Belonging to Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), the Gracie family is a famous & reputed name in the martial arts industry. Their modification of conventional Jiu-Jitsu techniques that formed a new branch – Gracie Jiu-Jitsu – is currently a highly popular sport. The family’s philosophy regarding this particular system is partly why Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has so appealed to people of all ages.
Martial arts had been practiced in the Gracie family for decades before they finally came up with their own interpretation of Jiu-Jitsu, having been introduced to it & Judo in the early 20th century by Gastao Gracie’s friend Esai Maeda.
It is Gastao’s sons – Helio, Carlos & George Gracie – are considered to be the ones who set the criteria & techniques for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
The Gracie family also has connections with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), as it was co-founded by Rorion Gracie, with the first event being held in 1993 at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the early UFC competitions was to identify the most effective martial art in a contest with minimal rules & no weight classes between competitors of different fighting disciplines, so as to showcase Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
The Gracie family emblem is an interesting study in & of itself, symbolizing the sport & representing the Gracie brand.
- The emblem, “The Gracie Triangle”, is as the name suggests a triangle, signifying the unification & interdependency of the body, mind & soul
- These three elements act as a stabilizing base for Jiu-Jitsu athletes for when they practice & compete
- Rickson Gracie once explained the emblem in his own interpretation as a “pyramid form” which can be nudged in any corner with the structure remaining stable (aligning with how, when competing, one can shift their positioning in order to win)
The purpose of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is not only increasing one’s physical strength & capabilities to win competitions, but also to integrate the sport’s values – which includes a healthy lifestyle & relieving negative energies, to name a few – into one’s daily life. As such, this martial art form is not merely an additional exercise, considering how profound its philosophy can be.
- It encourages keeping your body healthy & fit, which automatically keeps the mind at ease & alert during competitions
- Dynamics between practice partners or sparring partners creates the sense of camaraderie, which is essential when practicing
- The sport also promotes inclusivity, meaning kids practicing self-defense & self-defense for women actually come under the mandate of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
The Gracie Challenge is a competition organized by the Gracie family, wherein professional martial arts practitioners – including the likes of Masahiko Kimura – are called on to participate in open challenge matches.
- The first ever challenge was organized in the 1920s by Carlos Gracie as a way of showcasing the effectiveness of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
- Initiated as a way to promote Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, it would start with matches between a seemingly less athletic Gracie & a seemingly more athletic opponent
- Fights were typically set up under the Vale Tudo format
The Gracie family has set up many branches of their academy over the years. Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu Academy in Dubai is one of the many Gracie academies – the first Gracie Jiu Jistu academy to be established in the Middle East – which till date practices the same value system & up-holds the philosophy of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Our offered programs, & well-trained staff & environment have proven exponentially popular in the region. Furthermore, due to the nature of the sport, people of all ages can not only learn self-defense methods, but also benefit from it through its integration into daily life.