Posted by Tommy Hackett on October 2nd, 2008
Today, Tatame Magazine reported the 95th birthday festivities for the legend himself, Grandmaster Hélio Gracie. Wow. I hope I see the day.
Following an auotgraph session with fans, several members of his family’s jiu-jitsu royalty, including Rickson, Royler, and Kyra Gracie, presented the patriarch a red belt embroidered in ten gold stripes. Total-MMA can’t offer any such honor, but we can offer you a few links to learn about the man who helped build MMA with his legendary vale tudo bouts of the 1950’s:
Gracie Magazine offered a three part series on the Grandmaster last year. The online excerpt includes an unusual look at Gracie Academy in its heyday following the Gracie vs Kimura bout.
Global Training Report transcribed and translated this 2001 interview with Hélio from Playboy Brazil. “I didn’t invent jiu-jitsu. But I took a piece of junk like a Santos-Dumont airplane. You’re not going to fly from here to that corner in that. There is no jiu-jitsu that invented; I just improved it.”
Elsewhere on GTR, Hélio describes his bout with Kimura, including the moment he lost conciousness.
MMA Circa 1957, our own look at Carlson’s bout with Waldemar Santana to avenge Hélio’s other famous defeat.
Raise your favorite beverage… or better yet, take a cue from a guy who can still snare a choke hold as he approaches 100 years of age, and make it a spoonfull of açaí… and enjoy the day.