession a tax collector and he had to move around the states a lot. Probably that was one of the many reasons why he left the academy right after three months of its inaugural ceremony. Carlos and George took over the academy as head instructors in December of 1930 and started advertising the academy under the name of “Academia Gracie” in Oct 1932.

It is important to mention that George leap-frogged Oswaldo and Gustao Jr. in the hierarchy of becoming the second best instructor in the first jiu jitsu academy of its kind. Because of his fighting, decision making, and leadership skills. His elder brother Carlos Gracie once said in a note to the media:

“George is like a sponge, that absorbed everything I showed to him”.

Brothers: Gastao Gracie Jr, Carlos Gracies, Osvaldo Gracie, Helio Gracie

Sisters:  Helena Gracie, IIka Gracie, Marry Gracie

Childrens: Helena, Liana, and George  (No sons, only daughters)

Reason of Death: Heart Attack

Prominent Events of George Gracie Life
Year Events
1911 George was born as the fourth son of Gastao Sr.
1930 George recorded his first fight.
1930 Carlos and George are listed as assistant professors at the Academia jiu jitsu. George was 19 years old.
1931 Won fight against Alexio
Rejoined the academy for a short period of time.
1933 George was 58 kg and defeated Soledad with RNC.
Fought multiple times with Geo Omori.
1936 George rejoined the Gracie Academy and then left again.
1935-1939 Fought multiple times with the Uno brothers.
1940 George fights several times in a year.
1947 Joined International Fight Company as a director.
1948 Fought his second last fight with Takeo Yano.
1952 Fought his last bout with Pedro Hemeterio.
1991 George passed away due to a heart attack.

2.2. The life of George Gracie

Beginning of The New Era

Technically Aleixo is the first Brazilian to start a jiu-jitsu club in 1913. Even Mitsuyo Maeda came to Brazil after the establishment of Alexio’s academy. On December 3, 1931, George challenged the foundations of his school of thought and practices. He fought with Alexio in a Vale Tudo style fight (MMA of that time) and dominated the whole fight and submitted Aleixo via armlock in the second round. This was more of a symbolic fight and it was the end of one era and surely the beginning of a new start which was the Gracie jiu-jitsu school.

George’s Style of Fighting

He was a fearless fighter and liked to fight regardless of weight category. Whereas his brothers were known for negotiating the rules for their benefit. It is an exaggeration to say that he can fight with anyone but this was exactly his approach to fighting. He always agreed to fight regardless of the rule set, weight category, and timing of the bout. Maybe this is the reason he has to face defeat occasionally.

George adopted a more aggressive fighting style as compared to the fighting style of Helio and Carlos. Helio Gracie was famous for his defensive way of fighting whereas George's fighting approach was more attacking and he was famous for his crowd pulling aroma. He never feared losing a match. This fearlessness allowed him to take a more risk taking approach.

George’s Fighting Regardless of Weight Category

People started to call him a “giant killer” because he went from 128 to 154 pounds. But it became his habit to fight with stronger and heavier fighters and wrestles with the difference of 40 to 100 pounds. George fought more matches than any other siblings and almost all of the matches were against those fighters who were stronger and heavier than George.

Opponent Weight FFighting Style Time W/L Method
Tico Soledade 176 pounds Vale Tudo Under 5 minutes Win By RNC
Manoel Fernandes 180 pounds Vale Tudo   Win By Armlock
Geo Omori 148 pounds Sport Jiu-Jitsu 90 Minutes Draw -
Orlando Americo 182 pounds No Gi 10 rounds completed Draw -
Jack Conley 198 pounds No Gi Under 7 minutes Win By Armlock
Wladek Zbyszko 233 pounds No Gi Under 15 minutes Loss
(this was the first loss of George’s career)
By Armlock
Manoel Grillo 198 pounds Vale Tudo with Pinfalls In third round Loss By Pinfall
Manoel Grillo 198 pounds Vale Tudo with Pinfalls N/A Win Disqualification
Jack Russell 231 pounds No Gi with Pinfalls In twenty fourth minute Loss By Pinfall
Jack Russell 231 pounds Sport Jiu-Jitsu In forty fifth minute Win Decision
Jack Russell 231 pounds Vale Tudo N/A Loss By Knockout
Joe Campbell 216 pounds No Gi Second round Win By Armlock
Benedicto Peres 174 pounds No Gi   Win By Armlock
Fritz Weber 278 - 296 pounds No Gi Sixth round Win By Armlock
Fritz Weber 278 - 296 pounds Sport Jiu-Jitsu Second round Win By Armlock
Sarquiz Budip 240 pounds Sport Jiu-Jitsu First round Win By Armlock
Sarquiz Budip 240 pounds No Gi: Second round Loss By Submission
Angelo Orlando 190 pounds Unknown Second round Win By choke
Euclydes 200+ No Gi   Loss RNC

