At the heart of the Gracie Barra Family’s extraordinary success over the years is our strong philosophy and mission as a group, a foundation which our masters laid many years ago, but is constantly being reinforced by the great people that make our community. Jiu-Jitsu is a beautiful art, and we have a vision of how it should be taught as a means for individual development going beyond the competitive realm. To achieve this vision, we must remember to come together as a family, always putting the team in front of individual. For that, we will fight to the end for what we believe is right.
We seek to train body, mind and spirit through the highest level of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instruction. We envision the art as a vehicle for individual development and the strengthening of the family spirit, going beyond the winning-losing or contest philosophy.
— Master Carlos Gracie, Jr.
The history of Gracie Barra
1914 – Jiu-Jitsu arrives in Brazil
A champion and student of Jigoro Kano, Mitsuyu Maeda travels abroad and participates in challenge matches across the globe. In 1914 he came to Para, Brazil, to help the Japanese colony in the region.
When Carlos Gracie met Count Koma, it was at a demonstration. Carlos was amazed by Koma’s ability to defeat opponents who were bigger and stronger than him.
1916 – Carlos Gracie
2 years later, Mitsuyu Maeda introduced Carlos Gracie Snr. to Jiu-Jitsu, at the age of 14. He became an avid student for a few years. His studies under Maeda had a profound impact on his mind.
An opportunity finally arose for Carlos to teach outside of Rio de Janeiro, in the state of Minas Gerais.
Carlos Gracie Snr. Opens the first Gracie School.
1932 – The Helio Gracie era.
Carlos was really busy teaching and managing the family business, so Helio’s first lessons in Jiu-Jitsu were delegated to his other brothers, Gastao and Oswaldo. It was not until later that Carlos started to notice Helio’s talent and dedicated more time to teach and train him.
Helio took over the family business and became really involved in running the Gracie School.
1955 – The Carlson Gracie Era
Carlson Gracie (1932) emerged as the family’s number one fighter right after Helio’s defeat to Valdemar Santana in 1955.
The reputation of the Gracie family was hurt when Valdemar, a former student, defeated Helio.
Carlson was called apon and defeated Valdemar Santana and moved on to become the main fighter of the family for decades to come.
1970 – The Rolls Gracie Era
Rolls added an enormous contribution to the development of the art. According to Master Carlos Gracie Jr., Rolls was the link between the “old Jiu-Jitsu” and the “modern Jiu-Jitsu” practiced today.
Rolls started his own Gracie School.
Unfortunately, at the age of 31, Rolls Gracie passed away in a hang gliding accident on the mountains of Rio de Janeiro.
1986 – Gracie Barra is founded
Carlos wanted to pursue the dream of having his own school. In 1986 that Gracie Barra was officially founded – in the same building that it stands today.
He envisioned Jiu-Jitsu as a tool to support any person on the quest to achieve his or her potential. He believed the most talented and dedicated people would naturally develop to become great athletes.
1993 – The BJJ revolution
In 1993, Rorion Gracie put together the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as athletes from different martial art styles fought to see which styles of martial arts were the best. This was later to be called Mixed martial Arts (MMA)
A lighter Royce Gracie defeated all his opponents by fighting mainly on the ground using control and submissions.
2000 – Globalisation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
The UFC caused a high demand for Jiu-Jitsu in all corners of the world.
Jiu Jitsu Black Belts were invited to many different countries to teach seminars.
Gracie Barra had dozens of Black Belts built through a program that valued all aspects of training: self-defence, take downs and ground game and started spreading the art worldwide.