Simply put, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu would not exist if not for the legendary Helio Gracie. Now, to celebrate his 107th birthday, his grandchildren shared an intimate video of the icon, teaching them BJJ.
The reason BJJ was originally referred to at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, was because of the founders. Helio, alongside his brothers George and Carlos, designed the art from a variation of judo. They would then master their skills, teaching them to their children. Eventually this would lead to the creation of the UFC, where his son Royce would win, thrusting BJJ into the mainstream as spectators were amazed at the smaller man being able to submit his much larger foes, using the family’s techniques.
Remembering Helio Gracie On His 107th Birthday
October 1st, 2020 marked the 107th birthday of the godfather of BJJ, Helio Gracie. Typically to remember this important part of history, his grandchildren will host a day to honor him, where they do open mats and seminars at Gracie University HQ. However, with the global pandemic causing problems with properly hosting this event, they found a different way to honor him. Rener Gracie took to Instagram to share an intimate video of way back when he was a yellow belt, and Helio was training him and his siblings, while also writing some kind words about his grandfather.
“People always ask: “What it was like growing up in the Gracie Family?” Even though it’s hard to put into words, one thing we can say is what a blessing it was to have a superhero as our grandfather and our teacher. What many people don’t know was that his real superpower was his ability to make us (and everyone else he taught) feel like WE were the superheroes. We share this special footage from the “Gracie Garage” in 1988 so you can see his level of love and commitment to empowering others. He was 75 years old in the video, and he remained active in jiu-jitsu into his 90’s. If it wasn’t for him, so much of who we are and what we love would not exist today.”
This is an extremely touching moment for fans of Helio Gracie, and the rest of their family. Moreover it is heartwarming to see this type of intimate look as to how things were behind the scenes. It is clear that this man had a profound impact on the world, but he is still remembered fondly by his family as well.