Unprecedented Fighting Approach of George

His contemporary fighters can only manage to perform one fight in an event. Whereas, George used to take on three fights over a night and secured three wins in a night. Not only that, these three fighters follow different rules and techniques. If one fighter followed No Gi submission grappling, another fell under the category of No Gi submission and the third followed the ruleset of No Gi submission with pinfalls, George used to fight all of them without a second thought.

George Gracie Liked to Make His Decisions

Helio and Carlos followed the business plan of running an academy which also involved incorporating some fighting rules that were far-fetched for a free spirit like George.  But he remained in touch with Gracie academy occasionally. George also didn't like to follow the traditional diet plan of Helio. There was some clash of opinions between George and his brothers over his involvement in pro-wrestling events and about collaborating with those fighters whom Helio and Carlos considered their rivals.

George Loved to Move Around

Contrary to his brothers who were busy with the establishment of the Gracie Academy, George liked to move around to different places. George used to travel from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Paty do Alferes, Porto Alegre, and Recife etc.Then he started teaching at any bigger or more reputable established fighting academy. He loved to challenge all the top fighters of the area for a Vale Tudo match. Because he moved quite often, Wherever he went he liked to fight with the top fighters. Then he would relocate to another area or state and repeat the same cycle again. But his brothers didn't have that luxury because they were affiliated with one institution and they too have devoted their lives to the betterment of Gracie jiu-jitsu.

2.3. Why is George Gracie Left the Academy and Rarely Mentioned in the BJJ History?

George Gracie was the most talented and natural fighter among the Gracie brothers. Helio was more loyal to Carlos. When George left the family, money was offered to both brothers to face each other in the ring. Helio refused the offer but George accepted. But the fight never occurred. His participation in pro wrestling, his training, and friendship with the rival fighters and assisting them to open more academies to compete against Carlos and Helio were some of the reasons why he chose to leave the academy and are not mentioned fairly in the traditional Gracie Jiu Jitsu history. George Gracie was also criticized for not following Helio Gracie’s diet routine.

These are a few reasons because of which historians, followers of jiu-jitsu, and the Gracie family itself rarely mentioned the name and contributions of George Gracie.

2.4. Professional Rivalry with Ono Brothers

Yasuichi and Naoiti were skilled in Japanese Judoka and the followers of Mitsuyo Maeda, Geo Omori, and Takeo Yano. They migrated to Brazil in 1934 and challenged the traditional jiu-jitsu fighters despite their smaller body structure, both demonstrated their professional fighting style, competed in events, and started teaching Judo / jiu-jitsu. They became famous in Brazil and attracted the attention of the Gracie brothers. Gracie brothers considered them as a threat to the dominance of traditional jiu-jitsu fighting style and fought with them on multiple occasions.

History of Fights between George Gracie and Ono Brothers

Date Name of Fighter Gracie’s Rounds/Time W / L / D Round / Time Method
Oc3, 1937 Yasuichi Helio N / A Draw N / A N / A
Dec 5, 1935 Yasuichi Helio Five rounds Draw All rounds completed  N / A
Aug 31,, 1937 Yasuichi George Six rounds of 10 minutes Loss 3rd round By Choke
Oct 2, 1937 Naoiti George N / A Win 52 minutes By  Armlock
Oct 16, 1937 Yasuichi George Eight rounds of 10 minutes Win 6th round Opponent Disqualified
Nov 12, 1937 Naoiti George Six rounds of 10 minutes Win All rounds completed By Decision
Feb 4, 1939 Naoiti George  Six rounds of 10 minutes Win 6th round By Choke

Arrival of Takeo Yano

The arrival of foreign fighters in Brazil created tension between Gracie’s and Japanese fighters. Because they are not just fighters but they both represented their culture, styles, academies, and above all different political forces.

