Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) has been around for almost 80 years and continues to grow in popularity. In this 2nd part of the History of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and the lineage of Helio Gracie, we will talk about the notable sons of Grandmaster Helio who through the mastery of BJJ, accomplished amazing victories and became champions in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).
Royce Gracie was born in 1966 and like his father, is a practitioner of BJJ and a professional mixed martial artist. He is most notably known as being the first UFC champion at the UFC 1. He dominated the UFC with 11 consecutive victories through opponent submission. He carried on the tradition of his father by defeating opponents who were much larger and stronger than him.
It was because of him that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gained popularity and started to gather fame throughout the world. His incorporation of grappling and cross-training in mixed martial arts revolutionized the sport as his techniques took the UFC to whole new level. Fighters had to rely on more than just one martial art, especially incorporating other fighting styles with BJJ to even stand a chance against him and fighters that followed him. If there is anyone who brought Brazilian Jiu-jitsu into the limelight, it would be Royce Gracie!
Other Notable BJJ Children of Helio Gracie
Other than Royce, Helio Gracie had other sons who are also BJJ practitioners and UFC champions, Rorion Gracie, Relson Gracie, Rickson Gracie, Rolker Gracie, Royler Gracie, Royce Gracie and Robin Gracie.
All of Helio Gracie’s sons are BJJ practitioners and mixed martial artists. Of these Rickson Gracie is well-known for defeating the mighty Brazilian brawler Rei Zulu. By defeating the 230-pound heavyweight fighter, Rickson gained national fame as one of the best freestyle fighters. Rei Zulu requested a rematch and was yet again defeated by Rickson, who carried on the Gracie legacy of defeating foes much larger than them. Rickson continues to give Jiu-jitsu training and continue what his father set out to do, to give confidence and the ability to defend themselves to the children, women and the physically weak.
Rorion is the most prominent member of the Gracie family. He is one of the founders of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Helio Gracie’s oldest son. He is among the few BJJ practitioners in the world to have received a 9th degree red belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
Royler holds a 7th degree black belt in the style that has been developed by his family, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Royler has been competing regularly in the black belt ranks for more than 20 years and has been the World Jiu-jitsu Champion four times. He also competed in MMA fights where he has a record of 5 wins, 5 losses and one draw.
There is much to learn when it comes to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu’s history in relation to the lineage of Helio Gracie. We shall discuss it further in part 3.
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