Gracie Jiu-Jitsu founder and grandmaster, Helio Gracie has died. released a statement this morning stating,”At 95 years of age, the great icon and one of those most responsible for Jiu-Jitsu’s success in Brazil and the world died this morning at home in the district of Itaipava, in the mountain region of Rio de Janeiro.”

Lets take this time to look back at the legend that is Helio Gracie. The younger brother of Carlos Gracie, Helio’s initial foray into martial arts consisted of him watching studiously from the side as his older brother was taught the traditional art of Jiu Jitsu from the Japanese champion Conde Koma.

Being a man of frail statue, Helio did not have the physical attributes to consistently train with his older brother. So Helio, ever the innovator, began to take the techniques he saw his brother practicing and began to modify these techniques to his frail frame. As such, modern Gracie Jiu Jitsu was born.

Helio then embarked on a lifelong journey of consistent testing and refinement of his art in no holds barred challenge matches. It was in this Petri dish of experimentation that gave his son Rorion the blueprint to create a new sport entitled Ultimate Fighting.

Helio was also quite fond of the technique of procreation in order to spread the gospel of Jiu Jitsu. He instilled this passion in sons Rorion, Relson, Rickson, Royler, and Royce (first UFC champion). Future generations of the Gracie family continue to carry on the tradition that Helio based his life and teachings on.

So to you, Helio we say, thank you for you for sharing your vision for Jiu Jitsu with the rest of us. I know you will be giving privates in heaven.

Helio is survived by his wife Vera, sons Rorion, Relson, Rickson, Rolker, Royler, Royce, Rherica, Robin and Ricci. He was the last living 10th degree Master of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

By: Eddie Constantine / Jeff Howard

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