They faced each other multiple times over the years. Unexpectedly Yano and George became friends and started developing respect for each other’s skills. They competed against each other for many years and often traveled together. They faced each other for the last time on November 4, 1948. The bout continued for 30 minutes and resulted in a draw.

2.5. George Gracie’s Intricate Relations with his Brothers

George had an ideological conflict with his brother Helio. He was a free bird and preferred to make his own decisions. His style of jiu jitsu was more fierce. Helio was considered very defensive in his fights, and George was very aggressive and a crowd puller. Helio’s defensive strategy was effective at preventing loss, and George liked to take more chances. George lost matches from time to time, but his risk taking approach yielded him more wins. George and Carlos were given the responsibility of operating the Gracie Academy in 1930. But he decided to leave Gracie Academy in 1930 to pursue what he loved to do the most, which was fighting according to his own style and preferences.

It was the time of political and social instability and all the Gracie brothers and their rivals were busy finding the best fighters to make the foundation of their preferred fighting style stronger. George traveled a lot and made many friends. Gave training lessons in multiple academies. Helio started to lead the tradition lifted by Carlos and replaced George at the Gracie Academy and they both took over the charge. But Helio took this act of George as a rebellion against the tradition of jiu-jitsu. In response, George temporarily alienated himself from the Gracie Academy. Although, he used to visit his brothers often.

As Reila writes:
“Things were different with Helio. George didn't say anything bad about Carlos, just Helio”.

2.6. George Gracie No-Gi Fight Records

Opponent W / L Events Methods Weight lbs
Orlando Americo D Vale Tudo N / A 182
Jack Conley W Vale Tudo Armbar 198
Joe Campbel W Vale Tudo Armlock 216
Benedicto Peres W Vale Tudo Armlock 174
Euclydes Hatem W Vale Tudo RNC 200+
Billdip L Vale Tudo Armlock 240
Fritz Weber W Vale Tudo Armlock 296


2.7. George Gracie and Geo Omori

Geo Omori was a Japanese born martial artist who earned fame in Brazil because of his incredible versatility in Judo and jiu-jitsu. He had his first jiu jitsu fight with George Gracie on April 8, 1933. It has eight rounds of 10 minutes. Omori said George was a more difficult fighter than Carlos. He had a long and legitimate, professional fighting career and would be the most experienced Gracie fighter of his generation. The Match ended in a draw. Omori and George Graice faced each other in a rematch in December 1933 in a Vale Tudo (MMA style of fighting) match of 10 rounds of 5 minutes. This match also resulted in a draw.

George’s Fight with the Student of Helio

The element of rivalry was always evident between George and his brothers. George decided to move back to Rio and open a George Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy in competition with the old Gracie Academy of Helio and Carlos. George's last jiu jitsu match was in 1952 against the great student of Helio, Pedro Hemeterio. Who was twenty-nine years old and in its prime time. Pedro later became the first Non-Gracie fighter to receive the 9th degree red belt. The fight was conducted in memory of a supposed match between Helio and George. In the early years, George agreed to the match with Helio but Helio refused. Unfortunately, Pedro mounted George and finished the match via choke. But George’s loss to a student of Helio potentially gave Helio and Carlos the symbolic and moral superiority over George’s style of fighting and gave Helio a mandate to control the jiu-jitsu’s future.

3. George Gracie’s Professional Record Breakdown

3.1. Bouts Record Breakdown(30-11-08) Based on available information

40+Matches Wins: 30 Losses: 11 Draw: 08
By Advantages 0 1 0
By Submission 23 7 0
By Decision 3 1 8
Disqualification 3 2 0
Other 1 0 0

4. Submission Methods

Method Win Loss
Armbar 3 1
Choke 5 2
Armlock 4 0
Submission 5 1
Leg Lock 1 0
Neck Crank 1 0
Carotid Compression 1 0
RNC 3 0
Pinfalls 0 2
Head Kick 0 1

5. George Gracie’s Fight History

Year Opponent W / L / D Events Technique Weight
1952 Pedro Hemetério L Vale Tudo Choke 160 lbs
1948 Takeo Yano D Vale Tudo Decision N / A
1940 Sarquiz Budip W Vale Tudo Armbar 240 lbs
1940 Sarquiz Budip L Vale Tudo Submission 240 lbs
1940 Takeo Yano D Vale Tudo Decision N / A
1939 Naoiti Ono W Vale Tudo Choke N / A
1939 Takeo Yano D Vale Tudo Decision N / A
1938 Takeo Yano W Vale Tudo  Leg Lock N / A
1938 Giacomo Bergomas W Vale Tudo Submission N / A
1938 Jack Russell L Vale Tudo Head Kick 231 lbs
1938 Takeo Yano L Vale Tudo Decision N / A
1937 Naoti Ono W Vale Tudo Decision N / A
1937 Yasuichi Ono W Vale Tudo Disqualification N / A
1937 Naoti Ono W Vale Tudo  Retirement N / A
1937 Yasuichi Ono L Vale Tudo Choke N / A
1937 Orlando Américo Da Silva L Vale Tudo Disqualification 190 lbs
1936 Zano W Vale Tudo Neck Crank N / A
1936 Roberto Ruhmann W Vale Tudo Choke N / A
1936 Eberle W Vale Tudo Submission N / A
1936 Bartkowiak W Vale Tudo  Carotid Compression N / A
1936 Lino L Vale Tudo Disqualification N / A
1935 Ary Martins W Vale Tudo Choke N / A
1935 Takeo Yano D Vale Tudo Decision N / A
1934 Jack Conley W Vale Tudo Armbar 198 lbs
1934 Shigeo W Vale Tudo Choke N / A
1934 Wladek Zbyszko L Vale Tudo Armbar 233 lbs
1934 Orlando Américo Da Silva D Vale Tudo Decision 182 lbs
1933 Manoel Fernandes W Vale Tudo Armbar 180 lbs
1933 Tico Soledade W Vale Tudo RNC 176 lbs
1933 Jyoji Omori D Vale Tudo Decision 148 lbs
1931 Mario Aleixo W Vale Tudo Submission N / A
1931 Jayme Ferreira W Vale Tudo Submission N / A
1931 Eduardo José Sant'anna W Vale Tudo Disqualification N / A
1930 Johann Tose W Vale Tudo Submission N / A
1933 Geo Omori D Jiu-jitsu Decision 148lbs

Manoel Grillo


Vale Tudo with Pinfalls

Disqualification 198 lbs

Manoel Grillo

L Vale Tudo with Pinfalls Pinfalls 198 lbs
1938 Jack Russell W Sports jiu-jitsu Decision 231lbs
1938 Jack Russell L No-Gi with Pinfalls Pinfalls 231lbs
N/A Billdip L Vale Tudo Armlock 240
1937 Naoiti W N/A Armlock N/A
N/A Joe Campbell W No-Gi Armlock 216 lbs
N/A Fritz Weber W Vale Tudo Armlock 396lbs
N/A Euclydes Hatem W Vale Tudo RNC 200+ lbs
N/A Benedicto Peres W No-Gi Armlock 174 lbs
N/A Angelo Orlando W N/A By Choke 190 lbs
N/A Tico Soledade W Vale Tudo By RNC 176 lbs
1937 Naoiti W N/A Decision N/A

6. Last Decades of George’s Life

In 1947, George came back to Sao Paulo and started directorship in International Fight Company. This indicated his inclination towards the management of fighting institutions. It was the turning point in George's career as he started to work in the management of the fighting business for the first time. Although his brothers had been managing the fighting institution of Gracie Academy since 1930.

George Gracie would often leave the Gracie academy and then reconcile again with Carlos. Once he left the Gracie academy and competed with Zbyscko Waldek, where George lost via armbar. In 1936, George re-joined the Gracie academy and showed dignity with Carlos once again replacing Helio for a short period. He fought three battles in one night and won all of them. Carlos was entirely against the bout and the Gracie brothers parted ways once again. Although they reconciled later. George continued to teach his style of jiu-jitsu and his students often fought with the students of Helio Gracie. He had left three daughters and a rich jiu-jitsu legacy. He died in 1991 from a Heart Attack and after just two years of his demise, UFC was born it was a tragedy that George never saw the commencement of UFC.

7. Top video Link

George Gracie vs Nove capoeiristas

The silent legend of George Gracie

Gracie brothers VS Ono brothers

Photo credit: @Chadi

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